Cinemalibero. A 50th Anniversary Tribute to FESPACO

An ongoing strand of the festival, Cinemalibero has been screening films and showcasing new restorations that are not otherwise easily detected on the radar of cinephilia. This year it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of FESPACO, the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, dubbed the ‘capital of African cinema’. Created in 1969, FESPACO has become one of the most culturally relevant and unifying events in Africa as well as the place where cinema grew to be a powerful means of expression and consciousness-raising. Often accused of having betrayed the spirit of that fervent season, becoming mere entertainment, FESPACO has reclaimed its strong cultural role by inaugurating, in 2019, a programme dedicated to classics. A clear message to reaffirm Africa’s willingness to regain possession of its memory and cinematographic heritage.
Curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli

Cinemalibero. A 50th Anniversary Tribute to FESPACO

Youssef Chahine – The Last Arab Optimist

Youssef Chahine was a true man of the movies in the sense that he had done almost every job in the business: he was a director, of course, and a producer too, but also an actor, a singer, and an editor. Chahine tried his hand at every genre and liked to combine them: the intimate classical extravaganza, the historical documentary, the political musical as well as the highly personal, autobiographical drama. Chahine was passionately in love with the people of the Nile, the ordinary Egyptians. The forty films he made tell the story of 20th-century Egypt. The man behind Bab Al-Hadid and Iskanderija… Lih? grew up on French and British films of the 30s and 40s, learned his craft in Hollywood and was deeply influenced by Italian neorealism. His culture was global and his films spoke to the world. He was fluent in many languages, like most of the inhabitants of the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria, where he was raised in a Greek Catholic family. He put Egypt on the map of world cinema and to his dying day remained an ardent opponent of dictatorship, fanaticism and populism. He was lucid, but he never allowed his lucidity to undermine a thoroughly cheerful and contagious optimism.
Curated by Tewfik Hakem in collaboration with the Cinémathèque française and the Youssef Chahine estate

Youssef Chahine – The Last Arab Optimist

“We Are the Natives of Trizonia”: Inventing West German Cinema, 1945-49

Following the capitulation on 8th May 1945, Germany became an occupied territory devoid of proper nationhood, and it needed a future. It soon became clear that there would be two possible tomorrows: the Soviet-occupied zone was developed in one political direction, the US-American, British and French ones in another. From 1945 to 1948 the latter slowly fused into an administrative unity called the Trizone, which became the basis for the Federal Republic of Germany. We Are the Natives of Trizonia (named after a Cologne carnival song from the same period) will look at this fragile construct’s film production – which in 1956, the magazine “Das Schönste” retrospectively called “the avant-garde days of post-war German cinema.” An apt description, for it would take a long time until films as formally inventive, daring, hard and unflinching as the films presented here were made in the FRG.
Curated by Olaf Möller

“We Are the Natives of Trizonia”: Inventing West German Cinema, 1945-49

Under the Skies of Seoul: The Golden Age of South Korean Cinema

Il Cinema Ritrovato’s first survey of South Korean film is a rare opportunity to discover key works from the renaissance of one of the most influential East Asian cinemas. It was during the 60s that Korea’s first auteur-directors cut their teeth and produced works that were both hugely popular and artistically daring. For a short period, state censorship was relaxed, and this, combined with a strict limit imposed on imported films, resulted in a boom in domestic film production, encouraging Korean filmmakers to meet the demands of the home market. In the process, they changed the course of Korean cinema forever. This season maps the aesthetic, technological and political developments that shaped that movement.
Curated by Hyun Jin Cho and Minhwa Jung, in collaboration with the Korean Film Archive

Under the Skies of Seoul: The Golden Age of South Korean Cinema

Georges Franju: Beyond Reality

Georges Franju, who co-founded the Cinémathèque française, devoted a great deal of energy to ensuring the recognition of scientific filmmaking. It is in this apparently marginal category of the seventh art that he found the key to the mechanisms of fear in the cinema. Indeed, long before making his own unforgettable and unique feature films, he had discovered that “the strange is only what is familiar, seen suddenly in a new light.” Each of his thirteen short films is based on this premise. He never subverts a commission. He plays the game. He enquires into the modern world and it is there that he finds fear and horror. Unfailingly, he puts his finger on the pulse of the era, before or after the war – as in Le Sang des bêtes which speaks of everyday, professional mass murder. His films speak of science and of death, of destroying the past and the planet, of the wonder of magic, tragedy, and dreams. “I am,” he said, “a realist and therefore a surrealist.”
Curated by Bernard Eisenschitz

Georges Franju: Beyond Reality