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Alberto Fasulo (#110 of 2)

Locarno Film Festival 2018 Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

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Locarno Film Festival 2018: Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival 2018: Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

During my brief stint at Locarno, I managed to catch 10 of the 15 films selected for this year’s international competition. My favorite was Ray & Liz, British artist Richard Billingham’s remarkably assured autobiographical debut feature. Billingham rose to prominence as a photographer with his 1996 monograph Ray’s a Laugh, inspired by his impoverished upbringing on the outskirts of Birmingham and lauded for its unflinching portraits of his alcoholic father and sedentary, heavily tattooed mother. With this film, he reaches further into the dark recesses of his childhood to deliver a richly evocative portrait of working-class life in the British Midlands.

Kino Otok - Isola Cinema Festival 2014: Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater, Costa da Morte, Arraianos, TIR, and Club Sándwich

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Kino Otok - Isola Cinema Festival 2014: <em>Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater</em>, <em>Costa da Morte</em>, <em>Arraianos</em>, <em>TIR</em>, and <em>Club Sándwich</em>
Kino Otok - Isola Cinema Festival 2014: <em>Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater</em>, <em>Costa da Morte</em>, <em>Arraianos</em>, <em>TIR</em>, and <em>Club Sándwich</em>

The tiny Kino Otok - Isola Cinema Festival makes a very convincing argument for less is more. The festival is held over just five days in the small Slovenian seaside town of Izola, and the combination of two main screening venues (one in the picturesque surroundings of the 15th-century Manzioli Square), short distances, intimate outdoor parties, and a compact program allows the films to breathe and be discussed in a way hardly possible at its more voluminous European counterparts. Yet despite its modest scale, the program is effortlessly wide-ranging, picking up on and linking together many of the gems tucked away in the sidebars of other, more unwieldy festivals and happily adding film classics, individual tributes, and striking shorts to the mix, often selected by the festival’s broad network of friends. While this admirable breadth can lead to the odd moment of bewilderment (such as in the case of the generic British music-industry satire Svengali or the overblown Indian drama The Voiding Soul), there can be no doubt that the underlying idea is a worthy one: embracing and presenting cinema in all its many manifestations.