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VISIONS DU RÉEL 2021

Visions du Réel unveils its hybrid programme

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- Speaking on behalf of a drastically weakened cultural sphere, the Nyon-based festival has developed a strong and unfettered programme despite the sanitary limitations at play

Visions du Réel unveils its hybrid programme
Ostrov-Lost Island by Svetlana Rodina and Laurent Stoop

It might have been forced to wave goodbye to a face-to-face event, but the Visions du Réel Film Festival is clinging on to its characteristic quality. Boasting 143 films hailing from 58 countries, including 84 world premières and 15 international premières, and sharp-eyed international guests along the lines of Mexican director Tatiana Huezo and Italian director Pietro Marcello (guests of the Workshops), not to mention the French journalist, writer and director Emmanuel Carrère (who’s scheduled to deliver a much-anticipated masterclass - read our news), Visions du Réel is clearly looking to prove just how vital and alive culture truly is.

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Although still hoping, even at this very late hour, to be able to switch to a physical edition (a scenario which the festival has fully prepared itself for), the 52nd edition of the festival (running 15-25 April) is, for now, being presented as a digital event. Every day, new films, geolocated in Switzerland, will be made available online for 72 hours (via single viewing access or an unlimited pass). The only activities scheduled to take place in person are those with links to cultural mediation: school projects and other activities for young people and children. Conferences, masterclasses, discussions and vital exchanges with filmmakers, meanwhile, will all unfold in a broadcasting studio equipped for the occasion.

Out of the 13 films selected for the prestigious International Feature Film Competition, 10 are European productions and co-productions, including two Swiss works which are set to enjoy their world premieres in this section: Ostrov-Lost Island [+see also:
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by Svetlana Rodina and Laurent Stoop, who take us to the dystopic island of Ostrov in the Caspian Sea, and The Bubble [+see also:
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by Valerie Blankenbyl, which explores a closed community of retired folk living in a bubble of endless pleasure. There are also several co-productions with France in the selection: Les Enfants terribles [+see also:
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(France/Germany/Turkey) by Ahmet Necdet Cupur, who paints a captivating portrait of Turkey’s youth, starting with his own family; the filmed diary Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege) [+see also:
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by Abdallah Al-Khatib (Lebanon/France); Zinder [+see also:
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interview: Aïcha Macky
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by the director and activist Aicha Macky (France/Nigeria), and The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation [+see also:
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interview: Avi Mograbi
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by Avi Mograbi, who continues to denounce the horrors of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and whose film spent time in the recent Berlinale Forum). Likewise showcasing in this competitive section, we find the stop-motion animation 1970 [+see also:
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interview: Tomasz Wolski
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by Polish director Tomasz Wolski, Courage [+see also:
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interview: Aliaksei Paluyan and Jörn M…
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by Aliaksei Paluyan (Germany/Belarus - screened in the Berlinale Special line-up), which takes us to the beating heart of the protests in Belarus, Bellum – The Deamon of War [+see also:
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interview: David Herdies and Georg Göt…
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by David Herdies and Georg Götmark (Sweden/Demark), and the captivating and poetic Belgian work Holgut [+see also:
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interview: Liesbeth De Ceulaer
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by Liesbeth de Ceulaer. Rounding off the selection are Users (USA/Mexico) by Natalia Almada, La luna representa mi corazón (Argentina/Taiwan) by Juan Martín Hsu and Faya Dayi (USA/Ethiopia/Qatar) by Jessica Beshir.

European productions and co-productions also abound in the festival’s second competitive section Burning Lights (accounting for 11 out of the 15 films selected), and two Swiss titles likewise jostle among them, in the form of Nikola Ilić and Corina Schwingruber Ilić’s moving work Dida [+see also:
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and Pauline Julier’s Way Beyond [+see also:
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, which leads us inside the imposing nuclear centre CERN. For its part, French director Stephen Loye’s Le Ventre de la montagne [+see also:
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recounts a tragic plane crash in the Alps, and his country enjoys further representation by way of the co-productions Our Quiet Place (France/Bulgaria) by Elitza Gueorguieva and Slow Return [+see also:
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(USA/France) by Philip Cartelli. Likewise basking in the limelight of the Burning Lights section is the Austrian film Soldat Ahmet [+see also:
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by Jannis Lenz, which offers up a portrait of a young boxing champion, The Great Void by Germany’s Sebastian Mez, which echoes the current pandemic we’re experiencing, WTC A Love Story (The Netherlands/Belgium) by Lietje Bauwens & Wouter de Raeve, who lead us into the depths of the Bruxelles-Nord train station district, Looking for Horses [+see also:
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(The Netherlands/Bosnia-Herzegovina/France) by Stefan Pavlović, which follows in the footsteps of a Bosnian fisherman, the medium-length Spanish film Non-Stop by Aitziber Olaskoaga, and Only the Winds by Karim Kassem (a Lebanese production co-produced by Sweden).

Other sections rounding off the programme include the National Competition, the International Medium Length and Short Film Competition and the Grand Angle line-up (screening feature films which have already won over audiences at other festivals).

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(Translated from French)

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