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Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi), starring Elio Germano as the self-taught artist Antonio Ligabue

A number of art films that had their premiere at the Berlinale International Film Festival this year (20 February-1 March), should soon start making their ways to theatres—depending on closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the biographic film Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi), Elio Germano plays Antonio Ligabue (1899-1965), Italys best known self-taught/naïve artist, who bounced in and out of insane asylums. In a Grand Guignol style that makes subtitles unnecessary, Germano gets his hands dirty in paint and clay and even grunts Ligabue into a romance.

The films director Giorgio Diritti celebrates Ligabue as a misunderstood and mistreated tactile genius, as the film piles on the clichés about artistic expression and victimhood. Fascists want to punish Ligabue. Dealers want to cheat him. All are shown to have ulterior motives except the artist hugging the farm animals. The camera lingers on Ligabues work, from self-portraits to jungle scenes, plus sculptures slapped together in wet clay, enough to make it likely that Ligabues market will rise.

Also filmed in Italy, the melodrama Pompei, directed and written by Anna Falgueres and John Shank, is set in the modern-day slums in the shadow of Vesuvius. Here, youth turned feral by poverty, scavenge for first loves and for anything to sell, evoking the despair of post-war Italian neo-realism and Luis Buñuels tragic story of Mexican street children, Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned). The location being what it is, these kids sell foraged fragments of antiquities for pennies. A complex set of rules emerges behind the seeming anarchy of parentless children.

Ancient Pompeii is a perennial backdrop for sundrenched “sex and sandals” screen epics. This film, however, will test whether rebellious antiquities thieves can draw a young crowd to cinemas. The Canadian TV heart throb Aliocha Schneider in the cast should help. So should his co-star Garance Marrillier, who played a vegetarian-turned-cannibal in the 2017 gore-fest Raw.

A still from The American Sector, by Courtney Stephens and Pancho Velez

The American Sector, a quirky and improbably cerebral US documentary by Courtney Stephens and Pancho Velez, visits some 75 stelae that were once sections of the Berlin Wall and are now dotted across in the US—from bleak South Dakota to downtown Miami. Collected by American institutions, individuRead More – Source

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