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Dominga Sotomayor (#110 of 3)

Locarno Film Festival 2018 Genesis, Glaubenberg, & Too Late to Die Young

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Locarno Film Festival 2018: Genesis, Glaubenberg, & Too Late to Die Young

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival 2018: Genesis, Glaubenberg, & Too Late to Die Young

Growing pains and burgeoning sexual identity take center stage in several titles duking it out for the Pardo d’Oro, or Golden Leopard, at this year’s Locarno Film Festival. Of these, Genesis, a multi-stranded meditation on the joy and misery of adolescence by Canadian writer-director Philippe Lesage, seems most likely to find an audience beyond the festival circuit. The film focuses largely on the relationship woes of a pair of privileged step-siblings living in suburban French Canada: Guillaume (Théodore Pellerin), a preppy, quick-witted class clown at an all-boys boarding school, secretly harboring feelings for his best friend, Nicolas (Jules Roy Sicotte), and Charlotte (Noée Abita), who feels she’s outgrown her noncommittal boyfriend, Maxime (Pier-Luc Funk), and sets off looking for love in all the wrong places.

Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: Sister, LUV, & Bunohan

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Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: <em>Sister</em>, <em>LUV</em>, & <em>Bunohan</em>
Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: <em>Sister</em>, <em>LUV</em>, & <em>Bunohan</em>

Part of the international showcase at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, Ursula Meier’s Sister is another meditation on the viewpoint of children in an alienating adult world. Some of the other festival films I’ve previously discussed present that notion of childhood subjectivity within the framework of the child’s parents or elders; we’re with the child and perceive how they see those adults. From the child’s reaction we can see the person they are and person they’ll become. This Swiss film initially follows a different tack, finding a child outside of that framework and perceiving the nuances and interiority of a childhood spent in isolation.

We first encounter 12-year-old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) on a typical day at work, artfully dodging his way through crowds at a high-priced ski resort, pilfering skis and gear and even food. The observational camera follows his process, the routine and the detail. He’s an expert, even knowing how to restore and repair the equipment to up their resale value. He carries the air of a professional, understanding that no one’s paying enough attention to stop him. When one of his neighborhood clients asks how he’s able to just walk away with the stuff, Simon shrugs. “They don’t miss them. They just go and buy new ones,” he explains. In his eyes, these tourists see their belongings as mere things; to Simon, they’re his means of survival.

Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: Summer Games, Thursday Till Sunday, All Is Well, & Juan of the Dead

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Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: <em>Summer Games</em>, <em>Thursday Till Sunday</em>, <em>All Is Well</em>, & <em>Juan of the Dead</em>
Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: <em>Summer Games</em>, <em>Thursday Till Sunday</em>, <em>All Is Well</em>, & <em>Juan of the Dead</em>

At this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, there are a few core themes that bind together a number of the films. Through some combination of a strong programming ethos and the patterns and forms that are floating in the international filmmaking zeitgeist, these thematic concerns cut across boundaries of nation, genre, and style. For example, there’s the treatment of childhood subjectivity: the capacity for a film to capture something of a child’s point of view, of that limited and imperfect awareness of the world and its adult problems, of the unfathomable (or is it?) gulf between them and their parents. It’s a gap that will only make full sense once they cross it.

Take the central figures in writer-director Rolando Colla’s Swiss coming-of-age film Summer Games. Following two different families on vacation at a seaside campground, at first Colla and his co-writers make a clear distinction between the kids and their parents. Nic (Armando Condolucci) is an angry 12-year-old boy whose callousness—sometimes approaching the sociopathic—seems borne from a childhood of witnessing his father’s brutality and his mother’s codependency. Moving from the tents to the cabins, we find Marie (Fiorella Campanella), the same age as Nic, angsty and withdrawn and longing to make contact with a father she’s never known. However, for all their internal angst, the kids seem essentially protean and resilient. On the first day, Marie and Nic get into a fight, bloodied lips and all. A day later, they’ve formed their own little band of outsiders rounded out by their younger siblings and another kid from the neighborhood.