By Rebecca Ceccatelli. Cover image: Yuyan Wang, Look on the bright side, 2023. Video still. Courtesy of the artist, Lo schermo dell’arte and FRAC Bretagne.
November. Once again, the city of Florence is hosting its annual celebration of art, an unexpected rendezvous that attracts crowds of people to various exciting events across the city. This year’s edition of the Florentine film festival Lo Schermo dell’Arte promises to keep us busy from the 15th to the 19th of the month with a range of must-see events that we are eager to attend.
In Florence film festival about art in cinema has a dynamic itinerant programme for this edition. Screenings, talks, and masterclasses will take place at secondary venues throughout the city, in addition to its core venue at Cinema La Compagnia (Via Camillo Cavour, 50/R).
Lo Schermo dell’Arte is the Florence art film festival spanning from documentaries to artist movies, an “international project dedicated to exploring, analysing and promoting the complex relationship between contemporary art and cinema”. We firmly believe in the cohesive power of cinema to create connections with artworks that mirror our time and open windows to reality.
We’re excited to share with you everything that captured our attention while scrolling through the programme. Here’s a checklist of must-see titles from our notes for the 16th edition of Lo schermo dell’arte 2023.
Florence Art Festival Lo schermo dell’arte 2023: our must-watch gems
1. NUMMER ACHTTIEN – THE BREATH OF LIFE by GUIDO VAN DER WERVE
In a continuous blend of past and present, the globally renowned artist Guido van der Werve shares an ‘autofiction’ where he narrates how his past played a role in his challenging rehabilitation process following a bicycle accident that landed him in a month-long coma. A crucial element of the film is the solemn orchestra that accompanies scenes where a red-haired child (who represents the artist as a child) is juxtaposed with the adult man, who now recognises the fragility of life amidst scenes of melancholy and subtle humour.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: This year, the festival will dedicate a series of screenings to the Dutch artist throughout the week. Take note!
WHEN: Wednesday 15, 9:00 pm at Cinema La Compagnia
2. CANYON – KATHARINA GROSSE by HEINZ PETER SCHWERFEL
Following a year-long process, director Heinz Peter Schwerfel and his team documented through video the installation of artwork Canyon by German artist Katharina Grosse, reporting the creative and design process and the challenges encountered. Typical of her artistic process, the artist adapts the artwork to the space in which it is installed, making Canyon an integral part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, for which it was commissioned.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: The artist’s use of vibrant colours and metal sheets transforms painting into a veritable spatial experience. Thanks to the director’s work, viewers can also be part of the experience.
WHEN: Thursday 16, 10:40 pm at Cinema La Compagnia
3. UNTITLED (ALL PIGS MUST DIE) by DIEGO MARCON
Celebrating the ‘Glassa’ exhibition at the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato, Lo Schermo dell’Arte is presenting a series of screenings featuring the artist. Marcon experiments with digital and CGI techniques, playing with video manipulations and loop sound effects.
WHY WORTH A WATCH: In ‘Untitled (All Pigs Must Die),’ Marcon takes a fragment from the Winnie the Pooh cartoon, manipulates it and adds sound effects that completely transform the perception of the scene, turning it into an endless loop that emphasises disturbance and monotony.
WHEN: Saturday 18, 9:00 pm at Cinema La Compagnia
4. DEAREST FIONA by FIONA TAN
The artwork that represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale in 2009 has arrived in Florence. Fiona Tan, an Indonesian artist who migrated to Amsterdam, compiled little-known video material into a feature film about the daily life of the Netherlands at the beginning of the 20th century.
The film features hand-coloured footage showing women in traditional costumes working hard in rural landscapes amid tulips, prompting viewers to reflect on the evolution of machines and technology. Additionally, a voice-over reads letters from the artist’s father, creating a true intercontinental and inter-temporal journey between the past and present, the East and West of the world.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: The power of sound and image association creates an audiovisual stream of consciousness, allowing space for the discovery of subtle connections and coincidences.
WHEN: Friday 17, 9:30 pm at Cinema La Compagnia
5. WHITE BALLS ON WALLS by SARAH VOS
Director Sarah Vos takes us on a journey into the world of gender inclusion as she follows the director of Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on his enigmatic attempt to rectify the significant gender imbalance within the museum before 2019. The film documents numerous meetings and conversations addressing highly relevant contemporary issues in search of an appropriate and politically correct language.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: An exemplary act of inclusivity towards gender equality, ethnicities, and cultures is depicted here through both successes and inevitable failures.
WHEN: Saturday 18, 5:30 pm at Cinema La Compagnia
6. PACIFIC CLUB by VALENTIN NOUJAÏM (VISIO)
From the festival’s digital catalogue, which is only accessible via streaming, we recommend checking out VISIO, an intriguing project by Valentin Noujaïm. VISIO is dedicated to young artists who incorporate moving images in their practice and provides them with an opportunity to connect with curators from the art world. The Pacific Club has become an ambassador for the efforts to integrate the Arab community in Paris and us, intruders in the first Arab nightclub.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: This story of dancing, sweat and utopias uncovers the societal challenges faced amidst issues of drugs and racism.
WHEN: From November 15 to 26, streaming only on Più Compagnia with MyMovies
7. INSIDE by VASILIS KATSOUPIS
This is a unexpected story in Florence Film Festival Lo Schermo dell’Arte 2023 and It may seem unrelated to the general theme of the festival, but this psycho-thriller promises to bring chills and unease to the audience on the festival’s last day. It stars Willem Dafoe, who delivers a magnificent performance playing the role of an art thief who finds himself trapped in a luxurious New York apartment.
WHY IT’S WORTH A WATCH: The film keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering what Willem Dafoe has stolen.
WHEN: Sunday 19 at Cinema La Compagnia