“Silenced Tree” by Faysal Soysal, “Dear Child” by Luca Ammendola and “My Planet” by Valery Carnoy are the winners of the eighth edition of TUC, created and directed by Mauro Russo Rouge, respectively as Best Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Short Film.
The Award Ceremony of the eighth Torino Underground Cinefest has just ended, a festival created in collaboration with the Cultural Association SystemOut and the Popular University ArtInMovimento, sponsored by BIMED and supervised by director Mauro Russo Rouge. The evening, hosted by actress Martina Mascarello alongside Annunziato Gentiluomo and Fabrizio Odetto, announced the winners of the TUC 2021.
The Feature Film Jury, chaired by the French editor Hervé Schneid, together with Victoria Yakubov, Fabrizio Odetto, Alessio Brusco, Claudio Di Biagio and Davis Alfano, proclaimed the Turkish “Silenced Tree” by Faysal Soysal as Best Film of the category, “for the important moral issue raised by the film with regard to the sense of responsibility of the individual, and of the artist, towards the community; for the poetic, poignant wish that is presented, that is the human being can rise and aspire to a new existence made of empathy and awareness; for having taught us that no sacrifice is ever in vain, and that every end brings with it the seeds of a new beginning!”.
Leandro Lara with “Rodantes” receives the Best Director award with the following motivation: “The direction of Rodantes is the true journey of the film. A carousel that you hope it would never end; the technical section, the images, the editing and the visual direction are fundamental elements for the narrative of this film, which is directed with intense precision and magic. The protagonists experience a time and space that are at the same time defined and airy; their journey is infinitely intimate and observed closely, in the most realistic details but without ever losing wondrous eye of the staging. An excellent job of creative, meaningful direction and narrative”. Javier Botet is awarded as the Best Actor for the role of Javi in the Spanish film “Amigo” by Óscar Martín “for how it represented in an almost maniacal and disturbing way the discomfort of the illness and the physical and mental trauma suffered, also thanks to a brilliant work on his breathing and sound emission. His multifaceted but wisely measured acting reaches some culminating moments of Cronenbergian memory, engaging in physical contortions capable of transmitting the suffering of a soul imprisoned in a body and the inability to achieve its sole purpose: revenge. Finally, the emotional development of his character is masterful, unfolding in an escalation that, from resigned lethargy goes through bloody rage, culminating in pure terror”.
Susan Parvar is the Best Actress for the role of Akram in “Botox” directed by Kaveh Mazaheri “for being able to render with a powerful expressive minimalism and with surreal irony the dramatic condition of a woman oppressed by the double weight of mental illness and social discrimination perpetrated by a patriarchal and male chauvinist society”.
The Best Screenplay award went to Martín-Pereja-Botet (“Amigo” directed by Oscar Martín) “for being able to orchestrate a psychological drama with sometimes horrific nuances. Pain and guilt collide with each other, generating a gradual and inexorable fall into madness. A narrative structure that is as minimal as it is refined: two characters, a single location, numerous clues and interpretations scattered throughout the story, which are never didactic, but always effective and impactful. Thanks to its strong emotional impact, “Amigo” represents a narrative work that manages to connect the viewer to both characters: we support them alternately, erasing in this way the whole concept of good and bad”.
Mostafa Kherghehpoosh (“Silenced Tree” directed by Faysal Soysal) won the Award for Best Editing, proclaimed by Hervé Schneid “for the effectiveness with which, through the modulation of rhythm, light and sound, the weaknesses of the protagonist and his severed links with life are emphasizes; for the use of a free and indirect expressive language, like poetry, preferred to a linear narrative. The skilled editing gives the film multiple levels of interpretation, although at first it may seem that we are talking exclusively about femicide. An articulated editing that provides us with a series of clues about the protagonist, but which does not neglect secondary topics such as youth, art and its works. “Silenced Tree” plays on twists, question marks and thorny themes, dealt with originality, elegance and poetry thanks to its articulated editing dynamics”.
Davis Alfano awarded the Award for the Best Photography to Rodantes (by Leandro Lara) “for elevating the narrative without distorting the shady contexts being told. A mature and aware use of visual power, shapes, colors and backlight without ever trivializing them into didactic postcards. He successfully shows a difficult story with a rough eye”.
Paolo Armao awarded Donato Panaccio and Mauro Polito for the Best Sound Design (“Angelo Bianco” directed by Vincenzo Basso) for “the sounds and musical compositions that accompany the viewer within the emotional subjective of the characters, creating a spatial and temporal suspension where the real and the surreal intermingle. Rather than impeding each other, sound design and music share the space, defining an innovative aesthetic where drones echo the environments and the sound effects”.
Lastly in the Feature Film category, the Italian film “Angelo Bianco“, directed by Vincenzo Basso, receives the Special Prize of the Jury “for the extraordinary courage, sensitivity and depth shown by such a young author in tackling the difficult issue of loss and detachment; for the genuine spirit of experimentation in assembling visual and sound suggestions; for the impressive documentary work of collecting real proofs, which were then wisely re-elaborated in order to produce a powerful dramaturgy that, between dialect and literature, philosophy and folktale, seems to generate the seed of a new expressive language“.
The Documentary Jury, chaired by Andrea Morghen, alongside Claudia Palazzi, Zelia Zbogar, Elvira Sanchez Lopez, Hernando Gomez Gomez and Annunziato Gentiluomo, awarded “Dear Child” by Luca Ammendola as the Best Documentary “for the message of rebirth underlying each frame, despite the harshness of the reality told. The documentary celebrates the feelings, hopes and above all the actions of those who get their hands dirty, those who go in the streets, those who denounce the organized crime, those who welcome with open arms. Remarkable is the presence of the photographer who is about to become a father, an element that brings immediate identification on the part of the viewer and that allows the theme of the escape of minors from the circle of crime and the world of drugs to cross the borders of Brazil. It is a reality affecting everyone, frightening us and reminding us of our responsibility and how the lack of role models and supports can lead to such desperation and dangerousness. Dear Child is a rich and complex documentary whose fil rouge is art as a driving force to generate meaning, reflect on oneself and stimulate the sustaining and transforming force of the group “.
The award for the Best Director goes to Andrea Grasselli for Zenerù “for the way poetry is integrated in a film through the competent use of light and photography, as well as thanks to the shots always full of meaning. On several occasions, it seems like a fresco by Caravaggio. Zenerù narrates the subtle contrasts between history and modernity, tradition and globalization. In the documentary, silence leaves room for observation and the need for a keen eye on details that only an ancient world can give us. In short, it is a hymn to the re-conquest of a symbiotic relationship with Nature and the primordial forces of man: the protagonist, almost magically, interacts with Mother Earth through specific rituals, proudly rediscovering himself as Her devoted son”.
The award for the Best Editing went to Zohar Wagner (“21 Days Inside” by Zohar Wagner) “for the prowess with which he manages to unravel the narration of a story, which would have otherwise remained hidden, through a skillful mix of documents of archive, recordings, interviews and animation. We were particularly struck by the use of the latter to describe the background of the Bedouin woman and of symbolic objects, such as dolls, to evoke the innocence of a dramatically broken childhood. 21 Days Inside courageously deals with the condition of a woman who can easily expand to that of all women, a condition that is expressed through an emotional crescendo supported by the coherence and fluidity offered by the editing itself”.
The Documentary Jury attributes its Special Prize to Simon V. Kurian‘s “Stop the Boats” “for the thorough discussion of the issue of refugees seeking asylum in Australia, for the presence of multiple points of view through which the topic is described and for how it denounces the refusal of welcoming those in need by a community unable to recognize the fundamental rights and the value of diversity. Aesthetically complex, valid and intense, this documentary explains that behind all inhuman choices there is the shaping of the most deterrent and dangerous emotion of all: fear”.
The Short Film Jury, chaired by Armand Rovira, together with Stefano Semeria, Lucio Toma, Laura Salvai and Carlo Conversano, proclaimed “My Planet” (“Ma Planète”), written and directed by Valery Carnoy, as the Best Short Film of the eighth Torino Underground “for the care in the realization, validated by the interpretations of Jean-Michel Balthazar and Stéphanie Lowette, which conveys a strong message of body positivity. My Planet shows us once again how art is able to shift our point of view to unexpected places and to a world completely different from the one we are used to seeing. The two protagonists, through their physical nature, are the poles of an aesthetic dramaturgy that transports us to this new vision. The irony, the delicacy and the surprise are our companions on the journey through which the director takes us.
Distant bodies are rediscovered in intimacy, before the silence and vastness of the sea, a metaphor for a wide-open view beyond the wall of prejudice”.
The award for the Best Director went to Eric Beauron for “Herma“, a film developed in Paris, but shot on the island of Gabhla in Ireland, with dialogue in Gaelic. “It is a work outside the conventional canons, in which the relationship between nature and the divine is lived in the everyday life of these isolated and suspended lives. The atmosphere recalls the canons of magical realism, of a cinema from another era, rediscovering the potential for technical rigidity that is surprisingly expressive. The acting is largely de-structured by the interpretation, it is expressed through direct sentences, emptied of emphasis that echo the rarefied landscapes. The world in which the characters live is not a world of silent nature, but of presences with which men live together and which are part of their destiny. The director has the merit of reminding us that nature and the sky are not aesthetic facts or unmotivated, but full of emotions and meanings that connect us to the dimension of the divine and myth”.
Tess Haubrich (“The Listening”, directed by Milena Bennet) is the Best Actress of the category. “Thanks to a sober and elegant acting, she brings to life a character made of corporeality and psychology without ever being excessive or out of context. The narrative suspended between the momentum of life and the fall of death is revealed in the actress’s work. Her connection to the earth is essential, as a metaphor for the mother’s womb, the bearer of new life, but constantly threatened by the shadow of death. Haubrich’s work gives us back the light and, at the same time, without interruption, the darkness of loss, through a work capable of condensing the entire atmosphere and meaning of the film in its physicality and in the intensity of the gaze. The experience of childbirth makes the protagonist lose her grip on reality. Distance and time, dream and wakefulness, the living and the dead meet in the experience of a body, that of the actress who conveys an anguished and renewing dimension.”
The winner of the Best Actor award is Kirin K. Callinan for “Kilter”, a short film written and directed by Rob Stanton-Cook. The Australian actor and musician gives us an interpretation made of physicality, expression and movement that completely fill the screen and the narrative. Kirin K. Callinan is at the same time sympathetic, majestic and frantic, loaded with the emotional devastation his character feels.
An acrobatic interpretation on the verge of a narrative “exploded” in time and in places, in which the balance between excess and insignificance is thin. The actor’s body experiences the discomfort of this search within himself, through changes in identity, wounds and voids, and it summarizes all the dramaturgy on his skin, allowing us to feel his breaths, sweat and shivers.
The award for the Best Editing went to Alfredo Hueck for “Wound Riders”, a film written and directed by Angel Barroeta. The night adventure of a young woman in an unknown city turns into a journey to discover herself. Alfredo Hueck’s kaleidoscopic editing, without losing linearity, builds a hallucinatory atmosphere, with increasingly blurred outlines, representative of the loss of the protagonist, amidst alcohol, drugs, sex and violence. The presence of non-consequential elements in the editing increases the hallucinatory force and the engaging rhythm of the film.
The Special Mention of the Jury goes to the films “Invisible Monster”, written and directed by Guillermo Fesser e Javier Fesser and “Parade”, written and directed by Yohann Gloaguen.
According to the Jury, “Invisible Monster” has managed to “create a complex work on an important theme that is addressed with passion and enthusiasm. The language demonstrates great technique, oscillating between documentary and fiction, with great simplicity and skill. The positive message of the film is expressed in a poetic and never predictable way within a tragic and apparently hopeless context. The image of the kite built from waste is the simple and perfect synthesis of a work capable of giving a sacred dignity to poverty and misery, so distant and inconceivable for the Western wealthy society. On the other hand, “Parade” tells a story of pain and rebellion by showing us the emotional desperation of its protagonists. Rebellious, cynical and disrespectful adolescence, ignited by an erratic curiosity is the vibration that moves the director’s camera. The path is tortuous, surprising, unfocused, each of us can identify with this search for a fluid identity that does not suffer from the boundaries of adulthood. Thanks to the story, we enjoy the pleasure of immersing ourselves in this indefinite flow and we experience the diversity of the protagonist, as well as the diversity and difficulties that each individual experiences in seeking their own, in that crazy and passionate moment that is adolescence.
Finally, as already announced, the ArtInMovimento Special Mention, proposed by the editorial staff of the main media partner of the TUC, went to the Canadian documentary “What remains after we’re gone” by Nicolas Lachapelle “for its ability to bring us into the narrative, at the heart of which is the search for the historical truth of each one of us. In this journey, a sensorial and philosophical reflection takes place, touching the relationship itself with a past that is personified in a material space, where the house becomes a metaphor for a state of being. Traces and memories, which become protagonists of a soul game of presence-absence. Lyrical, emotional, evocative and at the same time concrete”.