Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

CPH:DOX 2017: BITTER MONEY BY WANG BING

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It seems that with each consecutive documentary, Wang Bing gets closer to narrate the real experience of human drama in rural China. In Bing’s camera, his country becomes a hostile environment which must be dealt head on, a rural and urban labyrinth to be traversed by these disenfranchised citizens, who seem to abandon any possibility of true hope to deal with the cruel reality of raging capitalism and its consequences.

CPH:DOX 2017: RAGE BY DOMINIQUE LOHLÉ AND GUY-MARC HINANT

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By Ivonne Sheen

The sound vibrations you feel in a techno rave can be described as intense, kind of violent, raw, but mainly cathartic (to the ones we enjoy it), like the feeling of the drummer who opens this film. Rage addresses about Acid Techno music and all the underground culture around it. The film sets a dialogue about Anarchy and Techno which comes and goes from theoretical talks to sensorial documentary with found footage and lots of music. Through and anarchic narrative we are immersed in a ecosystem of philosophical and performative interviews, and hardcore beats, which gives us an organic point of view of social phenomenons against the system, such as Anarchy and Techno.

CPH:DOX 2017: CRAIGSLIST ALLSTARS BY SAMIRA ELAGOZ

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By Morella Moret

Craigslist Allstars is a postmodern tale of the loneliness of man. The director Samira Elagoz opens the film with an e-mail: she contacts strangers so she can then record herself meeting them and anything that happens in the process. She listens to them, disinhibits them and creates a safe place for them to present their secrets and deepest pains, and we are there to witness this.

CPH: DOX 2017: KÉKSZAKÁLLÚ BY GASTÓN SOLNICKI

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By Ivonne Sheen

In a summer environment of the Argentinian upper class, Gaston Solnicki portraits a group of intergenerational girls, who seem to be in discomfort and bored with their surroundings. The narrative aspects are composed as a mosaic of the different points of views and emotions of each girl we get to meet. Nevertheless, along the film, our gaze is focused in one girl in particular, a young adult one, played by Laila Maltz, who starts a naive hunt of her independency.

CPH:DOX 2017: BEUYS BY ANDRES VEIEL

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By Monica Delgado

Premiered in the last Berlin film festival, German filmmaker Andres Veiel’s Beuys is a documentary that focuses on one of the most political passages in the life of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Through archive footage, (which includes installation recordings, happenings and interventions) and accompanied by interview extracts, photography and testimonies, we assembly the most political part of Beuys, the one dealing with his position towards the relationship of art and social transformation.

CPH:DOX 2017: THE UNFORGIVEN, BY LARS FELDBALLE-PETERSEN

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By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Issues of repentance, forgiveness and revindication are carefully dissected in Lars Feldballe-Petersen new documentary The Unforgiven. The Finnish director sets its gaze in former war criminal Esad Lanzo, a man trying to rebuild his life after being sentenced for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia civil war. Lanzo, a man tormented by his demons, tries to appease his suffering in an exhausting search for the war prisoners he abused, in order to ask for forgiveness and some comprehension.

CPH:DOX 2017: THE LOST DREAMS OF NAOKI HAYAKAWA BY ANE HJORT GUTTU AND DAISUKE KOSUGI

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By Mónica Delgado

Screened in the New:Vision Award section of the CPH:DOX Film Festival, happening this week, The lost dreams of Naoki Hayakawa is interesting when the filmmakers see as a rarity this labor alienation, rescuing the poetic in the life of a character that lives for his work, single, alone, with broken dreams, but who fantasizes about bubbles in the elevators or a flag made of hair that flames near the sea.

CPH:DOX 2017: SWAGGER BY OLIVIER BABINET

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By Morella Moret

Screened in the Kids & Youth section of the CPH:DOX Film Festival, happening this week, Swagger by Olivier Babinet tells us the story of a post-terror, fragmented France, as experienced by a diverse group of students. Babinet proposes a collective therapy session where the goal is avoiding judgment, either from the one who gazes or the one who is gazed at. The teenagers tell us their childhood dreams and adulthood nightmares. The director tries to show this through a sincere and wistful eye that is refreshing but sometimes overwhelming.

CPH:DOX 2017: THE THIRD OPTION BY THOMAS FÜRHAPTER

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By Ivonne Sheen

The Third Option put us in the middle of several ethical questions about the way contemporary societies have figured life, health, and progress. Along the film, there are different voices that guide us through a minimalistic visual essay (echoing Harun Farocki), which take us from personal testimony, to philosophical and scientific thoughts.

CPH:DOX 2017: STRANGER IN PARADISE BY GUIDO HENDRIKX

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By Mónica Delgado

Only in rare occasions does a film stir up the politic roots of migration such as Stranger in Paradise does, and it does that by staging a bureaucratic process with an actor simulating to be a teacher or employee of the state in three different moments, while real refugees deal with a process to get a Dutch residency.

BERLINALE 2017: WOCHE DER KRITIK

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By Tara Judah

During the Berlinale the two exist together, alongside but outside of the official festival. Conceived of in 2014, by the German Film Critics Association, Woche der Kritik was born from a frustration with the industry. Calling on critics to take up activism in academic pursuit, they wrote and circulated a manifesto before launching the now established programme of annual screenings and discussions.

BERLINALE 2017: ULYSSES IN THE SUBWAY DE MARC DOWNIE, PAUL KAISER, FLO JACOBS, KEN JACOBS

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By Tara Judah

For me, the affect of 3D holds a specific fascination, as it constructs real life dimensionality (between the viewer and the surface of the screen) from the images (the (re)presentation of something that exists) to create cognitive and theoretical interpretation. So, while immersion may be one way to talk about the affect of 3D, so too might the relationship between the aesthetic pursuance of the ontology of what it (re)presents: an historical, indexical real.