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Mundo Invisivel/Invisible World (2012)

Previewed at the 2012 Sao Paulo Film Festival and at the 2012 Roma Film Festival

Directed by Wim Wenders, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Marco Bechis, Atom Egoyan, Manoel de Oliveira, Guy Maddin, Gian Vittorio Baldi, Lais Bodanzky, Maria De Medeiros, Jerzy Stuhr, Beto Brant and Cisco Vasquez.     

Mundo Invisivel is a feature film conceived and produced under the general direction of Leon Cakoff and Renata de Almeida from Mostra Internacional de Cinema de San Paulo. The film presents distinct perceptions on invisibility in the contemporary world as seen through different short films and the eyes of different important filmmakers.

Press

Perhaps one of the greatest virtues of Bechis's work is that he succeeds in dealing with important issues with clarity, lucidity and, certainly in Tekoha's case, a delicate irony.

Laura Nuti, Lascreeningroom.com

 

 

Il sorriso del capo/The Smile of the Leader (2011)

Previewed at the 2011 Turin Film Festival

Written by Marco Bechis and Gigi Riva Edited by Iacopo Patierno and Marco Bechis Assistant director: Filippo Ceredi and Giovannella Rendi. Produced by Cinecitta Luce e Karta Film. Cast: Riccardo B.

 

Using astounding footage from the Luce archives (newsreels, but also true films) Il sorriso del capo/The Smile of the Leader shows how propaganda works, presents everyday life in its most revealing details, and describes a country's "education". Marco Bechis explores the feeling of consensus: he tells us where it originates, what tools are used to spread it, how it is opposed. The thread running through the film is a voice, enigmatic until the end, narrating in the first person what it is like to grow up under fascism.

Press

Those who believe that consensus-building and the cult of the leader using the media is a recent invention, patented by Berlusconi, should watch Il sorriso del capo and think again.

Ilvo Diamanti, La Repubblica

Il sorriso del capo does not deal with some third dimension, but is about us. About populism and its mechanisms, about the unopposed rise of a dictator and how images and technology (Mussolini understood this very early on) can sustain and embrace a project of domination.

Malcolm Pagani, Il Fatto Quotidiano

Marco Bechis describes this relationship of mad, absolute love between the Italians and the Duce in order to describe all the other relationships, physical and immediate, between the cheering populace and their Leader.

Gian Antonio Stella, Corriere della Sera

...here we see snippets of everyday events, which, as they follow each other at breakneck speed (almost like a 1920s Soviet film), ultimately reveal how a project of modernity can arouse the masses.

Wlodek Goldkorn, L'Espresso

"The Luce Institute is an archive of fiction, the most complete fiction we had during those years, not of reality, there's nothing real in there".

Marco Bechis, excerpt from interview

 

           

 

Birdwatchers (2008)

Shown in competition at the 2008 Venice Film Festival

Awards - One World Media, Drama Award (UK); Golden Globes Italia; Motovun Film Festival, Amnesty International.

Directed by Marco Bechis. written by Marco Bechis and Luiz Bolognesi. Editing: Jacopo Quadri scenography and costumes: Caterina Giargia. production: Classic, Karta Film, Raicinema, Gullane. produced by Amedeo Pagani, Marco Bechis, Fabiano Gullane, Caio Gullane. principal cast: Claudio Santamaria, Alicelia Batista Cabreira, Chiara Caselli, Abrisio da Silva Pedro, Ademilson Concianza Verga (Kiki), Ambrosio Vilhalva Mateus Nachtergaele, Fabiane Pereira da Silva, Nelson Concianza, Leonardo Medeiros, Ineia Arce Goncalves, Poli Fernandez Souza, Urbano Palacio.

 

In Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, the farming classes lead a wealthy and leisurely existence. Owning vast swaths of agricultural land, covered with GM (genetically modified) crops, they spend their nights entertaining tourists who have come to the area on bird watching holidays.

Meanwhile, the indigenous Guarani-Kaiowa people live an uneasy existence on the fringes of the farmers land. Treated as another curiosity by the bird watchers they are forced to live on enclosed reserves.

Employment prospects are bleak with little option than to work as semi-slaves on sugar beet plantations. It is a situation that drives many young people to suicide.

One such suicide begins to stir up a rebellion within the local Guarani-Kaiowa community. Led by Nadio and the local shaman the group set up an encampment on the border of a farming estate in a bid to regain the land on which their forefathers are buried. Thus the two opposing worlds are forced to face each other, clashing both ideologically as well as physically. However, both sides are also fascinated and curious about 'the other'. This curiosity begins to flower into relationships, best exemplified by the deep bonds that develop between the young shaman apprentice Osvaldo, and the farmer's daughter Maria.

Press

Bechis works with indigenous people and transforms them into actors [...] And the result is compelling. The film is visually spellbinding. The simple dialogue, pared down to the bone, reflects the essence of the two cultures.

Gigi Riva, L'Espresso

The film is a powerful punch in the stomach [...] A true story. Harsh. Cutting no corners.

Gian Antonio Stella, Corriere della Sera

His cinema is consistent, solid, never sitting on the fence or blandly commercial but impeccable in its style and direction.

Maurizio G. De Bonis, CultFrame

Marco Bechis is very good. His film is deeply felt, it never puts a foot wrong, and is touching.

Adriano Sofri, La Repubblica

I asked myself what lay at the heart of the issue, and one of the possible answers was this: the Argentine army, having perpetrated in 1910 its last massacre of the indigenous population (in other words, having totally exterminated it) and never having been tried for it – and no reappraisal of those facts ever having taken place – may in the 1970s simply have re-read this core experience, and may have seen its young Argentine opponents as “natives”, aliens who must also be exterminated.

Marco Bechis, excerpt from Birdwatchers "Making of"

In a make-shift projection room I showed them two sequences with almost no dialogue (The Birds by Hitchcock; Once Upon a Time in the West by Sergio Leone) [...] what I was mainly after was silences. I warned them, explaining that they were the protagonists of the film but that the supporting actors were professionals who knew very well how to use those silences in a scene and knew very well how to take their time before replying. In front of Leone's and Hitchcock's images they immediately saw what I meant.

Marco Bechis, excerpt from Birdwatchers “Making of”

Very good [...] evocative, surprising, vivid and well constructed.

Nick James, THE OBSERVER (Venice Film Festival 2008)

The best film in the competition was "Birdwatchers" from Marco Bechis, whose background is both European and South American. A drama about a small Brazilian tribe trying to reclaim their ancestral land but rubbing against landowners and their prejudices, it explores rather than parades its liberal agenda, raises questions in an arresting fashion and offers strong performances. If only there was more of the same.

Dave Calhoun, Time Out

A film that gets under your skin

ZDF Heute Journal

A serious contender for the Golden Lion has emerged [...] This technically impressive tale didn't disappoint.

THE TIMES ONLINE

 

 

 

Hijos (2001)

Shown in competition at the 2001 Venice Film Festival

Awards - Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema, premio ASPI; David di Donatello, Migliore Attrice non Protagonista (Stefania Sandrelli); Paris Film Festival, Press Award; Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, premio 'CinemAvvenire' - Cinema for Peace

Director: Marco Bechis. screenwriters: M. Bechis, Lara Fremder, with coll. Enrique Ahirman and Caterina Giargia. fotografia: Fabio Cianchetti. editing: Jacopo Quadri. costumes: Caterina Giargia. scenography: Caterina Giargia, Paolo Polli. original music: Jacques Lederlin, Daniel Buira and "La Chilinga". principal cast Carlos Echevarria (Javier Ramos), Julia Sarano (Rosa Ruggieri), Stefania Sandrelli (Vittoria Ramos), Enrique Pineyro (Raul Ramos), Antonella Costa (Ana)

 

In a distant country a woman is giving birth, while outside two men are waiting to take the baby away. Twins are born, a boy and a girl. The boy is taken away by the men, but the midwife manages to hide the girl (Rosa) inside a bag.

Twenty years later Rosa, having travelled to Milan from Argentina, tells young Javier she is his sister: their real mother is a desaparecida. Javier's "adoptive parents", Argentines who emigrated to Italy, deny this story, but by then doubts have crept into Javier's mind. He decides to follow Rosa to Barcelona to get to the bottom of their strange history. In Barcelona there is a DNA test-centre that can determine their parentage, and it is also where the midwife lives who assisted at their birth.

Press

Few directors in the world, and even fewer in Italy, are able to create films rich in content but also in their visual language and style. Marco Bechis is among those few.

Roberto Nepoti, La Repubblica

Children/Hijos makes no concessions to folksy images or to simplistic historical reconstruction, as if it is asking the viewers to try to question themselves on the moral dilemmas underlying the film and the issues it raises.

Paolo Mereghetti, Corriere della Sera

A harsh, rigourous film that pulls no punches. There can be no conciliation. No justification. Suspended midway between political testimony and Greek tragedy, this film represents a true indictment.

Dario Zonta, l'Unita

Children is a near-perfect film: at the same time measured and intense, capable of provoking emotions without wringing them out of us, realistic while rich in symbolic resonances. Pure style.

Roberto Nepoti, La Repubblica

It is exactly by its portrayal of these parents, who lie and are guilty yet have come to love their "adopted" son, that this film almost touches on a sense of compassion and ventures into the minefield of emotional ambivalence and the double power of memory.

Maurizio Porro, Corriere della Sera

I can almost picture you coming out of the cinema after seeing Children: quiet, angry, involved. Happy as one is after watching a good movie. And cheerful. And furious.

Lidia Ravera, l'Unita

 

 

 

Garage Olimpo (1999)

Cannes Film Festival 1999, Un certain Regard

Awards - Argentinean Film Critics Association, Silver Condor, Migliore Regia e Miglior Montaggio (Jacopo Quadri); Cartagena Film Festival, Golden India Catalina, Miglior Film; David di Donatello, Miglior Produttore (Amedeo Pagani); Havana Film Festival, premio Cuban Critics, premio Glauber Rocha, Grand Coral primo premio, premio Martin Luther King Memorial Center, premio Memoria Documentary  (David Blaustein); premio OCIC; Huelva Latin American Film Festival, Golden Colon; Lleida Latin American Film Festival, premio Sceneggiatura (con Lara Fremder); Lucas - International Festival of Films for Children and Young People, premio C.I.F.E.J. - Menzione Speciale e premio Lucas; Santa Barbara International Film Festival, premio Phoenix; Thessaloniki Film Festival, premio FIPRESCI e Silver Alexander.

Director: Marco Bechis. screenwriters: M. Bechis, Lara Fremder. photography: Ramiro Civita. editing: Jacopo Quadri. costumes: Caterina Giargia. scenography: Romulo Abad, with coll. Jorge Sarudiansky and Esther Musatti. music: Jacques Lederlin. executive production: Daniel Barman, Diego Dubcovsky. principal cast Antonella Costa (Maria), Carlos Echevarria (Felix), Pablo Razuk (Texas), Enrique Piñeyro (Tigre), Marcelo Chaparro (Turco), Adrian Fondari (Rubio), Miguel Oliveira (Nene), Dominique Sanda (Diane, mamma di Maria), Chiara Caselli (Ana, militante), Paola Bechis (Gloria).

 

Maria is a militant activist in an organisation opposed to the military dictatorship in Argentina. She teaches reading and writing in the shanty towns and lives with her mother in an old and run-down residence in which her mother rents out some of the rooms. One of the lodgers, Felix, a young and timid man, is in love with Maria. He seems to have no past nor family and he looks after a garage - at least this what he says. One morning, Maria is carried off, in front of her mother, by a military squad dressed in civilian clothes. The young woman is taken to the Olimpo garage, one of the numerous torture chambers which haunt Buenos Aires to the general indifference of the population. In order to make Maria talk, Tigre, the head of the centre, gives her to one of his best men: Felix, the lodger. Her survival, her only hope of salvation is Felix, her torturer.

Press

Tough, thrilling, uncompromising [...] Bechis's skill lies in directing this story of horrors, too soon forgotten, with extraordinary reserve, never indulging in a superfluous shot or an easy effect, aided by a script that is intelligent and rigorous, and a cast of unknown actors.

Irene Bignardi, La Repubblica

The merit of this uncompromising film is that it reminds us of truths that concern us but are too easily forgotten: the banality of evil, the constant threat posed by the controlling and repressive actions of all bureaucracies.

Goffredo Fofi, Panorama

The memory left by Garage Olimpo lingers, like a stain, like dirt. It is very different from the indignation that leaves us feeling gratified and self-satisfied; it is something longer-lasting, something that sticks to our skin and is hard to get rid of. It is nausea.

Gustavo Noriega, El Amante

I have looked for a personal style in which to narrate, rather than torture itself, the suffering of its victims. The disappearance of prisoners and the silence surrounding their fate were not chance occurrences, but the result of a decision taken scientifically and deliberately at the very start of the military dictatorship (Marco Bechis, Interview - excerpt).

Maria Pia Fusco, La Repubblica

His film is of a sickening, unsparing violence: the table of different voltages needed to match the victim's body weight, alternating with the ordinary sounds of everyday life: pop songs, football, ping pong. The monsters are among us, they clock into work just like us.

Maurizio Porro, Corriere della Sera

 

 

 

Luca's Film (1997)

1996 Locarno Film Festival

Director: Marco Bechis. assistant director and sound: Dante Lomazzi. editing Mirella D'Angelo. music: Jacques Lederlin. executive production: Caterina Giargia. production: Serame Project (Silvia Pizzorno, C. Giargia, M. Bechis, D. Lomazzi). coproduction: Carlo Degli Esposti (Palomar), Achille (Studio Pontaccio), Gianfranco Clerici (Greenmovie).

This documentary, filmed between 1994 and 1996 and made in collaboration with Caterina Giargia, is dedicated to Bechis's friend, the sculptor and photographer Luca Pizzorno. The artist, a Buddhist, died in 1994 and was cremated according to his last wishes. Marco Bechis, Caterina Giargia and Dante Lomazzi took his ashes to India so that they could scatter them in accordance with Buddhist rites. The protagonists of this journey are both the film crew and the subjects of the documentary, which was later edited with fragments of home videos showing Luca's life in Milan. It is a reflection on death in the West and the East that changed forever these people's outlook on life.

Press

Luca's Film is above all a story of friendship.

Pardo News (Locarno Film Festival)

 

 

Alambrado (1991)

Shown in competition at the 1991 Locarno Film Festival

Awards - Havana Film Festival, Grand Coral; IMAGI Madrid.

Director: Marco Bechis - Producers: Roberto Cicutto, Vincenzo De Leo - Executive Producer: Diana Frey - Production Company: An Aura Film/Oscar Kramer - Coproduction in collaboration with Raitre - Screenwriters: Lara Fremder and Marco Bechis - Cinematographer: Esteban Courtalon - Editors: Nino Baragli, Pablo Mari - Music: Jacques Lederlin - Principal Cast: Jacqueline Lustig, Martin Kaiwill, - Arturo Maly, Matthew Marsh, Enrique Ahriman. Italy/Argentina.

 

In Patagonia, a few kilometers from the Strait of Magellan, a relentless wind blows relentlessly all year round. Here, in the middle of nowhere, a timber cottage by the ocean is home to Harvey Logan, an elderly antiquarian of Scottish descent, and his two teenage children: Eva - a restless and sensual seventeen-year-old, and Juan - an introverted, taciturn thirteen-year-old, with an unhealthy attachment to his sister. Both dream of escaping. One day an Englishman called Wilson arrives in the village, wanting to buy Logan's land on behalf of a multinational. The father decides to erect a long wire fence, an alambrado. His efforts to protect his land, however, will end in tragedy.


Press

From Patagonia, one of the best debuts of recent years.

Morando Morandini, Il Giorno

Metaphor and reality blend perfectly in this debut work, proof of a talent capable of encompassing vast open spaces, with a vision that recalls both Antonioni and Flaherty at different times.

Tullio Kezich, Corriere della Sera

The film has originality, solid visual and dramatic quality, and excellent, well-cast actors, among whom the young Jacqueline Lustig stands out for her extraordinary expressive and sensual qualities.

Lietta Tornabuoni, La Stampa

Bechis's debut is good, an affirmation of a sensuality almost unprecedented in film.

Enzo Siciliano, l'Espresso

Bechis directs this bitter and desperate story of obstinacy and loneliness with a measured maturity that is surprising in the work of a newcomer.

Irene Bignardi, La Repubblica

A triumphant exploration of a place un-touched by time, The Fence is ever explosive

Catherine Schulman, Sundance Film Festival 1993

 


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