News from the Locarno Festival

Fermo immagine

Fermo immagine



“Information is not memory. It is not for memory that it accumulates; it labours only for its own profit. And this profit is that everything is immediately forgotten for the affirmation of the sole abstract truth of the present.” I’m quoting these words of Jacques Rancière as an introduction to one of the most unclassifiable films of this program, El futuro. The future in question is imagined on an evening in 1982, when euphoria swept through Spain following dramatic political change. Now, 30 years on, what remains of that festive evening in an ordinary flat?

Born in 1938, Artavazd Pelechian has made a body of work that is often cited but rarely seen. Defined as documentaries out of convenience, his short films are visual poems that exalt the filmed subjects through a unique use of montages. His films have a purity, with no dialogue, no actors, no script, films in which the rhythm constructs the narrative. Whether linked to his native Armenia (Menk) or adventures in space (Mer dare), Pelechian’s films transcend and heighten realistic facts.

Her gaze lost beyond the horizon, her hair tangled by the wind, the young Queen Mary has withdrawn into an indecipherable expression in the same way that she has wrapped her body in a ruby-red cloak. The surrounding sea, like a prison, enhances the sense of encirclement. The tragic rise and fall of Mary, recounted by an outstanding storyteller like Stefan Zweig and retold with a “modernist” mise-en-scène by Thomas Imbach, is caught in a moment of transition, which is at the same time strongly symbolic.

Carlo Chatrian

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