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Festival del cinema

Among the many things I pretended to do while enrolled at university was filmmaking. I used to record live sound in the short films of young, ambitious directors in Bologna, and I also joined an association called La Libellula A Sonagli. This was more of a way to have friends, which has never been easy for me, so it was very fortunate. Also, as a member of the association, I scrounged up accreditation to attend the first film festival of my life, in Venice in September 2001.

I felt like an intruder, because I didn’t understand anything about cinema and it was no coincidence that I was involved in sound and soundtracks; while some of my fellow adventurers were really good, and others were pretentious bums who only came to the festival to get laid. It’s the kind of world and social class that a decade later would be immortalised in Velleità, one of the most caustic tracks on Il Sorprendente Album d’Esperanza (2011). That record in fact branded forever, with cruel precision, with the mark of misery, failure and hypocrisy, that kind of intellectuals born in the 70s and early 80s, the “hipsters” and the “indies”, who are then the same “Romans kept in New York” recounted in 2017 by Francesco Pacifico’s novel Class.

If we want to be honest, however, net of the miseries, failures and hypocrisies of that generation, there really were those who had something to say, those who combined charm with genius or at least depth, there were those who simultaneously fucked and understood cinema. And they aroused all my envy and admiration.

What I remember about the festival, more than the individual films, was the fascination for those who sat in the cinema early in the morning and left late at night, devouring the films one after the other, each day a marathon, each day four or five works to add to their encyclopaedic knowledge.

I think that’s what attracted me most of all, their completism, their consistency and perseverance in getting to the bottom of a subject. What I, used to jumping from one interest to another, always lacked.

After that isolated and now distant experience of the Festival, I have remained very discontinuous in my frequentation of the big screen, but the desire for the film marathon has remained with me like the ideal of an ascetic holiday from the world, comparable to immersing oneself in nature for a day.

My ideal would be to be able to watch all the arthouse films I want in the comfort of my sofa at home, just as most of my peers watch TV series on Netflix. It’s a pity that there is very little art-house cinema on Netflix or Amazon Prime, so you have to search from time to time, here and there, on YouTube and even in places of dubious morality.

For example, you can browse through all the films in competition in the history of the Berlin Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival: I would like to be able to watch them like a film library rat, like young people today watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. It has to be said that Netflix is also trying to colonise art-house cinema, and in 2018 it smashed Venice with the Golden Lion thanks to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. And other well-regarded films like Matt Palmer’s Calibre.

Mama Raiplay isn’t too shy either, where for example you can watch L’amica geniale, the 2018 screenplay based on Elena Ferrante.

Sadly, the service richest in art-house films, Hulu, is only available in the US. But luckily I discovered a clone of it of dubious legality, 123Hulu, and there are brand new arthouse films here too. The bummer is that when I use it on my phone it floods you with unsolicited notifications, but other than that it works perfectly.

So my dream of film marathons has come true. For example I can the works from the 2017 Berlin Film Festival: On Body And Soul by Hungarian Ildkò Enyedi, set in a slaughterhouse (here).

Ana, Mon Amour by Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer (here).

Bright Nights by Thomas Arslan (here).

The Dinner by Oren Moverman, starring Richard Gere (here).

A Fantastic Woman by Sebastian Lelio (here).

Auteur films released in 2018 include:

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War (here).

Spike Lee’s Blakkklansman (here).

Paul Schrader’s First Reformed (here). Seen.

Disobedience by Sebastian Lelio (here).

The Death Of Stalin by Armando Iannucci (here).

Colette by Wash Westmoreland (here).

Widows by Steve McQueen (here).

Puzzle by Marc Turtletaub (here).

The Hate U Give by George Tillman Jr. (here).

Sorry To Bother You by Boots Riley (here).

Eighth Grade by Bo Burnham (here).

Leave No Trace by Debra Granik (here).

Crazy Rich Asians by Jon M. Chu (here).

Blindspotting by Carlos Lopez-Estrada (here).

The Scent Of Rain & Lightning by Blake Robbins (here).

The 15:17 To Paris by Clint Eastwood (here).

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread (here).

From the 2018 Berlin Film Festival:

7 Days In Entebbe by José Padilha, the Brazilian auteur of City Of God (here).

Black 47 by Lance Daly, about the tragic Irish potato famine (here). Seen.

Damsel by David and Nathan Zellner (here).

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot by Gus Van Sant (here).

In The Aisles by Thomas Stuber (here).

Isle Of Dogs by Wes Anderson (here). Seen.

The Real Estate by Mans Mansson and Axel Petersen (here).

Unsane by Stephen Soderbergh (here).

Utoya July 22 by Erik Poppe (here).

Films released in 2017:

Steven Spielberg’s The Post (here).

The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro (here).

Proud Mary by Babak Najafi (here).

Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World (here).

Or you can search by author.

French director Benoit Jacquot’s films are here.

Joachim Lafosse is here.

German Christian Petzold is here.

Malgorzata Szumowska is here.

Norwegian Erik Poppe is here.

But to be quicker, I have created another microblog, entitled Film Festival, to collect all the links to the individual films.

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