New Voices 2021: Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi, Jacqueline Lentzou and Jorge Jácome

14 May 2021
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The international Portuguese festival dedicated to short films is returning between 16th and 25th July. Like in the 2020 edition, Curtas Vila do Conde presents a mixed format, between the theaters and the online, in a programmatic proposal that aims to create new forms of relationship with contemporary cinema, unavoidable references and the unveil of new paths for the seventh art. 

The festival highlights four directors, whose work reveals a contemporary and avant-garde approach, punctually disruptive, that crosses the boundaries of genres and dares to experience the limits of cinematographic language. A selection of works by the Iranian duo Ali Asgari and Farnoosh Samadi, the Greek Jacqueline Lentzou and the Portuguese Jorge Jácome will be part of the non-competitive sections of the festival, opening a gateway to the contemporary thinking of a new generation of filmmakers who, alongside aesthetic relevance, raise new readings for today's political problems.


Let us start with the violence of affection through the eyes of the two Iranian authors, Ali Asgari and Farnoosh Samadi, whose works, individually or in duo, in the form of short or feature films, have been shown and awarded in some of the most prestigious European film festivals (Locarno, Cannes, Venice, among others). The results of this partnership, both “The Silence” (2016) and “Pilgrims” (2020) highlight the problem of identity and its constant search, in which the feeling of belonging (or absence) affective and territorial appears in a large plane. The arguments here can be summed up in a few words because Asgari and Samadi mainly explore the dramaturgy of bodies and the drama of dialogues, in a chamber that permanently surrenders to the face, human per excellence. The reference to the cinema of Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian director, will not be in vain, because more than geographical and cultural affinities, there are mainly aesthetic resonances: the centrality of femininity and the female figure or, for example, and more concretely, the smallness of space as a method of densification.

Family structures and relationships are also one of the main themes explored in the work of Jacqueline Lentzou, a young Greek filmmaker who has never stopped traveling in Europe: she studied at The American College of Greece but also at Royal Holloway College and London Film School, both in London. It is in the center of the small family that Lentzou's stories are shaped and in which the generational conflict between children and parents often thickens. The spirit of debauchery (or liberation?) And the typical provocation of these coming-of-age, which normally happens or precedes a moment of profound boredom, also incorporates the film camera that runs and jumps and dances, in perpetual movement. Perhaps this is one of the main singularities of Lentzou's cinema in the face of the almost universal episodes of adolescence: taking the position of the youth, without moralizing or judging, nor infantilizing.


In the west, the western tip of Europe, the Portuguese director Jorge Jácome was born, and would, years later, come to study at the School of Theater and Cinema, in Lisbon, and in the French Le Fesnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains. Having exhibited in various spaces dedicated to contemporary art and collaborating on projects in the scope of the performing arts, Jácome's cinematographic work is markedly interdisciplinary and one of the films, “Past Perfect” (2019) is also the result of the adaptation of the theater play “Antes”, written by Pedro Penim. From the archeology of old devoted nightclubs in “Fiesta Forever” (2017) to the botanical apocalypse of “Flores” (2017), Jácome's work is based on a strongly sensorial and impressionistic methodology, making use of all the artifice that the technique can offer - colors, overlays, among other effects: cinema as a place of fantasy, of hypnosis, built from narrative drifts, improbable relationships and unusual encounters.


The festival's program will be revealed over the next few months, as well as details on ticket purchases. The 29th Curtas Vila do Conde has the support of the MEDIA / Europa Criativa program, from the Municipality of Vila do Conde, the Ministry of Culture, the Cinema and Audiovisual Institute and several partners essential to the festival.