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Sergei Loznitsa, Jafar Panahi, Guy Maddin and Nicolas Pereda in competition at Curtas

31 August 2020
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In this year in which public health issues have imposed a new awareness on how we relate to each other, the official selection for the international and experimental competition of Curtas Vila do Conde is built on a reflection on how the public and the private contaminate the construction of identities. There will be 48 films in the national premiere that, from places of intimacy, from cultural unions and differences, from divisions and meetings, connect us to different communities, ways of being and thinking.

Sergei Loznitsa and Jafar Panahi are two of the most interesting filmmakers of today. The first, Ukrainian, has built a work that travels through the territories marked by the Soviet legacy; the second, Iranian, has been an open channel for the understanding of contemporary Iran. They have an impressive sensitivity to work with the political, social and cultural problems of their people, and have been challenged by the National Opera of Paris to create a work with a singer as its central point. Night at The Opera and Hidden bring us two glances at the culture of the two countries where heroines sing, questioning notions of representation and interpretation. Bella by Thelyia Petraki, also narrated in the feminine, develops on top of a set of love letters exchanged between Anthi and Christos in the final straight of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Combining documentary and fiction, the film freezes a specific moment in time where everything was about to change. A personal journey also proposed in Correspondencia, a work through which Carla Simón and Dominga Sotomayor discuss their family inheritance and motherhood, using a set of images taken from their daily lives. A story about intimacy interrupted by a country's political emergency. Also filmed in Latin America, Electric Swan by Konstantina Kotzamani makes a micro-portrait of the community of Buenos Aires, through the history of a building where different classes inhabit different floors. A film where architecture relates to the emotional map of the characters, showing how different social classes organize the geometry of the city. 

When the Spanish Civil War handed over the victory to the Franco nationalist, more than 500 thousand Spaniards fled. A trend that had begun even earlier in the republican regions of northern Spain. In Diarios del exilio archive films and home movies are gathered, illustrating the massive exodus in the pre-dictatorship and documenting one of the country's most striking historical sites. It is also about escapes that we talk about How to Disappear, an essay built on top of a video game that reflects on the role of deserters in the war, thus opening a discussion around the armament policies of nationalist movements and the ideologies that mark the exercises on the war scene. In 1946, eight months after the atomic bombings, a film crew made a feature film in Japan. The reels manage to leave the country, but are immediately classified as secret material by North American entities. In La Bobine 11004, Mirabelle Fréville explores the archive and footage of what was the first episode of atomic censorship in history. 

When the team of Mi piel, luminosa (Nicolás Pereda and Gabino Rodríguez) went to Thomas More School to shoot, at the request of the Ministry of Education, a documentary on how the "Improving Primary Schools" project was being implemented, I was far from imagining that I would find a story that would change the direction of the film. A child placed in isolation in the classroom due to an illness that took the natural pigment from his skin becomes the central figure in a film where Pereda once again melts the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Filmed in Harlem and the Claude Monet gardens in Giverny, France, The Giverny Document is a cinematic poem that meditates on the security and bodily autonomy of black women. Crossing animation, archive testimonies and street interviews, Ja'Tovia Gary explores the creative virtuosity of black performers, while posing questions about how these bodies embody the legacies of forced labour. Also discussing the theme of racism and the integration of the black community in the world, South accompanies two anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations by proposing a look at the power of the collective and singular voices in the society we build. 

Also noteworthy is the premiere of Witness, by multi-award winning director Ali Asgari, Victor in Paradise, by Brendan McHugh, Look Then Below, the third episode of the trilogy that Ben Rivers is building around the work of American writer Mark von Schlegell, Stump the Guesser, a new tome in the surreal and dreamlike cinematography of Canadian Guy Maddin, Physique de la tristesse, the latest animation by Theodore Ushev, Color-blind, by Ben Russell, a portrait made between French Polynesia and Brittany, which follows the "ghost" of Gaugin for the colonial legacy of the present and Casa Sol, by Lúcia Prancha, which explores the militant universe of the Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst. 

The new confirmations add to the already announced focus on the works of Isaki Lacuesta, Elena López Riera, Ana Elena Tejera and Ana Maria Gomes. The festival's programme, which this year takes place between 3 and 11 October, will be revealed over the coming weeks, as well as details on ticket purchases.

A Night At The Opera, Sergei Loznitsa, France, 2020, DOC, 19'48''
Bella, Thelyia Petraki, Greece, 2020, FIC, DOC, 24'35''
Camille Sans Contact, Paul Nouhet, France, 2020, FIC, 15'
Correspondencia, Carla Simón, Dominga Sotomayor, Chile, Spain, 2020, DOC, 19'29''
Diarios del Exilio, Irene Gutiérrez, Spain, 2019, DOC, 43''
Dustin, Naïla Guiguet, France, 2020, FIC, 20''
Electric Swan, Konstantina Kotzamani, France, Greece, Argentina, 2019, FIC, 40''
Empty Places, Geoffroy De Crécy, France, 2020, ANI, 08'30''
Filles Bleues, Peur Blanche, Marie Jacotey, Lola Halifa-Legrand, France, 2020, ANI, 10''
Forastera, Lucía Aleñar Iglesias, Spain, 2020, FIC, 19''
Hidden, Jafar Panahi, France, Iran, 2020, DOC, 19''
Homeless Home, Alberto Vázquez, France, Spain, 2020, ANI, 10'
How to Disappear, Total Refusal (Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf), Austria, 2020, ANI, DOC, 21''
L’effort Commercial, Sarah Arnold, Switzerland, France, 2020, FIC, 16'58''
La Bobine 11004, Mirabelle Fréville , France, 2020, DOC, 19'
Love Hurts, Elsa Rysto, France, 2020, FIC, 30'
Mi piel, luminosa, Nicolás Pereda, Gabino Rodríguez, Mexico, Canada, 2019, DOC, 39'
Nina, Hristo Simeonov, Bulgaria, 2020, FIC, 19'57''
On Est Pas Près D’être Des Super Héros, Lia Bertels, Belgium, Portugal, 2019, ANI, 12'48''
Os Olhos Na Mata E O Gosto Na Água, Luciana Mazeto, Vinícius Lopes, Brazil, Germany, 2020, DOC, 36'20''
Physique de la tristesse, Theodore Ushev, Canada, 2019, ANI, 27'
Pour Elsa, Carmen Leroi, France, 2020, FIC, 30'
Rio, Zhenia Kazankina, Russia, 2019, FIC, 22'
Something To Remember, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden, 2019, ANI, 5'
Souvenir Souvenir, Bastien Dubois, France, 2020, ANI, 15'
Stump the Guesser, Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Canada, 2019, FIC, 19'
Subject to Review, Theo Anthony, USA, 2019, DOC, 38'
The End Of Suffering (A Proposal), Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece, 2020, FIC, 14'15''
The Kites, Seyed Payam Hosseini, Iran, 2020, FIC, 14'
The Unseen River, Pham Ngoc Lân, Vietname, Laos, 2020 , FIC, 23''
Victor In Paradise, Brendan McHugh, EUA, 2020, FIC, 13'20''
Waste No.4 New York, New York, Jan Ijäs, Finland, EUA, 2020, DOC, 19'30''
Witness, Ali Asgari, France, Iran 2020, FIC, 14'51''

Aggregate States of Matters, Rosa Barba, Peru, Germany, 2019, DOC, 21'20''
Autoficción, Laida, USA, Spain, New Zealand, 2020, EXP, 14'
Casa do Sol, Lúcia Prancha, Portugal, Brazil, 2020 , EXP, 12'01''
Cézanne, Luke Fowler, United Kingdom, France, 2019, EXP, 6'36''
Color-blind, Ben Russell, France, Germany, 2019, EXP, 30'
Extraction: The Raft Of The Medusa, Salomé Lamas, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, 2019, 2020, EXP, 10'43''
Jiíbie, Laura Huertas Millán, Colombia, France, 2019, DOC, 25''
Look Then Below, Ben Rivers, United Kingdom, 2019, EXP, 22'30''
Notes Imprints (On Love) Part I, Alexandra Cuesta, USA, Equador, 2019, EXP, 18'40''
People on Sunday, Tulapop Saenjaroen, Thailand, 2020, EXP, 20'53''
Plática de una Flor, Helena Estrela, Spain, 2020, EXP, 2'44''
South, Morgan Quaintance, United Kingdom, 2020, DOC, EXP, 28'15''
The Giverny Document (Single Channel), Ja'Tovia M. Gary, USA, France, 2019, EXP, 40'
THORAX, Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Austria, 2019, EXP, 8'
Una Película En Color, Bruno Delgado Ramo, Spain, 2019, DOC, 26'46''