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Nouvague Surf Film Nacht

[…] How much have smartphones, YouTube, and the selfie fad, along with the practice of home-made videos, really changed the way of watching films in the cinema? The young world of surf seems a good place to find clues about this.

I arrived at the cinema Riff Raff twenty minutes early and, surprisingly, booked the very last seat. The hall was boiling with young people – as a cinema should. Bravo, Riff Raff! This gave me great expectations. Perhaps there is a new-image language among the younger generations? How much have smartphones, YouTube, and the selfie fad, along with the practice of home-made videos, really changed the way of watching films in the cinema? The young world of surf seems a good place to find clues about this.

The programme proposes three films: the first one is a Swiss short, _Girl Go Big_ by Theresa Strack, portraying a local hero, who was present in the room. The video – I wouldn’t call it a film – is quite bad, with an insufferable sound quality. The story concentrates on a very long preparation for a few seconds of performance on the “perfect” big wave. Perhaps it displays a typical pattern in the world of surfers, but for me it is a perfect big deception.

Then follows an amusing English film shot in Iceland, _Freezing_ – _A Cold Water Surf Trip_ by Jeremy Joyce (here the trailer), which presented several interesting filmic ideas, broaching on too many. Between the epic story of the great challenge and the strong British humour, this film works well even if, in the end, it seems a bit repetitive and stereotyped.

The last, one-hour-long film is Italian: _Peninsula_, by Luca Merli. It presents a large package of film footage on the history of the Italian surfing scene. A good documentation, but lacking in dramatic ideas. Actually, it is only a collection of mini-portraits of surfers. After twenty minutes, it becomes only a very boring catalogue, with acceptable cutting but horrible sound quality – a repetitive celebration of Italian icons. I am not competent to judge the athletic excellence, but I am under the impression that they are always performing the very same three acrobatics.

In a nutshell: my experience here is that, in surfing and in filming, it is more a question of standards than of style or imagination. Who knows whether the public is satisfied or not… I wonder, anyway, how people can swallow films so easily that are so poor in quality. One way to look at it: the film eye, tonight, came away only with deception, but other eyes – anthropological and sociological – had something to learn…

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore
First published: April 24, 2016

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