28th AFRICAN, ASIAN AND LATINOAMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL Milan, 18-25 march 2018
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
The African, Asian and Latin Film Festival is an event that I have been following since it was still in gestation, before its birth, about thirty years ago, when it was called "The distant present" and offered new visions of distant and mostly unknown countries. It was born as an African film festival, it grew up and matured, it took along his way the other two non-Western continents, it had its crises (financial, never organizational or artistic), has surpassed them or made a virtue of necessity, landing this year at its 28th edition, promoted, as always, by the Coe - Center for Educational Orientation - with a series of partnerships and sponsorships. The 2018 festival edition, to be held in Milan from 18 to 25 March, was presented on 6 March, by the uncountable artistic directors Annamaria Gallone and Alessandra Speciale and the Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Milan Filippo Del Corno. Guest star was the famous British composer Michael Nyman, who was entrusted with the jury's presidency, (and who, from the very beginning, dressed Peter Greenaway's cinema with music and achieved universal fame with Jane Campion's Piano Lessons. As a guest of honor, Nyman went a little bit off the mark, talking (little or nothing) about the festival and its meaning, and a lot (as long as the Gallon kindly but inflexibly stopped him) of his recent film work in Mexico. Alessandra Speciale confirmed instead, especially after the fresh results of theMarch 4 elections and the triumph of xenophobic, populist, nationalist and territorialist forces, the eminently political character of the festival, which still serves to bring different worlds into contact, to make them not strangers to each other, to facilitate mutual understanding and mutual recognition. In politically gray days it is really a consolation to know that there are similar manifestations (symbolized by a prismatic zebra full of different colors), and that hundreds of people, including many young people, ask to be involved to give their own voluntary contribution to organization and hospitality. The festival, in fact, and this is also an important result, allows many African and other continent directors to arrive in Milan, to confront a European audience, to get to know each other and to forge new relationships. It is regrettable that the Festival takes on the appearance of an act of due resistance towards a rising tide that increasingly paints the foreigner as the problem par excellence, and as a danger to be rejected and closed across borders, rather than transformed into the manifesto of an open, supportive modern society, capable of adopting the right tools and of facing the problems and contradictions of the present world with a sense of reality and responsibility. The festival program is, as usual, very articulate, rich and stimulating, a mosaic composed of about sixty films (selected from 600 viewed works), with many Italian, European and world premieres and films already reported and awarded at other international festivals: the opening movie (italian preview), on March 18th, is the touching Une saison en France, a story of emigration by the Chadian director Mahamat Saleh Haroun (I intend to talk about later); starting from 19 the three competitive sections: 10 feature films from the three continents, African short films, Extr'a section, in which Italian directors face the comparison with other cultures. Awards on Sunday 25. Do not miss the Flash section, with special screenings of films by established authors: the Korean Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country, Right Now, Wrong Then), the Chilean Raùl Ruiz (who passed away in 2011, with a work that had left unfinished), and the Chinese Chen Kaige (famous in Italy for Farewell My Concubine), with a homeland successful blockbuster entitled The Legend of the Cat Demon. The program includes also special screenings, out of competition, and a tribute to Idrissa Ouédraogo, burkinabè director who disappeared only a month ago, with the screening of Samba Traoré, awarded at the Berlin Film Festival in 1995. I like the willingness to maintain the section And everyone laughs..., which allows us to deal with the concept of comedy (not always coinciding with ours own) of other continents: it is significant, however, the fact that the section, born a few years ago with three titles, both reduced to a single film, the Egyptian Sheik Jackson (an imam who has the life humorously upset by the death of Michael Jackson), which suggests that world situation isn’t very funny... The festival, however, while dealing with strong and contradictory themes, dramatic and sometimes tragic, does not want to present a depressive, pauperist and pietistic vision of the countries represented - far from it: so, for example, the round table that provides the claim of ' This year's edition, is entitled "Africa Talks. WWW! What a Wonderful World. How new technologies are changing Africa "(at the end will be screened the film Liyanna, by Aaron and Amanda Kopp, a reflection on the forms of narration and creativity in the digital age. Meetings with authors, forums, book presentations, tastings, events for children and teenagers complete the program of a festival not to be missed. Program and information on logistics and tickets on http://www.festivalcinemaafricano.org/new/
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