Opening Statement-Luciano Barisone

Opening Statement-Luciano Barisone


Aug. 25, 2010

Cinema and life are like containers of space and time. They often run parallel and reflect one another. Their meeting point is the human being. Thrown in the nature of the universe, amongst billions of other forms, organic and inorganic, man finds in cinema a ceremony consecrating his existence. This is true for other arts, too, but maybe because of its intrinsic urge to reproduce reality with images and sounds, cinema carries out this rite with far deeper devotion.

It is fitting to remind ourselves of this antropocentric nature of cinema in a country like Japan and a city like Nara, the nation’s old capital. It is fitting because we all reach cinema though an act of co-optation. We become spectators because something or someone introduces us to it. That is also my experience.

I was around seven or eight years old and I used to live in my district with some kids of the same age. Together we were trying to defend our playgrounds in a postwar city that was deeply transforming itself into an industrial area. We all liked soccer and we used to play it every day in an area destined to become a factory. One day my friends told me: “They are showing a wonderful film in the cinema, with warriors defending a village from bandits, who want to rob the villagers”. We all went to see the film. For us, there was an immediate identification. The movie was Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. The day after we were all like them. Unfortunately, this did not help us to save our playground. Industrial interests were by far more important than ours. But we got conquered by cinema.

Later on, I watched some movies of other important Japanese directors, the classics like Ozu or Mizoguchi or the moderns like Imamura, the contemporaries like Kitano or Kawase. Through them I discovered Japan, its nature, its culture and the sounds of its language. By watching these movies I had access to a life I would have never known otherwise.

It has been thus with great pleasure and gratitude that I accepted the invitation to program the first Nara International Movie Festival. To me, this is like a restitution, it is my way to paying homage to the Country that so much impressed me when I was a child. Like a journey back home.

Nowadays there are no more samurais and our childhood innocence is also gone. But cinema is still there. And it leads us the way to discover the world.

Chief Programmer
Luciano Barisone
Director of Festival dei Popoli and Visions du Réel

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