The line-up for the Locarno Film Festival was revealed this week and features two films made on a train journey across Russia as part of the Cinetrain project earlier this year. Cinetrain is a biennial project that gathers young filmmakers from around the world to travel across Russia by train and make short films. This year, 25 filmmakers participated in the competition to create short films about the Russian winter that challenged stereotypes about the country.
Zima, a portrait of winter in northern Russia and Siberia by Italian filmmaker Cristina Picchi, will enter the short film competition Pardi di Domani. The film chronicles a journey from Murmansk to Irkutsk, capturing life in some of the world’s harshest climates along the way.
Picchi said: “There is something majestic about the Russian winter, something beautiful and intimidating at the same time that forces you to think and ‘feel’ beyond the mere landscape and everyday human actions. With this short film I tried to capture, or at least briefly touch on, that elusive feeling.”
The second film, The Green Serpent, is a Swiss-Russian co-production by Benny Jaberg and will be screened in the Fuori Concorso selection that includes out of competition movies, documentaries and essays. The experimental film swings between a state of transcendence to one of bleakness, induced by drinking vodka. Jaberg said: “I was driven by the interest for substances that enhance life. So I sought passionate vodka-drinkers, those walking a thin line between euphoric inspiration and bleak night-time visions of a more psychotic nature.”
The 66th Locarno Festival in Switzerland will also honour director Werner Herzog with the Pardo d’Onore, an award given to leading contemporary filmmakers. During his long and prolific career, Herzog’s fascination with Siberia has been captured on film. His recent documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010), portrays the intensity of everyday life of the people in the village of Bakhta along the Yenisei River in Siberia.
The Locarno Film Festival will run from 7 to 17 August.