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Famiglie, paure e libertà al centro della scena a Cannes Shorts 2022


- CANNES 2022: Mentre l'offerta di cortometraggi di quest'anno prende il via, esaminiamo i titoli europei selezionati sia nel Concorso ufficiale che nelle selezioni La Cinef

Famiglie, paure e libertà al centro della scena a Cannes Shorts 2022
Le Feu au lac di Pierre Menahem

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The European short films on offer in both the Cannes Official Competition and La Cinef selections are somewhat introspective affairs. With many of them dealing with delicate family relationships as well as examining pain, grief and loss, they often show what short film does best: examining the small and quiet moments of life that ripple with massive importance. They also show that the competitions continue to uncover many talents for whom the future is bright.

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Amongst said talents is Lithuanian filmmaker Vytautas Katkus, whose film Cherries (Ugogos) is playing in the Official Competition not long after Katkus himself walked away with the Next Step Award in this year’s Critics’ Week (see the news). The film itself is a measured and quietly powerful affair, as a father tries to reconnect with his young-adult son as they pick cherries. While gentle naturalism is the order of the day, Katkus plays with genre conventions to create something that is both subtle yet transcendent. Also quietly powerful is Fire at the Lake by Pierre Menahem (France), in which a man who lives with his mother in the pastures comes down for a passionate encounter. With background notes of isolation and grief set amongst the unforgiving majesty of the countryside, the film includes a compelling lead performance and some striking visuals. The final European offering in Official Competition is the French-Ghanaian effort Tsutsuɛ by Amartei Armar, an arresting tale of two young boys living in a small fishing village who are dealing with the loss of their elder brother.

The La Cinef selection, containing 16 shorts from film schools from across the globe, includes the timely Glorious Revolution by Masha Novikova (UK/Ukraine/Germany), about a woman who loses her son in the 2014 Maidan revolution, but finds the ideals of heroism and patriotism dulled by the self-interest of others. Taking on an extra bitter resonance in light of current world events, the film is a caustic and devastating piece of work directed with a subtle yet sharp view of the world.

Two stories that explore the decaying of love affairs give a different, caustic view of the world. Craze (Hajszálrepedés) by Bianka Szelestey (Hungary) sees the aftermath of the immediate end of a relationship. It’s a tense and claustrophobic work that revels in the painful breakdowns of social niceties. At 49 minutes long, That’s Amore (100% Flået Kærlighed) by Malthe Saxer (Denmark) is an intense and abstract portrait of a couple gone wrong as they try to discover just why love has disappeared.

Families loom large in the likes of Alica Bednáriková’s wonderful Liquid Bread (Chlieb Náš Každodenný) (Slovakia), which follows Zoja as she visits her family and dredges up the past. With a dark strain of humour, the film is a clever and engrossing work. More languid is All of This Belongs to You (Tout Ceci Vous Reviendra) by Lilian Fanara (France), featuring a brother and sister exploring their relationship in the aftermath of a death, while Mistida by Falcão Nhaga (Portugal) sees a mother and son delve into their pasts as they walk home together. A subtle and ultimately joyful piece of work, the film contains two stunning central performances. Valerio Ferrara’s A Conspiracy Man (Il Barbiere Complottista) (Italy) sees a man who immerses himself in conspiracy theories, much to the chagrin of his family, mysteriously picked up by the police. Ferrara plays with the boundaries of reality and perception in a quietly humorous piece of work.

There are also plenty of animations to enjoy. These include the Polish work We Are Not There Tomorrow (Jutro Nas Tam Nie Ma), Olga Kłyszewicz’s impressionistic short about changing perception, which is a mesmerising piece that contrasts darkness and light, and Spring Roll Dream by Mai Vu (UK), a tender examination of the generational divide. There’s also the wonderful Humans Are Dumber When Crammed up Together (Les Humains Sont Cons Quand Ils S'empilent) by Laurène Fernandez (France), which begins as a wistful exploration of humans living in a tower block and soon takes a dark turn. With shades of the early works of Nick Park, it’s a delightfully twisted but empathetic study of human behaviour.

The nine films vying for the Short Film Palme d’Or in the Official Competition are as follows:

Tsutsuɛ - Amartei Armar (Ghana/France)
A Short Story - Bi Gan (China)
Lori (Melancholy of My Mother’s Lullabies) - Abinash Bikram Shah (Nepal/Hong Kong)
The Water Murmurs - Story Chen (China)
Cherries - Vytautas Katkus (Lithuania/Italy)
Same Old - Lloyd Lee Choi (USA)
Fire at the Lake - Pierre Menahem (France)
Persona - Sujin Moon (South Korea)
Night Light - Kim Torres (Costa Rica/Mexico)

The 16 films in La Cinef selection are as follows:

Liquid Bread - Alica Bednáriková (Ftf Všmu-Film and Television Faculty, Slovakia)
Mumlife - Ruby Challenger (AFTRS, Australia)
All of This Belongs to You - Lilian Fanara (La Fémis, France)
Humans Are Dumber When Crammed up Together - Laurène Fernandez (La Cinéfabrique, France)
A Conspiracy Man - Valerio Ferrara (Centro Sperimentale Di Cinematografia, Italy)
The Pass - Pepi Ginsberg (NYU, USA)
Kinship - Orin Kadoori (The Steve Tisch School Of Film & Television Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Nauha - Pratham Khurana (Whistling Woods International, India)
We Are Not There Tomorrow - Olga Kłyszewicz (Polish National Film School in Łódź, Poland)
Somewhere - Li Jiahe (Hebei University of Science and Technology School of Film and Television, China)
The Silent Whistle - Li Yingtong (Emerson College, USA)
Mistida - Falcão Nhaga (ESTC, Portugal)
Glorious Revolution - Masha Novikova (London Film School, UK)
That’s Amore - Malthe Saxer (Den Danske Filmskole, Denmark)
Craze - Bianka Szelestey (Eötvös Loránd University Department of Film Studies, Hungary)
Spring Roll Dream - Mai Vu (NFTS, UK)

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