Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

LOCARNO 72: THROUGH A BIRD’S EYE

By Dennis Vetter

Dimensions play a role, the idea to let individuals be absorbed by a massive cinematic experience. Peculiar statements are made, and this is a quality: a character like Pedro Costa returns to the festival after four years, with his film Vitalina Varela, to be awarded again, this time with the main prize.

HOPES AND FEARS TO BREAK CIVIC APATHY AT ANIBAR, 2019

By Amanda Barbour

It’s not particularly wise (or useful) to dislocate any art from the social, political and historical climate that gave rise to it. While this article is a report on the 10th edition of the Anibar International Animation Festival, it takes place in Europe’s youngest democracy which requires some context. The partially recognized nation state of Kosovo has a complicated origin story.

FRAMING CLOSENESS: LAS PALMAS FILM FESTIVAL 2019

By Andreea Patru

There’s something about Pierre and Francine’s encounter in Emmanuel Marre’s Castle to Castle (D’un château l’autre, 2018) that reminds me of the endearing camaraderie between Harold and Maude (1971) in Hal Hashby’s homonymous cult film. Francine overlooking Paris heartbreakingly confesses about her sons’ estrangement: “when they come I am so happy that when they leave it breaks my heart.” In this year’s Las Palmas Film Festival short film competition, society gets in the way of how bonds form, altered to the point blood ties seem meaningless.

CROSSROADS 2019, PROGRAM 1: UNSEEABLE LIGHT/A CHORUS OF VOIDS

By Wilder Zumarán

Program 1 of Crossroads 2019, Unseeable Light / A Chorus of Voids, is made up of three proposals of spatial (in the broadest sense of the term), intuitive and miscegenation vocation. From its viewing, one gets a tactile experience of the audiovisual, a free, alive and intuitive experience, as an improvisation in which a perceptive experience becomes aware of the media used, a dialogue between sound and image. The three projects take frames of reference and register in contexts that exceed the strictly cinematographic : Sick Sense 2, from a research on the perception of some frequencies on human sensibility, A Chorus of Black Voids Sings In Rays of Unseeable Light, from multiprojection-performance and Diamond Body, from the mix, juxtaposition and sound improvisation on the filtered image.

CROSSROADS 2019, PROGRAM 8, A FRIEND BECOMES LIKE A GHOST

By Ivonne Sheen

A friend become like a ghost was the 8th program of the past Crossroads 2019 edition, which took place in San Francisco, California. The amazingness of this event is found in the subtlety of the curatorial work in it, paints and invokes the powerful expansive states of experimental filmmaking under mystical and poetical premises. A friend become like a ghost is an encounter with light, with film, with ourselves as light and shadow, as life and death. 

CROSSROADS 2019, PROGRAM 3: OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS

By Wilmer Zumarán

The films of the Program 3, Other voices other rooms, of the Crossroads Film Festival 2019 are very heterogeneous among them. However, they have as a common denominator a particular position on the look, the image, the representation. These are films that impose a way of seeing cinema that works in turn as a political stance against the hegemonic gaze. They are films that seek to denaturalize the way we have become accustomed to feel, that question our experience.

CANNES 2019: A BRIEF BALANCE

By Mónica Delgado

Thirty pieces, over forty films seen in eleven days, a film almost 5-hours long, three masterpieces, at least a couple of rubbish films from “renowned” filmmakers, an inmmense disappointment, two great documentaries, a lot of zombies, Robbert Pattinson, the first black woman to get recognition, a beautiful feminist allegation set in the late 19th century, the return of Quentin Tarantino, the first Peruvian filmmaker in the Quinzaine des Realizateurs, a poor participation of Latin American cinema in the official sections, Serra and Dumont, two movies in film, Carpenter and Argento, or Stallone with his Rambo. This edition of Cannes 2019 has been without a doubt, memorable.

CANNES 2019: BLOW IT TO BITS BY LECH KOWALSKI

By Mónica Delgado

The most combative film in all this edition of Cannes came in hand with the emblematic Lech Kowalski. If it’s indeed true that in this eleven-day journey, certain demonstrations of a militant and political cinema had indeed happened with two Latin American filmmakers (Patricio Guzmán and Juan Solanas), in Blow it to bits (On va tout péter) we finally got some room for the workers’ voice.

CANNES 2019: SICK, SICK, SICK BY ALICE FURTADO

By Mónica Delgado

In this edition of Cannes, we joked several times among critics and journalists about the zombie theme that unintentionally, had overtaken the screens this year: the inauguration of the Jarmusch film, the Bonello film in La Quinzaine des Realizateurs, or the drowsy beings of the Mati Diop’s film. Alice Furtado’s Sick, Sick, Sick (Sem Sue Sengue) also follows this path.

CANNES 2019: LITTLE JOE BY JESSICA HAUSNER

By Mónica Delgado

With over six features under her sleeve, Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner returns to Cannes yet again, but this time with a feature film in the official competition: an exercise in science fiction but with quotas of family drama, stylized and plentiful in carefully composed tonalities and different color pallets. It’s a science fiction film with touches of horror, elegant and refined.

CANNES 2019: LAND OF ASHES AND FOR THE MONEY

By Mónica Delgado

Land of Ashes is the first feature in the history of Costa Rica participating in Cannes. Directed by Sofía Quirós, it’s an intimate film with oneiric touches, about an adolescent without parents who lives with her grandparents in a jungle zone. Presented in Critics’ Week, Land of Ashes can’t escape some classic elements of Latin American exotization; however, it does possess a wonderful actress: Smashleen Gutiérrez.

CANNES 2019: THE LIGHTHOUSE BY ROBERT EGGERS

By Mónica Delgado

What a better figure that the one of an imposing lighthouse to inquire about masculine fears? If in The Witch (2015), American filmmaker Robert Eggers explores the fears of trickeries and religious precepts in a community of New England in the seventeenth century, in The Lighthouse (2019), he stops in two solitary characters trapped in an island at the end of the nineteenth century, who survive among hallucinations, the effects of alcohol and the majesty of a lighthouse (the father, the libido or the symbolic power) which rules it all.