Personal visions for everyday situations in the five short films in the Meeting Point contest

The Broadway Cinemas were the venue for the screening of the five short films participating in the Meeting Point section of the 68th edition of Seminci. Room 2 hosted the foreign screenings of Nocturnal Burger (Reema Maya), Z.O. (Loris G. Nese), Last Days of Summer (Stenzin Tankong), Almost Forgotten (Dimitri Mihajlovic and Miguel Lima) and Heartbreak Hotel (Emma Axelroud Bernard and Toujours Panthère).

The director of Nocturnal Burger, Reema Maya, has shown her enthusiasm for presenting her project in a country she claims to love. The film depicts a case of sexual abuse of a minor in a framework of questionable motivations and unreliable accounts. «It’s a film about child abuse and psychological abuse. It’s obviously a condemnation of these, but it goes beyond that. I wanted to explore the idea of trauma and its manifestations, the long-term consequences», detailed the director of the Indian film.

The idea came from a personal experience: «I myself witnessed a similar situation, and I thought it was a story that needed to be told because many times they are repressed. Unfortunately in my country there are many cases of sexual abuse; I hardly know anyone who has not had some kind of exposure to these situations, but sometimes there are not those conversations».

Last Days of Summer director Stenzin Tankong, who hails from a region in the Himalayan Mountains that is featured as a backdrop in the film, also came to Broadway.

The short film stars two young goat herders who seem to be the only ones able to pick up the noise coming from the mountain. «The people in the village don’t hear the noise because they are trapped in their lives and lose perception of the noise. However, the young protagonists are not trapped in the present and are much more perceptive», Tankong explained, recreating that similarity to reality. «Anything that happens in the world affects us, and children and young people are the ones who are perceiving the changes most strongly.»

The film Almost Forgotten, by Dimitri Mihajlovic and Miguel Lima, also had its space in the afternoon of Meeting Point. One of its co-directors, Portuguese Miguel Lima, recounted the process of creating and animating the film: «We painted everything digitally, printed the images and then used water and alcohol to destroy those prints. Then we repainted them with charcoal and acrylics».

The use of this technique has its reason: «The film is about memory, which has many layers, and we wanted to do the same with the stills: one layer, another layer on top…». The short film, which tells how a woman tries to recall details of her grandfather’s house during her childhood, also features inspirations from Jean-François Millet’s painting, and is related to the colonial past. «We have a colonial past that is not talked about, it is said that Spain and Portugal conquered the world, but it was really an invasion. We have to ask ourselves questions», said Lima.

The colloquium was also attended by Emma Axelroud Bernard, co-director of Heartbreak Hotel. The short film stars five women who try to get rid of the corpse of the lover of one of them in a hotel. The feminist touch, as the director explained, is influenced by «the stories of teenage girls, of heterosexual and toxic love». Also in this case the personal story has played its trump card: «I grew up with these models, and I wanted to keep what I like most about these films but bringing in feminist characters».

The film takes inspiration from romantic sources and the figure of Elvis, very present in it, but also from other productions such as Thelma & Louise. «In this film the director, Ridley Scott, wanted to show the bodies of the two women in the final scene, but the screenwriter, Callie Khouri, refused.

I connect with that, I don’t want to see women dead or punished. I wanted to foreground women, activism and how they manage to have this happiness», said Emma. The screenings have also been joined by the short film Z.O., an Italian production directed by Loris G. Nese that tells a black and white animated story starring three teenagers from the Eastern Zone of Salerno, an area marked by organized crime and entrenched conflicts.

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