Locarno film festival short films reviews (part 1)

We are bringing you short reviews of the movies shown at the Locarno Film Festival 2020

Pacífico Oscuro (2020, Colombia, Camila Beltrán) ★★

Through the diverse, sublime landscapes of black woman who lives in the seaside village of Colombia, "Pacífico Oscuro" tries diligently to capture the magical, oneiric atmosphere in this land of the sea as visual poetry, although the empty incoherence is preeminent distressingly under the name of "experimental cinema", whose 10-minute runtime is too short for the ripened integration of its form.


Statul paralel (2020, Romania, Octav Chelaru) ★★★★

With the thoroughly abstemious, breathtakingly zen-like long-take, tranquil, meditative insight into work ethics and darkly deadpan humor which elicit a lukewarm laugh from audiences, "Statul paralel" is a legitimate descendant of Romanian New Wave, inheriting the essence of Corneliu Porumboiu, in which I rapturously enjoy its seriocomical pathos after the culmination of aridness.


I ran from it and was still in it (2020, USA, Darol Olu Kae) ★★★★★

The pleasure of living as a Black, the pleasure of living as a father, "I ran from it and was still in it" shouts about this kind of pleasure in America, with weaving iridescent footages on which the history of Black people is engraved and affectionate videos by the director's beloved father into one intimacy individual and historical at the same time, stirring my heart within 10 minutes.


Bethlehem 2001 (2020, Palestine, Ibrahim Handal) ★★★☆

"Bethlehem 2001", in which a young Palestinian recalls his ash-colored childhood in Bethlehem, describes the life of a boy who tries to adapt this harsh, devastating reality while the bombastic invasion and aggression is out of the house, out of frame, where the desolate, hurt-inside poetry exudes in silence, making me think about the meaning of retelling the dolorous past with their own words.


Spotted Yellow (2020, Iran, Baran Sarmad) ★★★★☆

A lonely girl is led by a yellow bruise on her face to the silent, sinister obsession for a giraffe, whose weird plot is enhanced exquisitely by the elegantly deadpan cinematography which transforms this film drastically into a pathos full fairytale with vivid colors, accelerating the heartbreaking yet hilarious insanity into the four-dimensional emotion. Droll at its most sophisticated.


History of Civilization (2020, Kazakhstan, Zhannat Alshanova) ★★★★

From Kazakhstan, one of the most exciting countries for the future of cinema, Zhannat Alshanova popped up in an elegant, eye-opening way and became one of the very best cinematic voice in 2010s, this reputation reinforced by "History of Civilization", a spiritual wandering of a woman who will immigrate from Kazakhstan to the UK, in which Alshanova captures the splendid poetry rooted in our daily life.


Digital Funeral: Beta Version (2020, Thai, Sorayos Prapapan) ★

Honestly, "Digital Funeral: Beta Version" is an empty movie with absolutely nothing to talk about or sense. On the other hand, there is a poster of Alain Guiraudie's masterpiece " L'inconnu du lac" on the wall of the director's room but he learned thoroughly nothing from it distressingly, which infuriates me at the highest level. Locarno, really?


Noor (2020, Tunisia, Rim Nakhli) ★☆

One sibling journeys through Tunisia in order to reconcile with their father, whose banal plot resonates with the messy, malfunctioned rhythm of its poor editing and poor cinematography, making the sibling's emotion le heartbreaking, more light-weighted as a feather and much more inferior to other Locarno shorts, so I wonder simply why this bad film is selected at Locarno. Locarno, really, again?


Parcelles S7 (2020, Senegal, Abtin Sarabi) ★☆

With the grand landscapes of labors in the horde of infinite sugar canes in Senegal, "Parcelles S7" is an anthropological observation rather than a film, whose irredeemable insipidness can't be extricated by its sharp, sophisticated cinematography, accumulated with a pompously "poetic" narrative which irritates the audiences a lot like a strident sound of mosquito's wings. Simply not good.


Retour à Toyama (2020, France, Atsushi Hirai) ★★★★☆

What overlaps ethereally on the simple yet charming landscapes of a desolate seaside town in Japan is the silently wandering heart of a protagonist who comes back to his hometown in Japan, these two elements transforming gradually into abundant emotion with the unique, assured sense of framing the landscapes and conversations rooted in ordinary daily life. Silent, subtle, exuberant beauty.


Written by: Tettyo Saito