Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

A PORTRAIT OF BODIES: AN OVERVIEW OF TIRADENTES FILM FESTIVAL 2019

By Pedro Henrique Ferreira

Talking about bodies in cinema, its physical presence on the screen, has somewhat become a common place on current debates. It might be something of a growing recent interest on phenomenology as a tool to understand and deal with contemporary cinematic experience – at least for a couple of authors (Vivian Sobchack, Steven Shaviro, among others), notions of a more tactile and sensuous approach to the image, to a certain degree, indebted to Merleau Ponty’s visual theories.

ROTTERDAM 2019: THESE SILENCES ARE ALL THE WORDS

By Aldo Padilla

The death of Pakistani photographer and director Madiha Aijaz, only days after the presentation in Rotterdam of her wonderful short film These Silences are all the words, leaves a deep sadness in an edition marked by a high presence of female filmmakers in every section and a great quality of films in the Hindi subcontinent.

ROTTERDAM 2019: WE’RE ALL SAILORS BY MIGUEL ÁNGEL MOULET

By Mónica Delgado

We’re all Sailors (Todos Somos Marineros) has, in its first minutes, one of the most fascinating sequences seen in recent Peruvian cinema. Like waking up in a sinuous atmosphere, filmmaker Miguel Angel Moulet submits us, like one of his lead characters, to a sensation of disconcert, inside a ship of claustrophobic green, gray and blue tones. After this sort of abrupt awakening, of an unfinished dream, we witness the story of a group of Russian sailors which have been stranded in their ship for weeks, in some port in Chimbote, north of Peru

ROTTERDAM 2019: PRESENT.PERFECT. BY ZHU SHENGZE

By Aldo Padilla

To analyze the audiovisual consumption in social media is something that poses many alternatives beyond viral videos and youtubers. The irruption of videogame streaming showed that a streamer can monetize its content despite being sponsored, by donations or subscriptions. In the west, Twitch is the platform that better represents this. Its popularity has allowed people to earn money while just talking or making personal diaries, an idea that takes the relay of blogging, which was trending a decade ago.

ROTTERDAM 2019: ALVA BY ICO COSTA AND THE GOLD-LADEN SHEEP & THE SACRED MOUNTAIN BY RIDHAM JANVE

By Aldo Padilla

Ico Costa utilizes a similar planning when he shoots Alva, a film where we can see a man dwelling through the Portuguese forests, seeking shelter, small fruits or water from the river, a river whose sound defines the austerity of the film. Unlike Alonso’s films, Costa’s first feature allow us to be an auditory witness of the ominous crime of the lead character –despite giving few clues about the motives of the killings that he commits- only represented by shotgun shots we hear from a house door a woman just entered.

ROTTERDAM 2019: NUESTRO TIEMPO BY CARLOS REYGADAS AND THE MOUNTAIN BY RICK ALVERSON

By Aldo Padilla

Not only has the idea of a shared cinematic universe been used in the last year by superhero movies, we can also see in Jian Zhang Ke’s Ash is the purest white how the filmmaker returns to his iconic Still Life lead character (and her famous water bottle). In another example, Happy End of Michael Haneke seems like a bad sequel of his film Amour: this failed pastiche takes elements of all of the filmmaker’s filmography without any subtlety.

ROTTERDAM 2019: A LAND IMAGINED BY YEO SIEW HUA AND NON-FICTION BY OLIVIER ASSAYAS

By Aldo Padilla

Locarno winner Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined, poses two stories that play in parallel, with a disappeared Chinese migrant and the case investigator. The tale is somewhat similar in structure to some Murakami novels: with several unanswered questions, the shadow of a manic pixie dream girl, a sort of mirror between the characters of the two stories and some elements that get near the supernatural or the oneiric.

ROTTERDAM 2019: THE WIND BY EMMA TAMMI

By Tara Judah

Perhaps watching a film about stillbirth and the haunting of pregnant women in isolation, while pregnant, was not the wisest of choices I’ve ever made. And yet, I found Emma Tammi’s The Wind (2018) thrilling to watch and enduring as a film I deeply admire for both its bravery in dealing with gendered, domestic themes inside the paradigms of traditionally gender biased genres, and in challenging their tropes whilst remaining just ambiguous enough to please both genre fans and those wanting a more critical exploration.

DOKUFEST 2018: STEALING MOMENTS, TELLING STORIES, WANTING TO WIN.

By Tara Judah

Winding our way through the verdant folds of a mountainous range that conceals the border between Macedonia and Kosovo, I listen with eager intent to a weathered Liverpudlian named Paul. After the usual polite chit-chat, and with miles of winding road before us, we start to talk in earnest. Paul is a natural storyteller and a charismatic character who must have an inner switch that is permanently set to: endear and entertain.

MEDIA CITY FILM FESTIVAL 2018: CHOOKA, BY FARAZ & PARASTOO ANOUSHAHPOUR AND RYAN FERKO

By Ivonne Sheen

In Susan Sontag’s famous book, On Photography, she argues that we are living in Plato’s cave made out of reproducible images, questioning about our visual imaginaries, which are not only fed by concrete experience, but also by reproduced images. This argument can be read in Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko’s refined film Chooka (2018), which was part of the Media City Film Festival’s International Competition. 

MEDIA CITY FILM FESTIVAL 2018: DRESDEN DYNAMO BY LIS RHODES & LANDSCAPE (FOR MANON) BY PETER HUTTON

By Alonso Castro

Dresden Dynamo (1972) is one of the films that Lis Rhodes made in her years as a student in the media course at the North East London Polytechnic. Lis Rhodes belonged to the group of avant-garde British filmmakers of the 1970s. Rhodes’ work is recognized for having experimented with the audiovisual language, linking its aesthetic proposal with a political questioning of the conventional forms of both the film field and society.

25FPS FILM FESTIVAL: THE SHAPES OF CONTEMPORARY IMAGES

By Petra Belc

More than half a century ago a group of film enthusiasts gathered around cine-club Zagreb to initiate what would decades later be recognized as one of the first festivals of experimental cinema in the European context: GEFF, the Genre Film Festival (1963—1970). In its first edition, inspired by a series of cine-club conversations revolving around the theme of antifilm, the GEFF organizers argued in favour of a pure exploratory cinema