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Colombia, el río / su riu: the new Colombian cinema and the river, by Marco Antonio Pani



The XI edition of terre di confine filmfestival will be dedicated to, or rather inspired by, the river. A concept of liquid and branched boundary, and as such not only a boundary, rather a means of communication, a meeting point of cultures, traditions, species, ideas, knowledge, goods and peoples. The river as a basic geographic feature involving experiences of different and distant places. The river as a border, limit, separation and at the same time, paradoxically, an absence of borders, for good or bad. The river made of water, and therefore of life and magic.

Inspired by this concept, we have chosen to dedicate this year's movie selection to Colombia, a land that developed a "strong and new" cinematography with a substantial (cultural, social and iconographic) relationship with the river.

Colombia, crossed by five large waterways and bathed by the ocean joining rivers and lands, is a country with multiple boundaries and contrasts.

Tough metropolis where strong social disruption blends into huge national and transnational commercial and political interests; fight against illegal drug trade, criminality and corruption; heavy unemployment and integration issues. An impoverished and complex rural landscape under constant threat, even if immersed in a lush environment with a rich and multiform culture. A possible paradise that was broken in the recent past by endless and fratricidal wars, speculation and exploitation, in which hope and resignation, struggle and isolation, humour and sense of death still mingle - together with a strong will to rebirth itself.

In such a context Colombian cinematography, encouraged by a renewed governmental interest in supporting art and film industry, entered an age of strong inspiration and unprecedented success. Colombian movie narrative is hard, straightforward and lyric at the same time, always sticking to reality yet constantly looking for its deeper meaning and intrinsic poetry.

But Colombia is also the land of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Gabriel García Márquez. Gabo, a giant of Latin American literature, so passionate about cinema that he choose to graduate at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, and then to create in Cuba the famous Film School of San Antonio de los Baños (guest of one of the first editions of terre di confine filmfestival). Márquez the author of novels and short stories greatly adapted into films, Márquez the scriptwriter. Focussing our interest on his personality and works, during our festival we will try to address important topics such as cinema teaching, cinema adaptation of literary works, and the need for public support for cinema as a means of cultural and economic growth. This will be done in round tables, master classes and public discussions.

gabo in 1955

Gabriel García Márquez in Rome, in 1955 (photo courtesy of Giorgio Amico's blog)

Colombia’s film industry, one with very long standing roots, worked really hard in order to implement a high quality production, and in recent years achieved unprecedented results - as shown by the presence of its filmmakers, productions and authors in the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

Colombian government has repeatedly, and then definitively since 2003, invested in cinema as a means of cultural and economic growth thanks to the adoption of dedicated laws. For this reason, an excursus in Colombian cinema will allow us to discuss general topics of great relevance, namely: the compatibility between public support to a film narrative originating from a territory and its talents, and the cultural and economic growth of a country, a nation or a region thanks to the development of a movie industry or rather of a specialised "filmmaking craftsmanship". All these issues bear a striking similarity with those pertaining to Sardinian cinema ecosystem.

Marco Antonio Pani is the artistic director of the XI edition of terre di confine filmfestival

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