Land of Braves

The section that has become one of the most anticipated of every edition is back with an exceptional selection. Seven films, ideal for film-lovers who know getting into a movie theater is always -at some point- getting into another state of consciousness.
 
Secret films, those who do not have the signature of a renowned author and will probably have to fight to get a commercial premiere, are the Festival's favorite jewels. Altered States is a collection of the most adventurous, risky and free films. A unique opportunity you should not miss.
 
As Peter Scarlet pointed out during the presentation of the 32nd edition, immigration and exile are recurrent topics within the Program.
El mar la mar - by the Sniadecki/Bonnetta duo - deals with that hot frontier separating Mexico from the United States. Its two first scenes are quite radical. The first, with a startling silence; the second, almost with no images. As if directors demanded that we sharpened our eyes and ears to make them work actively, not getting images with a given sense, but rather complete them and question them. An abandoned backpack in the middle of the desert. A frontier patrol walking at night holding a flashlight. Water bottles hanging from tree branches like apocalyptic tinsel. Every image has a secret story behind that can be sensed or guessed. Sniadecki and Bonnetta manage to tell the life stories of those who challenge death without sacrificing the formal search. El mar la mar manages to produce that prodigy directors yearn for that combines poetry and politics.  
 
 
On its part, From a year of non-events by Ann Carolin Renninger and René Frölke is a film that goes against the tide. In times of digital hegemony, when pitching determines if a film is born or not, ignoring market niches is not a possibility, which is why this film represents a little big miracle. Shot in Super 8 and 16 mm, From a year of non-events aims at capturing the everyday beauty of Willi's house -an old man living in the North of Germany- who lives his life as if time has stopped. Light entering through the windows, chickens eating off the floor... Every little detail is seen with the attentive, fascinated eyes of that who knows he is portraying a unique, irreproducible moment. Renninger and Frölke find transcendence in everyday things and they do not hesitate when it comes to registering all of that obscurity threatens to devour, with the conviction that true beauty lies in those places.
 
Travis Wilkerson talent is undeniable. His last documentary aims at following the causes and consequences of a murdered committed half a century ago. In fact, there are no records left but a brief mention in a regional newspaper and a couple of seconds of a home movie where the murderer can be seen at a family gathering. In spite of these limitations, Did you wonder who fired the gun? has the power of a heartbreaking action thriller that keeps the spectator on pins and needles.  Wilkerson mastery consists of detecting the secret echoes of 20th century racial violence in present days. The visual effects and the soundtrack -meticulously designed- serve a radical, political purpose: to give strength and power of impact to all the naturalized violence and injustices that are forgotten.      
 
All of the films included in Altered States offer the possibility of expanding the limits of what we know as cinema. Being brave has its reward and these directors are the living proof of that.
 
Cristian Ulloa

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