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Monday, July 25, 2011

Anri Sala: Intervista (1999)

Two images at a distance of more than twenty years. A young film director discovers by chance in his apartment an old 16-mm film, the record of an interview his mother gave in her youth. The soundtrack is missing, so the son asks his mother what was she talking about. She doesn't remember. The son finds the producers of the film: they don't remember either. The son doesn't give up. He goes with the tape to a school for the deaf and asks the lip readers for help. This time he succeeds. Well, his mother was active in the Communist Youth League twenty years ago and her interview is full of all those slogans that now seem insane. Confronted with the words of the interview, his mother firstly denies everything, then tries in total embarrassment some odd explanations. Actually she cannot believe any more she was that way twenty years ago.

The film director is Anri Sala and the 26 minute movie (Intervista, released in 1999) is the personal story of him, and of his mother.

I looked for a copy of the movie: I haven't yet been able to find it. And I would like to watch it, as I wonder if the film itself is not somehow more generous with mother's past than it looks like from the storyline. I mean, an artwork should give a chance to each personage and leave the conclusions to the spectator. And from the other two movies of Anri Sala that I have already watched, I think that this film director is a too great artist to not let his artwork to live on its own, to not give each personage the freedom to unfold on her or his own.

And also, if we judge our past from today's perspective we run the risk of getting Manichean. Before condemning our past (or the past of our parents), we should understand that it belongs to us, it defines us, it's our identity. Our most important duty is to recuperate it. Not to condemn, not to defend, just that: to recuperate, with all its beauties and insanities. Elif Shafak has a great phrase: our past of beauties and atrocities!

And maybe Intervista is actually a work of recuperating the past. I would like so much to watch it!

Here are several links to web pages dedicated to Intervista:

(Anri Sala)



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