The Lie

Using images from the Stasi Museum and personal documents that belonged to Klaus Diehl’s grandfather, this is a voyage through the archive that never contains just the official story. In it hover the founding details of every regime: personal notes, fears, affections and love.

From the arquives of the Museum of the Ministry of Security of the former Eastern Germany, we start to build the puzzle that is The Lie. A random recap of a piece of paper with some notes that would certainly be forgotten, gave us a violent mystery turned love story. (Duarte Coimbra)

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)

Uppercase Print

The starting point of Uppercase Print is the true story of some graffities that appeared in 1981, in the wall of the Communist Party headquarters, in the city of Botoșani. There was a subsequent investigation to find the author of these subversive messages towards the regime of Ceaușescu. Based on a play by Gianina Cărbunariu about this case, but also archive videos, Jude questions the moulding of individuals in dictatorship times.

In a large number of films that followed one another, but are not alike, Radu Jude builds one of the most harrowing and exciting oeuvres in contemporary Romanian cinema. However, what does the picaresque farce Aferim! has in common with the literary surrealism of Scarred Hearts and the historical staging in the game of mirrors I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians? Undoubtedly, more than it seems: first, a discreet but sharp irony and, above all, an uncompromising look at the tacit history of his country – no matter the period and genre of this cinema. There are two types of images in Uppercase Print. First, black and white archival images from the 1980s under Ceausescu. Exciting and frightening images of smiling propaganda, where robotic voices echo dictatorship slogans with fanfare. Other images date from today, in a studio with bright neon lights in vivid colors. Facing the camera, actors recite (more than repeat) the reports written by the communist militias. Disproportionately numerous and detailed descriptions, all related to the same incident: a simple revolutionary slogan written in capital letters (hence the title) by a Romanian high school student in the 1980s. The news is simple, the graffiti author was quickly identified, but the fascist administrative machine’s approach is terrifying because it is relentless by the force of repetition. The investigation is endless, like a gigantic monster that cannot be killed. Uppercase Print alternates between these two families of images, between these two nervous tales with cold monotone voices that give us the shivers: the anecdotal and the national, the hidden history and the propaganda, the superficial smile and the madness behind the scenes of yesterday and today. (Mickael Gaspar)

State Funeral

In March 1953, the news about the death of Joseph Stalin shocked the URSS. Using archive footage, mostly unseen, Loznitza shows us all the steps from the announcement and the preparations to the funeral ceremonies. Alternating black and white with colour (especially red, the colour of the regime), but also the sad faces, the tears, the mourners, everything renders clear the personality cult around the soviet leader.


Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa (The Event, The Trial) invites one to live through the four days of the farewell with ‘the beloved leader of the Soviet people’ Joseph Stalin in March, 1953, ‘not as an observer of a historical event or an admirer of rare archival footage – but as a participant and a witness of a grandiose, terrifying and grotesque spectacle’, in his own words. The oppressive nature of the Soviet regime is revealed through the ritual: the never-ending procession of mourners lining up in front of the coffin in Moscow, the speeches prophesying the leader’s immortality reaching out to the farthest corners of the Soviet land in the elliptical montage of State Funeral. Loznitsa seamlessly pieces together blood-coloured banners and crowded streets in monochrome, plastic flowers and genuine tears, breeding a vertiginous nightmare of the film, that awakens one in cold sweat. (Anastasia Lukovnikova)

Shiver of Love

Grandma is not like any other. Her Édouard is already gone, but she doesn’t give herself to loneliness. She dresses with strong colours, sends emails to her friends, and dominates the internet. She’s a queen between her gadgets and her memorabilia. This is her portrait.

Suzanne is a 21st century grandmother. Emails, several per day. Tablets, at your fingertips. Bitcoins, monthly investment. The internet occupies her day, but it does not erase  the loss of her husband Édouard. She continues to talk to him and analog photographs continue to flood the house. Suzanne lives between two worlds, a space that belongs to ghosts. A film that is constantly challenging and provoking us, but never for free. (Carlos Ramos)

Ouvertures

In 2017, the director Louis Henderson and the producer Olivier Marboeuf went to Haiti to work with a group of artists on the translation to Haitian Creole and the rehearsing of a play. This was Édouard Glissant’s “Monsieur Toussaint”, about the last days of the Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture. From this work, as well as improvisation moments, the film was born. A shared authorship work of resurrection and historical redemption.

Toussaint Louverture was the great leader of the Haitian revolution. He was decisive for the independence of the country that took place already after his death, becoming the first black independent republic of the Americas. In the promise of that revolution what Haiti is there today? How do young people in the country feel the responsibility of the Haitian hero descendancy? In a collective, polyphonic film, inhabited by hallucination and promise of future, the theatre group The Living and the Dead Ensemble translates into Haitian Creole and stages Édouard Glissant’s play “Monsieur Toussaint”. This is about Louverture’s last days locked in his cell in the Jura Mountains, in the Alps, haunted by ghosts of the revolutionary past. But the most important Haitian literary and culture figure is the spiral. Therefore, the film writes itself and pours from every place. And the characters of Haitian historical pantheon come to haunt the actors who work and live the play in Port-au-Prince. (Carlos Natálio)

Overseas

In a Philippine school young women learn how to do domestic chores and to babysit. Their goal is to be hired and work abroad in their bosses’ households. But they learn more. They have to know how to deal with sexual, verbal and physical abuse. And how to resist being far from their loved ones. This is a film that addresses female condition, as well as modern slavery in a globalised world.

Overseas is an exceptional portrait of class, gender, human condition, in which we get to know the reality of some of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s). Sung-A Yoon manages to translate everything that Filipino women are subjected to when they agree to work overseas, going to the homes of people who they’ve only met at phone or skype interviews. To achieve this goal, they face rigorous training to prepare for separation from their families and against any aggression – physical and verbal – such is the certainty that this is a likely scenario. They must withstand a period of at least two years without giving up. These women will join the 10 million Filipinos overseas: another film would not describe this tale of modern slavery any better. Sung-A Yoon keeps the stoicism of these women intact, in a humanistic and delicate film, an unmissable surprise. (Mafalda Melo)

Sapphire Crystal

Vernier is a great ironic observer. After a workshop with students at the Geneva University of Art and Design, the director went into the swiss night and filmed the conversations of a rich and extravagant youth, in a portrait of vanity and ostentation. 

 —

Empty time, young time, champagne flows and the conversations come out as light lines of coke that disappear in the laughter of young friends who gather in Geneva. To boast is a natural figure that feeds the tone and ‘’to have” is just a consequence to enjoy. Chic and select, they swing in their golden cages surrendered to the fruition game. The night is theirs. (Carlota Gonçalves)

Signal 8

The city of Hong Kong is waiting for a dangerous hazardous event, caused by exponential growth, that may never arrive. Liu’s tapestry of 16mm images reflects this dissonant urban symphony, alternating moments of alienations and natural elements.

Slices of city life, mechanical rhythms and flickering shadows make up the specular portraits of Simon Liu. Now, the plasticity of his 16mm camera (which sometimes blurs the images, sometimes reveals them in the porosity of analogue film, in a slow motion – creating poetic visual cadences), is accompanied by a sound composition that accentuates the human circulation in Hong Kong and the incommunicability in a metropolis. “Signal 8” discovers its political unrest in the picturesque dimension of a territory. (Ricardo Vieira Lisboa)

Snow Canon

Diop’s first fiction is about another “journey”: the coming of age of a French teenager. Vanina is spending holidays in the French Alps and wishes to be with her best friend. But it’s with Simon and Mary Jane, her babysitters, that she seeks for a connection.
 

The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

Inspired by the Greek and Latin poems that highlighted the arts of agriculture – like the Works and Days by Hesiod and Georgics by Virgil – this a film that accompanies the farm work of a Japanese family, in a little village next to Kyoto. Fourteen months of shooting translate into a eight-hour film that is a magnificent ode to working, to the land, to the soundscape and the passage of time and the seasons.

Tayoko Shiojuri, a farmer, wife, and woman from a little village next to Kyoto, plays herself in the second feature by C.W. Winter & Anders Edström (The Anchorage) inspired by the Greek and Latin poems on the art of agriculture. Tayoko nurtures her family the same way she nurtures her land, and the Jeanne Dielmann-esque repetition of daily chores, portrayed with the peculiar sensibility of Edström’s camera and enriched with C.W. Winter’s sweeping soundscapes, make their way to one’s consciousness, as do the long hours of the film. The deep connection to Tayoko’s joys and sorrows and the haunting duration of her presence makes one feel with a heartbreaking force both loneliness and peace of living one’s fate, abiding the cycles of nature and the cycles of human life. (Anastasia Lukovnikova)
This is a film that accompanies the farm work of a Japanese family, in a little village next to Kyoto.

Tx-reverse

At the end of the nineties, Reinhart and Widrich invented the “tx-transform” process that inverts the cinematic axis of time and space. Now they filmed in a cinema in Berlin, with 135 actors, using a OmniCam-360. The result is something never seen before.

Virgil Widrich’s films are conceptual epics (more difficult to explain than to watch). After “Copy Shop” converted each frame into photocopies, “Fast Film” applied the same technique to the history of cinema in origami and “Black Track” returned to that spatialization in a translucent 3D version, “TX-Reverse” resumes the technique of inversion of the space-time axes of “TX-Transform”, now with a 360º 10K camera, in a cinema room where the film itself is being projected. A succession of dancing deformations that, through the most advanced technology, reduce cinema to an art of shadows. (Ricardo Vieira Lisboa)

Valerio’s Day Out

Made in VHS and with YouTube images, this is a story of a sympathetic serial killer: a jaguar named Valerio. When he escaped the New Orleans zoo, he killed several animals. After being captured he decides to make a video diary for his significant other. 

Valerio is one of two jaguars in a zoo. One day he escapes and goes one a killing spree. He kills five alpacas, three foxes and one emu before being captured and sedated. In this sedated state Valerio makes a video diary to his significant other, the other jaguar named Lula. Valerio misses Lula and hopes to see her again. (Rui Mendes)

Waste no.6 How Great

Awarded in 2018 at IndieLisboa, with Waste No.5 the Raft of the Medusa, the artist returns to the festival with his Waste series, a reflection on the human production of waste. This time with a particular look at digital technologies and its paradoxes.

What if waste suddenly became huge? When we discover that underneath an orthodox church (in Helsinki) there is a world data server, which uses recycled water to cool itself, we confirm that nothing is what it seems. From here we start a trip around the world, passing through South Korea, Ghana and Turkey. The constant exclamation “How Great” becomes part of our lexicon, to amaze us, always. The world seen through the evocation of waste can only make the world alert. Come back Greta! (Miguel Valverde)

A Brother’s Love

In 2014, IndieLisboa programmed the short film Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire, Monia Chokri’s debut work, an actress we know from Xavier Dolan’s films. Her first feature film, an intelligent and hilarious comedy, develops the same theme: the coming of age of a young woman. In this case it’s Sophia (the extraordinary Anne-Élisabeth Bossé), who recently got her PhD degree but doesn’t have bright professional options. She still lives with her older brother, her best friend.

In 2014 IndieLisboa showed Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire, the directing debut of Monia Chokri, actress in some of Xavier Dolan’s films. Now, her first feature inscribes itself in the tradition of the familiar film from Québec, but also in the subtlety and cosmopolitanism of authors like Noah Baumbach or Greta Gerwig. This is a dramatic comedy about a young woman, not so young anymore, that just got her Ph.D. and finds emotional compensation in the relationship with her brother, due to lack of future perspectives. The constant irony is the weapon for mass good mood, but, by alternating comic and true pain – something that the actress Anne-Élisabeth Bossé dominates perfectly – characters get another kind of life and depth. We are being guided through the happiness clichés, but if La femme de mon frère could just be an intellectual version of Bridget Jones, it turns instead into a sensible film about growing and humility. (Carlos Natálio)

A Thousand Suns

Winner of IndieLisboa in 2014, Mille Soleils is about the return of the director to Senegal to revisit two actors of the film Touki Bouki (1971), directed by her uncle, Djibril Diop Mambéty. Real memories, fiction liberties and cinema as family.

All the Dead Ones

 Last year, IndieLisboa put up a program called Brazil Entranced with many important names of the emergent new and politically engaged Brazilian cinema, among them Your Bones and Your Eyes by Caetano Gotardo. In 2018 we saw Good Manners by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra. Now, Gotardo and Dutra together give us a story of two families and the hauntings of slavery and colonization, in a São Paulo city at the turn of the twentieth century.

Maria, a nun, moves forward on dark stairs, a torch in her hand. She is scared, as if something is watching her, lurking in the dark. The scene looks like a pure archetype of horror but nothing, strictly nothing is going to be truly as expected in All the Dead Ones: neither the supernatural film that we imagine, nor the period film that seems so undoubtedly to take form. The feature takes place at a tipping point, in the twilight of the 19th century, during an era of societal change for Brazil. But again, change is not carried out so clearly, in the country as in the rich home of the Soares family. Slavery has been abolished in Brazil for ten years, but what remains of it in social structures, in class relations? For the Soares family, Europe is “the origin of everything”, Africa is a great indistinct magma, the tone is that kind of paternalism that the colonists imagine benevolent and magnanimous. All the Dead Ones observes whiteness and its hegemony in an unprecedented way in a world that seems to be moving forward … but is it really moving? For who? Released a few years ago, Caetano Gotardo’s first feature film was called O Que se Move, literally meaning what moves. This is a title that could have suited this too, in a film where we feel a world in turmoil, but where we also observe another which appears frozen. (Mickael Gaspar)

Atlantics

Workers of a building site in Senegal’s capital don’t get paid for months. Soulemain, one of them, decides to cross the ocean in search for a better life. 17-year-old Ana, despite being promised to another man, waits for the return of her love. Inspired by the figure of Penelope, but also Romeo and Juliet, Atlantique is a tale of spirits, trauma and growth. Cannes Grand Jury Prize of 2019.