Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2020

Online Edition

Introduction

«In the shade of dictatorships» could read the subtitle of the curated programmes at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2020. With different distances from the source of the shades, for the countries in focus are not only China but also Hong Kong, Taiwan and Ukraine. The selection of the curators at Winterthur highlights, first of all, the cinematic quality of the short films, so reinforcing the festival as one of the most important international promoters of the short film as a specific and accomplished form.

The political commitment of the proposed films is almost always present, yet hopefully not always straightforwardly displayed. Social criticism, psychological nuances and personal perspectives appear at the core of the filmic projects, and in this way often convey a humanist and universal gaze on reality.

Insofar as the aesthetic traditions of these countries are directly influenced by the cumbersome presence of the popular realism of communist regimes, one should not forget that the way a filmmaker handles realism in film is very often a way to answer and position herself or himself politically. In this context, Wang Bing’s rough realism (Xi Yang Tang) and the intrusive style of the films in the programme «China Independent», for example, will reveal (also) a bold revolutionary attitude; the narrative fragmentation and ellipses in films such as On the Border, The Sound of Falling or Lighthouse should (also) be read as a powerful claim in favour of a critical stance; the choice for a rigid conceptual framework in films like The Umbrella, La lampe au beurre de yak and The Six, or for an overtly poetic aspiration in films like Half Asleep and Film of Sand (also) conceal a neat affirmation of subjectivity; the sometime heavy use of symbols and metaphors - mostly in Chinese films (extremely in Animal Year or Tear of Chiwen) - and the massive expressionism assumed by the films in the programme «New Ukrainian Cinema» should (also) be taken as an escapist or critical form of anti-realism.

These generic reflections on the curated programmes will only serve as a modest introduction to the exercise that FILMEXPLORER, as usual, prefers above all: the discussion of films individually, considered as filmic works, with the generosity of the critical gesture that sometimes dares going beyond the film itself. An exercise that becomes infrequent, today, and even rarer for short films. For this purpose, the curators of this SHORT PAGE, Giuseppe Di Salvatore and Ruth Baettig, have welcomed the contributions by Nicolas Bézard, Pasquale M. Cicchetti, Laura Davis, Emilien Gür, Jean Perret and Dominic Schmid.

Giuseppe Di Salvatore

Main Focus: mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Country in Focus: Ukraine

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