Saturday 24 September 2022 In competition by Michele Fasano (Italy 2022) 106' V.O. World Premiere Presented by director Michele Fasano and art director & character designer Elena Brighittini   Freely inspired by the poem "The Conference of the Birds" by the 13th-century Persian poet and mystic Farid al-Din 'Attar, the film tells the journey of a flock of birds who follow The Hoopoe, leading them to the Mountain of Kafh, home of King Simourgh, who could give them the answers to their existential questions. Between fantasy and reality, the birds cross the 7 Valleys. Most get lost along the way, except for the 4 of them who will experience the lives of 4 human characters: Monika (Albania), Abdurrahman (Turkey), Jihad (Syria) and Susan (Israel). These characters are all  very different from each other in terms of age, gender, culture and religion, origin, mythologies, geographical landscapes, historical and psychological backgrounds. However, because of various events in their lives, each of them lives in two or more religions at the same time, based on their own specific orthodoxy. Not just ‘side by side', in an attitude of tolerance, but 'inhabiting more than one at the same time'. By using metaphors, animation makes it possible to highlight what they have in common spiritually, despite their absolute cultural differences, and to show the ancient wisdom and the oldest tradition that link them together: the religion of Love. In the end, the secret will only be revealed to 6 birds: to the Hoopoe who guides them (but she too will have to learn something first); the 4 who will have experienced Love thanks to the human characters, plus a sixth one, the most unlikely of all. The film uses mixed techniques, a choice that has expressive reasons, far from being accidental. With the colours of the illustration of the tale, the cut-out animation narrates the journey of a flock of birds, which is the film’s supporting structure. Two pictorial animation interventions are added as prologue and epilogue of the film. The rotoscoping narrates the world of the four human characters as a world in-between, squeezed between the colourful and spiritual world of the birds and the black and white one of History’s violence. The human characters strive to give colour (spirituality) to a world of darkness. Here, archive materials are used as layouts, but with the possibility to invent and add to them, showing actions that are not recorded. The archive materials in colour, on the other hand, describe situations of unthinkable coexistence of the human characters, that gain meaning thanks to the fantasy animations. The latter allows a more authentic, not random critical reception, and finds justification in the former. The photographic materials remind us of the violence of History: genocidal episodes in which every religion, none excluded, was both victim and executioner, when discrimination was chosen instead of dialogue. A visionary work about peace, trying to unravel the complex skein of the many wars and conflicts that still afflict the peoples of the Earth.

Saturday 24 September 2022 - Cinema Arlecchino, 7,30 pm

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