Cinematography and Contemporary Art at ‘Lo Schermo dell’Arte’

A scene from ‘Insurrection’

November 16 – 20: LO SCHERMO DELL’ARTE (ART ON SCREEN). Films are presented at the Cinema La Compagnia (via Cavour 50/r), while the Visio exhibition is found at Palazzo Strozzi (Piazza Strozzi). Streaming service through MYmovies until November 27 is €9.90. Movies are screened in the original language with English and Italian subtitles. Theater tickets range from €6 to €35; admission is free for those under 30.  Festival talks are free.

An annual festival celebrating the crossover of cinematography and contemporary art, Lo Schermo dell’Arte (Art on Film) presents its 15th edition with an assortment of new releases showcasing some of the current minds behind this concept of artistic interaction in moving images.

Lo Schermo dell’Arte is back at the cinema for the first time since the 2020.  Encouraging the community to return to the theaters, this platform invites audiences to enjoy in the convergence of art and film, expanding on our idea of art in this modern context of new technologies. This articulated relationship between art and film will bypass the boundaries of genre and visual art, motivating us to broaden our perception of art.

The chosen films will allow viewers to fully understand the artist’s motives and perceptions in the ever-changing contemporary scene, characterized by daily new political, social, cultural, and environmental problems. By making the subject of this year’s Focus Rosa Barba, a most innovative artist in deepening this connection with moving images, the festival further emphasizes this theme of the open dialogue in performance and cinema.

With over 30 movies and festival talks, many outlets have been made available for one to explore this expansive journey into the emergence of art and screen. Barba’s films and the others chosen by the festival will present a variety of concepts, from political strife around the world, to more interpersonal themes and questions of identity, and even the confrontation of our environmental distress.

Back to Basquiat (Nov. 19 at 10:45 pm, Cinema La Compagnia) by French artist Pierre-Paul Puljiz recounts the life of renowned African American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and specifically explores his relationship with his Caribbean origins and how that affected his overall identity both personally and artistically. Insurrection (Nov. 16 at 9 pm, Cinema La Compagnia) by photographer Andres Serrano uses a mix of personal footage, news bites, historical images, and other online recordings to paint the scene of the 2021 attack of the U.S. Capitol by rioters and develop an understanding of the intensity of Donald Trump’s supporters. Rosa Barba’s film Time As Perspective (Nov. 17 at 7:10 pm, Cinema La Compagnia) follows the continuous habits of the oil drilling machines in rural Texas, touching on the issues of environmental exploitation. Every day  a range of films is presented, and the same program is available through streaming. Many of the movies are in English, and if not, English subtitles will be available.

Another section of the festival is the Visio project (Artist’s Moving Images), curated by Leonardo Bigazzi which spotlights the work of the emerging generation and honors the power and artistry of the youth. With eight different artists from seven different countries, the videos presented are the product of a program between the selected artists and the mentors who worked with them. The Visio production Fund of €40,000 will be awarded to four of the artists, and all eight works produced will enter the permanent collection of the project’s partners including Prato’s Pecci Contemporary Art Center, The In Between Art Film Foundation, FRAC Bretagnne, and Seven Gravity Collection, to further their pursuits of uplifting newer artists. The eight artists this year are Jérémie Danon (France), Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan), Paul Heintz (France), Simon Liu (Hong Kong), Randa Maroufi (Morocco), Gerard Ortin Castellvi (Spain), Maryam Tafakory (Iran), and Yuyan Wang (China).

Many of Visio films portray a deep vulnerability by the artist, such as Aziz Haazara’s Eyes in the Sky, which shows young Afghani boys playing war during conflict in their country, and Irani Bag by Maryam Tafakory, which uses a bag as a symbol for the craving of human touch and connection in post-revolutionary Iran. Other films such as Open Air by Jeremie Danon uses the words of prisoners in a changing array of landscapes to allow us to explore the balance of reality and desire. While each film has a unique story and composition, all of them convey the thoughtful ability of the younger generation to pursue art and deep questions.

To close the festival, South African artist William Kentridge’s Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot (Nov. 20 at 9 pm, Cinema La Compagnia), explores the self-observation and character of Kentridge himself, specifically by contemplating apartheid and the childhood that defines his South African heritage.  (Antoinetta Damico)

For the complete program, visit the website.