It’s a question of gaze: introducing the 38. Settimana Internazionale della Critica


It’s all about recentring the gaze. Taking back the power of images and the responsibility which the act of observing something through a filming device demands.

What is cinema today? Cinema is what it always has been and will continue to be, irrespective of format, equipment, screen size, and any alarmism about the assumed crisis of this industry notwithstanding: a window to the world, an imprescindible moment of not just storytelling, but interpretation; the chance to express a point of view. Sometimes personal, unique, unduplicable; at other times, a reflection of a shared human feeling. It is always, in the end, a question of gaze.

With the complicity of the selection committee composed by Enrico Azzano, Chiara Borroni, Ilaria Feole, and Federico Pedroni, partners in crime in the search for the boldest voices of contemporary cinema (with an eye on the future), the 38. edition of Settimana Internazionale della Critica will offer unusual gazes – omnivorous, adventurous, brought together by the same taste for danger, and a kind of fury, an urgency to affirm oneself through a vision, an observation on the state of the world. Powerful acts that will not go unnoticed; that will, instead, amaze, shake consciences, and hopefully leave a mark.

As is our tradition, this year the SIC will once again screen 7+2 debut films, chosen among the over five hundred titles submitted from all over the world. Overall, there was a strong presence of women directors, a variety of new formats and “new” ways of narrating nonfiction (a trend distinctly on the rise) and countless examples of genre cinema: noir, science fiction, horror. All of them set apart by the same daring spirit with respect to the visual and narrative choices they have made, as well as their precise, self-aware, clear-cut point of view. Indeed, by the presence of a distinct gaze.

Images open up an uninterrupted dialogue with the present, in a perpetual short circuit that feeds from elements both inside and outside the screen. Reality is the starting point for journeys towards visions that are original, authentic, whether they be intimate or far-ranging. Decolonised gazes, official narratives revisited, long-forgotten traumas that violently reemerge. “Space” needs to be redefined, while past and present meet for a final confrontation, and all of us, today, are invited to rethink any preconceived notions of history (both individual and collective), with a new set of eyes, from a renewed, more self-aware social consciousness.

Once again: alienated states; a language that takes the shape of the human body; blood-thirsty vampires that herald the end of the patriarchy; swarming spiders as a metaphor for the threat of neo-capitalism in the very real, contemporary marginalisation of the banlieues. Finally, the ontological dimension of images, highlighted by a creative use of digital technology, of deep fakes, or through the use of a vertical video format in low definition as an act of self-affirmation.

Such films tell stories “for everyone” – they are perfectly in sync with the present and never lose sight of their taste for entertainment and storytelling; but they are not afraid to challenge and provoke. The cinematic gaze has never been more political.

Beatrice Fiorentino
General Delegate 38. Settimana Internazionale della Critica

SIC@SIC 2023 Tilipirche