SULMONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 39
Poetry is the art of letting the sea enter a glass
Calvino’s precise words trace a fundamental path in considering the value of brevity as a key element within the context of important literary production. The concept’s core meaning can easily be extended to other expressive forms that make synthesis their own distinctive feature. Short films operate by means of temporal contractions that aim to condense life in a complete and illuminating form, just like poetry. They are powerful, liberating and essential in their attempts to offer harmony in a maze of emotions and sensations that define our being in the world. This is because if it were ever possible to suggest one characteristic of these authors, it would be precisely the ability to mould a form which starts as something indefinite and then becomes concrete or complete. Be it text or image, every work takes on features of a metamorphosis that puts into relief a previously unknown meaning. It is impossible to ignore the fact that every artistic act is indeed an act of discovery for both artist and viewer. This discovery is like a journey into the night, the end of which we are invested in the revealing force of the new light. The Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska wrote one of the most beautiful poems on poetry that I can remember. Its final verse is as follows: Poetry / what is poetry? / Many shaky answers / have already been given to this question. / But I don’t know, I don’t know and I cling to this / like to a sustaining railing. This is a sort of humanistic confession, one that escapes any hard and fast definitions but lends itself to something pure, risky and inevitably, the rescuing nature of creative work. It goes, therefore, that film work – short films – in a similar way to poetry, become an area in which it is possible to reflect freely on love, motherhood, sexuality, loss and absence. These are themes that are to be explored through a lens that considers length as an extension of our inner time rather than a limit to it, specifically because a hidden universe exists within which entire beings inhabit the details. The 39th edition of the Sulmona International Film Festival relies on the power that emotions can have in the usual manner of international short film production. Sixty pieces of work that explain an ‘elsewhere’ that is close to us all; unknown yet familiar, precisely because it draws upon a universality of feelings that we all share. Therefore, let us get lost in this glass and swim with the intention of discovering ourselves once again.
The drawing by the Spanish artist Dani Torrent, highlights one of the main aspects of the 2021 festival. An overwhelming wave that evokes, with all its tension and majesty, the archetypal modern wave - the Japanese Hokusai. Shapeless waves are crystallised in a frame and lead to a dance of emotions which can be translated into all the languages of the world. Gradually they become measured and find a channel with the water flowing calmly into a container, which gives it shape and meaning. The illustration seeks to touch upon not only the brevity that is inherent in the world of short films in which we are immersed in, but also, and above all, on the prodigious ability - intrinsic in all true poets - to translate the countless impulses and aspects of our existence and condense them into an essence.
There will be also opportunities to meet writers and artists at a festival which has the desire to deepen the distilling of emotions. For example, encounters with authors like the journalist Franco Avallone who uses synthetic language and paratactic stylistic forms that enhance brevity, evoke images and a cinematic atmosphere. Visual artists such as Coma Empirico, (née Gabriele Villani) who in self-contained tables give voice and life to the intimate aspects of daily life. Instagrammable cinema pills will be offered by the creative writing collective ‘Writing Monkeys’. Finally, the chance to delve into short but detailed conversations with some less well-known areas of the contemporary experimental cinema scene: ‘Talk With Dance’. This of course does not stop us from offering the more traditional feature films for our loyal audience: “L’Arminuta”, “A Chiara” and “I nostri fantasmi” will be screened in the welcoming Cinema Pacifico.
The first film, taken from the bestselling book written by the author from Arsita (Teramo), Donatella Di Pietrantonio, includes a young cast from Abruzzo who feature alongside established names such as Vanessa Scalera and Fabrizio Ferracane. The second film is directed by Cannes Film Festival and David Di Donatello award winner Jonas Carpignano, who has also already appeared as a guest at our festival with his film “A Ciambra”. Finally, “I nostri fantasmi” is the second piece of work by the talented Alessandro Capitani, who 5 years ago won the first SIFF short film award for his work “Bellissima”.