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curated by Carlotta Magistris

Coming of age means to become, namely a time of transition following what comes after a break, what shakes the foundations and what changes with no way back the sense of self and of the environment that determines it. It comes from the inside, from the outside, it turns on and off during every age of one’s own life, the ones bound to changes and the ones which are not.
Absolute Beginners is a selection of gazes, each unique, on the different shapes that this break can embody in the life of each person. There is love, growth, pain, addiction and death, harsh factors of the endless search for a self which is complex to build, to define and to place in an environment with which it seems more and more difficult to communicate.

The selected movies

curated by Carlotta Magistris

Blaue Flecken (Bruises) by Martin Oliver Czaja, Germany, 2018
Bloeistraat 11 by Nienke Deutz, Belgium / The Netherlands, 2018
Braises by Estelle Gattlen, Sarah Rothenberger, Switzerland, 2018
Desaliento (Despondency) by Pinky Alonso, Spain, 2018
El Último Romántico by Natalia García Agraz, Mexico, 2018
Fauve by Jeremy Comte, Canada, 2018
Kado (The Gift) by Aditya Ahmad, Indonesia, 2018
Smáfuglar (Two Birds) by Rúnar Rúnarsson, Iceland, 2008
Touche Dièse (Hash Key) by Erwan Alépée, France, 2018
Verde by Victoria Rivera, Columbia, 2016
Yulia & Juliet by Zara Dwinger, Netherlands, 2018

Set in an underground black and white Berlin and starring two late teenage girls with a passion for hip-hop, the film tells with naturalness and realism the impossibility of pursuing the same dream in two. From sexism for the female attempt to be part of a cultural environment that requires a woman to work harder to achieve credibility, to the meaning of achieving the goal of fame and self-realization, to the awareness – vaguely untroubled after disillusionment – of one’s own limits and differences, the story is an effective parable of the search for an artistic self, in which it is difficult to believe in and which is difficult to express.

A unique Flemish animation tells the universal dynamic of confrontation between two friends in their transition from childhood to puberty. Through a metaphorical representation of pain, the two of them face with the dichotomy of competitiveness and complicity typical of the transition phases of female relationships the change of their bodies, of their personalities and of their conception of the external world, discovering themselves and learning to live through the unintelligible discomfort of that difficult age.

An atypical animation: Braises tells in an extremely symbolic key a natural and delicate coming of age, the one that starts from the self and returns to it through the changes that one’s body and one’s life require. The duties, the changing perspectives, the bittersweet and progressive passage into the adult world, a world which transforms one’s own idea of reality and time: all of this is expressed in an animated aesthetic with pastel tones that sugar-coat these difficulties.


Pop colours and an Iberian aroma which recalls Almodovar stud the fifteen minutes of Desaliento: an opera verging on the grotesque and the paradoxical, a screenplay featuring two individuals in a room, after love, and their climax of flow of consciousness, with characters and situations, exaggerated till acquiring comic-book nuances, a dialectic race towards an ending which gets through the screen.

A naive Mexican film in the footsteps of an American indie that seems to have become popular in recent years, El Ultimo Romantico tells a story of the classic and sweet coming of age that winks at a Wesandersonian aesthetic. A main character as shy and bizarre as the development of his personal story finds himself struggling with the torments of undeclared love, fighting himself and his own character limits in order to overcome weaknesses and to approach an object of desire tenderly complementary to him.

Canadian film nominated for an Oscar in 2018, Fauve is the story of the shock of a premature encounter with death, the one with neither outcome nor narrative or explanation, the one with the chasms – internal and external – which it carries with itself. With extremely long narrative times, standing out for the two preadolescent main characters remarkable interpretation, and for a photograph of great aesthetic impact, the film speaks directly to the stomach and twists it, leaving the viewer’s gaze suspended towards those who remain in search of a way to atone for the trauma.


Awarded at the Venice Film Festival 2018, Kado (a gift) is the story of an immature love immersed in a difficult Indonesian context, the one from which the short film comes from, and of all the small and great acts of rebellion that accompany its construction and the struggle to keep it alive and real, despite the complicated exterior in which it finds itself flourishing. Everything is told through close-ups, delicate smiles, exchanges of roles and a sweet and open ending on an unpredictable becoming that puts a sweet and sour smile on the face of the viewer.

The 2009-Icelandic film, really evocative, Two Birds is the story of an immature love, which is traditionally and dramatically adolescent. Moving from the rarefied northern and outer atmospheres of its geographical context to the inner ones of a carefree party among friends with a dark epilogue, the narrative, which is not so straightforward, paints a suggestive dichotomy between tenderness and cruelty. A dichotomy which is typical of a certain northern European cinema and that embodies the core this focus Coming of age investigates.


Fixed frame, a telephone conversation, less than three minutes of shooting: a jewel of a micro screenplay characterised by lightness and brightness, sharp and effective, with a realism that knocks on the door of the paradox in its atypical representation of the twist of the break, while maintaining though a pervading ironic vein that is the strength of the short film.

With an intimacy and familiarity which characterize a certain South American cinema, Verde is the story of the growth of two sisters and of the mutual personal changes which inexorably undermine their relationship, disturbing it, creating inevitable comparisons between two bodies which change and seek the way to continue to communicate with each other. A delicate and fragile clash with the inside and the outside that leaves space to silences and insecurities to reach an end that is nothing but the beginning of maturity.

Pink hair and light makeup, Yulia&Juliet is a sort of pop, contemporary and saffic reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in which the archaic tragedy of impossible love between two different families turns into the suffering of a late adolescent love that is difficult to live with oneself and with others. An as intimate as inconsolable suffering within one’s own mind, to the excesses of the irrationality of a story that, although being so extreme, remains effective and real.