WONDERS IN THE SUBURBS
WONDERS IN THE SUBURBS
After a long separation, Joëlle and Kamel finally divorce, but both are on the staff of Emmanuelle
Joly, the newly elected mayor of Montfermeil, an underprivileged town on the outskirts of Paris.
The mayor’s team gets to work implementing the wonders she promised on the campaign
trail: naps for all; crops on rooftops; sexual assistance in the home; harmonization of humans’
breathing; Montfermeil International School of Languages, and so on. But dangerous
enemies resolutely sabotage these fine policies as Paris plans its expansion, and Madam
Mayor slowly slips into depression. Will we have a wonderful Brioche Day this year?
The debut fiction film of one of the best actresses of modern European cinema is a strange, unique
artefact. Shot in the same suburbs as “Les misérables” by Ladj Ly, “Wonders in the Suburbs” gives
up the clichés of festival social cinema. First of all, it is an eccentric comedy that brings back a tradition
that has almost disappeared. Secondly, Balibar knows the nature of acting: gathering the most incredible
actors, she turned this film to a gift for them. She loves her actors. Finally, it is really an “certain regard”
on the ideas of representative democracy and the contradictions in which modern France lives.
BIRD ISLAND
BIRD ISLAND
After a long period of isolation, Antonin, a young man suffering from persisting
exhaustion, rediscovers the world at a rehabilitation center for birds. In this strange place
wounded birds and lost souls cohabit, lulled by the ubiquitous sounds of airplanes.
This world of birds is full of secrets. Like holding us by hand, the directors take us to look at it.
Rare tact and respect for all living creatures in the frame, whether humans, birds or mice form
the basis of their cine method. The law of the universe’s existence is hidden in the balance:
to help the birds, you have to kill other species; to operate an airport, you have to drive
birds away. Balance is a condition for the existence of civilization, but at the same time
it is a guarantee of cruelty. The post-documentary and at the same time poetic “Bird
Island” brilliantly reflects the world in all its fragility, beauty and contradictions.
THE CRIMINAL MAN
THE CRIMINAL MAN
A deputy-chief engineer from an industrial factory, Giorgi Meskhi, becomes an accidental
witness to the murder of a famous goalkeeper. Affected deeply by what he saw, it infects him like
a virus, until eventually becoming his obsession. Absorbed by everything connected with crime,
he studies the faces of criminals, as if trying to solve some kind of a mystery. Being a ‘nobody’,
he commits a series of actions in an attempt to become ‘somebody, but who? A murderer?
Having founded the Moscow School of New Cinema, Dmitry Mamuliya created an environment that
allowed a whole generation of young directors to appear. “The Criminal Man” was made together with
his students. The authors try to find answers to fundamental questions about the nature of cinema.
How do you catch the flow of time, find an archetypical face and figure, picture the relationship
between man and landscape? This film is at the heart of the search for modern cinema
and at the same time returns to topics from classical Russian literature, Leo Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer
Sonata” and primary Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”. Perhaps almost no one has
ever showed crime on screen as a virus that infects a person and transforms his personality.
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF BIRDS
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF BIRDS
“Beatriz married Henrique on the day of her 21
st
birthday. Henrique, a naval
officer, would spend long periods at sea. Ashore, Beatriz, who learned everything
from the verticality of plants, took great care of the roots of their six children.
The oldest son, Jacinto (Hyacinth), my father, dreamed he could be a bird. One day,
suddenly, Beatriz died. My mom didn’t die suddenly, but she too died when I was
17 years-old. On that day, me and my father met in the loss of our mothers and our
relationship was no longer just that of father and daughter.” Catarina Vasconcelos
The word “metamorphosis” most accurately describes this fascinating film, which begins
as if carefully hidden secret of classical Portuguese cinema. Then from fiction it gradually
transforms into a personal document, told in first person. Vasconcelos has a rare gift
of using her own biography to tell a story about something larger – including the past
of Portugal, its burdensome and lost twentieth century. A documentary tale, a sad memory,
an attempt to reinvent cinema itself, self-discovering its laws, nature and magic.


ZUMIRIKI
ZUMIRIKI
Is it possible to travel twice to the same memory? The filmmaker built a cabin
on an isolated river bank, just opposite his childhood island, which had disappeared
under the water after the construction of a dam. The goal was to go back to that place,
which had become invisible. Only the trees of the island where he’d played stood firm
in the middle of the water, like the masts of a broken toy, so the air was the only space
left, the only vestige of the past to be conquered. This film is a diary of a castaway
in memories; 4 months of a Walden experience in a lost paradise with two hens,
a small vegetable garden and a clock that stopped forever at 11.36 and 23 seconds.
“Zumiriki” is an essay about the benefits of loneliness. Four cameras, seventy books, almost
no people around. It is another experience like in “Walden” and "Robinson Crusoe". It is also
an ecological performance, a kind of detective, an excursion into the history of Basque cinema,
an exercise in time travel and prolongation of lives of deceased. The director deciphers
mysteries, invents games and rituals, does alchemy. He himself paradoxically described
“Zumiriki” as follows: “A film about animals that talks about the death of trees.”
VALLEY OF SOULS
VALLEY OF SOULS
Colombia, on the banks of Magdalena Medio, 2002. José returns home deep
in the forest after a long fishing night to discover that paramilitary forces killed
his two sons, Dionisio and Rafael, and threw their bodies into the river. José
begins a lonely journey to retrieve and provide a proper burial for his boys,
in order to prevent their tormented souls from being stuck in this world. Aboard
his canoe, José discovers the magic of a country torn into pieces.
After a series of documentaries Nicolás Rincόn Gille is trying to find the key to the recent bloody
events in his country in fiction film. “Valley of Souls” is a film-fleuve in which only few words
are pronounced, because our hero is alone in his odyssey. His journey is a spiritual and metaphysical
experience. All of a sudden it reveals a pantheistic dimension in the landscape of wondrous
beauty, which has become the only witness to humane atrocities. Revising ideas of “slow cinema”,
the director finds his own recipe for magical realism not ignoring tragic political realities. 


ENDLESS NIGHT
ENDLESS NIGHT
Anxo returns to his home village in the Galician countryside. There,
he is greeted with concern by the victorious and the defeated, who see
in him the danger of diving back into their silenced memories.
“Endless Night” means a meditation on more than three decades of Francisco Franco's
regime. How will you look at each other after the civil war? What lies beneath silence
of losers and offended? Enciso based his film in a Galician language on a collage
of unknown texts – stories, memories, letters from prisoners. But this is not a costume film.
The director is building a bridge to nowadays, being sure that this is his responsibility
to history. The protagonist dissolves in a fairy landscape, words continue to sound like poems
in an enchanted forest. May be the only sign of hope is a falling star that flies in the sky.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Toronto, 1899. Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King dreams of becoming the Prime Minister
of Canada. In his quest for power, he must face his imperious Mother, a war-mongering GovernorGeneral and the utopian idealism of a Québécois mystic. Meanwhile, King hesitates in love between
a British soldier and a French-Canadian nurse and furtively indulges a fetishistic obsession for women’s
footwear… When his vainglorious run for leadership culminates in an epic battle between good
and evil, King will learn that disappointment may be the only way to survive the 20
th
century.
William Lyon Mackenzie King is Canada’s tenth Prime Minister who occupied this post longer
than other politicians (22 years). “The Twentieth Century” is his pseudo-biography, largely based
on his recently published memoirs. Rankin’s idea is rather ambitious: through a real historical figure,
he tries to understand what do masculinity, history, politics and finally Canadian identity mean.
Even more striking is the chosen form: having collaborated with Guy Maddin, Winnipeg director shot
his 8- and 16-mm motion picture in defiantly artificial, expressionist scenery. As a result he produced
a perfect in form, paradox absurd comedy, recollecting the best sketches of “Monty Python”.