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A still from “Amnesia” by Barbet Schroeder

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Cinema is a question of time. Time observed and time experienced. Time filmed that pours like the sand in an hourglass into the time of the story. Even when it suggests otherwise, a film has the task of constructing a time, of presenting it to the viewer; sometimes, and these are the best cases, this time is something more than the time needed to make a joke or move a body. Pastorale cilentana speaks precisely of this: the time of a place. Mario Martone has a close relationship with Cilento, with the history and culture of this slice of southern Italy stretched out along the sea. In the almost 20 minutes of this film he condenses much of his relationship with what is apparently a place of the soul.

Time is the root shared by this day’s films: the time of a return, as non-linear as a karst river, is what runs through Suite Armoricaine, while opposing times – though the overall durations are the same – are proposed by Hong Sang-soo’s dual narrative. And the time of a present that runs faster than our eyes is proposed in Kiev/Moscow. Part 1, a journey into the madness of a revolution about which we still know too little.

Time understood as memory is also the great theme of Amnesia, a film it’s worth saying a few words about, particularly in light of its treatment at Cannes. We should say right away that Barbet Schroeder’s is a good and important film. And time will be on his side. Not only in terms of the type of project and the storytelling – pairing two visions of the past and two life stories – but also in terms of the mise en scène, which confirms the talent of one of the great directors of modern times, with no offense intended towards those who get stuck on overly bright colours or lines not performed with pure naturalism.

Carlo Chatrian
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