Il 20 aprile scorso Jia Zhangke, forse il più importante e influente regista cinese della sua generazione, ha scritto una lettera aperta sul futuro del cinema, post pandemia, rilanciata dal sito Filmkrant.nl.
Le sue parole prendono le mosse dalla sua esperienza personale, con la quarantena che gli è stata imposta nel suo paese, di ritorno dal Festival di Berlino dove aveva presentato il suo ultimo documentario Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue.
La cattività indotta dall’isolamento gli suggerisce un parallelo con l’esordio del capolavoro di Marquez, Cent’anni di solitudine citato quasi puntualmente: “Many years later, as I faced the coronavirus pandemic, I was to remember that distant afternoon when my father took me to discover cinema”.
Il piano dei ricordi prende il sopravvento: “Every film screening was packed with hundreds of audiences, even the hallways were fully taken. Later then, the multiplex cinema became a trend in China. A room of a hundred seats is already a big venue for screening. But it’s ok, we could still meet in the cinema, seeing a film together and knowing that we have each other in the dark.
Durante la pandemia tutto è finito, improvvisamente: “The current pandemic has dispersed every individual from social agglomerations, isolating each of us from cinemas, coffee bars, offices and stadiums”.
L’idea della lettera viene forse da un corto, commissionatogli dal Festival di Salonicco, durante il lockdown: “It was a work in confinement, titled Visit, filmed by a mobile phone. It’s only 3 minutes long, a trivial story in the pandemic days. When I looked at the world again through the frame of camera, I felt like a baby learning to stand up and walk – difficult, but exciting at the same time.
It made me think that we shall stand up to this pandemic, still walking forward for the sake of the trying time we’ve lived through, thus, to face the world honestly and with courage. I am hoping that we could go back to cinema early, sitting together, shoulder to shoulder.
This is the most beautiful gesture of mankind.”
Apichatpong comincia la sua riflessione della parola journey (viaggio, percorso, cammino): “This morning I was thinking about a word, ‘journey,’ and how we have related to it. When we were young on a road trip, our restless mind prompted us to repeat: ‘Are we there yet?’, ‘When are we going to arrive?’ As we grew older we paid more attention to the passing scenery. A movie itself is a journey. It drives us towards different dramatic points […].
Unlike a movie, this Covid-19 journey’s destination is vague. Unlike a road trip, we are not moving. Most of us stay put in our homes. We look out of our windows to the same scenery and… we keep looking.
Forse sta nascendo un nuovo tipo di cineasti: “Perhaps this current situation will breed a group of people who have developed an ability to stay in the present moment longer than others. They can stare at certain things for a long time. They thrive in total awareness.
After we have defeated the virus, when the cinema industry has woken up from its stupor, this new group, as moviegoers, wouldn’t want to take the same old cinema journey. They have mastered the art of looking; at the neighbors, at the rooftops, at the computer screens. They have trained through countless video calls with friends, through group dinners captured in one continuous camera angle. They need a cinema that is closer to real life, in real time. They want the cinema of Now which possesses no fillers nor destination”.
Qui la sua lettera diventa una sorta di parabola scherzosa. A quel punto ci si ricorderà che molti hanno già lavorato così in passato:“Then they will be introduced to the films of Béla Tarr, Tsai Ming-Liang, Lucrecia Martel, maybe Apichatpong and Pedro Costa, among others. For a period of time, these obscure filmmakers would become millionaires from a surge of ticket sales. They would acquire new sunglasses and troops of security guards. They would buy mansions and cars and cigarette factories and stop making films”.
Eppure anche loro potrebbero essere considerati troppo narrativi: “But soon the audience would accuse this slow cinema of being too fast. Protest signs would appear, reading: “We demand zero plots, no camera movement, no cuts, no music, nothing.”
La conclusione è paradossale: “A Covid-19 Cinema Manifesto (CCM) would be drawn up for cinema to liberate itself from its structure and its own journey. “Our cinema has no place for psychological gratifications. The perpetual destination is the audience, the enlightened.”
In the dark halls in major cities, people would stare at the pure white light”.
Poi a poco a poco e clandestinamente, le cose cominceranno a cambiare ancora: “One day a young man says he has made a film. He leads his agitated friends to his basement and shows them his creation. The group is shocked to discover that the film contains something.
The dangerous screenings continue despite official bans. In bunkers, in sheds, nervous people squeeze in to see something – tree branches, the sea, the wind, for hours. Forbidden materials will circulate. They are being stitched together hastily.[…]
A train approaches the station. Its engine moves out of frame to the left. People on the platform greets the passengers as they step down.
The shot lasts 50 seconds.
On a bright day, a door opens,
and the workers are leaving a factory
for 46 seconds.”
E il cinema ricomincia da capo.