The Woman’s Film (Newsreel #55)

The directors Judy Smith, Louise Alaimo and Ellen Sorrin led a female collective production process that gave origin to this important historical document about the difficult life conditions of women in the 70’s in San Francisco.
 

My Life in Versailles

One day, Violette, an eight-year-old Parisian girl loses her parents. Her uncle Régis, who works at the Palace of Versailles, takes her to live with him. These are tough times, she misses her home, but with the help of an unexpected friend, everything will be ok.
 

The Fall

<div><span style=”font-size: 14.6667px;”>In this short film, commissioned by BBC Films, Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin) films a masked mob that pursues and punishes a masked man. Social critique, inspired by the Goya&rsquo;s painting, El sue&ntilde;o de la raz&oacute;n produce monstruos.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div>

The Little Bird and the Bees

It is springtime. The little bird is taking care of the first leaves on the tree. Then the blossoms open up one by one, and the bees come buzzing along. Awakened by the sweet taste of nectar, the little bird follows them over the flower meadow.

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater

The premiere of Makavejev’s W.R. – Misterije organizma (1971) – that we’ll be able to see in the programme “50th anniversary of the Berlinale Forum” – stirred a big debate in the Yugoslavian society of that time. The association between sex and communism was seen as offensive. Radovanović’s film portraits that debate, with access to clandestine recordings of it, and is also a story about late socialism in the country with its reduced artistic freedom.

The Last Image of Father

For 7 years, Stefan Djordjevic saw his father only once before he passed away. Based on his memories of him, he gives us a tender goodbye story about a terminally ill father that looks for a new home for his son.

Stripped of any objects other than a mobile phone that crashes in a race to try to catch a bus, a single father and his young son are forced to hitchhike to reach Belgrade. Resilience persists, Dusan and Laza are in this for the long run. Whatever shape that long run might take. How does one prepare the recipient of all our love for our perpetual absence? A sober but affective film about absence and saying goodbye. (Ana David)

The Metamorphosis of Birds

Prized at the Berlin Film Festival, this work belongs to the families and its mysteries. In particular, the director’s family and her grandmother Beatriz, who got married at 21 with the navy officer Henrique. With her husband away at sea, Beatriz raised their six children. And among them, Jacinto, the filmmaker’s father. To be a mother, to imagine, to live without freedom, everything is a creative and emotional metamorphosis in Vasconcelos’ first feature.

With a poignant first work, Catarina Vasconcelos brings us a portrait of a family, her own, narrated by its inhabitants and reinvented by her. Through letters, pictures, flowers, curtains, statuettes, puzzles and boats, a perfect universe is built, with life and death, but above all with the heart. And Catarina’s heart is resistant and strong, she is sweet and full of character, she has ambition and ingenuity. It allows each constructed frame (the film progresses through narrative sequences) to have its independence and be constructed through the character of each persona. A performative game with this playful characteristic, which is appeasement after play. The intelligence shown when the director hides behind the mirrors in the forest or when she climbs the mountains, pushing adversity to the limit when she tries to raise a tree, are ways of affirming an authorial and personal cinema made in the name of an enchantment and on the basis of oral tradition. Fly, Catarina, fly, because still live in your thoughts “all the exceptional things that build the universe of those who do not fear gravity”. (Miguel Valverde)

The Life We Know

Cláudia Ribeiro spent seven months – since the time of plantation till the crops – capturing the work in the fields of the sisters Ana e Glória, in Passinhos de Cima, between the rivers Douro and Tâmega. It is an isolated place, where the baker, the fish seller, the grocer and their sons visit once a week. This a film on a way of life, the subsistence agriculture, but also about the humour and the ironies of representation and hospitality.

Claudia Ribeiro prints an everyday gaze at the tough agricultural work of Ana Rocha and Maria Rocha. The two sisters live in a village of 30 inhabitants in Passinhos de Cima, between the rivers Tâmega and Douro where they work from dawn to dusk, either in the rain or in the sun. Entre Leiras contemplates the relationship between them and the elements, but also among themselves, the synchronous work of the dibbles and rakes as well as picturesque conver­sations about country life. From the corn drying to the grape harvest, from the visits of friends and family to picnics in the shade, we follow the look of a camera that interacts with the two women and matures the relationship between characters and director. A circular sensation grows from two simple but tough lives, that follow the seasons as a vital substance to their existence. (Inês Lima Torres)

The Moon and the Sledgehammer

When Philip Travelyan met the Page family, living in the woods in a Sussex rural area, he was fascinated. The father, a septuagenarian, lived with his own four grown up children, in a world apart, without water or electricity. It was 1969, but the family lived like it was the end of the nineteenth century. Filmed in super 16mm, in a realistic, observational style, this is still today a cult documentary on technology development and alternative ways of life.

The Other Lamb

We are inside a very peculiar community. A man, known as the Shepherd, and his flock, composed of a group of women of different ages that follow, adore and work for him. Resembling works such as The Handmade’s Tale (Bruce Miller) or The Village (M. Night Shyamalan), the Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska reflects about the rituals separated from civilization, and above all on the logic of the masculine domination over the feminine.

The Seismic Form

In her fourth presence in the festival, Zwirchmayr uses a text by Jean Baudrillard to reflect on matter and form. Human body and analogue film come together with a seismic, geological condition. A solidity that seems stable, masking volatility.

Antoinette Zwirchmayr creates a world where only textures and surfaces matter. Black and shiny stones refract light and highlight human faces. White, smooth and sleek rock where naked bodies rest. A constant interplay of shapes, colors and architecture heightened by the tension between the inert and the brink of an eruption. (Ana Cabral Martins)

The Tango of the Widower And Its Distorting Mirror

It was still in Chile that Ruiz started to direct this unconditional love story with ghosts. In 1973, the military coup forced him to exile and he left unfinished what would be his first feature. Years later, film reels appeared of what was shot. Valeria Sarmiento, his widow, with the help of specialists in reading the actors’ lips, was able to reconstruct the dialogue and finish this film about a man to whom the ghost of his deceased wife appears.

The Wagoner

Sembène was already forty and with some novels under his pen when we became a filmmaker.  In his second short film, considered by some historians one of the first works directed by a black man in Africa, we follow a poor cart driver through the streets of Dakar.

The Wild Child

One of Truffaut’s cinema reflecting themes is the nature of education. One can see this in films like Les 400 Coups or Farenheit 451, or in this adaptation of the scientific memories of Jean Itard. He was a French doctor who found, in 1798, a 12-year-old boy – the “wild child” – who had been until then apart from civilization. Truffaut plays the doctor, the master, the father Itard in this long and difficult educational process.
 

The Year of the Discovery

1992 was an important year for Spain: Barcelona’s Olympic Games and the Universal Exposition of Seville. But the narrative of a prosperous and modern country had his reverse. Like in a great illuminist encyclopaedia, the director will listen to the conversations in a typical bar in Cartagena, giving voice to people – workers, unemployed, demonstrators – that lived the arrival of the economic crisis, the close of factories and several incendiary revolts.

Through a meticulous selection of testimonies, El Año del Descobrimento focuses on 1992, when the Seville Expo and the Barcelona Olympic Games took place as well as the work­ing class revolt that burned the Parliament of Murcia. In Luis López Carrasco’s second feature film, the director works again on a documentary discourse, this time through the historical and social revival of a forgotten theme in a bar in Cartagena, Spain. The film is composed by the contribution of 45 citizens from peripheral neighborhoods of Cartagena and La Unión, and their memories from that period. An almost forgotten historical moment, it brings to light the importance of dialogue on class consciousness, the economic crisis and the role of unions. Above all, El Año del Descubrimiento sheds light on the importance of rescuing memory from oblivion covered by the past and the consequent vital power of cinema in its recov­ery. (Inês Lima Torres)

There Will Be No More Night

To shoot: a gun or a movie camera. The military analogy is born with the beginning of cinema. Eléonore Weber’s (Les Hommes Sans Gravité, IndieLisboa 2008) documentary is exclusively based upon footage recorded by French and American soldiers in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.  From the top of their helicopters, a viewfinder scans the night and watches for suspicious activity from moving heat dots. They have the power to take or keep lives.

“”There is always the risk of being wrong, but once we open fire, it is difficult to stop””. When flying in the theater of external operations, all that the military helicopter pilots see is filmed and then archived. It is by relying exclusively on these images and on the anonymous testimony of a pilot that the director Eléonore Weber created There will be no more night, an amazing and meticulous documentary telling the war entirely in the eye of the beholder and gradually expanding from very precise technical explanations to broader questions on morality and society. Restoring the decryption of different situations by her anonymous witness pilot, the filmmaker scrolls through a large sample of terrifying episodes where surveillance, frightening precision of the shots, the anguish of errors (which inevitably occur) intermingle. From mountains to cities, bodies fall on the screen, the wounded are finished, passers-by walk… the camera’s eye rivets them… The most recent cameras can suppress the night: “”Soon, some will see as if it was daylight. The rest will remain in darkness.”. (Mickael Gaspar)

This Is My Desire

Every year Nollywood, the Nigerian Hollywood, produces around a thousand films. Most of these don’t travel outside Africa. The first feature film by the twin brothers Esiri, based on two “twin” stories that precisely depict the desire to go to Europe, is a different case. Mofe, a middle-aged repairman in a factory, and Rosa, a young hairdresser and bartender, both look a way out of the colourful and imprisoning capital Lagos.

The desire driving these two separate stories intersects in the common hope of their characters to migrate to another country. Spain and Italy are the two parts of the film, two cities casting a shadow (or a light) that never materializes in the film, the characters never walking its streets. They can’t get out of a vibrant and unequal Lagos: Mofe and Rosa’s journey is the center of action – from the desperate financial and bureaucratic impediments to the personal tragedies that, skillfully, the Esiri brothers never throw into excessive drama, in this strong first feature. Mofe and Rosa want a better future for their core family, but what the film questions is whether this Europe/future is nothing more than an illusion and if Lagos is not equally disappointing. We are searching for Mofe and Rosa’s desire and the territory to which it belongs. (Mafalda Melo)

Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild Wolves

Father wolf lost his job, but since he is a hot male he secretly starts working as a gigolo in order to support his family. Mother wolf also has her secrets, involving female empowerment seminars.

Toomas is a wolf engineer in a well paid job; he is also very attractive. After being fired he sees himself without income to support his family that includes his pregnant wife. Toomas is cornered, and accepts a job as a gigolo. Viivi enrolls in a female empowerment conference. The situations and adventures escalate and the sexual journeys that both Toomas and Viivi take culminate in a bizarre climax. (Rui Mendes)