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Io Sono LI at Kino Otok Isola

Io Sono Li, “ said the Chinese illegal Shun Li in the film Io Sono Li (Shun Li and The Poet) directed by Andrea Segre, gorgeous Italian film director. Kino Otok Isola proves again a quality bringing out the awarded Italian film, starring with Rade Sherbedgia and only Chinese (actually Mandarin speaking) actress Zhao Tao. Zhao Tao is a Chinese actress with no knowledge of English, Italian or any other than Mandarin language at all and is Jia Zhang-ke’s muse in Platform and The World. In this film, Tao is very impressive. She was found by the director while watching Chinese films in his search for the right lead actress. Zhao spoke no Italian prior to the film nor did she have any filming experience outside of her native country. Creating a character of Li fragile and strong at the same time she matched perfectly with Sherbedgia’s way in his portrayal of the rough but sensitive Italian fisherman. The film relates the romantic and difficult in a terms of illegal friendship between Chinese illegal immigrant and an old Italian fisherman on an island of the Venetian lagoon. Italy and entire worlds are facing economic changes, involving Chinese Trade Market. And that is a bad news for common people Chinese immigrants on the West and a good news for Chinese politicians and economic position of China in the World Trade. Therefore, Chinese immigrants are put in a slaving position of controlling big economy market that limits ordinary people with freedom to decide about their life and to choose friends. So Li is not allowed to make a bound to Italian fisherman, unless this friendship includes some sort of economic benefit for their employers and that is a good old fashioned slavery my friend.


This is a beautiful film. Brought to Italy by an economist who she’s slowly paying off her debt, while saving money to bring over her son, Shun Li is sent from her factory job in a bar in Chioggia, to a small island in the Veneto lagoon. And Bepi is an old fisherman nicknamed “the Poet,” originally from Yugoslavia and a representative of an earlier immigration to Italy from Eastern Europe. They share a special understanding, and their friendship transforms entire film.

Segre is particular here: Li is a wonderful character. She tells lines written by a Chinese poet revealing a beautiful emotional glare of sensitivity. Then there is this dreamy look that flits all over the set of the romantic Italian coastal town. And the wind on her face and the profound sadness in her eyes when she thinks of her son in China, and longing overwhelmed by emotions. All this makes the film very watchable. Io Sono Li is very well done feature film debut. It offers a realistic and poetic side of the story, with no melodrama or pathetic involved in every cinematic aspect: certainly a worthy winner of the 2011 Satyajit Ray Award, for its visual poem, director’s crafty hand with a profound understanding of humanity. Segre is a film director who did documentaries on similar subjects and this is his first feature film on the subject of Chinese immigrants in Italy.

The Punk Is Not Dead

Author's signature of Vladimir Blaževski, Macedonian film director, in his latest achievement Pankot Ne E Mrtov (Punk is not dead ) a feature film that travelled to many festivals by now, is already known to a connoisseur of Serbian and Macedonian film in Slovenia. The last Blazevski’s film we saw nearly two decades ago Bulevar Revolucije ( Boulevard of Revolution) and Kino Otok Isola presented Pankot Ne E Mrtov (Punk is not dead ) to a wider Slovenian audience. This film provoked Slovenian old punks to come from all over to Isola and see the film. Theatre with total full audience clapped pretty heavily to this black comedy road. And the film itself has a certain aesthetic treatment that may authentisied the author's signature. The film is coming back to the punk music or just a memory lane for now 50 or 60 years old punks on the territory of the region. Harsh transition has changed the rules of the game and everything has become much more aggressive in nowadays making this kind of music light as a feather and old heavy sound lovers more cynical than ever.


The character is a man's destiny, and present author’s lack of assertiveness and aggressiveness. The main character in his film is a punk Mirsa from Skopje, old-fashioned drug addict, surrounded by poverty, nihilists, and rebel against authority. His former cult reputation band from the late 80s and early 90s went away a long time ago. Mirsa's dealer Gzim is Albanian with an irresistible smile, a young man with the reputation of "liquidator". Mirsa proposes to re-assemble his own band and perform at a charity event in a remote part of Macedonia, with a majority Albanian population. Preparing the feast with the motto that the money is spent to strengthen "ethnic relations" ...


After the award at Karlovy Vary and Macedonia director of the film says that he encourages energy of people who watch the film with care: People have a sincere interest when comes to a commenting that is a great incentive. The mood of the people who watches the film returns to a film's title that is a paraphrase of course: a little ironic and cynical comment in relation to the situation today. People involved in the punk music deliberately choose to be at the margin. The view that, despite the circumstances, persevered, was important for the story - a story through music that touches on many sensitive issues of modern society in Serbia, Macedonia or Slovenia, such as, for example, the question of nationalism. This film is the inner, mediated experience and must first effect on emotional and foreground structure, so that we may wonder about some other story elements. Punk is not dead, at times stumbling under the abundance of details, characters and not-so-necessary digressions that seem to be generally potent fragmented structure, therefore film on the road may seem too ambitious framework for this essentially intimate story. However, as the dominant impression is imposed by the fact that film may leave the impression that the authors have little something or nothing to say, but enough skillfully handled by the chosen style and undoubtedly love for film and music.

Still, this is wonderful!


(More about Kino Otok Isola, little but wonderful film festival in Slovenia in coming article English film on Kino Otok


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