La Rochelle: In its fiftieth edition, FEstival La Rochelle cinéMA shone in all its glory

Having been FEMA since 2019, FEstival La Rochelle cinéMA this year celebrates its half century. A rich and always essential festival.

There were beautiful people, in La Rochelle, this year, to celebrate because they deserve 50 yearse Editing.

The “courtyard” – the schoolyard, which for many years became a place to meet (for free) and to meet the guests of the festival, in a very good way – was supposed to be greeted or seen from afar, randomly: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Bertrand Bonello, Alain Cavalier, Olivier Per Dart, producer Sylvie Pialt, Portuguese critic Rui Nogueira, senior editor Jan Didet, restorer Serge Bromberg, head of Lobster Films, etc.

Going to La Coursive, the nerve center of FEMA, meant meeting Dominique Mull, journalist Elizabeth Quint, François Ozon, the great Swiss cinematographer Renato Berta, etc. Everyone came to watch, present films, or take part in master classes. Previews, followed by discussions, every day (movies are often seen in Cannes). Movie parties are everywhere and all the time.

Favorite Program

The 2022 program was exceptional: a tribute to Alain Delon who was unable to travel but sent a moving message and assigned his son Anthony the task of representing him and thanking the festival; Complete work by Pier Paolo Pasolini; A selection of Audrey Hepburn films; Presentation of the new Ukrainian cinema; A retrospective dedicated to Portuguese cinema since its inception, and another to Jonas Tropa, the Spanish Little Genius, or Joanna Hogg. It is impossible to list everything here.

Like every year, La Rochelle was an unmissable event that allowed movie lovers to settle in (without competition!), to find themselves in the pool of youth, culture and art. Back to the sources. To see the friends and directors we’ve been following for years sometimes. Have a drink together between two movies. Here, we meet the locals who go to see four films a day during the nine days of the festival.

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Pasolini’s full movie made it possible to watch or watch some of the movies we liked the most (eg Eternal) Mama Roma, with Anna Magnani), is often featured in restored very recent versions. But also to discover the still unknown short films, in particular the two ten-minute (very dense!) documentaries directed by a friend of Pier Paolo Pasolini, photographer and director Cecilia Mangini (1927-2021), swamp song (1960 – on a text from Pasolini) and impressive Stendali (1960).

I will conclude this text in this film, short in duration, but immense in beauty, because sometimes in the most hidden places we find the strongest feelings.

in Stendali, Mangini depicts Apulian women performing traditional mourning ceremonies. Teenager died. The women, dressed in black, begin their cheers around the open coffin. A text explains, in the voiceover, that these songs undoubtedly go back to antiquity, that they are of Greek origin and are transmitted orally. Lamentations, hymns, paraphrasing, the rhythm of the song, the movement of a white handkerchief in their hands, held almost like a small boat, leading women in a hammock leading them into a kind of dance, until ecstasy.. some tear their hair. Expressing, and taking out the pain, the voluntarily angry (should we say, we talk?), is supposed to be curative. When the lamentation ends, the coffin is closed, the doors are opened and the men, accompanied by the priest, take her to the cemetery for burial – forbidden to women… Contemporary patriarchal religious authority reclaims its rights. Images of these ancient pagan songs are still remembered, carried and practiced by women alone.

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About the Author: Aldina Antunes

"Praticante de tv incurável. Estudioso da cultura pop. Pioneiro de viagens dedicado. Viciado em álcool. Jogador."

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