Michelangelo Frammartino: “Film Is the Greatest Gift for Us”
The 12th BJIFF Organizing Committee officially announced that Michelangelo Frammartino, an Italian director and producer, will serve as the Jury Member of the “Tiantan Award”.
In 2021, he won the Special Jury Prize in the main competition section of the 78th Venice International Film Festival for his film The Hole. The film was revealed to audiences at the Premieres of the 11th BJIFF "Beijing Film Panorama". During the screening, it was hard to get a ticket, and it won unanimous praise from the audience. In 2022, Michelangelo Frammartino will be the jury president of the Lion of the Future (for a debut film) at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.
Poster for Michelangelo as Jury Member of “Tiantan Award”
Apart from a filmmaker, Frammartino also has many other identities such as architect and artist. He used to study architecture at the Politecnico di Milano where he shaped a kind of unique perspective: houses were made of cement, timbers and stones; while films are composed of music, footage and editing. Building a house is similar to producing a film since new works are all created and assembled with different materials. Another similarity is that both architectures and films are the great works originated from human ingenuity.
In his eyes, humans as well as all the other creatures on earth are fundamentally composed of different materials. The way of exploration full of philosophical speculation has also been reflected in his films, and it has become an important proposition of his films — continuous exploration of human-nature relationship. For this end, he always aims his cameras and stories at the villages and the nature. A tree or a mountain may become the protagonist in his film.
Poster for the film The Hole
Frammartino also has his unique insights into the diversification of art forms due to his various identities and rich experience. He believes that human beings are suffering from the unprecedented “loneliness” despite the continuous development of science and enrichment of artistic expressions. Although we can communicate with others at any time through advanced technology in modern era, we have a more demands for the depth and breadth of contact with the outside world. Human beings are becoming more lonely due to the fast technological innovation. Obviously, Frammartino has focused his sights on more distant future.
Behind the reflections is his pursuit for the free ideal. He believes that we should actively interpret the art of film with our free wills instead of being manipulated by the commercialized films. During his childhood, TV and films were filled with the programs schemed by the commercial society, which greatly compressed the space of independent thinking for the audience. He once mocked that it was like the “exams with the hints by the teacher”. In his eyes, films are valuable because they can precisely convey the ideas hard to be expressed in words and arouse the profound reflection among the audience, rather than simply presenting a framed story, a plot and several characters.
The Four Times
Frammartino has also been trying innovation and breakthroughs in filming techniques. In the film The Four Times, he once replaced the traditional perspective with that of animals or plants so as to intentionally reduce the existence of camera, make the audience hard to bring their own perspectives of daily observation. Only in this way can the audience get truly integrated into the film for "pure enjoyment”. This attempt with creative ideas helps him produce the so-called "film without camera”.
As a director, Frammartino is willing to give the audience the freedom of choice to the greatest extent. People used to spend a whole day in the cinema with only one ticket. Some audience may choose to enjoy the film in the middle after entering the cinema and then start to watch from the beginning later. Being inspired by this unusual way of film watching against the routines, he created the film The Tree, which presents repeated cycles with free will just like the alternation of the sun and the moon as well as the ebb and flow.
For him, the camera is a tool to perceive and capture the human-nature relationship. He hopes to reproduce the reality with the camera through his creation so as to provoke the independent thinking of every audience. In 2022, he is invited to serve as a Jury Member of the “Tiantan Award” at the 12th BJIFF. We hope that he can present a different way of film interpretation and bring us back to the origin of film art.