Artistic Director's Blog Between Seduction, Loss and Rivers
Jean-Pierre Léaud is perhaps the greatest seducer in the history of modern cinema. No one knows better than he how to take viewers by the hand and lead them away from their regular path. At times, though, he is the one taken by the hand and led off. Either way, his presence has something to do with wandering, as though the imprinting of young Doinel, the protagonist of Les Quatre Cents Coups, screened yesterday during an extraordinary evening, had remained with him. This erring from the established path is an integral part of modern cinema. The direct line is replaced by the detour, the digression, the parenthesis…
Getting lost is also the principle on which La princesa de Francia is based. From the extraordinary opening in which a football match becomes a ballet in which the shirts change colour, Matias Pineiro plays on the idea of exchange with the clear objective of making viewers lose the security of being sure of what they are seeing and hearing. In this sense, La princesa de Francia is perhaps the most seductive film in Locarno’s whole programme. Using Shakespeare’s talent (and his Love’s Labour’s Lost) as a base and tailoring on top a ronde which could have come from one of Rivette’s films, Pineiro seduces, leading us beyond the paths of traditional cinema.
A river is the most natural image to associate with Lav Diaz’s films. Not so much for their length, but because their flow has something liquid about it. This latest work also follows the evolutions of a waterway, with falls, sinuous bends and sudden rushes. If Lav Diaz is one of the most original and talented story tellers, it is thanks to his ability to vary the rhythm of the story and its tonalities. Turning back to reflect on his country’s history acquires in this sense an additional value, fable-telling and mythopoeic, in line with the best tradition of cinema from Griffith to Rossellini.Carlo Chatrian