Monday, September 04, 2023

A Tribute to Alice Rohrwacher (Telluride Film Festival 2023)

Alice Rohrwacher. Photo: Telluride Film Festival 2023.

Sheridan Opera House, Telluride Film Festival (TFF), 3 Sep 2023.
In the presence of Alice Rohrwacher.
Opened by Jason Silverman, introduced by Julia Huntsinger, hosted by Davia Nelson, medaillon presented by Alfonso Cuarón.

Isabel Pinner (TFF 2023): " Alice Rohrwacher, a recipient of this year’s Silver Medallion, is a writer and director who has been making films for a relatively short period of time, and yet has become one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers. Born in Tuscany, she studied literature and philosophy at the University of Turin and screenwriting at the Holden School in Turin. Her first feature film, CORPO CELESTE (2011), the story of a young adolescent girl on the edge of her Catholic confirmation, premiered at Cannes. Her second, THE WONDERS (2014), immersed us in a fantastical Italian rural village just as it collided with the world of modern media. It won Cannes’ Grand Prix. HAPPY AS LAZZARO (2018), a transporting tale of a village stuck in a feudal loop, also won a Cannes award. And in 2022, her short film LE PUPILLE offered a magical portal into a Catholic School whose students have nowhere to go during the holidays. The film, produced by Alfonso Cuarón, was nominated for an Academy Award. "

" What lies beneath Rohrwacher’s success? Part of what makes her films memorable is that they are unlike the works of anyone else. The subject matter is metaphysical: life and death, the hidden power of history and ecology. To immerse in her works is to explore the very essence of what it is to be present, to be human. Her work intertwines past and present; she blurs the boundaries between the realms. And her writing guides us into worlds where morality is explored in shifting, complex ways. She is something of an oracle, and the works—moving, poetic, thought provoking—operate in a different sphere from contemporary cinema, inspiring deep contemplation. "

" LA CHIMERA, which premiered at Cannes this year, stars Josh O’Connor and Isabella Rossellini and explores visible and hidden histories. Etruscan artifacts play a large role, carrying meaning beyond their physical form. (A red cake in LE PUPILLE played a similar role.) What do these objects mean to us? Can they connect us more deeply to our unseen selves and our ancestors? Rohrwacher is among a short list of filmmakers who ask us to consider the sacred, the invisible, the ecstatic, the sublime. "

–Isabel Pinner (TFF 2023)

A selection of clips will be followed by the presentation of the Silver Medallion, an on-stage interview and LA CHIMERA, shown in its entirety. (TFF 2023)


The language of the interview was English. Apparently Rohrwacher wants it that way although her vocabulary is limited.

The clip reel: Tthe 50 Silver Medaillon Tribute to Alice Rohrwacher:
- Le meraviglie
- Lazzaro felice
- Omelia contadina
- Corpo celeste
- Le pupille

Asked about her early influences, Rohrwacher told us that in the countryside it was possible to see only entertainment films. The first film she saw was Look Who's Talking. At the University of Torino and the Torino Film Festival the perspective widened.

Writing? Each plant has its own process, each time it's different. Some grow fast like a mushroom, overnight. Some require time, like a big tree.

Le meraviglie was the first film in which I dealt with my own life.

La chimera is about the secret life around me, the hidden tombs of Tuscany being raided for treasures. It's like a drug. It is against the law, and against the law of the dead also. 5000 years of sacred shelter is crushed. Then the objects cease being sacred and become just things. 

Acting? Every film we start with some physical work. Actors are taken out of their comfort zone. Collaboration with my sister Alba Rohrwacher is very special. She always tells me the truth. 

Cinematography? Hélène Louvart is like the big sister of my soul. She understands the formats of 35 mm, Super 16 and 16 mm, the different layers. Work with Hélène is for me a privilege.

Q: A mix of magical realism and neorealism.
A: The visible and the invisible.

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