Films focusing on art are in competition in Wroclaw
by Dorota Hartwich
- 13 documentaries and docu-fictions are on the menu of the special competitive section of the New Horizons Film Festival
In addition to the official competition (read the news), the New Horizons Film Festival, which got under way in Wroclaw yesterday, is renowned for its competitive section that presents films on art; this year’s menu includes 13 documentaries and docu-fictions of over 60 minutes’ running time.
Representing Poland in this competition is The Performer [+see also:
film profile] by Maciej Sobieszczanski and Lukasz Ronduda, which was honoured with the Think:Film Award at the most recent Berlinale, where it was screened in the Forum Expanded sidebar. The movie paints the portrait of Oskar Dawicki, one of the most remarkable Polish artists in the sphere of performance art, with his work centring on questioning his identity, and even his very existence. Interestingly, this documentary adopts a peculiar and ironic style, toying with the genre of the biography of great artists.
Artists, freaks, vagabonds, music (ranging from punk to techno), showbusiness and the first ever Love Parade: this is the source material for the German documentary B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin [+see also:
film profile], which was also revealed at the 2015 Berlinale, in the Panorama section, winning the Heiner Carow Prize. In this collage film, the trio of directors (Jörg A Hoppe, Klaus Maeck and Heiko Lange) delve into Berlin’s past, before the fall of the Wall.
Audiences in Wroclaw will be able to make a trip to Africa with another German director, Oswald von Richthofen. In order to shoot his 35 Cows and a Kalashnikov [+see also:
film profile], the filmmaker gathered images in Ethiopia and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the aim of presenting several groups of people cultivating their traditions and religions in a highly original manner, by combining them with a number of elements from the modern day.
The relationships between scientific experiments and art underpin the British production The Creeping Garden by Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp, a documentary awarded last year at the Austin Fantastic Fest, the Morbido Film Fest and the Outlier Film Festival. Nestling among the other titles being showcased is the Swedish film The Ceremony by Lina Maria Mannheimer, which unfolds via a series of interviews with Catherine Robbe-Grillet (a French actress and photographer, and the author of Cérémonies de femmes, one of the first literary portraits of the world of BDSM). And fans of Fassbinder’s films will be in their element with the Danish production Fassbinder – To Love Without Demands by Christian Braad Thomson.
Classical ballet, or rather what it is founded on (submission, discipline and sacrifice), set against the political situation in Cuba, is the main subject matter in the majority Swiss production Horizontes [+see also:
film profile] by Eileen Hofer. Meanwhile, Hand Gestures [+see also:
film profile] by Italy’s Francesco Clerici (read the news) plunges the audience into the heart of the work carried out by an art foundry in Milan, complete with its traditional sculpture techniques. Lastly, the British film Life May Be [+see also:
film profile] by Mania Akbari and Mark Cousins revolves around an exchange of video messages between the two directors.
The competitive Art Film section is rounded off by two US productions (Actress by Robert Greene and The Wolfpack by Crystal Moselle, which snagged the Best Documentary Award at Sundance 2015), Black President by Mpumelelo Mcata (Zimbabwe, South Africa, UK) and Twenty Eight Nights and a Poem [+see also:
film profile] by Lebanese director Akram Zaatari.
(Translated from French)
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