“Biografilm”, a way like any other to get to know true stories of places and people and how the world travels


ROME – The question is: can a Film Festival dedicated to documentaries, such as the Biografilm Festival – the review dedicated to biographies, which will be held in Bologna at the Cineteca, from 5 to 15 June, under the direction of Andrea Romeo – be considered an act of solidarity? Could it be a form of humanitarian aid to make known stories of real people, of ways of being, of social and political situations, of extreme economic conditions, of human rights and geopolitical scenarios? Solidarity world tries to tell every day the facts and reasons of those who – among women, men and organizations – try to give answers and support where hunger, malnutrition, violence, wars, ignorance, violations of all kinds, corruption prevail and we got used to it to consider anyone who carries out actions and adopts solidarity initiatives, in various capacities and in different ways, of the “healthy carriers of germs of civilization”, with all their limits and, at times, with all their shortcomings.The merit of making known how the world turns. Having said all this, in an attempt to widen the concept of solidarity even more, we remember one of the many cultural events that take place in Bologna and that we consider “adjacent” to our idea of ​​”Solidarity”: the Biografilm Festivalin short, it is among them. From 5 to 15 June, it will therefore be possible to take note that the humanitarian instinct is not expressed only when NGOs or groups of volunteers leave to bring aid to the most remote corners of the world, but also when cultural initiatives are put in place to make the as many people as possible like “the world is spinning”, Which I am and where is it they are the economic, social, cultural, geopolitical knots that should be dissolved, so that “human solidarity” is no longer needed, at least in the terms in which it is interpreted today.
Projections online for 24 hours. Biografilm Festivaltherefore, it will be online and from June 1st and it will be possible to book a place in the virtual room of the Festival, by accessing the Mymovies website and creating an account. It will be possible to enjoy the vision within 24 hours following the start of the screening. The films and the meetings with the authors will be available for free, in the original language with Italian subtitles, for all the people who connect to the platform from the Italian territory. More information will still be available on the biografilm.it website in the coming days. It should also be remembered that Biografilm Festival takes place with the contribution of the Department of Culture and Landscape of the Emilia-Romagna Region.The selection of documentaries in competition. The two competitive sections of the Festival present the best of the current documentary production. We focused on Italian production films, the most interesting and innovative works, which offer non-trivial and articulated readings of contemporary Italy. In short, meetings with “powerful, particular and universal stories” are promised. The International competition instead it presents documentaries from all over the world, offering unprecedented perspectives on existences, worlds and events that are worth knowing.

Some Italian titles in review

Our way (Our Road), by Pierfrancesco Li Donni (Italy, 2020, 70 ‘). Daniel, Simone and Desiré live in a middle ground dominated by change and uncertainty, divided between not being anymore and not yet being. They attend the last year of middle school in the ward school, in via Colonna Rotta, a street in the heart of Palermo. The neighborhood is a cage, but at thirteen years of age life is an adventure to go through. Between school and work, first loves and family, the protagonists face adolescence in search of their way.

The ball on the basin (A Marble on a Dell), by Francesca Iandiorio (Italy, 2020, 60 ‘). Francesca is experiencing a particularly critical phase of her life, her complicated relationship with food and a distorted perception of her body feed her insecurities and fears. To face such a difficult moment he decides to film himself and tell himself in an autobiographical film. Thus began a complicated journey to discover herself and the world around her, which will lead her for the first time to get closer and get to know the child’s side of her mother, and to deal in a new way with Dario, the illustrator boyfriend, who often uses her designs to help her overcome her difficulties.

Word of honor (Sons of Honor), by Sophia Luvarà (Italy, the Netherlands, 2020, 84 ‘). In the region more? violent of Italy a courageous judge battles the ‘Ndrangheta by removing the bosses’ teenage children from their families. Judge Di Bella, in his role as president of the Reggio Calabria juvenile court, sentenced young people involved in drug trafficking and murders. They are children of fathers with heavy names, destined to live in prison or killed in bloody feuds. Judge Di Bella believes that there is an alternative for these children too, and with the ‘Free to choose’ program, does he want to offer a way out for the boys destined to replace their fathers and uncles within the ranks of the fierce society? criminal.

Sqizo by Duccio Fabbri (Italy, United States, 2020, 70 ‘). The story of Louis Wolfson, a Bronx writer, who has struggled all his life against the current definitions of mental illness, luck and language. Diagnosed schizophrenic in adolescence, he repudiated the mother tongue in favor of a completely personal idiom. A cult author in the Paris of the seventies, in the United States he remained a perfect stranger, inveterate gambler, homeless, absolute outsider. In mature age he moved to Puerto Rico, where his fortune changed suddenly and where the author of the film tracked him: at 89 he still lives alone and suspended between two worlds, that of silence and that of speech.

Tuttinsieme (All Together), by Marco Simon Puccioni (Italy, 2020, 82 ‘). The intimate dialogue between two fathers who reflect on the growth of their twins, remember how their children have developed, in different ages, living in a family with two fathers. Relive the climate of strong opposition in which Monica Cirinnà has managed to give Italy a law on civil unions. They cultivate the warm and affectionate relationship with the American families who allowed the birth of their children. They return to the moment of celebration of the civil union celebrated by Nichi Vendola and seek, among different sensitivities, the names to be given to the people of extended families born with assisted procreation techniques.

West of Babylonia, by Emanuele Mengotti (Italy, 2020, 82 ‘). In the Californian desert there is a place called Slab City; a collection of campers, caravans, tents and baseless buildings built on the borders of a military base where explosive devices are tested. TO Slab City you live without running water and without electricity. The roads are unpaved and the population (the “Slabber”) varies between 400 people in summer and 4,000 in winter. The Slabber are young and old, hippies and neo-Nazis, outlaws and artists. All united by the desire to be free and not to respond to the rules of American society. Everything outside of Slab City for them it is “Babylonia”.

The titles of the International Competition:

Barzakh (Barzaj), by Alejandro Salgado (Spain, 2019, 72 ‘). For Islamic culture, Barzakh represents an intermediate world, a phase of transition between life and physical death. A space that lies between hell and paradise. A not real, real place. Anyone who enters it will be judged, but will not know what the fate of his destiny will be. Barzakh tells about this phantasmagoric world. At the center of the story is a group of young people trapped between two worlds: Morocco, the hell they think they are going to escape from, and Europe, the paradise in which they hope to land. The real challenge is the space that separates them. And stay alive until evening. And fear. Waking up in the middle of the night to embrace a new day away from any shelter. And look at the life you want, in silence.

Because of My Body, by Francesco Cannavà (Italy, 2020, 83 ‘). Due to a severe motor disability, Claudia cannot move freely and is assisted by her mother. At twenty-one she is still a virgin and wonders what pleasure is. One day comes into his life lovegiver, a man who provides help to people with disabilities, to discover the body and sexuality. Followed by a team of specialists, the two begin a cycle of increasingly intimate encounters. The project includes a protocol with a rule that is difficult to apply: it is forbidden to fall in love.

The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (Zemlia blakytna niby apel’syn), by Iryna Tsilyk (Ukraine, Lithuania, 2020, 74 ‘). Awarded at the Sundance Film Festival 2020 for the best direction in the World Cinema Documentary category. Anna, a single mother, together with her four children, lives on the border of the war zone of Donbas, Ukraine. Although the outside world is full of bombing and chaos, their home remains a safe haven, full of joy and vitality. The passion of all members of the family for cinema pushes them to film some scenes of their daily life during the war period. For Anna and her children, converting trauma into art is the best way to stay human.

Ecstasy (Êxtase), by Moara Passoni (United States, Brazil, 2020, 72 ‘). Brazil, the nineties, a chaotic political landscape. Clara is tormented by anxiety and finds comfort by starving her body. It makes fasting an experience of extreme pleasure and suffering. In this docufiction experimental based on the real secret diaries of women suffering from anorexia, the disease becomes for the protagonist a way to face adulthood and to find her place in an uncertain, brutal, surreal world.

Faith, by Valentina Pedicini (Italy, 2019, 93 ‘). An isolated monastery in the Italian hills. A master of kung fu. A community of Christian monks with a touch of oriental disciplines. One faith: fight evil in the name of the Father. Warrior Monks, former martial arts champions, have been preparing for a “higher” war for twenty years, between night prayers and exhausting trainings. A poetic and emotional journey into an unknown world, a film to investigate the deep motivations of a radical choice, the reasons for devotion. What are you willing to lose, to win in the name of faith.

It Takes a Family (De skygger vi arver), by Susanne Kovács (Denmark, 2019, 59 ‘). It Takes A Family is the tale of the suffocated secrets and memories of Susanne and her family. Susanne Kovacs, director and protagonist of the work, is the grandson of a couple of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, daughter of a German mother and a Jewish-Danish father. In the eyes of her grandparents, Susanne’s birth is a constant reminder of her tragic past, she is the daughter of the enemy. Years later, Susanne begins to ask questions and then finds out that within her troubled family there is a war that has never seen an end. Somehow the horrors of the past have always been present. The trauma is deafening and yet remains unspoken.

King of the Cruise, by Sophie Dros (Netherlands, 2019, 74 ‘). Inneryne Baron, Ronald Busch Reisinge, spends time on luxury ships, in the company of loving couples, wealthy families, hardworking staff and retired elders. We follow the baron on one of these ships, while he parades wearing feudal clothes and regal cloaks, which at first sight make him arrogant, vain. He is proud of his status, his wealth and his extravagant life. Yet there is something authentic under all its swagger: the universal human desire to feel accepted and appreciated.

Noodle Kid (La yi wan mian), by Huo Ning (China, 2019, 107 ‘). Every year thousands of Chinese Hui, a mainly Muslim people from Qinghai, western China province, go to work in noodles restaurants all over China. This also went for the fourteen year old Ma Xiang, forced to leave school to pay his father’s debts. For Ma Xiang, happiness lies in the memories of the short moments spent with her mother. Now he is struggling to find that sense of peace, facing the unexpected differences between his hometown and an unknown outside world, as well as the challenges and difficulties of life. This small noodles restaurant will offer a new start to its path to happiness

Sing Me a Song, by Thomas Balmès (France, Germany, Switzerland, 2019, 99 ‘). Young Peyangki lives and studies in a picturesque monastery nestled in the mountains of Bhutan. For some years the King has allowed the use of television and the internet, so traditional habits, the light of candles and the recitation of prayers must now compete with the new power of smartphones and connection. In private, Peyangki is fond of love songs, and falls in love with WeChat on a young singer from Thimphu. Not interested in studies, scolded by the teachers, he begins to sell natural medicines, in order to earn enough to be able to leave the monastery in search of the only person who dreams day and night. Will he give in to the city’s romanticism and temptations, or will he return to his chaste life in the monastery?

This Train I Ride, by Arno Bitschy (France, Finland, 2019, 77 ‘). United States of America, present time. Freight trains traverse the landscape, crawling like giant iron snakes. Ivy, Karen and Christina leave everything behind, defying the danger to cross the country, aboard these trains. They wait for them to pass, hidden in the bushes, sleeping under the freeway bridges. Between the noise of the rails and the screech of the metal beast, the director becomes the travel companion of the three women. During the journey by rail, and wherever destiny can lead them, their trajectories cross and echo: the desire to live, the spiritual search, the eternal rebellion. Stronger than society, stronger than men: they are free.

Wake Up on Mars (Réveil sur Mars), by Dea Gjinovci (France, Switzerland, 2020, 74 ‘). A ten-year-old Roma boy living in Sweden tries to come to terms with a mysterious disease, the so-called Resignation Syndrome, which has reduced his two sisters into a coma. His family, very close and close-knit, is trying to rebuild a normal life, away from the persecution experienced in the country of origin, Kosovo. While the future of the family remains suspended, waiting for the confirmation of approval of the asylum request, the young Furkhan dreams of being able to build a spaceship, on which to leave to leave everything behind.

Walchensee Forever, by Janna Ji Wonders (Germany, 2020, 110 ‘). Family saga in the documentary directed by Janna Ji Wonders, which embarks on a journey back in time. Starting from the family-run restaurant on the shores of Lake Walchensee, in southern Bavaria, arriving at the “Summer of Love“Lived in the 60s with her sister in San Francisco, Janna goes to discover family secrets to trace the different personalities that make up her generational tree. A timeless family history on the search for one’s identity, on personal fulfillment, on love, pain, addiction, loss, psychosis, birth and death. A film about the cycle of life.

In a Future April (In a Future April), by Francesco Costabile and Federico Savonitto (Italy, 2019, 80 ‘). A journey to discover Pier Paolo Pasolini’s youthful years, through the voice of his cousin, the writer and poet Nico Naldini. During the 1940s the young Pier Paolo Pasolini lived in Casarsa, in Friuli, in his mother’s country. The history of that period is told by Nico Naldini, poet and cousin of Pasolini. Pier Paolo’s life flows through Nico’s voice, revealing two inevitably connected paths of life. Both, in those years, absorb the aesthetic and erotic violence of an unknown world, which reveals itself in its crude reality: a universe that will influence all of Pasolini’s subsequent work.

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