Sottoripa: Strong emotions in a minute package
It is amazing, what a period of time as short as 6 minutes can contain. The Italian short film Sottoripa proved this to me in flying colours (although the film was actually black and white). The international programme INT 5: Shifting Perspectives, screened a multifaceted mix of different, but all very enigmatic short films. Naturally all cinema is a way of story-telling, but watching these films felt as if I was seeing into someone else’s head in the exact colours of the author’s memories floating in his or her inner universe.
I loved the short “Home”, which was a surprising, up-lifting but at the same time peaceful journey through New Zealand’s wondrous nature. Home is where you lay your head and although a house may seem a monumental piece belonging to the land where it was built, it can still be moved into a new space. Another one, “Tokyo Giants” pulled me right into its bizarre world and got my heart racing in the same tempo as of the victims assassinated by mysterious men who seemed to do it for no reason. Interesting, how a Belgian director Nicolas Provost had depicted a culture so unlike the European, in an insightful, frank way.
But “Sottoripa” was different to these stories of cinema and life, it was exactly as the director said, a visual poem. The author, Guglielmo Trupia is not a director, but a film poet. His film is based on another man’s poetry, the memories of a foreigner, who searched for the poorest, meanest districts of the historical port city Genoa and found his wished fulfilled at Sottoripa. The author of the movie found his writings in an old book, during a walk in the same town. Later, he met the writer, Julian Stannard and they started depicting together, what would the images he had written, look like on a cinema screen. Fading memories and gloomy secrets of Genoa were set to this film. We see people, real people doing their ordinary things in black and white frames. Smoking, looking at their bodies, thinking if they are worthy of being in this life and this town full of commerce, stressed speed and money. These people appear to us in long lost pictures and frames of art house films from decades ago. I felt the Italian history caressing my mind and I saw things that I had never seen about Italy before. The beauty of despair. It was amazing to see that a gifted filmmaker can catch so much in only a fraction of time and make a more lasting impression in my mind than any of the other films, all longer in length. Of course, I know, it was that day, that moment and that mood I was in already earlier on, which all contributed to the final sentiment, but those 6 minutes made the best part of my afternoon.
By Emilie Toomela