Locarno Shorts Weeks 2020

1-29 - February 2020: FREE STREAMING! In collaboration with the Locarno Film Festival

Filmexplorer’s commitment to short films here takes the form of an intriguing collaboration with the streaming initiative of the Locarno Film Festival.

Starting from February 1st, a total of 23 short films included in Locarno Film Festival’s 2018 line-up is presented in the scheme of a new film every day, each one being available for streaming for free in the online platform for a week. In the words of the Locarno Film Festival: «Rather than spending time trying to go through the excluding algorithms of giant VOD platforms that are trying to shape the audience’s needs and desires according to their own industrial products, one can choose to get lost in the niche algorithms created by these 23 filmmakers’ minds».

Filmexplorer is happy to mention and discuss a SELECTION of these 23 short films, all available for streaming for free.

Two of them will be also streamed on Filmexplorer!

In FOCUS

FREE STREAMING on FILMEXPLORER

FREE STREAMING on FILMEXPLORER - 13-19 - February 2020

Veslemøy’s Song | Sofia Bohdanowicz | CAN 2018 | 9’ | Locarno Film Festival 2018, Locarno Shorts Weeks 2020

A cipher for Sofia Bohdanowicz herself, Audrey (Deragh Campbell) searched the New York Public Library for a rare recording of a song by Kathleen Parlow, a music instructor who taught Bohdanowicz’s grandfather the violin. Campbell’s Audrey also appears in Bohdanowicz’s first feature Never Eat Alone (2016) and her latest feature MS Slavic 7. The Toronto-based filmmaker retraces the experiences of her grandmother, Joan Benac, through fictionalised frameworks and via certain sounds and images that illuminate the relative precarity of the analogue age.

In the film a young girl flies to New York to listen to a record from 1909. That record is Veslemøy’s Song, the encore to a hundred page concerto piece dedicated to the once famed but now forgotten music teacher of Bohdanowicz’s grandfather. Being a very rare wax cylinder, Audrey can neither see nor touch the record. She can only communicate with the engineer through a computer interface. Withholding the end of the record from her, the technician’s messages appear sterile and lifeless. Audrey cries, eats an egg salad sandwich and the film ends.

This vaguely dystopian ending to the form makes the form-within-the-form structure especially pertinent. The intimacy (and lack thereof) in the encounter between Audrey and technician – between Audrey and her disappointing egg salad sandwich – contrasts with the deep personal significance the record has for her family history. Watching this hand-processed 16mm film digitised into a mp4 file as a criticism on an online viewing library before it goes on to show at an on demand festival platform calls forth questions of reproduction and authenticity. In the reproduction and dissemination, the ease of accessibility means the plane journey Audrey makes is no longer necessary. It is as readily available worldwide as the disappointing egg salad sandwich she eats. 

It is in the search for the original that beauty arises however. The soundtrack – the gentle plucking of violin strings, the clicking of a metronome – offers gentle suggestions of something not instantly available online. The degraded 16mm film again points to something that we can no longer see, a faded beauty, a legacy, Parlow herself perhaps.

(Laura Davis)

FREE STREAMING on Locarno Shorts Weeks

FREE STREAMING on Locarno Shorts Weeks - 17-22 - February 2020

Le discours d’acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin | Benjamin Crotty | FR 2018 | 26’ | Locarno Film Festival 2018, Locarno Shorts Weeks 2020

Nicolas Chauvin lui-même monte sur scène et nous tient un discours. Un discours débordant d’exagérations, qui nous met donc à distance. Ce sont d’abord les clichés sur la France qui s’envolent dans une emphase caricaturale : voilà la première irrévérence de ce film. Puis celle qui glorifie le garçon tout bêtement grossier, macho, véhiculant toute la minable série de références nationalistes (dont on ne sait trop s’il faut vraiment les rappeler). Les mots et les idées de ce Chauvin sont pathétiques, emplis de médiocrité — ce que, d’ailleurs le personnage admet lui-même. Entre jeu et conscience critique du jeu, l’adulation de Napoléon occupe une bonne partie du film et exprime parfaitement le royalisme à la française encore si actuel. Confronté à la vérité de son inconsistance, Nicolas essaie de tuer la vérité, pour finalement être tué par elle. Il se sauvera seulement grâce à la scène du spectacle, qui se conclut par une liste de remerciements : une pléthore de figures populaires ou populistes, qui cherche à toucher de façon critique les lieux communs des Français.

Avec Le discours d’acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin, on ne sait jamais si l’exercice brillant de satire saisit sa cible critique ou si la force destructrice s’avère finalement être une légitimation bienveillante et inattendue. On dirait que l’attachement, critique ou non, à la France triomphe encore ! C’est donc plutôt pour sa forme que le film de Benjamin Crotty mérite d’être mentionné : assumant la culture du selfie, il exprime la joie du bricolage inventif. Plus particulièrement, la continuité du discours déclamé à travers plusieurs scènes très différentes, toutes explicitement mises en scène, semble bien référer à l’esthétique des vidéo-clips. Le tout habillé de cette robe précieuse qu’est la pellicule : une trouvaille cinématographique hors norme (contrairement au Chauvin national…).

(Giuseppe Di Salvatore)

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