Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

VISIONS DU RÉEL 2020: MIMAROGLU: THE ROBINSON OF MANHATTAN ISLAND BY SERDAR KÖKÇEOGLU

By Ivonne Sheen

In the current online edition of the Visions du Réel festival stands out the international competitive section Burning Lights, which is dedicated to formal experimentations and new expressive explorations in recent documentary cinema. Among the section’s films, Mimaroglu: The Robinson of Manhattan Island (2020), the first feature film by Turkish director Serdar Kökçeoglu, creates an audiovisual portrait of the avant-garde and little-known Turkish electronic music composer, Ilhan Mimaroglu.

IMAGES FESTIVAL 2020: MATNI- TOWARDS THE OCEAN, TOWARDS THE SHORE BY SKY HOPINKA

By Ivonne Sheen

Sky Hopinka’s work is known for an evocation of his ancestors and memory through a contemplation of the landscape. There is a melancholy that trespasses his work as a backbone referred to his Chinook roots. In malni- towards the ocean, towards the shore (2020) the author once again develops a rupture of the common and normal ethnographic approach to native communities. This is the artist’s first feature film, which opened the 33rd edition of the Images Festival 2020.

BERLINALE 2020: DAU.NATASHA BY ILYA KHRZHANOVSKIY AND JEKATERINA OERTEL

By Mónica Delgado

Due to its extensive and polemic process of production, Ilya Khrzhanovsky and Jekaterina Oertel’s DAU. Natasha is a work whose value resides in how to detect the frontiers of fiction, to hunt those moments where the true catharsis of the real comes to float. At least, in my case, it was an uncomfortable exercise, since the non-professional actors and actresses let us see in several situations the way they assaulted with agency some scenes in a free way, in their own way, but submitted nevertheless to certain specific rules for the shooting. The filmmaker’s yoke, contained and destroyed, inside the fictional limits, to achieve moments of sudden commotion. 

BERLINALE 2020’S FORUM EXPANDED: RECOVERY, EQUINOX, THE PHANTOM MENACE

By Mónica Delgado

In program 9 of this edition of Forum expanded, three short films were shown that from their peculiarities, could confront a current panorama of conceptual proposals. From a variety of supports and aesthetics, they keep a tradition not only with the so-called “structural cinema” but also between them, creating a sort of correspondence among the works. What could have in common a short film in 16mm, in black and white, which describes a bureaucratic process from the perspective of the body, or a camera-less work in 70mm that only has one apparent field of color variations? Or the digital baroque proposal of Graeme Arnfield?

BERLINALE 2020: INTERVIEW WITH BORA LEE-KIL

By Felix Ernesto Arias Hück

South Korean filmmaker and writer Bora Lee-Kil has made a medium length film and two long documentaries so far. At the latest edition of Berlinale Talents, Doc Station, she presented her new documentary project Our Bodies, an intergenerational dialogue between Koreans. Who talks? With whom? About what? How and where?

BERLINALE 2020: DAYS BY TSAI MING LIANG

By Mónica Delgado

Malayan filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang begins his new film Days (Rizi) with a text: “This film doesn’t have subtitles intentionally”. The warning caused laughter in the room of Berlinale Palast, in the middle of a press showing. It wasn’t a little thing, specially since days before, Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho made a defense of subtitling, at the Golden Globes Award, as a symbol of oppenness to certain cinema outside of Hollywood.

BERLINALE 2020: A PROGRAM FOR LATIN AMERICA

By Mónica Delgado

The program 6 of Forum Expanded was particularly interesting for me. And this doesn’t have to do with the quality of the films shown, but the criteria used to select them and group them. Laura Huertas Millán’s Jíibe, Jonathas de Andrade’s Jogos Dirigidos and Ava Vaz’s Apiyemiyekî? were all projected in this sesion, three works that have as a common denominator being solely from Latin America.

BERLINALE 2020: THE WOMAN WHO RAN BY HONG SANG-SOO

By Mónica Delgado

As with some recent films of Hong Sang-soo, women are in the center of a series of tales, where the usual stylistic motives of the Korean filmmaker remain. But in a clear difference to the rest of his filmography, here, in this film at the Berlinale’s official competition, the men are left.

BERLINALE 2020: UNDINE BY CHRISTIAN PETZOLD

By Mónica Delgado

Romance understood as a fortuitous and tragic fact is the motif behind several films by Christian Petzold. In Transit, for example, the same protagonists of Undine (the magnificent pair of Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski) are submitted to destines indifference, where sublimation in times of war is impossible. Or like in Jerichow, where sexual attraction is the path to hell. Instead, in Undine, with a bit more complacent tone, without the stylistic bets of his previous works, the context doesn’t matter much; instead the filmmaker is focused in offering a romantic tale in every sense, which includes mythical beings and love sacrifices. 

BERLINALE 2020: SIBERIA BY ABEL FERRARA

By Mónica Delgado

Abel Ferrara’s Siberia is, before anything, a film about drives as non-natural impulses. And this concept is read here in a Freudian sense, where the characters do different actions (in a conscious or unconscious manner) with the end of calming an intense and profound desire, usually of sexual nature. The drives that are satisfied after an unusual and intense search.

BERLINALE 2020: DO STUFF AND GET MONEY FOR IT ALL THE TIME: TWO FILMS ON LABOR, FIFTY YEARS APART

By Adina Glickstein 

At this year’s Berlinale, the program from the original International Forum of New Cinema was re-screened in full, presenting a slate of films from 1971 with half a century of retrospect. This first-ever Forum coincided with the year that the U.S. fully abandoned the Bretton Woods system, departing from the Gold Standard in a shift that arguably engendered the onset of neoliberalism. Martin Jacques identifies 1972 as the year that the top ten percent of incomes began to skyrocket while those of the lower third stagnated or fell; the establishment of the WTO, the dual leviathan of Reaganite-Thatcherism, and the push towards deregulation were all soon to follow.

BERLINALE 2020: FIRST COW BY KELLY REICHARDT

By Mónica Delgado 

Generally in western, as a male territory, best friends become rivals. Either because they fight for money, women or family quarrels. This is the case, for example, in George Seaton’s Showdown (1973), where Dean Martin and Rock Hudson end up becoming enemies, since one becomes a sheriff and the other a villain; plus they fall in love with the same woman.