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On “Defending Cinema in Los Angeles”, the Manifesto of Locarno in L.A.

Los Angeles, 22 April 2017 — Opening night of the inaugural Locarno in Los Angeles film festival at Downtown Independent needs to be recognized for its bold effort to rescue the city from the non-stop, wall-to-wall, suffocating onslaught of ever more commercial glut. We desperately need a revolution of our mental eating habits saturated with the sugary drinks of 80% CGI sprinkled with faux sentimentality that treats us as unsuspecting kindergarteners, an easy prey for inducing a life-long addiction to nonsense.

Los Angeles is at the cutting edge of the 21st century artistic frontier in many creative disciplines and we deserve better in cinema too. This is not a question of “liking” a film. It is healthy to dislike, to critique, to shout at the programmer who put you through the rigmarole of watching “slow film” that is so opaque that it makes you angry – and that provokes you to express your opinion and engage in a heated discussion with your next-seat neighbor, perhaps a nerdy cinephile who drives you crazy with haughty references to movies you have never seen or heard of. It is healthy! As it was healthy when the LA Phil embarked in 1992 on a bold adventure with the young conductor Esa Pekka-Salonen who pushed the orchestra, as well as the audience and sponsors, to experience avant-garde programming with contemporary, experimental, innovative composers. Today LA Phil is the envy of the music world, and a world-class orchestra.

Avant-garde gives new life to everything, even the standard, run-of-the-mill programs. We need cinema that will challenge us, enrage, puzzle and delight in ways we didn’t even know we could be stimulated. It gives health-food nourishment to our poor aneurism-clogged brains and nudges our cerebral power plant to awake from the stupor of the tiresome new age and science-averse pretentious spirituality. We need it to jolt us to a state of wonder by bringing bold cinema to our Hollywood shores.

Vera Mijojlic

Artistic Director of SEEfest 


Two SEE films on the LoLA program on Sunday, 4/23: All the Cities of the North, with Serbian director Dane Komljen in person; and Scarred Hearts, by Romanian director Radu Jude. 

Locarno in L.A. web site

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