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Emotions dominate Locarno's brilliant films

Last updated on: August 8, 2012 15:10 IST

Emotions dominate Locarno's brilliant films

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Ankur Pathak in Locarno

Ankur Pathak captures the essence of the Locarno International Film Festival, live from Locarno!

The rare gift about cinema is that it can capture the infiniteness of time. It can hold it stagnant, revel in it and release it, and the audience unwittingly becomes an active participant in the entire exercise. 

If given an opportunity at the age of 50, would you like to go back in time and undo the decisions that haven't had very succesful outcomes? Would you stay away from experiencing love just because you know it is going to end in heartbreak and despair? Or would you commit the same mistakes all over again, because well, the time that you had, was the best you ever did have?

These are exactly the poignant questions which French director, writer and actor Noemie Lvovsky puts forth in her new film Camile Redouble, screening in the Piazza Grande section of the Locarno International Film Festival after been shown at Cannes early this year in the Directors' Fortnight section.


Image: The poster of Camile Redouble


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Camile Redouble

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Lvovsky acts in the lead role too, where she plays Camile, an out-of-job side actor going through crisis in her married life. A new year's bash ensures she wakes up as the innocent Camile, still in high school, auditioning for plays, hanging out with her gang, and most of all, being with her parents. At all times she is aware of the passage of time, how she is reliving it and also has the potential choice to alter the future.

For all it's adoloscent humour, the film centres on the themes of loss and longing, and how, after one succumbs to the inevitable, the only thing that remains are memories.
 
Camile is overwhelmed to be with her parents and in one of the many profound scenes, records their voices to keep close, long after they are gone. 

Filled with nuances of life that we usually overlook, the film is sentimentally stirring, and drives home the message that our life is ultimately a reflection the choices we make, and not knowing the outcome probably is more helpful than being assured of it before hand.

Image: A scene from Camile Redouble


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Starlet

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Another film -- Sean Baker`s Starlet starring Dree Hemingway -- dwells on an unlikely relationship between a young pot-smoking girl Jane and an reclusive octonogenerian called Sandie.
 
After discovering $10, 000 stashed in a thermas she bought in a garage sale, Jane is unable to make her mind to splurge it or track the owner and play the good samaritan. The conflict forces her to forge a bond with Sandie, the old lady and owner of the thermas, as she tries to morally compensate for the monetary gain. 

Baker's direction maintains a level of intrigue, and he takes time to reveal the layers of his characters in a languid but effective pace.
 
The title, apart from being a metaphor for Jane's profession, refers to her dog, her truest companion all along, untill the relationship with Sandie follows an emotionally unsettling turn making the friendship twice as profound.
 
Hemingway's sincerity is evident through the performance where her eyes convey both, a haunting loneliness and genuine concern for her newest friend.

Image: A scene from Starlet


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Museum Hours

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Day Seven at the festival seemed particularly filled with movies based on human emotions and existential crisis, explored best in Somebody Up There Likes Me -- Bob Byington's new film competing in the international section.
 
In the film, the protagonist watches his life pass by, (shown episodically over a course of every five years without him actually growing up). The film talks about the monotony of life, and its inconsequential nature as time flies and inevitably strikes us off. 

Museum Hours, an experimental drama by New York-based filmmaker Jem Cohen, is about a woman visiting her comatosed cousin in Vienna, developing a friendly bond with a museum guard.
 
The film is entirely conversational, as the two talk about their personal experiences through life, often unpeculiar, while a significant chunk is devoted to the social significance of the paintings of Durch painter Pieter Breughel that decorate the  museum.

Image: A scene from Museum Hours


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Awards

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Day Seven also saw the awards for the 2012 Open Doors co-production lab that is organised with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The 2012 session was devoted to cinema from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Twelve projects, selected out of over 200 applications from 17 countries, participated in the Open Doors co-production lab, organised with the collaboration of the Festival Industry Office. The objective of the four-day workshop that took place during the Festival, was to assist the selected directors and producers to find co-production partners and to complete their films.

Aside from the workshop, the Open Doors Screenings, aimed at both festival goers and professional delegates, will run until the end of the Festival. The 2012 programme presents a selection of 21 key films from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa made in recent years.

Image: The Open Doors Award winners
Photographs: Ankur Pathak

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