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Artistic Director's Blog
On Syria and Strange Clashes

Artistic Director's Blog
On Syria and Strange Clashes

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After receiving unanimous approval at Cannes, Eau argentée arrives in Locarno accompanied by Ossama Mohammed, chair of the Cineasti del presente jury. I’ll say it now, to clear all ambiguity from the field: Ma’a al-Fidda (Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait)is a magnificent film, tough and moving, which adopts the agile form of a dialogue, at a distance, between the director and Wiam Simav Bedirxan, a young Kurdish filmmaker from Homs. Making use of a very well-structured soundtrack, the film shows images of the massacre in Syria; the subtitle speaks of a thousand and one video cameras. Before being an act of love towards a country and its people, Ma’a al-Fidda is a cinematic film, carefully choosing its field and point of view and at the same time giving shape to something which approaches the unrepresentable.

Today the Festival is also showing another film about Syria. Le Temps perdu, Pierre Schoeller’s latest work, gives a voice to Syrian refugees in a camp. In this case, the images take a step back, not turning the pain into a show but letting it emerge, spat out with rage by the refugees’ stories.

The rules of a festival’s schedule can sometimes lead to strange clashes. Other times, however, they give rise to enlightened connections. That’s how I see that particular line of the programme that links two great films in two small cinemas: La Maman et la putain, Jean Eustache’s masterpiece which closes the tribute to Jean-Pierre Léaud, and Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film, Adieu au langage. Two films so dense in ideas and emotions that they seem immune to the rules of programming. Two films that should be seen and then gradually assimilated afterwards. But given that by now we know that one plus one never equals two, why not take a risk on an exceptional double bill?

Carlo Chatrian

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