News from the Locarno Festival


Concorso Cineasti del presente




In a film that begins with, in sequence, a quote in exergue (by Williams Carlos Williams), the scene of a reading and the assault of a first person narrative, you can rest assured that the female character entering the scene a few seconds later will have major importance, and will be, however, a deeply literary creature. Felipe Hirsch succeeded from the first moments of Severina to establish the sensual atmosphere ideal for the adaptation from the eponymous novel of the 2011 of the Guatemalan Rodrigo Rey Rosa, a work entirely devoted to celebrating a dizzying enthusiasm for books. Around the literary theorem of Rey Rosa, translator and friend of Paul Bowles and beloved author of Roberto Bolaño, Hirsch creates a perfect setting, placing the affair in an unspecified Latin American country, emptying the city of insignificant presences that the writer would not lower himself to describe, and concentrating on the environment instead of the bookshop, which far beyond its cultural and commercial function becomes a theatre of passions, deceptions, death: a physical place transformed into its own world. Besides the strong unity of place, Severina also establishes a paradoxical unit of time, because although the affair covers several seasons, the film follows a play of light from the early dawn to the final darkness, which enables the evolution from the initially graceful tones of a bohemian amour fou to the surprising noir turning point with so much enigmatic femme fatale and corpses to dispose of. In this maze, it is no coincidence that Borges is the most precious book stolen by the mysterious protagonist.

Sergio Fant

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