Today begins a new edition of Thursday of Chilean Cinema and we are focusing on the cinematographic poetic style of the Chilean-Spanish director Théo Court, who won the Silver Lion for Best Director in the Orizzonti Section at the 2019 Venice Film Festival for his film White on White.
During one week the spotlight will be on his first works, Ocaso (2010) and El espino (2005), films that built his path as a cult filmmaker with an intriguing pictorial exploration, steps that led to a cinematographic maturity and that allowed him to create one of the most important national films of 2019.
White on White amazed audiences with its striking theme, impeccable visuality and subtle yet powerful performances and was screened at various film events such as the Venice Film Festival, the Vienna Film Festival, the Busan Film Festival and the Rotterdam Film Festival, among others. Set in the early 20th century in Tierra del Fuego (Chile), the film stars actor Alfredo Castro and portrays the fate of a society forged on death. The film’s topics (which we hope to share with national audiences soon) and its amazing pictorial constructions create a common narrative with the rest of Ocaso’s filmography and today you can discover these connections in our Thursday of Chilean Cinema program.
Ocaso, Court’s debut feature film, is key to recognize his visual stamp, using the transmutation between the light and dark as a metaphor of the interiority of his characters. Written thanks to the Hubert Bals Fund, it was premiered internationally at the 2011 Rotterdam Film Festival and had an extensive distribution of international film events, such as: Münich, Los Angeles, BAFICI, Las Palmas, Valdivia, Trieste, among many others. This same year he was chosen by the Museum of the Moving Image in New York for the exhibition First Look, where they curate and select the 15 best films of the year.
This film draws attention due to its minimalist and powerful performances that focus on decadence and routine, questioning the value of preservation and tradition. Following the life of an old farm butler who lives next to his landlord, the past of a glorious family begins to be unveiled, actions and gestures become the only way to maintain that household and those lives humiliated in memory.
El espino was Court’s college graduation thesis. It is an 18-minute film recorded in 35mm and made during his studies at the EICTV School in Cuba. He was selected at the prestigious Cinéfondation at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
It is a silent dystopia, full of poetry and mystery. In this story there are three characters: a man, a lame woman and an old man; all in a strange and solitary territory. An invisible premonition stalks the place and the characters who live in it. The characters flee somewhere else without destination, to a place that they do not even know what it is. This journey, which reflects the unconscious of the characters and also of a whole society, is a vital indication of the position that Court takes in front of cinema and that continues to keep in his prolific career.