For twenty-four years the International Short Film Competition has been telling about the state of the art of short films. This year, a multifaceted selection – no genre limitation, films from over thirty countries – for 41 titles that represent as many possible facets of the cinema. Nimic, the new short film by the disorientation master Yorgos Lanthimos, presented as an Italian out-of-competition preview opens the way for young authors (all under 40).
Even if far from a thematic construction, the selection of each edition leaves traces of a common narration that matures after a few days of settling. This year the competition speaks of utopias for realists, of a fantasy that improves reality – with a good dose of pragmatism. In the Venezuelan Mermaid Island, one goes to sea to escape from a destiny of prostitution and misery, under full sail towards a mythological island inhabited by Mermaids. In All on a Mardi Gras Day, the gentrification of New Orleans is fought by sewing spectacular clothes, reacting against marginalisation with a sparkling dance of beads. And when the female director of Mensch Maschine Or Putting Parts Together asks for a new synthesizer as a gift but receives a food processor, she starts assembling old footage and remixing the sounds of the processor, making an audio-visual reflection on body and device, domestic and artistic, gender identity. In love, the solitude of Woman Without a Child becomes a perfect balance thanks to the fantasies on the young tenant, and the problems between the couple of Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild Wolves are solved only with the occurrence of the absurd. However, the biggest challenge is the one with death and Your Last Day on Earth tries it all out. A man with a fox head goes back in time to save his girlfriend before she dies, but sometimes utopia is not easy, and the business of organised travels comes in the way.
Besides, utopia is dead, long live utopia!