Yuri Ancarani. The Challenge at MAXXI Auditorium

Film still from the Challenge, 2016


The Challenge, the latest film by the artist Yuri Ancarani (a winner in the Cineasti del presenti section of the 69th Locarno Film Festival) will be screened at MAXXI within the ambit of the artapes season on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at 6pm.  The audience will also have the opportunity to meet the director and engage with the film’s ideas as a conversation between Yuri Ancarani, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi  (MAXXI Art Director) and Lorenzo Gigotti (Head of Content, NERO) will follow the screening.

In The Challege (2016, 69min, colours, arabic, with english/french/italian subtitles), director Yuri Ancarani crosses the Persian Gulf to accompany a falconer to an important competition. Among SUVs, Lamborghini, private jets and Mad Max-like dune bashing contests, the film tells the story of an intense weekend in the desert.

Falconry has a history that stretches back over 40 centuries. In the West it was a prevailing passion of the medieval aristocracy, but its prestige continues undiminished in contemporary Arab culture. Three years of observing this form of hunting in the field have made it possible to capture the spirit of a tradition that today allows its practitioners to keep a close rapport with the desert, despite their predominantly urban lifestyle. Our guide to how they cross that threshold is a falconer taking his birds to compete in a tournament in Qatar. In the glaring light of an empty landscape, following flight lines and lures, the film recounts a strange kind of “desert weekend,” in which technological and anthropological microcosms hang in the air, like the falcon, drifting on the irreversible currents of images.

There is no dialogue in the film, but the sound and acoustic dimension is just as engaging as the visual one, with a soundtrack by Lorenzo Senni and Francesco Fantini. The film is produced by Ring Film.

Director’s statement:

“The Challenge” is a complex film, even if the viewing is fluid and relaxed. Getting to that desert is simple, you take a flight, a guide, you go for a tour of 2 or 3 hours, you ride a camel and then you go back to the city. Stopping and looking carefully is almost impossibile. I realized that the life in these new metropolis like Dubai or Doha is for everyone, but not for Bedouins, who keep loving their desert and need to live it fully and intensely. It is a matter of tradition.

MAXXI (Auditorium) – Via Guido Reni 4A – 00196 Roma
Tuesday 12 September, 6-7.30pm
admittance € 5
free for myMAXXI cardholders (the first 10 places may be reserved by writing to mymaxxi@fondazionemaxxi.it by the day before the event, subject to availability)