News del Locarno Festival
 

The Week Is Critical

Semaine de la critique

A still from the film "Blood Amber"

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Since 1990, the Locarno Festival has been home to the Semaine de la critique, an independent section organized by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists that focuses solely on the documentary form. Now celebrating its 28th edition, the Semaine is currently curated by General Delegate Marco Zucchi (film critic for RSI), marking a return of the section to Ticino after many years in the hands of representatives from the German and French-speaking areas (most recently Stéphane Gobbo). In accordance with the sidebar’s guidelines, Zucchi and his team have selected seven feature-length films, all of them world or international premieres, which make their festival debut in the Teatro Kursaal, every morning at 11 am from August 4 to 10. Two Swiss productions are part of the line-up: Samuel Chalard’s Favela Olímpica, which offers a largely unseen view of Rio de Janeiro during the period leading to the 2016 Olympics, and Milo Rau’s Das Kongo Tribunal, a German co-production that analyzes the Congo war with uncompromising clarity. Conflict is also at the centre of Lee Yong Chao’s Blood Amber (Taiwan/Myanmar), about the tensions between amber miners and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). A more intimate subject matter informs the content of Rok Biček’s Družina (The Family, Slovenia/Austria), where a custody battle between young parents turns into an examination of mental illness across generations. Taboos being broken take centre stage in two films: Rubén Mendoza’s Señorita María, la falda de la montaña (Colombia) tells the story of a man identifying as a woman in one of the most conservative Catholic villages in her country, standing tall against all forms of intolerance, while Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff tackle radical Islam in The Poetess (Germany/Saudi Arabia), where the eponymous protagonist uses her work to criticize terrorism and religious fanaticism. Finally, the love of cinema dominates Las cinéphilas (Argentina), María Alvarez’s portrait of a group of retired women from three countries who go to the movies every day, as a means to overcome loneliness and forget the passage of time. A fitting tribute to the communal nature of the filmgoing experience, and the ideal choice to kick off a week of screenings.

Max Borg
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