Rolando Benedick: “The Leopard is for Cinephiles, the Leopard is for the Audience, Netflix & Co is the future”


Rolando Benedick, president of the Leopard Club, eclectic, cultured and obviously a cinephile, talks to Ticinolive. he is the founder of the Leopard, the prestigious link between cinephilia, culture and the future.

Talk about movies

la mia attrice preferita? Catherine Deneuve. La nuova frontiera del cinema? Netflix e gli altri canali, per il " posso guardarmi un film dove, come e quando voglio".

and spares no criticism of current affairs:

La La Land? Non meritava tutto questo successo. Emma Stone? Non so come l'abbia ottenuto. Revenant? Dopo un'ora sono uscito.

“In Paris and Milan I cultivated cinephilia, together with my wife. It was the cinema of the 70s, and we followed all the novelties that came out, both high-quality and popular. Then the Locarno Festival suffered a sudden and very strong decline. So Gianini from UBS decided to bring the festival into our sphere, engaging sponsors and innovation. I collaborated with the Festival for 10 years, until the 90s. It was a power! But not only thanks to me, but rather thanks to the president at the time. Then we went out as sponsors, then Marco Solari arrived again, at whose request I accepted with great pleasure to be a sponsor again, and then I – we – decided to create the Leopard.”

Leopard is the extension of the literary Leopard?
It is simply the story of how a group of cinephile friends decided to extend cinema to those interested or lovers of it, to make them participate, to widen the vortex of participation.
What do you think of Marco Solari?
May he be lucky to have him as president!

In review at Pardo70 there are many arthouse films, but Atomic Blonde is not missing, for example, which will soon invade the cinemas of every feeling. What do you think is the relationship between arthouse, elite cinema and popular cinema?
The Festival has a duty to bring films for all genres of the world, to be avant-garde for the general public, to show what the film of the future could be, because cinema, whether we like it or not, is changing .

Rolando Benedick (photo by Francesco De Maria, Ticinolive)

In what direction?
In all. There are those who say negatively, those who think positively. The future, in my opinion, is dictated by the emblematic arrival of Netflix and other similar frontiers. The visual world is changing strongly, an actor earns more by making a TV series than a film. A TV series takes about 18 episodes, each about 50 minutes long with two intertwining stories. All this implies: 1) a faster conception 2) less logic and understanding that you don’t normally have in a 100-minute film. Finally, all the new generations with the new means go less to the cinema. And above all, they can see a film how, when and where they want.
An advantage of the individual at the expense of culture?
There is culture in the scenes. Netflix also makes culture films, which make you think. Then there are the entertainment ones. I think for example of House of card, The Good Wife, Suits (the one about lawyers), I too watch Netflix on my tablet. It is clear then that the material is 70% fiction. They create spannung, tension, interest through fiction. But that’s not the problem.
What has changed from the colossals of the past to today’s Netflix?
All. From the lifestyle, to the needs, to the way of thinking. Fake news, for example, is an emblem of this. My niece is two years old and she uses the I-pad, when she looks at a newspaper she tries to spread the pages with her thumbs.
What is technology today?
Another relationship. For some, it’s negative: we talk less, even if there are five or six of us arguing, you have the phone at hand. For others positive. There is more communication, one wonders “where are you?” “What are you doing?”
What is a selfie today?
It is the moment that you live. It’s saying “I was there too having fun/leisure/building myself.
Why didn’t there be a need to share one’s moments until a few years ago?
But it always has! It’s about curiosity, and the desire on both sides to satisfy it. “Where were you last night?”
Do you think directors are unable to tell everyone everything, due to the difference in age that separates them from the audience (both in terms of youth and old age)?
I do not believe. House of Cards or games of Thrones have viewers from 12 to 100 years old.
What does cinema tell us today?
Cinema should tell the world.
What about worldliness? Is Al Pardo too much or too little?
It’s never too much or too little, we’re not in Cannes or Venice where people go to show themselves, and where the important thing is to be present. Il Pardo is made for cinephiles and their needs.
Meaning what?
It is well differentiated. The Piazza Grande has a story of its own, one of leisure and pleasure. The contest is made for cinephiles.
Your favorite actress?
Catherine Deneuve.
His favorite actor?
There are many. Adrien Brody (awarded on August 4 ed) is an intelligent boy, with clear political ideas.
What do you think of The pianistwho consecrated him?
It’s a beautiful film, a mixture of important themes such as war, Nazism, survival, courage. 100 times nicer than La La Land.

Was La La Land too acclaimed? How come?
I’ve never understood that. Apart from the 25 minutes of the second half in which sophisticated cinematographic techniques appear, it is boring, repetitive and offers nothing new.
Didn’t Emma Stone deserve an Oscar?
It’s hard to understand why it was so successful.
What should a film be like for her?
Two intertwined stories, indecipherability and surprise for the viewer, and never to be taken for granted.
And of Revenants what do you think?
I walked out after an hour.
Does politics influence cinema? and does communication influence politics?
In dictatorial countries yes. However in democracies communication is everything. Consider, for example, the phenomenon of Trump. Or even better, to that of Macron. He won because his older wife and his actual youth don’t matter that much. We liked his different way of communicating, his new ideas, his effective freshness and novelty.
And its beauty?
It will be nice for her. For me no.
Who is your favorite poet?
Rimbaud. He was a misunderstood revolutionary. Gay, he was in a relationship with an older man, Verlaine, and for his time it was decidedly against the tide.
And the film Eclipse Total, where Rimbaud was played by DiCaprio, did you like it?
Not particularly.
Have you ever been behind the camera?
When my kids were little I filmed them.
Locarno develops on different levels, from culture, to cinema, to worldliness. What do you think?
Locarno is developing internationally. Are people today trying to be both intellectual and entertained? All this can be found in Locarno. A mix between the two plans is more than fair. It’s when it’s all right or all left that it’s wrong.

What do we conclude with?
The importance. The Locarno Film Festival has become a must. Locarno is a center of reflection, many truths, many things. It is the only festival that takes place in Ticino having a European resonance, it is one of the five major events of the year. To fully enjoy it, the public must accept its plurality, adapt everything, learn to live in its time. One of the merits of this Festival is the ability to bring the public refined films, in addition to the big blockbuster. However, it takes care to choose. Who, for example, chooses and decides that an eight-hour film should win? Certainly a very small audience. You have to look at today, only then will you be successful.

Interview by Chantal Fantuzzi

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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