Adilkhan Yerzhanov – Chuma v aule Karatas AKA The Plague at the Karatas Village (2016)

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Yerzhanov is a strong voice of the new Kazakh cinema.

The story
When a young mayor arrives in Karatas, a remote village in Kazakhstan, he finds a large part of the population ill. He recognises the symptoms immediately as plague-related. The sufferers, however, insist they have the flu, and that is confirmed by the local authorities, who have for decades pocketed the money for vaccination programmes and let the deadly illness rage on. The newly-appointed mayor resists at first, but is slowly dragged down into a morass of corruption and abuse of power. Like the film The Owners shown at Cannes, Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s latest film is an indictment of the lawless practices in today’s Kazakhstan, which is understandably known as the ‘Wild East’. His approach is very theatrical. He presents his message in a Brechtian way. The sets are surrealist, the acting is alienating, the undertone mythical. The moral, however, is highly contemporary and crucial. Winner NETPAC Award 2016. Continue reading

Yuriko Furuhata – Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (2013)

During the 1960s and early 1970s, Japanese avant-garde filmmakers intensely explored the shifting role of the image in political activism and media events. Known as the “season of politics,” the era was filled with widely covered dramatic events from hijackings and hostage crises to student protests. This season of politics was, Yuriko Furuhata argues, the season of image politics. Well-known directors, including Oshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, Wakamatsu Kōji, and Adachi Masao, appropriated the sensationalized media coverage of current events, turning news stories into material for timely critique and intermedial experimentation. Cinema of Actuality analyzes Japanese avant-garde filmmakers’ struggle to radicalize cinema in light of the intensifying politics of spectacle and a rapidly changing media environment, one that was increasingly dominated by television. Furuhata demonstrates how avant-garde filmmaking intersected with media history, and how sophisticated debates about film theory emerged out of dialogues with photography, television, and other visual arts. Continue reading

Davor Sanvincenti – Skoro ništa: i dalje noc AKA Almost Nothing: So Continues the Night (2017)

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For us, a thought always presupposes a society, a culture, and, above all, the consciousness of time. The film revolves around a light bulb like the Earth around the Sun. Light makes the film visible. In the orbit of the film tragedy and our reality, the image resists the cruelty of the experiment. Continue reading

Yang Zhang – Kang rinpoche AKA Paths of the Soul (2015)

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Docu-drama follows the journey of a group of Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lasa, the holy capital of Tibet. The journey covers 1,200 km on foot, in a continuous repetition of prostrating one’s self on the ground. Over 10 months, we see the simplicity of human relationships and the nature of family, suffering, and resolve. Continue reading

Anton Vidokle – Immortality and Resurrection for All! (2017)

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Today the Russian philosophy known as Cosmism has been largely forgotten. Its utopian tenets – combining Western Enlightenment with Eastern philosophy, Russian Orthodox traditions with Marxism – inspired many key Soviet thinkers until they fell victim to Stalinist repression. In his three-part film project, artist Anton Vidokle probes Cosmism’s influence on the twentieth century and suggests its relevance to the present day. In Part One he returns to the foundations of Cosmist thought (This Is Cosmos, 2014). Part Two explores the links between cosmology and politics (The Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun, 2015) and Part Three restages the museum as a site of resurrection, a central Cosmist idea (Immortality and Resurrection for All!, 2017). Continue reading

Lois Patiño – Fajr (2017)

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In the Moroccan desert night dilutes forms and silence slides through sand. Dawn starts then to draw silhouettes of dunes while motionless figures punctuate landscape. From night´s abstraction, light returns its dimension to space and their volume to bodies. Stillness concentrates gaze and duration densify it. The adhan -muslim call to pray- sounds and immobility, that was condensing, begins to irradiate. And now the bodies are those which dissolves into the desert. Continue reading

Justine Triet – La bataille de Solférino AKA Age of Panic (2013)

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May 6, 2012. Cable news reporter Laetitia is covering the French presidential elections, while Vincent, her ex-husband, demands to see their two young daughters. It’s a manic Sunday in Paris : two agitated girls, a frazzled babysitter, a needy new boyfriend, a grumpy lawyer and France cut in half! Continue reading