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Retrospective on Pippo Delbono, an all-around Italian artist, at the 2016 T-Mobile New Horizons IFF

5/05/16
Blood (Sangue) dir. Pippo Delbono
The Program of the 8th American Film Festival Has Been Announced!

Pippo Delbono, one of the most interesting artists in contemporary Italian and world theater, a man with a fascination for cinema and creating unique film essays, will be a guest at this year's festival, as well as the subject of a retrospective. His auteur films, films about him and recordings of selected performances of his stage plays will screen at New Horizons to introduce Polish viewers to this outstanding director and all-around artist, in whose creative work the worlds of theater and film intertwine and complement one another.

Born in 1959, Delbono abandoned his studies in traditional theater as a young man to take up the experimental path he has followed ever since. This former associate of legendary choreographer Pina Bausch is the charismatic head of a theater company that has staged award-winning plays all over the world, not to mention an actor whose credits include a role in Luca Guadagnino's film Io sono l'amore (I Am Love 2009), where he teamed up with Tilda Swinton, an author and an experimental musician, a man who creates art that defies classification. His plays are reminiscent of performance art, in which he himself plays a role, and the extremely personal nature seen there can also be found in his films. Striving for uncompromising authenticity, he enjoys working with amateurs and marginalized individuals, including the mentally disabled. Polish audiences will be familiar with him from his performances at the Malta Festival in Poznan (he will make an appearance there again this year with Orchids), and from his work in directing the opera Don Giovanni at the Teatr Wielki (Grand Theater) in Poznan. Screenings of his films at the 16th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival will provide an excellent introduction to his latest production, Vangelo, which will be performed in Wrocław in the fall during the World Is a Place for Truth Theater Olympics (October 26-27, 2016).

During his retrospective, New Horizons audiences will have a chance to see his film essays, including the documentary War (Guerra, 2003), which was an award winner in Venice, about a touring theater company that visits Palestine and Israel, in which the director, with the help of poetic monologues and images of cruelty, forces audiences to reflect on who we really are; and Scream (Grido, 2006), which, set in southern Italy in the spirit of Fellini, is a portrait of a unique member of his theater troupe, the deaf-mute Bobo, who spent 45 years in a psychiatric hospital. His avant-garde films Fear (La paura, 2009) and Carnal Love (Amore Carne, 2011), which were shot on a mobile phone, will also be shown. The latter is a kind of artistic testament to Delbono, which features, in addition to Delbono himself, Irène Jacob, along with allusions to Pina Bausch, Pasolini, and Antonioni. And finally, Delbono's most controversial and intimate documentary, which won a Don Quixote Award in Locarno, is Blood (Sangue, 2013), which tries to come to terms with the specter of the so-called "Years of Lead" and the terrorist Red Brigades. Some of the guides through the film are the director's own mother, Margherita, a staunch anti-communist struggling with a terminal illness, and his friend, former terrorist Giovanni Senzani. And rounding out the review will be his short film The Visit (La visite, 2014), which was shot in Versailles and stars Michael Lonsdale (the famous Sir Hugo Drax, the Bond villain in Moonraker), which took the top prize on April 16 at the E 'Tudo Verdade 2016 festival in Rio de Janeiro.

Screenings of Delbono's auteur films will be complemented by recordings of his best-known stage performances of Homeless (Barboni, 1997) and Orchids (Orchidee, 2014). It will also be possible to see a series of documentaries by other filmmakers dedicated to Delbono and his work, including the French Pippo Delbono: The Poet and Anger (Pippo Delbono le poet en Coler, 2011), directed by Béatrice Ilardi and Nathalie Jacquinot, and Body to Body (Corpo a Corpo, 2014), directed by Maria Brenta and Karine De Villers, showing Delbono's work on Orchids.


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