Samstag, 18. August 2018

Mansi Tiwari on... Locarno's Leopard Ladies

© Locarno Festival

This is a guest article written by Mansi Tiwari.

Coming in from a lurker's web of hauntings, both as an honour and a tribute to pizzas of years past, shared in the ruins of the Castello in Locarno, today, I come to you with some terrific lady filmmakers who truly earned their spots at the 71st edition of the Locarno Film Festival.

In between the retrospectives dedicated to Leo McCarey, famous for shorts involving Laurel and Hardy, as well as Duck Soup (1933) and The Awful Truth (1937), nestled between opening night's Les beaux esprits and that train wreck of an attempt to rationalize impersonating the mentally disabled, we have a few silent gems unmentioned and unheard that truly deserve the limelight.

After all, what were we really there for? Denzel Washington shooting up his former gang for the second time in The Equalizer 2, in the name of what director Antoine Fuqua termed the righteous call of "justice"? Frankly, as entertaining as our good friend Denzel can be on a languid summer night, there has got to be more hidden in the thickets of the festival. Which is where I am reporting from. Live. Literally from the entanglement of chair legs at the public screening, Because hidden in these very thickets, we have a bunch of XX-chromosome toting humans that truly deserve a silent cry into the abyss of the internet.

As always, the short film selection is shocking in its extreme ends of fabulous young filmmakers attempting their first shorts and the rather not-as-fabulous flip side of those very young filmmakers attempting their first shorts. With that in mind, let us jump right into Annette Sidor's Fuck You, her third short to grace the world.

Fuck You
© Verket Produktion
Following the young Alice (a truly stunning Yandeh Sallah, rocking a mustard crop top like no other girl ever has), Fuck You opens with her and her two friends venturing into an adult store. As one must, Alice accepts a dare and steals a lilac-colored strap-on from the store and heads out to meet up with her white-tee-baseball-cap-wearing boyfriend (truly a high school dream boat, one must confess) and the rest of the lads. Now, in an attempt to pique interest in our dear Annette, I shall leave you with the question, what exactly does a gang of ragtag boys do when confronted with a girl bearing a lilac-covered strap-on, radiating the pride of a thousand suns? With a set up such as this one, it's very clearly where Sidor's focus lies – namely identity and gender politics, sexuality, its norms and deviances, which I found she traverses both in a lithe and adept manner. She has been running Verket Produktion with her colleague Jerry Carlsson since 2015, so I shall be sat here waiting for news from their Nordic corner.

Another short, another lady from the north: Emilie Blichfeldt and her short film entry Saras intime betroelser (Sara's Intimate Confessions, for all us non-Norwegian speakers) this time, as part of this year's Concorso internazionale. In a charming confrontation of the protagonist's interior life, we watch Sara daydream and day-nightmare her way through her beliefs about femininity and her own body, as she fantasizes about her love life. Her hyperawareness of her large stature and size, compared to her elfine friend Katinka, twists her dreams into tormenting self-doubt and forces her to come to terms with it. Sara negotiates her fear of her body by laying herself bare for the most intimate conversations I have ever witnessed on screen. All my hats off to Anne Sofie Wanstrup as Sara and her amazingly bilingual body. There is little to be said but that there is no excuse to miss out on this amusing featurette.

© Les Films du Tambour
Last but not least, let's move to the feature-film length masterpiece by the name of Sibel, directed by Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti. The eponymous protagonist lives with her father and sister in a secluded village in Turkey, maintains a passion for hunting wolves, while caring for her family, as the only unmarried girl of her age in her village. What sets Sibel apart from her community is her muteness, which has her communicating by means of a fading whistling language local to the very village the movie is set in. Bold and non-conforming, she is often reminded of her outcast status by her peers and even her sister, frequently excluded from social events.

Attempts at trying to navigate fitting in and her disability are doomed to fail, especially in the face of a village that considers her damaged and devilish. Instead, she hooks up her rifle and spends hours sniffing out a wolf tormenting the forests, but finds a hidden deserter instead, who won't be dissuaded from communicating with her. I swear, if any face held half of the energy Damla Sönmez displays as Sibel, fiercely cussing out the village in the angriest trills I’ve heard, the world would crackle with static electricity all hours of the night. Sibel is truly an unexpectedly charming gem to have come out of the festival, ending in nothing short of an assault on the poor PalaVideo on the film's second and final showing, as hordes of viewers attempted to bully their way into the completely overbooked, sauna-esque screening.

Now all that remains for me to do now is dole out shout-outs to Dominga Sotomayor's Tarde para morir joven, an insanely vibrant and we-grow-our-own-food commune aesthetic set after the fall of Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile in 1990. Can you believe Sotomayor is the first-ever female director to have been honored with the Best Director award at the festival this year? If you're into charming female acting debuts, visceral and dreamy camerawork, and the epitome of aesthetic bathtubs and dog-watching, there is no way to get around watching this movie.

Another short, by name of Reneepoptosis is another work of pure animation magic, as it follows three Renees' quest to find God, also known as Renee (please do yourselves a favour and watch the magnificent trailer above). For emotional reasons, I shall throw in that one Cary Grant movie that had me, and especially my partner in crime, cackling like springtime goblins in the cinema (The Awful Truth).

And also, flowers abound to Alan for letting me monkey around on his truly delightful blog (all you ghostly lurkers had better leave a comment on his posts!).

2 Kommentare:

  1. these vibrant and compelling impressions make me want to instantly watch each and every film!

  2. what a delightful summary of the festival's highlights. we want more form this mysterious author!