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    Tracking truth beyond the frontiers of dawn

    INTERVIEW: Gianfranco Rosi speaks to Modern Times Review on new film, Notturno.

    The blue sky of day is a pretty lie, an azure veil of sunlight’s refraction through gases and particles; only during hours of clear-sky darkness can we see our true position in the cosmos. This little-acknowledged truth comes to mind during Notturno, the sixth film by master documentarian Gianfranco Rosi — IDFA 2020’s Guest Of Honour. But while decidedly «of the night,» this portrait of people and places on the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon does not unfold entirely post-sundown.

    Photophobia

    One of five living individuals to have won both Venice’s Golden Lion (Sacro Gra, 2013) and Berlin’s Golden Bear (Fire At Sea, 2016), Rome-based Rosi shuns broad daylight: «I’m photophobic, I hate too much light,» he tells me after a Viennale screening of Notturno. «And I don’t like blue sky. I cannot take a picture if there’s a blue sky… even a video — I have to be ‘protected.’»

    «At the beginning, the idea was to shoot this film at night, because I was confronting myself with a world . . .

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    Neil Young
    Young is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

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