Old faces, new films and fresh talent at Locarno's Pardi di domani
- A number of familiar faces return for the fulsome short film selection of this year's edition of the Swiss festival
As ever, the Locarno Film Festival selection of short films Pardi di domani is fit to burst with numerous films in the International and National Competitions. While the chief delight here is discovering new talents, each competition also provides a number of shorts from directors whose new works have been eagerly anticipated alongside the now established Concorso Corti d’autore, the special selection of shorts from directors who have already made somewhat of a name for themselves.
In the International Competition, Greek filmmaker Thanasis Neofotistos makes his return with AirHostess-737. Making a strange tonal companion – albeit with a ‘reversed’ point of view – to his short Patision Avenue (which premiered at Venice and would go on to win awards at the likes of Clermont), Neofotistos concentrates on the work day of an air hostess which begins to take a turn for the worst. It’s a clever and intimate affair as, much like the rest of his work, he combines the minutiae of the everyday with the bigger events that shift our lives and perceptions.
Douwe Djikstra continues to prove he is one of the best documentary makers in Europe today with his latest film Neighbour Abdi (Netherlands). With a clever use of green screen and a meta-textual narrative, he not only presents us with a compelling portrait of the titular character, who muses on his life in Somalia and a past marked by war and criminality, but also exposes how we both compose and receive the narratives of others. While it is a consistently intelligent and genre bending piece of work, there is also a groundswell of humanity and emotion at its core.
One of the most remarkable films on offer is Mother Prays All Day Long (Germany) from Iranian born filmmaker Hoda Taheri. Taheri – who also appears in the film – presents a film of astounding intimacy as a couple spend their time talking, having sex and negotiating life. Grounded in realism (at least until the bravura closing shot) the film slowly brings together ideas of how we deal with our bodies within a relationship and notions of sexuality and belonging.
More traditional realism is on offer in both Blanca Camell Galì’s Castells (France/Spain), which also deals with intimacy and belonging, and Saverio Cappiello’s Pillow Face (Italy), a subtle but affecting examination of a generation that seems to be old before its time.
Both experimental film Hardly Working (by Total Refusal, Austria) – utilising Red Dead Redemption 2 to explore the lives of Non Player Characters – and animation Money and Happiness (by Ana Nedeljkovic and Nikola Majdak Jr., Serbia/Slovenia/Slovakia) take swipes at capitalism in inventive and intriguing ways while Diamond Kid (Pierre Edouard Dumora, France) and Lake of Fire (Neozoon, Germany) take more experimental approaches as they deal with notions of nationalism, identity and religion.
Many new Swiss films await in the National Competition, including Fairplay from Zoel Aeschbacher, whose film Bonobo was a huge success on the short film circuit. His latest is a darkly humorous examination of ordinary people whose competitiveness – and the system that drives them to it – pushes them to the very edge of reason.
In the Corti d’autore, Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel – former winners of the Golden Bear for the short As Long As Shotguns Remain – return with the typically confrontational new film Watch the fire or burn inside it (France). Also screening is Big Bang (Brazil/France), the latest film from Carlos Segundo – whose previous film Sideral became a hit on the circuit after premiering at Cannes 2021 – which is an eclectic and subtly dark film about disparate characters who meet after strange circumstances.
The selected shorts:
AirHostess-737 - Thanasis Neofotistos (Greece)
At Little Wheelie Three Days Ago - Andrew Stephen Lee (USA)
Neighbour Abdi - Douwe Dijkstra (Netherlands)
Castells - Blanca Camell Galì (France/Spain)
Dancing Colors - M. Reza Fahriyansyah (Indonesia)
Daron, Daron Colbert - Kevin Steen (USA)
Pillow Face - Saverio Cappiello (Italy)
Hardly Working - Total Refusal (Austria)
L'enfant au diamant - Pierre Edouard Dumora (France)
The Shadow of the Butterflies - Sofia El Khyari (France/Portugal/Qatar/Morocco)
Lake of Fire - Neozoon (Germany)
Balls - Gorana Jovanovic (Serbia/Slovenia)
Moon that cracks over the darkness of my loneliness - Lucila Mariani (Argentina)
Mother Prays All Day Long - Hoda Taheri (Germany)
In the Big Yard Inside the Teeny-weeny Pocket - Yoko Yuki (Japan)
Misaligned - Marta Magnuska (Poland/Latvia)
Mulika - Maisha Maene (Congo)
Money and Happiness - Ana Nedeljkovic, Nikola Majdak Jr. (Serbia/Slovenia/Slovakia)
Soberane - Wara (Cuba)
Tiger Stabs Tiger - Shen Jie (China)
Brandon roi - Romain Jaccoud
Der Molchkongress - Matthias Sahli, Immanuel Esser
Euridice, Euridice - Lora Mure-Ravaud
Fairplay - Zoel Aeschbacher
Heart Fruit - Kim Allamand
Heartbeat - Michèle Flury
I'm the Only One I Wanna See - Lucia Martinez Garcia
Les dieux du supermarché - Alberto Gonzalez Morales
Limites - Simon de Diesbach
Serafina - Anna Simonetti, Noa Epars
Asterión - Francesco Montagner (Czech Republic/Slovakia)
At Dusk - Myriam Charles (Canada)
Big Bang - Carlos Segundo (France/Brazil)
Song for the buried city - Nicolas Klotz, Elisabeth Perceval (France)
Watch the fire or burn inside it - Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel (France)
Paradiso, XXXI, 108 - Kamal Aljafari (Palestine/Germany)
Poitiers - Jérôme Reybaud (France)
Nothing will be the same again - Elina Löwensohn (France)
Songy Seans Last Screening - Derazhan Omirbayev (Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan)
Tako se je končalo poletje/That's How the Summer Ended - Matjaž Ivanišin (Slovenia/Hungary/Italy)
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