We are only one month away from the opening of this edition of IndieLisboa. The perfect time to unveil the programme of two of the most awaited sections of the festival – the International Competition and Silvestre. Films from different geographies and contexts, with different themes and aesthetic approaches, but universal in the way they use cinema as an eminently political tool, of confrontation and restlessness.
We start with the first works of the International Competition. We highlight Pedro, by Natesh Hedge, a solid film about the difficulty in escaping the strictness of tradition in a small Indian village. Pedro is a middle-aged electrician who lives with his mother and his brother’s family in the remote forests of the Western Ghats. One monsoon night he accidentally kills a cow that belonged to his landlord. The village, unable to accept a man who has committed such a shameful act, responds coldly to Pedro’s presence.
In Freda, the debut film by the Haitian director Gessica Généus, the eponymous protagonist lives with her family in a poor neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. They make a living from their small street shop. Faced with precarious living conditions and increasing violence in Haiti, each of them wonders whether to stay or leave, but Freda wants to believe in her country’s future.
Kiro Russo, a repeater at the festival – and winner of the IndieLisboa 2017 Feature Film Grand Prize City of Lisbon with Viejo Calavera – returns to Lisbon with El Gran Movimiento. Its premise evokes yet another clash between tradition and modernity – in today’s Bolivia, Elder and his fellow miners arrive in La Paz to demand their reinstatement. Suddenly, Elder starts to feel sick. With the help of old Mamá Pancha, Elder and his friends find work in the market. But Elder’s condition gets worse, and he is having trouble breathing. Mamá Pancha sends him to Max, a healer, hermit and clown, who may be able to bring the young man back to life.
Speaking of healing, How to Save a Dead Friend uses the ghostly quality of cinema to reclaim the life of someone who has already departed. A beautiful documentary by Marusya Syroechkovskaya about what unites two people, even after death.
Taking a look at the short films, in Escasso, Clara Anastácia and Gabriela Gaia Meirelles use the mockumentary aesthetic to criticise the huge discrepancies in Brazilian society; and Handbook, by Pavel Mozhar, recreates, in Mozhar’s own room and based on reports, from reports, the repression that Belarusian protesters suffered in 2020, when Lukashenko’s suspicious re-election took place. The generational differences between a mother and her son, and the heritage of emigration are the main themes of Mistida, by Portuguese-Guinean Falcão Nhaga, while Urban Solutions deals with the Brazilian past and present, seen through the experience of a doorman in an apartment building who reassesses the relationship with his employers. The film, directed by Arne Hector, Luciana Mazeto, Vinícius Lopes and Minze Tummescheit, creates a stark opposition between idyllic backyards and the oppressive presence of surveillance cameras.
In the competitive section Silvestre, we select films that take risks in new cinematographic languages, in a mix of established authors and emerging talents. We highlight three. From Vietnam, directed by Pedro Román and Mai Huyền Chi, The Girl from Dak Lak, a minimalist and naturalistic film that follows the young Sương and her migration to Saigon. She gets to know a small restaurant where she is offered a job, and ends up working and living alongside two other migrant women. The three spend their days together. Within the barren walls of the restaurant, their mornings are filled with repetitive tasks, and the rest of the day with empty and boring hours.
Modern slavery is the central theme of Convenience Store, Michael Borodin’s first work. Mukhabbat is an Uzbek woman who has emigrated to Moscow to work in a convenience store. In the Russian capital, the young woman lives as a slave and struggles to regain her freedom while a system of socio-economic discrimination ignores and despises her.
The documentary Nous, Étudiants!, by Rafiki Fariala, follows a group of friends, students of economics, at the University of Bangui. Navigating between overcrowded auditoriums, frivolous flirts and the petty bargaining that allows students to survive, Rafiki shows us the lives of students in the Central African Republic.
In the same section, but out of competition, three important names in contemporary European cinema: Bertrand Bonello with Coma, a hybrid of live-action and animation filmed in the middle of the pandemic; Quentin Dupieux, who returns to the festival eleven years after his first time here with the bizarre humour of Rubber, with the comedy Incroyable Mais Vrai; Jean-Gabriel Périot, another frequent name at festival, with Retour à Reims (Fragments) in which he documents the history of the French proletariat from the 1950s until the present.
From fiction to documentary, animation to experimental cinema, the programme of short films brings us up to date with the trajectory of some of the fundamental names in contemporary cinema and in the history of the festival: the comedy By Flávio, by Pedro Cabeleira, At least I’ve been outside, by Jan Soldat (Foco Silvestre in the 2015 edition of IndieLisboa), El sembrador de estrellas, by Lois Patiño (regular presence at IndieLisboa since 2014), How Do You Measure A Year?, by Jay Rosenblatt (independent hero in the 2006 edition) and Bird in the Peninsula, by Atsushi Wada, winner of an honourable mention in 2012, for the allegorical animation The Great Rabbit.
Light Cone‘s focus delves into into the vast catalog of this mythical institution of experimental cinema, with four thematic programs. Netsploitation, Comfort, Intimacies, and Eroticism and Suggestion. Here, the narrative and aesthetic modes of the internet throughout the first two decades of the 21st century are questioned as well as the induction of sexual feelings from a work of art, through suggestion, symbolism or allusion, in a kind of journey of images that form bodies where sensations, lurk and throb. Light Cone‘s lens covers decades of experimental cinema and brings together filmmakers such as Maya Deren, John Smith, Michael Brynntrup, Neozoon, Peggy Ahwesh, Nazli Dincel and Barbara Hammer, among many others.
The 19th edition of IndieLisboa will take place between Cinema São Jorge, Culturgest, Cinemateca, Cinema Ideal and Biblioteca Palácio Galveias, from April 18th to May 8th. The complete programme, as well as the schedule of sessions and ticket sales, will be available from the beginning of April.
International Competition – Feature Films
Freda, Gessica Généus
Ghost Song, Nicolas Peduzzi
El Gran Movimiento, Kiro Russo
How to Save a Dead Friend, Marusya Syroechkovskaya
Kim Min-Young of the Report Card, Lee Jae-eun and Lim Jisun
Mato Seco em Chamas, Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta
Medusa, Anita Rocha da Silveira
Pedro, Natesh Hegde
Proyecto Fantasma, Roberto Doveris
Soy Libre, Laure Portier
Unrueh, Cyril Schäublin
International Competition – Short Films
Are We There Yet, Lazar Ivanov
Au revoir Jérôme!, Gabrielle Selnet, Adam Sillard and Chloé Farr
Le Boug Doug, Théo Jollet
Can Gardell, Florencia Aliberti and Silvia Subirós
El Dia Que Volaron la Montaña, Alba Bresolí
Displaced, Samir Karahoda
Dog’s Field, Michalina Musialik
Escasso, Clara Anastácia and Gabriela Gaia Meirelles
Fantasma Neon, Leonardo Martinelli
Five Minutes Older, Sara Szymanska
Handbook, Pavel Mozhar
Handstand, Ovsanna Shekoyan
Have a Nice Day Forever, Tatiana Delaunay
Hierophany, Maria Nitek
I’m Trying To Remember, Pegah Ahangarani
Intermezzo, Kim Lêa Sakkal
Jeudi, Vendredi, Samedi, Arthur Cahn
Lucienne Dans un Monde Sans Solitude, Geordy Couturiau
Mistida, Falcão Nhaga
North Pole, Marija Apcevska
The Parents’ Room, Diego Marcon
Precautionary Measure, Lizzy Deacon and Ika Schwander
Sierra, Sander Joon
Some Kind of Intimacy, Toby Bull
Starfuckers, Antonio Marziale
Steakhouse, Špela Čadež
Un Mois Après la Nuit, Héloïse Fressoz
Upwards Tide, Daniela Zahlner
Urban Solutions, Arne Hector, Minze Tummescheit, Luciana Mazeto and Vinícius Lopes
The Watchers, Sandro Souladze
Silvestre – Feature Films
1970, Tomasz Wolski
Camouflage, Jonathan Perel
Cette Maison, Miryam Charles
Convenience Store, Michael Borodin
Lxs Desobedientes, Nadir Medina
Detours, Ekaterina Selenkina
The Girl from Dak Lak, Pedro Román and Mai Huyền Chi
Nous, Étudiants!, Rafiki Fariala
Saving One Who Was Dead, Vaclav Kadrnka
Sonne, Kurdwin Ayub
Red Africa, Alexander Markov
Silvestre – Short Films
At Least I’ve Been Outside, Jan Soldat
Bird in the Peninsula, Atsushi Wada
By Flavio, Pedro Cabeleira
Churchill, Polar Bear Town, Annabelle Amoros
Constant, Beny Wagner and Sasha Litvintseva
Cucumbers, Leonid Shmelkov
Glass Life, Sara Cwynar
How Do You Measure A Year?, Jay Rosenblatt
Lizuna Fair, Sumito Sakakibara
Masks, Olivier Smolders
Nosferasta: First Bite, Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer
Penalty Shot, Rok Biček
Punctured Sky, Jon Rafman
Sekundenarbeiten, Christiana Perschon
El Sembrador de Estrellas, Lois Patiño
Sideral, Carlos Segundo
Triforium, Jayne Parker
Une Embuscade en Suspens, Simon Queheillard
Will My Parents Come to See Me, Mo Harawe
Silvestre – Out of Competition
Coma, Bertrand Bonello
Incroyable Mais Vrai, Quentin Dupieux
Retour à Reims (Fragments), Jean-Gabriel Périot