23 MAY — 02 JUNE 2024

23 MAY — 02 JUNE 2024

You don’t need to sleep with your eyes open to watch these.

With films from different geographies and movements, the International Competition brings together works by new and promising directors and reflects the search for innovative aesthetics and formal languages. Above all, it is a section that aims to reflect on the current state of the world. In total there are 12 feature films and 34 short films and here are some highlights.

In Rising Up at Night, Nelson Makengo visits Kinshasa at a time when the Democratic Republic of Congo is shrouded in turmoil and focuses on the construction of a power station at the same time that the city has difficult access to electricity, making the nights much darker. In Malqueridas, Tana Gilbert uses her cell phone to clandestinely capture images of a community of women in a Chilean prison. Between poverty and longing, the love for distant children and the strength of the connections created in confinement are the feelings that transcend the walls that surround these women. Sleep with Your Open Eyes, by Nele Wohlatz, is a delicate and comical series of mistakes set in Recife, Brazil, where characters meet and miss each other like a collection of fragmented postcards.

The Missing, an animated film by Carl Joseph Papa, touches on the theme of trauma, physical and emotional, and that of necessary reconciliation. Eric is an animation artist with no mouth, communicating only through a frame around his neck. Too introverted to confess his feelings to his co-worker, he lives isolated until his mother asks him to visit his uncle Rogelio, during which visit his way of thinking changes radically.

In the short films, we begin by highlighting those that move away from the theme of the digital world and Artificial Intelligence: 27 (Cannes Palme d’Or in 2023) and An Odd Turn (Golden Bear for Best Short Film). The first addresses family repression as a castrating force and the second follows a young guard at a museum in Buenos Aires who, to combat boring nights, decides to start predicting the future.

In Green Eyes the focus is on Denis Lavant’s performance as someone who, between memories and videos, tries to remember all the details of his wife to recreate her, alluding to our relationship with Artificial Intelligence and the digital world. AI-generated images are the focus of 512×512, an exploration of how the uncanny factor of these images can become an object of fascination. The Oasis I Deserve addresses the integrated use of Artificial Intelligence in games and films, and incorporates images generated in this way, but also conversations with a chatbot that reveals all the tendencies and prejudices of human beings.

This year, the Silvestre selection presents 8 feature films and 14 short films sharing a unique authorial language. This section combines fiction, documentary, animation and experimental cinema, without discriminating between young talents and established names. The section maintains a competitive focus but without out-of-competition choices.

We first highlight two comedies united by sound art: Between the Temples, by Nathan Silver, and A Traveler’s Needs, by Hong Sang-soo. The first film follows the existential crisis of Ben, a singer in a synagogue who is losing his voice when he rediscovers a spark within himself when his old school teacher reappears. In the Korean film, Isabelle Huppert returns as a misunderstood French woman in South Korea. Dedicated to the alcoholic drink makgeolli and playing the piano for children, she discovers a special talent for teaching her language through poetry.

Mambar Pierrette, by Rosine Mbakam (City of Lisbon Feature Film Grand Prize in 2021), follows a seamstress from Cameroon, a mother of three, with a husband who doesn’t help with expenses, a machine that has to be repaired and clients who haggle the price of the clothes you create. Adversities are piling up and the real strength of her resilience will have to come to the fore when tragedy strikes.

City; Campo, by Juliana Rojas, deals with the strangeness and restlessness of migrations from the countryside to the city and vice versa and with all the baggage that changes can bring.

An Asian Ghost Story is the first highlight of this year’s short film selection, a story of imperialism and post-war told through the most innocuous object: the wig. In Tornadoes, Annabelle Amoros shows how capitalism has to exploit the fears of those who want to protect themselves using the context of the meteorological phenomena of tornadoes in the heart of the United States. Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2019 Turner Prize) returns to reveal the underhanded tactics he noticed during the pandemic. Despite Lebanon’s air traffic being at a standstill, the noise caused by Israeli planes has become a loud and constant hum in the lives of citizens, creating atmospheric violence.

The Diary of a Sky is a surprising film about an insidious problem. Piblokto, by Anastasia Shubina and Timofey Glinin, shows community life in the most remote region of Russia, where locals’ livelihoods are linked to a food chain involving creatures such as walruses and whales. Two Wars, a short film by Jan Ijäs, portrays two Italian settings with importance in the two Great Wars of the 20th century: the monastery of Monte Cassino and its connection with Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the village of San Pietro and its connection with John Huston.