Tokyo Ride and La Nave: the films not miss at the Milan Design Film Festival 2020

In conjunction with the general lockdown in Italy, this year’s edition of the MDFF will be virtual and for free: from 6 to 8 November 2020, more than 40 films will be streamed on the festival’s website under the title “Re-connect”.

The Milan Design Film Festival 2020 prophetically arrives at the start of the second lockdown in Italy. In its online version it will not have the sociality of the screenings at the Triennale Museum or at the Anteo cinema, but there is an advantage: all screenings – or rather live streaming – follow one another and do not overlap. For once you can indulge in a marathon of exceptional films on architecture, design, nature and food.

The Festival is in its eighth edition and will be presented in a digital format on In addition to the films there will be the usual talks (pre–recorded) and the final award on the last day. For this year curators Silvia Robertazzi and Porzia Bergamasco have chosen the theme “re–connect” a word that “awakens attention and conscience on the priorities of collective life and the Planet”.

Unlike the previous editions this year there are no preview trailers available, but it seems that the films are not to be missed. At a quick glance at the programme – which, as usual, starts on Friday evening and ends on Sunday with the announcement of the winning film at 7:00 p.m. – we can enjoy 45 films, of which 24 were released in 2020 and 15 in 2019, 8 world premieres, 3 European premieres and 10 Italian premieres with films shot all over the world, from Turkey to Canada, from Japan to Mexico.

Among this year’s novelties, guest curators Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra, from the architecture studio Barreca & La Varra in Milan, curated the section “CIAK IN ITALY. Foreign directors in the Italian landscape” to tell with the eyes of international creatives the Italian territory. “Food” is the section curated by Stefano Maffei, architect and professor at the School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano, who has selected five films to talk about food at 360 degrees, passing from the origins of production to the ritual and ancestral sphere.

Films not to be missed

Tokyo Ride by Bêka & Lemoine, France, 2020 - Italian première
Friday 6 November at 22:30.

Synopsis: A black and white, road movie style. Riding a vintage car, the legendary Alfa Romeo Giulia, there is Ryūe Nishizawa, one of the most talented and renowned Japanese architects who, for a whole day, leads us through the frenzy of the streets of Tokyo, his hometown. The co-founder of the studio SANAA shows buildings that have influenced him in recent years, as well as historical sites to which he is particularly attached, and also makes a stop in the studio and in the (beautiful) home of his partner Kazuyo Sejima.

La nave by Hans Wilschut, The Netherlands 2020
Friday 6 November at 21:15

Synopsis: Naples, Le Vele, Scampia. Always in the news, the residential complex is among the most famous in the history of Italian and international architecture. And it is among the most famous projects of Franz Di Salvo (1913-1977), dating back to 1962. Initially praised for the modernity of its design vision, its construction, begun in 1975, instead continues to be the center of controversy.  

Paradigma Olivetti and Prospettiva Olivetti by Davide Maffei, Italy, 2020 - world première
Friday 6 November at 19:15
Saturday 7 November at 12:30

Synopsis: the two films recount the philosophy and industrial development of the Ivrea-based company in the "after Adriano". A story capable of renewing an entire product and architectural entrepreneurial culture thanks to the contribution of visionary and innovative designers and planners such as Ettore Sottsass, Mario Bellini, Michele de Lucchi, Gae Aulenti, Kenzo Tange and Luis Kahn to name a few.

Il condominio inclinato. Bergamo, sole, casbah, pollai e terrazze fiorite, by Alberto Valtellina, Paolo Vitali, Italy 2020 - European première
Saturday 7 November, at 18:15

Synopsis: the cinematic exploration takes us to the condominiums "Terrazze fiorite" and "Bergamo Sole", milestones of the works of architects Giuseppe Gambirasio and Giorgio Zenoni and important areas of Bergamo's expansion. Divided by a park, built between 1976 and 1979, they are today witnesses of the development of a culture of living realized in the interaction between the architectural quality of the space - public and private - and its inhabitants.

Un giorno in cantiere: l’Argentario, Francesco Clerici, Italy 2020 - world première
Saturday 7 November at 19:45

Synopsis: In the extraordinary setting of the Argentario, a day of ordinary administration by architects Giuseppe Raboni and Michelle Montefusco (Studio Monzini & Raboni), in a building site that becomes a mosaic of humanity at work, manual skills and landscapes of surreal beauty.

Next Sunday by Marta Bogdanska, Poland 2019
Sunday 8 November, at 17:00

Synopsis: In Tripoli, the younger generations have taken possession of the exhibition center designed by Oscar Niemeyer, which remained unfinished in 1975.

Autonomy by Alex Horwitz, USA 2019 - Italian première
Sunday 8 November, at 17:15

Synopsis: Film centered on the emerging technology of self-driving cars that also dwells on the big questions that this challenge in the automotive industry is triggering in society, coming to make us ask ourselves if technology always tends to progress.

Human Nature by Adam Bolt, USA 2019
Saturday 7 November at 22:30

Synopsis: A documentary about a recent biological discovery: it is called CRISPR and consists in the targeted correction of a DNA sequence. Although it was already possible to isolate the altered gene responsible for a hereditary disease, until now it was not possible to replace it with the non-defective gene, because there was no way to introduce it into the cell chromosome in the correct position. The possible applications appear endless.

More films to watch

La Sapienza by Eugène Green, Italy/France 2014 (Friday 6 November at 19:30)
Charlotte Perriand. Pionnière de l’art de vivre by Stéphane Guez, Francia 2019 (Saturday 7 November at 16:00)
Les impatients by Alexandre Humbert, Croatia/Belgium/The Netherlands 2020 (Saturday 7 November at 16:20)
Notes from a Mud Hut. The Maji Moto Primary school expansion project by Francesco Clerici, Italy/Belgium/Tanzania 2020 - world première (Saturday 7 November, at 18:15)
What it takes to make a home? by Daniel Schwartz, Canada 2019 (Saturday 7 November 20:45)
Magical Imperfection. The Life and Architecture of Raymond Moriyama by Scott Calbeck, Canada 2020 - European première (Friday 6 November at 21:15)
Y en cada lenteja un Dios di Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Spain 2018 - Italian première (Friday 6 November at 22:30)
The Arch by Alessandra Stefani, Italy 2020 - italian première (Sunday 8 November at 17:30)

Milan Design Film Festival 2020
6-8 November 2020

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