This is an insider film where the spot-on beats mark the frenzy of love, loss, sex and everyday violence. There are deformed bodies, undiagnosed mental illnesses and little food on the table, but above all the chaos is a sense of place, love of family and hardened loyalty. Let this be an example of why we need more working-class voices in cinema.
- Silver Haze Directed by Sascha Polak, panorama
The Trial (El Juicio)
Not for the impatient or faint hearted, the utter velocity and palpable sense of emotion oozing from every word of the three hour-plus documentary is overwhelming. Made up of courtroom footage from 1985, when the Argentine military state went on trial for their atrocities, this is devastating and potent storytelling.
- The Trial – Directed by Ulises de la Orden, forum
The Face of the Jellyfish (El Rostro de la Medusa)
Odd but magnetic, a visually imaginative Argentinian film about a young woman who finds herself in a Kafkaesque physical predicament – waking up with a different face. What is a face? What do you need it for? Jellyfish get on fine without them, don’t they?
- The Face of the Jellyfish – Directed: Melisa Liebenthal, forum
Notes from Eremocene (Poznámky z Eremocénu)
An arresting, sometimes mind-melding collage of overlapping imagery, computer graphics and voiceover that feels like an AI trying to piece together what happened to the species that created it. Imagine helpless creatures trying to figure out Bitcoin, climate change and loneliness all at the same time.
- Notes from Eremocene – Directed by Viera Čákanyová, forum
Waking Up in Silence
A powerful and poetic little film that captures the viscerality of childhood; remarkable is the casual catharsis it brings. We get the hyper-sensory perspective of Ukrainian children who have left for Germany. Stunningly shot on 16mm, all the meanderings and events signpost the political moment – while it unspools like an ambient memory.
- Waking Up in Silence – Directed by Mila Zhluktenko & Daniel Asadi Faezi, generation
On Mothers and Daughters (Geranien)
Nina leaves her city life behind for the weekend, including her partner, their child and her bohemian acting career, and returns to her family’s suburbs for her grandmother’s funeral. Here she succumbs to being the child, as the mysterious peculiarities of family relationships unravel. Egen creates a beautiful dollhouse of complexities and frustrations of which we are the voyeur, unveiling a tender, subtle (and warm) family study.
- On Mothers and Daughters – Directed by Tanja Egen, Perspektive Deutsches Kino
Being in a Place – A Portrait of Margaret Tait
It’s about time there was a cohesive work on one of independent films’ true poets. And this film itself is a poem. Fowler weaves Tait’s extensive archive of sound, film and drawings alongside interviews and letters, whilst retracing her steps to her beloved home of Orkney. This textured work is a beautiful ode to one of Scotland’s singular artistic voices of the 20th century.
- Being in a Place – A Portrait of Margaret Tait – Directed by Luke Fowler, forum
A playful mash up using all your favourite technicolour hues from cinema long past (and just gone past) to recreate the hysteria and fear of the past few years in America. This will be fun to see on the big screen collectively.
- Hello Dankness – Directed by Soda Jerk, panorama
This surreal and elusive Romanian movie appears to be about man’s basic terror of women, who are metaphorically imagined as a pagan cult in ancient lakeside mountains. Almost every scene is filmed in a single, rigidly static take in which something important is hidden. It gets slightly silly, but in a Freudian way.
- Mammalia – Directed by Sebastian Mihăilescu, forum
The Beauty (Gražuolė)
A touching tale of childhood innocence and the universality of humanity’s search for the self. This deceivingly simple and beautifully-shot tale follows a six-year-old girl coming to terms with her identity and position in the world when a new boy walks into her neighbourhood. Selected for Retrospective by Director Sergei Loznitsa.
- The Beauty – Directed by Arūnas Žebriūnas, retrospective
This debut film from Rwanda narrates with moving simplicity and precision a disturbingly routine case of forced marriage and casual domestic rape, as well as as the birth of a unique sisterhood-like friendship between the young wife and her husband’s sister. A deeply affecting tale of quiet female resilience against the backdrop of post-genocide grief.
- The Bride – Directed by Myriam U. Birara, forum
About Thirty (Arturo a los 30)
This tale of a listless, lovesick man navigating a catastrophic start to his thirties (and the Covid pandemic) on his best friend’s wedding day could well become a crowd favourite. There are plenty of laughs – most of them scarred with heartbreak. Particularly enjoyable is a running gag that other characters – all apparently long-time friends and relatives – don’t seem to really register Arturo’s presence.
- About Thirty – Directed by Martín Shanly, forum