The International Competition promises the twelve productions which reflect the worldwide film spirit. From acclaimed directors to feature debuters, this selection offers a wide range of talented and special narratives that decorate this edition Competence.
Aquarius, by KleberMendonça Filho - Brazil, France -2016 - 142’
Clara, a 65-year-old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story building, built in the 1940s, in the upper class, seaside Avenida Boa Viagem, Recife. All the neighboring apartments have already been acquired by a company, which has other plans for that lot. Clara has pledged to only leave her home upon her death, and will engage in a cold war of sorts with the company, a confrontation that is both mysterious, frightening and nerve wracking.
El Cristo ciego /The Blind Christ, by Christopher Murray-Chile, France -2016 - 85’
It’s a manifest about faith in apparently godforsaken places; not by God, but for political indifference and mistakes. The Blind Christ by Christopher Murray provides the International Competence corpus with a heartbreaking glance at the real needs of a community that chooses to follow a man regarded as a modern savior, who crosses Pampa de Tamarugal in search of a miracle. With non-professional actors, and starring Michael Silva – also born in the region- , the Chilean director manages a striking visual impressionism that goes back along the twists and turns of faith as a shelter for survival.
El futuro perfecto /The Future Perfect, by Nele Wolhatz - Argentina - 2016 - 65’
Intelligent and sensitive, The Future Perfect, first solo feature film by German director NeleWohlatz words the universe of uprooting from an optimist perspective, facing the fear of the unknown. Maybe from her own experience, within the fine line between documentary and fiction, she centralizes her focus on language as constituent of reality. Who are we if we cannot make use of our language? Amidst places, jobs and the whole context to learn, the main character of the film, Xiaobin, a Chinese girl giving her first steps in the huge Argentine capital, stammers a clumsy Spanish in front of the camera that observes her progress and stumbles, linguistic and emotional.
Era el cielo / IThe Silence of the Sky, by Marco Dutra - Brazil -2016 - 102’
Based on the homonymous novel by Sergio Bizzio It Was Heaven plunges us into the mind of a man and his worst fears. The starting point, like an initiatory shock, is the rape of his wife, which he witnesses. And under the line of an aversive impotence a raid is triggered which unfolds itself among the search for truth and the internal contemplation when faced with horror. With the powerful performances of Leonarndo Sbaraglia and Brazilian actress Carolina Dieckmann, The Silence of the Sky bursts with visual and narrative strength to put a profound drama on the table, an ominous litany built on the base of silence, secrecy and the most intimate hesitations.
Free fire /Fuego cruzado, by Ben Wheatley-France, United Kingdom- 2016 - 90’
USA, 1979. In an abandoned warehouse, a compact group of Irish Republican Army (IRA) members meet a band of drug dealers to buy guns, with a young woman as an intermediary. The deal is about to get done, when something—literally—fires up the situation up to a hell of gunpowder, shots, and endless violence. Moving away from his previous films’ tone, genre, and search, Ben Wheatley changes course with dexterity, proving his talent is boundless and returning to the International Competition he participated before with Sightseers.
Hermia & Helena, by Matías Piñeiro - Argentina, USA - 2016 - 87’
Midsummer Night´s Dream is the latent text in Hermia & Helena. The main character is Camila, an Argentine traveling to New York with the project of translating the Shakespeare's most famous work. But what is displayed on the surface is a narrative that very originally shows the main character's vicissitudes; she struggles between loves, desires and countries. Filmed almost totally in New York, and spoken in English, Hermia & Helena is presented as a continuity and at the same time as the singular director's films updating. With incredible esthetic value and many intertextual
winks, presents a lyrical universe in the culminating 21st century.
La reconquista /The Reconquest, by Jonás Trueba - Spain - 2016 - 107’
The first love is this place that promises to protect the innocence, the freshness and the hope of the person we have been. But far from this illusory retreat, the protagonist couple is in a Madrid that will give shelter to them in a nostalgic late-night. With some reminiscences of literature and cinema, Jonás Trueba gives us a poetic film about the emotional strength of memories and the perseverance and courage of past life lessons. With an intimate camera that accompanies the intelligent and sensitive dialogues of a meeting meant to be in a handwritten letter, The Reconquest unleashes a sensitive and philosophic universe about the permanence of loves, desires and passions, beyond the life vicissitudes.
Moonlight /Luz de luna, by Barry Jenkins - USA - 2016 -111’
Trying to discover his own identity, silenced in part b the harsh social context in which he’s being brought up, in poverty, with a single, drug-addicted mother, and trying not to stand out, Chiron survives. An early victim of bullying, his sexual awakening will be intimately related to scarce and curtailed affection. Structured around three key moments in the life of an African American protagonist, Moonlight covers some unusual subjects, such as masculinity in homosexuality, the scars that toughen us up until they silence us and the asphyxiating need to connect with others. In Moonlight, we are all Chiron, a great accomplishment and wise move by Jenkins, who is again part of the International Competition with this powerful demonstration of talent. One of the great films of the year.
Nocturama, by Bertrand Bonello - France, Germany, Beligum - 2016 - 130’
A group of youngsters go to different spots in downtown Paris following a plan that—one would say— is perfectly synchronized. As they reach their targets and clocks start ticking towards the appointed time, we discover that Bertrand Bonello has decided to reinterpret Elephant (Gus Van Sant’s, but also Alan Clarke’s) in order to depict the dissatisfaction and bewilderment of an entire generation that opted to provide a violent answer to the injustices they perceive.
Paradise/Rai/Paraiso, by Andrei Konchalovsky - Russia, Germany - 2016 -131’
From three characters, Olga, Jules and Helmut, with different participation in Nazi occupied France, Andrei Konchalovsky displays an originally structured drama of the Holocaust inexpressible horror. In an aseptic black and white, the now legendary director makes the characters talk to the camera -in a confessional model- and weaves a story that revisits the genocide from the different clashing ideologies. From the guts of those who were, somehow, participants of a part of the black history of the 21st century, with the powerful photography of Alexander Simonov, Paradise appears with visual and narrative strength as a new and unique gaze on the human cruelty, its origins and the possible redemption.
People that are not me / Gente que no es yo, by Hadas ben Aroya - Israel - 2016 - 80’
Hadas ben Aroya presents a film that is born from the introspection to portray, only from the "self", the biggest fears common to a whole generation. The young Israeli director gets into the skin of her own character and manages, in her precise feature debut, to dissect the conflicts, the fears and the universal vulnerabilities, from an acerbic script, of sensitive humor and sarcastic observation. Sharp and sensitive climax are built from a close camera and hypnotic travelings, at the pace of the soundtrack, which takes a significant and relevant prominence.
Scarred hearts / Inimi cicatrizate /Corazones cicatrizados, by Radu Jude- Romania, Germany - 2016 -141’
Radu Jude takes Max Blecher's novel, Scarred Hearts, and makes a film based on the the Romanian writer and poet's ailment. Hospitalized because of suffering from tuberculosis, Blecher writes as the only way to escape from pain. Emmanuel - the author's alter ego-, gets used to lying due to his plaster corset and finds the body world as a jail and a youth in hospital with dubious healing practices. Amidst the disease, life goes by between physical limitations and emotional distress, in a parable of the human finitude and the intricate mind exercises.