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ICMF-FF5: Programmer's Thread

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beavis
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ICMF-FF5: Programmer's Thread

#1

Post by beavis »

ICMFFF4:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4787
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icm+ ... st/beavis/

ICMFFF3:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4213
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmf ... /xianjiro/

ICMFFF2:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3572
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmff2/flaiky/

ICMFFF1:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2803
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmff/mightysparks/

programmers spreadsheat:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =856880047

It is January 1st and due to enthusiastic feedback on the last installment, I'm kicking off the new scouting season early this year!!

Almost two months earlier, but this first period is always the more quiet one where people take time to join up, sort out what they want to recommend, find the recommendations of others and so on, so why not just start, right? The more time we have the better. Also, people might still have a few days of either holiday or lock-down left that could be happily spend on this. For now I'll just wanted to get this thread going. Probably will copy-paste the opening of last year, as I'm not going to change much of the process (so the bar is still set pretty low, for those in doubt if they are able to join as programmers!! ;)), and then get back with more details and my nominations later on

we need more programmers, please join if you can!
Last edited by beavis on January 3rd, 2021, 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

Post by beavis »

Welcome to the planning stage of the 5th ICMF Film Festival!


We want to continue this tradition of highlighting recent films that went under the radar. For a second year under my guidance, but it is usually a pretty open and community affair :) After again a few successful changes made last year, I don't think we need to change anything this time, except starting a little early.

What is the festival about?
Typically the ICMF Film Festival will
-be held at the end of the year (November - December)
-have a total of up to 50 movies that should be available for viewing online, on streaming or on physical media for as much people as possible
-be open for casual viewing enjoyment by all, but also have jurors that will give out prices and watch the entire main slate + at least one other section
-consist of a main slate and the following sections: animation, art-house, Asia+Africa, documentary, "just before dawn" (genre), Europe, English-language independent, Latin America and LGBTQ

What do programmers have to do?
- select the best films you saw from the period 2018 - 2021, with 10,000 votes or less on Imdb, that you think should be available for home-viewing (at the time of the festival) and that did not feature in previous editions of the festival.
- then make a post in this thread saying you want to be a programmer and list a maximum of 30 of those titles (no minimum really... but more than just a couple of course)
- add a description of one or two sentences to each title (at minimum, you can make your cases as big and inspiring as you wish)
- add your titles to the programmers spreadsheet, listing the sections where you think each would be a good fit
- then from now until August we have a 8 month period to watch movies!

- It is required that a programmer watches a minimum of 6 films (or shall we make it 8 this time, to keep the 1 per month average, and give us a bit more wiggle room?) from the entire body of proposed titles, and maybe a few more specific titles for sections that need more input towards the end (I will ask for that if and when the time comes). Besides that, you will also be on the lookout for new titles that cross your path (no programmer needs to visit other festivals to actually scout, but I'll do that anyway :)) that you can propose and discuss as suggestions in this thread.

- rate every movie you've seen in the spreadsheet on the following scale: 3 (strongly recommend), 2 (recommend), 1 (maybe...) and 0 (do not recommend)

What is the rest of the timeline?
- so from now until the end of August we watch and talk movies here, keeping score in the spreadsheet
- then we'll take a closer look at where we stand and take the month of September to complete a final list of candidates that should amply cover all sections
- at the end of September I'll open a jury invitation thread and hand them a large selection of the list we have created here (the highest qualifying movies)
- jurors will have the month of October to sign up and together pick their "main slate" from that selection
- at the beginning of November the programmers then will make the rest of the program final, this will be communicated to the forum ASAP
- I will start separate announcement threads for each section at the start of the festival
- I propose the festival to be held this year in the four weeks from Monday 15 November until Monday 13 December
Last edited by beavis on January 3rd, 2021, 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#3

Post by beavis »

Looking at the spreadsheet, there are a few films that were already qualifying for inclusion in the festival, but ended up not being used:

The Whistlers (La Gomera) 2019 3351
Holiday 2018 3078
I Think We're Alone Now 2018 3678
Zombi Child 2019 1150
McQueen 2018 5983
The Heiresses (Las herederas) 2018 2495
Little Joe 2019 3716
Loro 2018 3328

Are we going to consider these "auto nominated" or do we still need people to actively nominate each again?
Among the support votes these film got there are a lot of weak support votes, so they ended up not being first choices last time... maybe keep them as a back up and see where our (new) hearts truly lie is best...? In that case we wouldn't be able to nominate them
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#4

Post by beavis »

I am re-nominating the following 5 (so they are already in the spreadsheet)

Classical Period 2018 63 -- ultra deadpan and sober US indie, (almost) overlooking the usual nouvelle vague slacker influences in favor of some straub-huillet
Promare 2019 2012 -- intense and insane animation, stick with it and be ready to get transported to other levels
Firefly (Jonaki) 2018 164 -- dreamlike and personal cryptic art-house from India, followup to the directors debut that recently featured in the ICM-World Cup
Jinpa (Zhuang si le yi zhi yang) 2018 522 -- a Tibetan noir/western produced by Wong Kar Wai. The twist is: all the people are kinda good actually
Amanda 2018 1713 -- Mikhael Hers expanding his scope a bit, but still writing well rounded characters that can steal your heart

new nominations coming up after Ferg has had time to update the spreadsheet layout for this next round
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#5

Post by Fergenaprido »

I want to finish all my personal film stuff first (updating spreadsheets, stats, watchlists, goals, etc.) before jumping in on this, but I've quickly created the 2021 spreadsheet so you can start adding your stuff beavis. I've removed everything from 2017 and the 2020 festival, and added the still eligible films at the bottom, like I did last year. I'd say things shouldn't be autonominated - people should actively renominate films for consideration. I will do a proper update of the data and add my own nominations sometime later.

Oh, and I'll be back as a programmer again this year, if you'll have me. :)

For now, I'll just renominate 5 that are already in the spreadsheet and weren't seen by any of the other programmers last year.

Bruce Lee and the Outlaw (2018 UK) - Fascinating documentary about street kids in Bucharest, but instead of being distant, the director forms a bond with one of the boys (the "Outlaw" in the title).
M (2018 France) - Soul-wrenching documentary about sexual abuse in Orthodox communities in Israel, from the perspective of one survivor who goes back to confront his demons after years abroad.
My Best Friend (Mi mejor amigo) (2018 Argentina) - A teenager reconnects with his best friend from his childhood, and swiftly falls in love with him in this coming of age queer film.
What a Country! (Koja je ovo drzava!) (2018 Croatia) - A hilarious black comedy rooted in the dissolution of Yugoslavia, demonstrating how that country's disintegration and subsequent wars still affect the region 25 years later.
Young Juliette (Jeune Juliette) (2019 Canada) - Coming of age film of an overweight outcast who wants to be more than just her weight; I found this thematically similar to last festival's A Colony.
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#6

Post by beavis »

I couldn't do this without you :)

Thanks for the spreadsheet
I have M lined up... might take a while before I get to it, the subject matter is not very inviting for me, but I am curious. I'm going to see what others come up with before committing to more at this early point
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#7

Post by Fergenaprido »

beavis wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 8:19 am I couldn't do this without you :)
:blush: :wub: :hug:
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#8

Post by filmbantha »

I would love to be involved as a programmer this year and have well over 30 titles I could highlight at this stage! My suggestions will gravitate towards genre films as horror is my favourite genre and a lot of these are discoveries I have made at horror festivals over the past couple of years. I will put forward my selected choices in batches throughout the process so as not to overwhelm the other programmers, starting with the following six, which I believe offer a good representation of modern genre films from around the world. I have included brief descriptions for all and my full reviews where I have written about a film in more depth.

Brother's Nest (2018, Australia, 1172 votes) A dark and morbid tale of a family feud that escalates into violence with a humorous Coen brothers vibe.
Spoiler
When parents separate it can have repercussions that reverberate in the lives of their children. This is often exacerbated by the introduction of step-parents, particularly when the sensitive subject of inheritance is in question. Brothers' Nest utilises this notion as a basis for a bleak black comedy when two middle-aged brothers take matters into their own hands to ensure their terminally ill mother doesn't leave the family home they grew up in to their step-father.

Clayton Jacobson directs and starts in this character-driven crime film alongside his real life brother Shane Jacobson, bringing a genuine chemistry to the proceedings as they bicker and argue in a way that only two brothers could. The superb screenplay by Jaime Browne consistently surprises with its refusal to shy away from the twisted nature of the sibling's plan, and delivers a dark tale of a family feud that has been threatening to spill over into violence with each passing year.

To execute their meticulously laid plans, Jeff (Clayton Jacobson) and Terry (Shane Jacobson) return to the currently empty family home armed with the knowledge that their mother (Lynette Curran) is in chemotherapy and their stepfather, Rodger (Kim Gyngell), will be returning alone later on in the day. As the siblings lay the groundwork of their cruel scheme we learn about their motivations and the family dynamic as we see Jeff taking control of the situation whilst Terry appears to have been dragged along unwittingly, coerced into this surreal set of circumstances by his older brother.

For the first half of the film the brothers are the only characters on screen and the morbid humour of their interactions builds and builds until events take a turn for the worse and the situation begins to spiral out of control. We bear witness to shocking moments of unflinching violence as long held grudges surface and threaten to derail their carefully laid plans. This is when the black comedy takes a backseat and Brothers' Nest sinks an unexpected hook into the viewer as fresh wounds are laid bare.

Jacobson bridges this change in mood with ease; the slow-burn of the initial setup enables the audience to connect with Terry and Jeff, leaving us fully invested in the brothers' plight. The sombre tones of the nuanced soundtrack and the stunning exterior shots of the fog-shrouded family home add to the brooding atmosphere, alluding to the fact that there is a sinister edge to the tale and things are unlikely to work out as planned.

The crescendo of violence makes you question how far the siblings will go and as the tense situation escalates there are graphic scenes which verge dangerously close to horror territory. At its core though, Brothers' Nest remains focused on its emotional impact; with a strong story that resonates deeply as the difficult decisions the brothers face unfold in a devilish and unpredictable manner that leave you clinging to your seat in sheer anxiety.

It is refreshing to see such an original take on the downfall of a dysfunctional family, especially as it seamlessly blends elements of black humour with a playful streak of brutal violence and still manages to have a profound emotional effect on the viewer. Brothers' Nest is a shining example of gritty Australian cinema that is clearly influenced by the nastiness of the Ozploitation classics but takes a step into new territory by incorporating a deep and involving family drama with a suprising human touch. It delivers an unrivalled experience with its morbid exploration of sibling rivalry and its examination of the extreme lengths people will go to when driven by desperation. This is a destined future cult classic and one that those with a taste for the darker side of cinema would do well to seek out immediately.
Why Don't You Just Die (2018,Russia, 2988 votes) A slick and entertaining revenge thriller set almost entirely in one apartment. A film made by and for film lovers as the references and homages come as thick and fast as the violence.

Wilkolak (2018, Poland 1039 votes) A beautiful and haunting horror film about a group of children who escape from a concentration camp only to find that they are far from safe in their new place of refuge.

4x4 (2019, Argentina, 1138 votes) A film with an inventive gimmick about a thief being trapped in a car that delivers one of the most memorable single location shoots of recent years.

Dead Dicks (2019, Canada, 653 votes) A high concept, low budget, science-fiction horror with a wildly original plot that boldly tackles the heavy subjects of suicide and depression.
Spoiler
When a film takes an absurd but intriguing science-fiction concept and transforms it into a profound parable on suicide and depression, you know you are in for a unique viewing experience. The tongue-in-cheek title of Dead Dicks suggests we are embarking on a somewhat puerile encounter but the sinister opening sequence is indicative of the dark recesses this thought-provoking horror visits. We are introduced to the suicidal slacker Richie (Heston Horwin) when his anxious sister Becca (Jillian Harris) visits his flat - concerned that she can't reach him on his phone. Accosted by Richie's understandably angry downstairs neighbour Matt (Matt Keyes) on the way up to his flat, Becca apologises for the disturbingly loud music emanating from her brother's apartment before heading upstairs where she finds Richie's lifeless body.

In the first of many thrilling revelations it transpires that Richie is still alive and believes that when he took his own life he was reborn out of a huge mysterious crack that has appeared in his bedroom wall. Thus begins an unsettling exploration into a fractured human psyche that traverses a broad range of elements from macabre black comedy to visceral body horror. Richie and Becca's attempts to understand the bizarre situation they find themselves in go awry when Matt enters the fray once more and disturbs the strange symbiotic connection Richie has to the hole in his wall.

Horwin is sublime in his performance as the titular 'Dick', expressing the weight of his character's depression by demonstrating a morbid acceptance of the peculiar circumstances of Richie's inability to die. Whilst Richie embraces the horrific scenario, Becca is fearful of the consequences of toying with fate and Harris emphasises this aspect of Becca's anxiety with a passionate performance as her character struggles to come to terms with the strange situation. The film's success hinges largely on the performances of its cast and they sell the outlandish idea behind Dead Dicks with a conviction that enables you to look past the constraints of a limited budget to appreciate the raw passion and energy that has been harnessed by the film-makers.

Credit is due to the practical effects team whose creative approach to depicting the film's elements of body horror would feel at home in any of David Cronenberg's earlier features. The grotesque, palpitating, cocoon like objects that emerge from the unsightly slit in Richie's wall are all too real, and the nightmarish sequences in which he bursts out of these gooey containers provoke feelings of disgust and curiosity in equal measure. It is the imposing crack on the wall though that really steals the show, particularly when Richie and Becca argue over its appearance, undecided on whether it is closer in form to resembling female genitalia or a massive arsehole.

As Richie experiments with a multitude of suicide attempts the body count begins to stack up and Becca is reluctantly forced into dismembering and disposing of his corpses. The ordeal of carving up not just one but several lifeless bodies, all of which belong to your brother, is a horrific notion although it is played primarily for laughs in Dead Dicks, alleviating the sombre mood to prevent the film's atmosphere becoming to oppressive and disturbing. This morbid humour is pitch perfect throughout, treading carefully around the sensitive subject of suicide to deliver laughs that revolve around Richie's compromising situation.

Dead Dicks succeeds not only as a bizarre and funny sci-fi horror but as a thought-provoking piece on suicide and depression. Like the best genre films it explores the heavy themes surrounding a topic that could sadly be relatable for many viewers. Through incorporating elements of their own experiences into this brilliantly realised black comedy, the film's talented writers and Directors, Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer, have exposed their innermost feelings in an honest and open admission that will speak volumes to those who connect with Dead Dicks on a personal level, as well as entertaining the hell out of those who are simply looking for a wild and unforgettable ride into the unknown.
Rent-A-Pal (2020, USA, 1244 votes) A slow burn thriller that combines a grim kitchen sink drama with a dark and disturbing exploration of mental illness.
Spoiler
The psychological impact of being a full time carer for a loved one is the stepping stone for a powerful and traumatic thriller in Rent-A-Pal. A lonely bachelor, David, is fighting off depression and loneliness whilst struggling to take care of his housebound mother and he tries to find love through a video dating service. He stumbles upon a strange VHS that offers companionship but this tape slowly takes over David's life as the line between reality and his imagination begin to blur.

Rent-A-Pal is an imaginative and utterly captivating slow burn thriller that takes time to build up a sympathetic characterisation of David with a remarkable performance from Brian Landis in the lead role. There is humour throughout to alleviate the feeling of despair and hopelessness that invades David's life and this allows the audience to warm to David and empathise with his plight. A menacing turn from Will Wheaton as Andy, the host of the VHS tape which becomes such a huge part of David's life, is the perfect counterpoint to David's introverted nature and their interplay feels so natural that it is easy to forget Andy is just a video recording. There is a lot to unpack in Rent-A-Pal; its social commentary is smart and affecting and the elements of horror towards the end of the picture really hit hard. This is an incredibly original and striking picture and should be essential viewing for anyone who relishes dark and disturbing dramas.
I will look forward to perusing the other suggested films and will post here with my thoughts whenever I watch one.
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#9

Post by beavis »

Welcome!
Already looking forward to your other suggestions:)
From these i loved Why Don't You Just Die, hated Wilkolak, and am interested in the others.
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#10

Post by filmbantha »

beavis wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 3:22 pm Welcome!
Already looking forward to your other suggestions:)
From these i loved Why Don't You Just Die, hated Wilkolak, and am interested in the others.
Thanks! Glad there will be some more support for why don't you just die. I'm surprised to hear you hated Wilkolak as I thought that could have been a good fit for the festival.

Jonaki is available on netflix so that will probably be the first film I check out from your nominations.
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#11

Post by beavis »

filmbantha wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 4:22 pm I'm surprised to hear you hated Wilkolak as I thought that could have been a good fit for the festival.
It could, the premisse is interesting. I found it just to be very poorly written... but i am only one opinion ;)
Curious to hear reactions on Jonaki. Bit of a hard sell, but could do very well...
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#12

Post by xianjiro »

I'm just getting started and need to spend a bit of time reading last year's thread to get a sense how how things have been working.

I don't have an issue with the handful of hold-overs from last year being included this year. One year roll-over is fine, but if they don't make it in the second try, then they shouldn't be perpetually nominated.

So far I'd nominate Athlete A (2020) - clearly documentary - I'd consider it a fairly typical straight-forward documentary following the unraveling of sexual abuse of world class gymnasts in the closed institutions that make up the sport. While the subject matter should be of interest, the film can also be looked at for the way it approaches the scandal and the #metoo concept. It is currently available on Netflix.

As a side note: I am not often the first to see anything and I don't generally seek things out that haven't made it to official check status so I don't expect to be nominating a lot. However, if I can access films that ARE nominated, I will watch and respond. Hopefully this is a strength I can contribute to the process.

Happy hunting!
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#13

Post by beavis »

Good to have you on board!

And we are just getting started too. We've started two months early in fact, so no need to rush! :)

A lot of recent ICM official checks are still obscure. I was looking into the latest FESPACO winner for instance, which is available and eligible, I have put it on my extended watch list (but that one has 150+ titles that I must see now!). But of course this festival usually works the other way around, where we're looking for things that weren't noted (by a general audience) yet, so hopefully not already an official check. Because when we are talking recent cinema there is so much good stuff out there and whether it is official or not doesn't say anything good or bad about the quality. I don't want to advise you to 'let it go', but let's just say I don't pay much attention to if it is a check or not when looking for movies.

Netflix is for International cinema maybe the best of the regular streaming sources. Here are a few of the movies you can find there that I have put on my list as festival options:
Flavours of Youth 2018
Alles ist gut 2018
Duck Butter 2018
River's Edge 2018
Hou lai de wo men (us and them) 2018
Hot Gimmick: Girl Meets Boy 2019
Yang Guang Pu Zhao (a sun) 2019
Dick Johnson is Dead 2020
Mother 2020
Pieces of a Woman 2020
the Hater 2020 (from the director of Corpus Christi)

And of course when more people start nominating, there will be a lot more options rolling in!
So, either you can work ahead with these suggestions (that I haven't seen yet) by yourself so you have hopefully something more to nominate, or you put your effort in supporting more of other people's choices, either would be very helpful indeed
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#14

Post by Fergenaprido »

Hey folks, you can use this link to get to the spreadsheet instead of the the one in the OP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =856880047
It takes you to the 2021 tab instead of the 2020 tab :)

Thanks for the tip that Jonaki is on Netflix. Makes it easier to see so I'll add that to my queue and commit to see it.

I've added Athlete A to the spreadsheet for you xian. It's already at 6,000+ plus votes, though, so it might cross the threshold before the summer. Added your name as well so you can add your rankings.
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#15

Post by St. Gloede »

Really happy to see this thread open already, and excited to finally take part as a programmer!

Following Beavis' lead in the ICMFFF4 thread, I created a joint recommendation and watchlist which I aim to watch through - along with the nominees from this thread - and add the best films to my nominee list. Overview: https://letterboxd.com/gloede/list/icmf ... -viewings/

Re: 6 vs. 8 - I vote 8 - though I aim to watch more.

As I am still going through my watchlist I will be cautious, and will start by nominating a small set of 6 (I will likely add a second batch shortly, but need time to write something up, be it short or long).ab

Early Nominees:

Longa Noite / Endless Night (2019, Eloy Enciso)
This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
Om det oändliga / About Endlessness (2019, Roy Andersson)
Transit (2018, Christian Petzold)
Der goldene Handschuh / The Golden Glove (2019, Faith Akin)
O que arde / Fire will come (2019, Oliver Laxe)

Reviews:

Longa noite / Endless Night (2019, Eloy Enciso)

Image

I am not sure if I have ever experienced a film that manages to sweep you into eternal darkness and place you on a true journey of day into nights, the way Eloy Enrisco's latest near-masterpiece has accomplished. If you recall the sensory experience of being lead into the night, wandering as if in a daze, in Bi Gan's aptly named Long Day's Journey into Night, I can only say that Encisco has managed to outdo it - and add actual meaning and poetry - complementing the increasing darkness - and the sense of being lost in the night - to perfection.

Endless Night opens, surprisingly, with day: We see little vignettes of life, with a cold, sad underlying note that could perhaps be construed as irony - but hits a little deeper. At first glance it could almost seem comparable to a non-comedic Roy Andersson - merely without the long takes - with a pinch of Rohmer and Straub/Huillet - but all new notes and a style of its own. There is a purity and simplicity in the way the dialogue is delivered and captured that immediately places us on the outside looking in. We are spectators, and we are viewing an almost timeless age that quickly reveals itself to be Franco's Spain - and we shortly realize that we are not just seeing vignettes, but that there is one solitary person travelling through them - this is merely the world he is walking through.

Image

It should go without saying that the visuals by Mauro Herce (the Cinematographer of Fire Will Come) are exquisite - both in its restrained observation - gracious encapturing - and haunting contrasts. I particularly loved the quiet moments when the camera would linger at a detail of a scene - such as the bread, with a knife next to it, in the opening scene. The composition akin to a beautiful traditional painting - and allowing us to see a kind of surprising beauty in the midst of what we are observing.  

Image

The narrative is divided into 3 clear acts, each separated by title cards showing I, II and III - and while there is a continuity of style, atmosphere and if you will, narrative - each section brings something new - and each section strips something away: as we drift further and further into night. It is a cry of the time, a memory of the past, an echo of suffering - with the characters (to the extent you can call them that) arguably being placeholders for humanity/Spain/Galicia as a whole. As we move from dialogue, to monologue to narration/recitation - a change so simply - yet so pivotal I almost considered adding a spoiler warning for a structural/poetic device we get a picture, broad and wide of Franco's Spain, the indifference/callousness of those who supported it - and the pain, fair and ambivalence of those who stood against it.

Undoubtedly one of the best films of the last decade.

9.5/10



This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)

Image

The film is simply stunning in its composition, and makes you feel incredible awe at the surroundings. So many of the shots are films with contrast to the sky - people against surroundings.

Image

But it also opens like this:

Image

This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection quite floored me, as it lures you in with trippy, nightmarish sounds and visuals - slowly centres you, before it unleashes you into a slow brooding and poetic work which is simultaneously gorgeous (obviously) but grieving a loss.

Image

You may be tempted to believe the title in a more literal sense, as we find in our protagonist a grieving, elderly woman, Mantoa, who has just lost her son - but what it really captures is progress vs. tradition, or more specifically cold progress vs. people - as the entire village is set to be flooded with a new dam, and the villagers - all seemingly poor farmers - are to be relocated to the capital.

What we see is the beaurocracy, speeches and push for modernity and leaving all you know - including your dead - in contrast to Mantoa's complete disbelief, bewilderness and sorrow.

Image

The film could so easily have taken the classic route of the underdog fighting back, trapped in a beaurocratic mess, but this is not what the film is concerned with.

And yes, you do have futility - and the idea of the new and old god - and we see how those in positions of power try to nudge the people along:

Image

But this is not really the story.

Even the backdrop of government workers cutting down trees, or the more solemn clarity in the chief informing all that it is the king's land, not theirs - are really the story.

Instead we peer into humanity, and into what stands to be lost. We spend time in the beauty and serenity of the village, we see the bonds form, we see the pain in leaving, we see Mantoa's despair - and we feel it.

9/10




Om det oändliga / About Endlessness (2019, Roy Andersson)

Image

I love Andersson's Living Trilogy, A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is my favourite film of the last decade, and the only thing that really speaks against About Endlessness - except the fact that it is just too damn short  - is that it really could have been the fourth instalment, or even the epilogue.

Over these last 4 films Andersson has developed a unique form of finding tragedy, and comedy, in the hyper mundane - a kind of existential horror that is at the same time cleverly amusing and deeply unsettling. Once again we are presented with a long set of vignettes, some fantastical, but most mundane to the point of bizarrity - and with a broad array of characters and situations - some repeated - but most are not.

Image

Each scene in this film consists of a single shot, and the elaborate sense of detail and movement is absolutely incredible. We really need to look at how Andersson creates tragedy and dark comedy with such limitations and makes it even stronger because of it. He makes us feel every second, and the limited movement and careful composition only adds to his usually dead, miserable and uncaring world.

The big difference from the trilogy is our new omnipresent narrator, who will, in most scenes, say what she sees ... Such as  "I saw a man ..." or "I saw a woman ...", or "I saw a middle manager ..."

And the sentence will finish with a fairly general fact, such as having a problem with her shoes, or had gone into the wrong bar, or more poignantly I saw a young man who had yet to find love.

It truly is a film about endlessness - you can feel it - and the narrator picking these exact scenes only adds to this feeling - though again - for Andersson this is nothing new. I don't think it cuts as sharply as Pigeon, but if you love Andersson's work - you will love About Endlessness as well. The filmmaking is near flawless, the the bleak, existential humour and muted emotion is a dark delight as always.

9/10



Transit (2018, Christian Petzold)

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The conclusion to Petzold's thematically connected "Systems of Oppression" trilogy sees him transport the nazi occupation of France to modern-day - but without stating the obvious. He has taken a book set in the midst of WW2 and reportedly. altered nothing except clothes, weapons, cars and the time it takes place. This leads us into a strange neverworld - a memory of what was, and what could be.

Petzold is absolutely fantastic when it comes to minimalist thrillers, but they often feel surface level - in this film he really managed to capture a very very specific experience, a philosophical thought experiment in a way, letting us see people from our time in that exact same experience and reality - while also keeping things beautifully vague, so it can feel like a tragic dream. There are touches, that if set in its proper setting could have been seen as melodramatic or off - which here feel almost surreal - and the thought of a war/occupation of this kind being so close to Europe in the 21st century - and seeing the plee for escape today - makes it an incredibly strong and unique viewing.

8.5/10




Der goldene Handschuh / The Golden Glove (2019, Faith Akin)

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The Golden Glove is a serial killer drama that could make a fittingly depressing and thoroughly unnerving double feature with Henry. Jonas Dassler delivers one of the greatest performances of recent years, as the awkward, mysoginistic and abusive serial killer Fritz Honka (loosely based on the real story) - and with transformative and unnerving makeup (akin to Charlize Theron in Monster) he strikes a pitiful posture while slumming it in a drunken existence in 70s Hamburg.

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What Akin truly managed to do here is capture not only the frightening qualities of the character, in a seedy world - but recreate the 70s aesthetic to the point that you can almost get a slight Fassbinder vibe. The world of booze and lost hopes and dreams come alive in all its frightening reality - and with Dassler's central performance - and a few viewer's discretion warnings: as this is one cold and cruel film - it is one of the films with sights and scenes that will stay with you.

8.5/10




O que arde / Fire will come (2019, Oliver Laxe)

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Fire Will Come does not open with fire, but rather harrowing, hypnotic destruction - as trees fall - seemingly by mystical forces - in the midst of night. We see them lifted up, we see the forest torn apart - while what can only be described as a bass sending us further into a uneasy trance.

Then: hands - a document being sent from person to person - no faces shown: an arsonist will be released - and his face - alone, in a bus, going down the highway, is the first face we see - though even here we drift - following his gaze at the apparent nothingness outside - all accompanied by classical music.

Fire Will Come - a forewarning akin to There Will Be Blood - makes it clear where this will all end. This foreboding tension - the knowledge that fire will come, makes the understated scenes of aging mother and son, as well as the slow scenes of daily chores and herdics cows in the galican countryside eerie, and adds a more intense bite to the soft melancholy as we attempt to read anything into Almador's muted expression.

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I could also give a few negatives, though as they will border on spoilers I'll abstain beyond wanting the fire - when it does come - to be even more mystifying - but this is a thoroughly wonderful film and one of the best of 2019.

8.5/10
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#16

Post by xianjiro »

Fergenaprido wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 8:04 pm Hey folks, you can use this link to get to the spreadsheet instead of the the one in the OP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =856880047
It takes you to the 2021 tab instead of the 2020 tab :)

Thanks for the tip that Jonaki is on Netflix. Makes it easier to see so I'll add that to my queue and commit to see it.

I've added Athlete A to the spreadsheet for you xian. It's already at 6,000+ plus votes, though, so it might cross the threshold before the summer. Added your name as well so you can add your rankings.
What's the difference between the two sections? (above and below row 20?)
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#17

Post by Fergenaprido »

Above are those that have been (re)nominated.

Below are the ones that were considered in previous years that are still eligible, but have not yet been renominated. I put them at the bottom as sort of a reminder list, but also to save people from having to switch back and forth between tabs and to save their ratings from before. If you see something you like from the bottom feel free to drag it to the top and renominate it. I can fix the formulas later if they get messed up.
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#18

Post by zzzorf »

I just wanted to put forward interest in doing this. I've been enjoying different aspects of this site and after how much fun I had with the World Cup I felt like this might be something I could do to fill the void while it isn't around. My issue though is I have never been involved in the festival in my few years I've been here so I don't know if I'm qualified enough to be part of this round. While I could wait and become a juror later, the ability to spend all year watching recommended movies instead of just 4 weeks sounds more appealing to me.
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#19

Post by Fergenaprido »

Do you watch movies? Then you're qualified :D

I also had no participation in the festival before I joined as a programmer. If you've read through beavis's introduction, and feel up to the task and are willing to commit to seeing enough films and sharing your opinions on them, then it will probably work out. As long as you don't disappear if/when the next season of the World Cup starts. :D
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#20

Post by xianjiro »

Fergenaprido wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 2:58 am Above are those that have been (re)nominated.

Below are the ones that were considered in previous years that are still eligible, but have not yet been renominated. I put them at the bottom as sort of a reminder list, but also to save people from having to switch back and forth between tabs and to save their ratings from before. If you see something you like from the bottom feel free to drag it to the top and renominate it. I can fix the formulas later if they get messed up.
Thanks - figured it was something like that, but wasn't quite certain. One ask, when adding things, could you please highlight new titles or something to that effect? I'm going to need to keep my own spreadsheet so I know where I've searched for things and I've no idea how many titles will end up being considered over the next 8 or so months.

I've already added my scores for the three I've seen (two in the bottom half)
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#21

Post by zzzorf »

Fergenaprido wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 4:20 am Do you watch movies? Then you're qualified :D

I also had no participation in the festival before I joined as a programmer. If you've read through beavis's introduction, and feel up to the task and are willing to commit to seeing enough films and sharing your opinions on them, then it will probably work out. As long as you don't disappear if/when the next season of the World Cup starts. :D
Nope, won't disappear. If the WC was to start up within the next 9 months, well then double duty it is, I doubt I am the only one. I'm more just looking forward to the recommendations you guys have that may help find me some more new favourites.

Well then I am in. I am going to look at what movies I have that qualify and I will be back with some recommendations, they probably won't be the strength you guys have but hopefully 1 or 2 sneaks into the programme.
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#22

Post by Fergenaprido »

xianjiro wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 4:28 am
Fergenaprido wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 2:58 am Above are those that have been (re)nominated.

Below are the ones that were considered in previous years that are still eligible, but have not yet been renominated. I put them at the bottom as sort of a reminder list, but also to save people from having to switch back and forth between tabs and to save their ratings from before. If you see something you like from the bottom feel free to drag it to the top and renominate it. I can fix the formulas later if they get messed up.
Thanks - figured it was something like that, but wasn't quite certain. One ask, when adding things, could you please highlight new titles or something to that effect? I'm going to need to keep my own spreadsheet so I know where I've searched for things and I've no idea how many titles will end up being considered over the next 8 or so months.

I've already added my scores for the three I've seen (two in the bottom half)
When adding titles to the spreadsheet (everyone should have the ability to edit it, let me know if you don't) people should also be posting in this thread listing those films, ideally with a short summary/reason why you're nominating it. That should ensure that everyone is aware when new titles are added. Usually the spreadsheet fills up with 80-100 titles by the end of the summer. If we have more programmers this year, that number may rise as well.
zzzorf wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 4:42 am
Fergenaprido wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 4:20 am Do you watch movies? Then you're qualified :D

I also had no participation in the festival before I joined as a programmer. If you've read through beavis's introduction, and feel up to the task and are willing to commit to seeing enough films and sharing your opinions on them, then it will probably work out. As long as you don't disappear if/when the next season of the World Cup starts. :D
Nope, won't disappear. If the WC was to start up within the next 9 months, well then double duty it is, I doubt I am the only one. I'm more just looking forward to the recommendations you guys have that may help find me some more new favourites.

Well then I am in. I am going to look at what movies I have that qualify and I will be back with some recommendations, they probably won't be the strength you guys have but hopefully 1 or 2 sneaks into the programme.
It's not just about getting your own nominations into the festival. While it is indeed rewarding to have a film that you've championed get selected and then enjoyed during the festival, as programmers we branch out in many different directions that don't often overlap. It's just as crucial to watch each other's nominations so that we can reach some sort of consensus and build a slate of films that have all been seen by at least 3 people instead of only 1. Paying attention to which slates are underrepresented and then seeking out films that fit those genres/regions is also an important part of the job.
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#23

Post by xianjiro »

Is anyone "mothering" a slate at present? Which slate is the most ignored, hardest to program?
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#24

Post by beavis »

Fergenaprido wrote: January 2nd, 2021, 8:04 pm Hey folks, you can use this link to get to the spreadsheet instead of the the one in the OP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =856880047
It takes you to the 2021 tab instead of the 2020 tab :)
I also updated this in the opening post, for easy reference later on
St. Gloede wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 12:31 am Really happy to see this thread open already, and excited to finally take part as a programmer!

Following Beavis' lead in the ICMFFF4 thread, I created a joint recommendation and watchlist which I aim to watch through - along with the nominees from this thread - and add the best films to my nominee list. Overview: https://letterboxd.com/gloede/list/icmf ... -viewings/

Re: 6 vs. 8 - I vote 8 - though I aim to watch more.

As I am still going through my watchlist I will be cautious, and will start by nominating a small set of 6 (I will likely add a second batch shortly, but need time to write something up, be it short or long).ab

Early Nominees:

Longa Noite / Endless Night (2019, Eloy Enciso)
This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
Om det oändliga / About Endlessness (2019, Roy Andersson)
Transit (2018, Christian Petzold)
Der goldene Handschuh / The Golden Glove (2019, Faith Akin)
O que arde / Fire will come (2019, Oliver Laxe)
And I am REALLY happy to have you along. Your 6 nominations all can count on my full support!!
two of them are Gallician which I had hoped to highlight so much!!! thanks for that

Thanks also for your response on the minimum required watches we need to ask of programmers. As long as we get enough programmers (and the start is encouraging enough, still expecting a few people from previous editions and those who said they were interested in programming at the end of the last festival), and as discussed above, people try to cover more than one of the sections / keep track of where there is a need, then I am sure it will work out even with a minimal effort. Although my main focus in these first few months will be on forum challenges, like you, I do plan to watch more than 8 of those that have been nominated by others that I did not already see. I hope it might be the same for a few others, then we won't have any problems at all.

I like the nominations in batches :) Also because I want to seek out some more Independent, African and Genre films that I would like to be able to nominate
zzzorf wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 3:35 am I just wanted to put forward interest in doing this. I've been enjoying different aspects of this site and after how much fun I had with the World Cup I felt like this might be something I could do to fill the void while it isn't around. My issue though is I have never been involved in the festival in my few years I've been here so I don't know if I'm qualified enough to be part of this round. While I could wait and become a juror later, the ability to spend all year watching recommended movies instead of just 4 weeks sounds more appealing to me.
Welcome!!
If you feel like joining, then the programmer part of the festival is by far the easiest, you have months to seek out a few recommendations (should't really be that much work at all, although doing more is appreciated) and there is the most room for promoting your own tastes. Also, the festival doesn't have any particular taste other than the movies being a little bit overlooked but still able to get enthusiastic support of a few programmers. So the more diverse input we get, the stronger I think our program will turn out. Because I see a lot of current cinema, and there were only a few programmers so far, I always feel my input on the final program is too big. I hope to discover a lot more from others and also that a lot of the movies we have got qualifying at the end will have more than (just) two supporters.
xianjiro wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 7:46 am Is anyone "mothering" a slate at present? Which slate is the most ignored, hardest to program?
well filmbantha expressed great interest in the Dawn section, and we welcome other experts, but the programmers need to be willing to also branch out a bit

in the past we had trouble with filling the documentary, dawn, animation and LGBTQ sections
last year I thought the Indie section was dreadful (not the movies, just the fact that in my mind none of them were English language Independents), and we had some problems with again animation, also Asia+Africa

I tried to give us a safety net last year by watching and nominating films that would cover multiple sections, but I'm not sure if that worked out well because it didn't really give us a bigger slate to select movies from (and only a tiny bit more wiggle room) and we did end up with some slates losing their own flavor a bit... in my opinion

so, yes, focus on a particular section in need if you want to, but on the other hand also try to spread out your nominations over as much sections as you are able to ;)
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#25

Post by beavis »

St. Gloede wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 12:31 amif you love Andersson's work - you will love About Endlessness as well. The filmmaking is near flawless, the the bleak, existential humour and muted emotion is a dark delight as always.
100% agree with this. the word flawless always comes to mind with Andersson and because of it I just can't help to rate it high, even if it feels like a minor work (or even epilogue). I was surprised that this one got a lukewarm response from almost anyone I came across... so I am not sure about how it would do in the festival... bleak existential humor might just not be everyone's cuppa ;)
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#26

Post by beavis »

Another batch of nominations from me:

The 20th Century (2019, Canada, Matthew Rankin, art/indie/dawn)
Ultra stylish and filled with campy absurdist humor, this one just can't help being influenced by and compared to the work of Guy Maddin. But when it is done this well, and with enough of its own flavors, then this is more a recommendation than a point of critique. A delight from start to finish.
https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/the+20th+century/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7969836/

Colectiv (2019, Romania, Alexander Nanau, doc/euro)
I saw this at the start of last year, tipped by a programmer at the EYE institute in Amsterdam (otherwise a doc like this is certainly something I would have skipped) and was blown away by the story (the political access the makers seem to have had, but also by the way it is presented). While I heared literally nobody talk about it afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised to see this one pop up on many an end-of-year list. So this has been kind of a 'geheimtip' among the people in the know then...? Seems like the kind of thing we want our festival to do too!
https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/colectiv/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10706602/

Tlamess (2019, Tunesia, Ala Eddine Slim, art/AsAf)
The previous film by this director was one of my favorite African films of all time and when I read that this new one had a sound track done by the amazing French band Oiseaux-tempête, this became my number one must see movie. I have to say while it did not totally live up to that personal hype I gave it, it does linger in the mind, and becomes as mythical as some of the imagery it presents. Slim makes modern/world art-house cinema (that you might not expect from this continent, although I feel it has been changing in recent years) and he also flirts with surrealism/genre/fantasy in slight but very striking ways. I am curious to see how other programmers feel about this... but this is certainly a filmmaker to look out for, so I'd like to include this in my nominations.
https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/tlamess/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10228180/

Chun Jiang Shui Nuan (Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, 2019, China, Xiaogang Gu, AsAf)
Chinese cinema has done very well in our last few festival editions and this year I think we could have another winner from the country. Judging from the reception this one got at last years IFFR (by far the favorite of most people I talked to there) it seems like a no brainer. I must say I was a little bit more reserved in my praise, giving it "only" an 8, because it is fairly typical in it's subject matter of chronicling the lives of a family over an extended period... but the film making craft (especially in a few gorgeous extended tracking shots) is excellent.
https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/chu ... shui+nuan/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10219146/

Djamilia (2018, Kyrgyzstan, Aminatou Echard, art/doc/AsAf)
Beautiful experimental documentary that gives a refreshing insight into both feminism and Kyrgyz culture. I especially loved the singing. It promotes female voices in a way that is both very personal or specific for a region and also totally universal; without being didactic or boring. I must say I watched Dzhamilya (1969) beforehand. An excellent film based on the story that this documentary is referring to (which also highlights the beauty of the countries culture), but just reading a synopsis of it before hand also gives you an idea about the choices the title character of this popular story made and how that can be a role model for female independence. And just on the visuals alone this one is a winner for me... still, might be a bit of a hard sell, curious to see if it can get support.
https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/djamilia/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8228894/
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#27

Post by beavis »

this is my list of suggestions on LB, which Gloede mentioned before
https://letterboxd.com/beavis/list/100- ... -ff5-2021/

the first 10 on it are now the 10 I have nominated so far
I must say I have extended my personal watch-list quite a bit since I made it, and with new nominations it keeps getting longer (M and Dead Dicks will get priority from what I've read so far), so regard it as just a snapshot to spark some inspiration. I am always amazed to find out that however much I have already seen, it is just the tip of a huge iceberg of interesting stuff. Film production globally has been at an all-time high in recent years! All the more need for our festival to do what it does.
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#28

Post by zzzorf »

Ok well I'm in if you will have me, here are my initial nominations after I have put the criteria through IMDb to see what I had watched and then decided what was worth trying. More will come as I watch other eligible titles:
  • Impetigore Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (2019) - 2,834 votes - While Indonesian horror is a dime a dozen nowadays and the majority of the time is a copy of a Western idea with their own cultural spin this movie is a unique concept which was a good entertaining watch.
  • My Dad Is a Heel Wrestler Papa wa warumono chanpion (2018) - 191 votes - A Japanese movie that sees a young boy find out that not only his Dad a professional wrestler he is in fact a heel (bad guy) which sees him run the emotions of proud to disgust and the effect it has on his father as well.
  • Aniara (2018) - 6,047 votes - A Swedish sci-fi which takes a look at the way humans will react with an inevitability of floating in space.
  • Rejected Otvergnutye (2018) - 6 votes - After having a child out of wedlock and therefore being disowned by her family a Kazakhstani lady returns home with her son so as he can learn who his family is.
  • The Delegation Delegacioni (2018) - 91 votes - An Albanian drama which sees a prisoner of war being escorted from the prison for a reason which he does not know for.
  • Mutant Blast (2018) - 1078 votes - A Portuguese horror which changes pace a bit way through, a bit in the tradition of Troma.
  • A Whisker Away Nakitai watashi wa neko wo kaburu (2020) - 4,785 votes - A Japanese Anime which sees a girl able to transform from human to cat at will but it causes some complications for her in the end.
  • Fragtime (2019) - 181 votes - A Japanese anime which sees a lesbian romance start from a girl who can stop time, but for only a short time and the one person it doesn't effect.
  • The Soul Collector (2019) - 1775 votes - A South African horror featuring a cursed man who is now a reaper of souls
  • Hakubo (2019) - 62 votes - Another Anime, this time a romance derived through painting.
Sorry my write-ups aren't that good, I'm not the best at putting over movies, even after spending a few years as a wrestling article writer. I have added these 10 movies in to the spreadsheet. I notice other noms haven't been added in yet (mainly St Gloede's I believe). Is someone going to add them in or did you want me too? It makes more sense for the nominee to do it as they can get the selections right but it doesn't matter, it will just be handy to have them there for easy reference.
Also I'm trying to work out the scoring system properly so what I have put in may change in the end.
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#29

Post by beavis »

nice selection!
don't be discouraged by my lowest/none support for the two I've seen... ;)
I agree with you on Impetigore, and it could be this year's Jallikattu... but I think it is just not that strong in the craft department and response to Jallikattu hasn't been overwhelming
Aniara seemed very generic to me, and hampered by a bit of a weak ending... even though it was based on an epic poem written by a Nobel prize laureate, so what do I know?! :)
very much looking forward to seek out some of your nominations
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#30

Post by filmbantha »

It's great to see About Endlessness and Aniara have been nominated, they were in my list of potential nominees so they both have my support.

Impetigore and The Golden Glove are two films I have on my radar so I will try to seek these out and there are many other nominations I have not heard of that sound intriguing. This is going to be a lot of fun!

I have just finished Jonaki and that will also have my support. It's a beautiful art house film and a clear step up from the director's previous film, Labour of Love. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and there are many striking moments that showcase an impeccable eye for framing and composition. One aspect of the film that falls down for me is the story as I found the surreal, dream-like narrative difficult to piece together in parts, although visiting www.jonakithefilm.com afterwards and reading about the Director's intentions certainly helped me to unravel parts of the plot that were not clear whilst watching.

On a separate note, would someone be able to provide me more information on what qualifies as an independent film for the purposes of the festival? I think that some of the films I have nominated may also fall into this category but it would be useful to have some guidance on this.
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#31

Post by beavis »

filmbantha wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 12:47 pm On a separate note, would someone be able to provide me more information on what qualifies as an independent film for the purposes of the festival? I think that some of the films I have nominated may also fall into this category but it would be useful to have some guidance on this.
Great that you liked Jonaki!!

When talking English language Independent there is a lot of grey area we could get into, so I am not sure if I could give a proper guidance in a clear way. In one way it seems pretty clear cut that it is about movies produced without studio backing. These days I think that also means backing (during production) by the major streaming services. But in the 90's when it turned out these kind of movies could be highly profitable, a few studio's created their own "independent" outfits... so when talking about American independent cinema, it is more about a certain style for me. Something that came to the fore with Cassavettes and then continued on in various iterations (e.g., "slacker" became "mumble"... not exactly sure where we are at the moment). I'd say when it is low budget, mainly drama (lot of talking, lot of coming of age) but also comedy or genre variations, then it probably fits the bill.

We could go further into underground cinema, either of the genre or art variety (or both, if the makers are punk enough), as there is loads to discover there too that I feel our festival has not touched upon yet... but I'm not sure if we have an audience for that, while the regular Indie and coming-of-age is still a very popular, fertile (and often worthwhile) area to explore
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#32

Post by St. Gloede »

Quick question re: nominees:

I add in my nominees in alphabetical order within the top set of films (along with links, vote details, etc.), correct?
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#33

Post by zzzorf »

St. Gloede wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 11:31 pm Quick question re: nominees:

I add in my nominees in alphabetical order within the top set of films (along with links, vote details, etc.), correct?
That's what I did and everything seems fine so I would say yes.
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#34

Post by filmbantha »

beavis wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 9:18 pm
filmbantha wrote: January 3rd, 2021, 12:47 pm On a separate note, would someone be able to provide me more information on what qualifies as an independent film for the purposes of the festival? I think that some of the films I have nominated may also fall into this category but it would be useful to have some guidance on this.
Great that you liked Jonaki!!

When talking English language Independent there is a lot of grey area we could get into, so I am not sure if I could give a proper guidance in a clear way. In one way it seems pretty clear cut that it is about movies produced without studio backing. These days I think that also means backing (during production) by the major streaming services. But in the 90's when it turned out these kind of movies could be highly profitable, a few studio's created their own "independent" outfits... so when talking about American independent cinema, it is more about a certain style for me. Something that came to the fore with Cassavettes and then continued on in various iterations (e.g., "slacker" became "mumble"... not exactly sure where we are at the moment). I'd say when it is low budget, mainly drama (lot of talking, lot of coming of age) but also comedy or genre variations, then it probably fits the bill.

We could go further into underground cinema, either of the genre or art variety (or both, if the makers are punk enough), as there is loads to discover there too that I feel our festival has not touched upon yet... but I'm not sure if we have an audience for that, while the regular Indie and coming-of-age is still a very popular, fertile (and often worthwhile) area to explore
Thanks for clearing that up, I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking the term covers a bit of a grey area but I have a better grasp of what we are aiming for with this section now.

I'll make sure to consider this when labelling my nominations in the spreadsheet.
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#35

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Batch 2:

I'm back with a new set of 7 - bringing me up to 13 nominees.

Will take my time before the next batch, and focus in on my watchlist - especially in terms of animation.

Dylba / Beanpole (2019, Kantemir Balagov)
Kız Kardeşler / Tale of Three Sisters (2019, Emin Alper)
Le Livre d'image / The Image Book (2018, Jean-Luc Godard)
La fameuse invasion des ours en Sicile / The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (2019, Lorenzo Mattotti)
Raiva / Rage (2018, Sérgio Tréfaut)
Your Face (2018, Tsai Ming-liang)
Lúa vermella / Red Moon Tide (2020, Lois Patiño)

Reviews:

Dylba / Beanpole (2019, Kantemir Balagov)

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Cold, unnerving and tender is a descriptor we can use both for our "titular" character, and the film as a whole. Beanpole follows a tale, slim nurse (a Beanpole) as she struggles through life in post-WW2 Soviet Union, and cares for a child. We get tender moments between her and the child - but there is an icey underbelly - which is to be revealed. We also dive into the life of her friend, damaged from the front - and prospects of love.

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It is both a strength and a weakness that we are always held at a distance from Iya. We can tell she is going through something immensely painful and internal - but we can never tell what she is thinking - and at times this leads to shocking revelations or actions that we are no closer understanding. By contrast, her friend Masha gains a degree of closeness and sympathy - that seems to elude our "Beanpole" - though both are haunted by pain.

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This is only Kantemir Balagov's second feature, after the violently powerful, emotive, muted and simultaneously explicit Closeness (which I believe was in ICMFFF3) - and while the muted emotions are still with us - the cinematography has gone from dirty and close to beautiful and distanced. It is breathtaking - one of the best shot films of 2019 - and this only adds further to the iciness. It's almost luxurious and elegant composition freezes almost everything it touches - and what is left are the eyes, posture and presence of our ambitiously unnerving lead. 8/10


Kız Kardeşler / Tale of Three Sisters (2019, Emin Alper)

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Emin Alper's third feature, and the first to focus in on women, is a dark, gloomy and at times disturbing tale of impoverished banality, acceptance of servitude and small hope. We join the life of a small, poor village where girls are sent into service in town (usually with no hope of schooling). We follow the long mountainous road (when cars enter or leave) giving us a glimpse of the desolation - and it is this way the two youngest sisters return - each dismissed from service - and sentenced to once again live with their illiterate father.

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The story takes form as a chamber play - both outside and inside - placing us into the family's living room - for conversations/arguments between the sisters - and the outside for the lively drink between men. It is also how both intimacy and power relations are related - and we see how the father, mayor - and the husband of the oldest sister - place an almost deified level of importance upon a town doctor (of whom 2 the two oldest sisters have been in service, and the youngest may become the 3rd). 

The kind of polite discourse - often breaking with the increasingly unnerved husband - as well as the rash middle sister - and the oldest - the married mother - dreaming of escape from it all. The film has intimacy and humanity: but as it progresses it can also be seen as entirely misanthropic, with cold brutality - and some quite disturbing relations. It is also, perhaps above all, a reminder that lives of this kind still exist within Turkey - and while subtle - the way it portrays power and dependency is incredibly strong. 8/10.



Le Livre d'image / The Image Book (2018, Jean-Luc Godard)

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It is incredible that Jean-Luc Godard, nearing 90, can still bring forth new and experimental effects that play with just what cinema is - and how a film can be done. This is, of course, something he has pursued throughout his career - but the simple effect of building upon a glitch of the image, upon transition, readjusting to the screen - marks yet another small way he can surprise you. He also plays with proportions and aspect ratios, and manages to make imperfections, mistakes and what could in other hands appear to be glitches and mistakes come to life as cinematic art.

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The rest of the film, however, should surprise no JLG fan - at least none that have followed him and are used to his essays - but in tie-ing down cinema, life and politics in this way - it feels, to make the pun - almost like a bookend to his career. And if it is his final feature - it is fitting. He plays his greatest hits, brings in a few new notes and creates a spellbinding 84-minute experience. 8/10.



La fameuse invasion des ours en Sicile / The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (2019, Lorenzo Mattotti)

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The greatest strength I would want to bring to anyone's attention - and is shown so beautifully in most screenshots circulating - is the magical, simple animation style that immediately let's you know you are in for an experience outside of the ordinary. Unfortunately, this is also where you will find its greatest weakness - as while so much of what is shown, looks incredible - there is a shadow side of poorer computer animation that rears its ugly head from time to time - and feels a little closer to a computer game from 10-15 years ago. It is therefor the strength of its charm - and unusual narrative (adapted from a popular children's story) that ensures The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily can still preserve.

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To be frank, this is a film that sparked my interest from its name alone, "The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily". It combines the absurd and bizarre (bears invading a country) with the banality of being a famous incidence - and this complete with the elegant fairytale look - profiles it away as something different. How right that early impression was - and how even more interesting the film quickly becomes as we are introduced to the tale by a troop of performers from days of old - complete with presentational slides and overacting/embellishing - and an exciting mid-film shift in narrative. 8/10



Raiva / Rage (2018, Sérgio Tréfaut)

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Rage is a cold, brutal and stripped-down tale of power, anger in the face of power - and violence - as we are placed in impoverished conditions in 1950s Portugal. The crime that sets it all up is our entry point to the story: we simply experience the rage and nothing more. We then see the social conditions - and the life/lives that made this happen. The black and white cinematography makes us feel even more isolated - even more cold - and lets Palma's anger overcome the screen without opposition. 8/10



Your Face (2018, Tsai Ming-liang)

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There is an old saying that nothing is more powerful than a human face, but can a human face alone be an instrument of great cinematic tension? The answer, clearly demonstrated by Tsai in "Your Face" is a rousing "Yes!". You may think that shots of people's faces can not bring tension - but it does. Tsai's approach to each face is shooting it and treating it as if it was a story on its own - as if it carried explosive magnitude - and with his filmmaking: it does. 

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While it was always the case that Tsai was a minimalist, and has been considered among the most notable contemplative filmmakers for decades already - but of late he has taken increasingly extreme steps. Last year's Days (which is my opinion, does not work as well as this) and previous entries, such as his dialogue-free looks at a monk simply travelling and walking are all part of one saga - but within this: Your Face is the one that truly stands apart - as it is not just a continuation of his previous style - with longer takes and/or fewer words - it alters the way we see and experience cinema as a whole. This makes it bolder, more exciting - and - with the power of the human face: he manages to create something beyond standard contemplative suspense - something more dynamic, dramatic and captivating.

Your Face is a unique, pivotal piece of cinema everyone with an interest in what cinema can do or be simply has to experience. 8/10



Lúa vermella / Red Moon Tide (2020, Lois Patiño)

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A testament to the power of poetic minimalism, Red Moon Tide is a dark fairytale/horror film told almost entirely in narration (from the point of view of several characters) as it takes you into a dreamlike world where a monster may be taking over an entire island population. Bending the concept of time, place and possibly even personhood - we are met with beautiful, quiet visuals of the sea, of cliffs/seaside, of fishing boats, of a town and of a dam - and people in these settings. We get to know these locations - and revisit them - as things change.

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Spellbinding you with red tints, white sheets and contemplations of time - and the monster coming to take them all - Red Moon Tide finds the balance between beauty, poetry and entrancing suspense without ever overstaying its welcome - and managing to create some absolutely beautiful sequences - including a finale that can only be described as a visual symphony. 8/10
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#36

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I think it is worth pointing out that both The Image Book and Your Face qualify for the documentary slate, even though neither falls into what most people think of when they first hear the words. Though especially The Image Book fits into a tradition of essay filmmaking we should aim to platform (I discovered Pauwels thanks to this festival just a few years ago <3 ).
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I saw Beanpole last night because it was expiring on Mubi for me. Didn't really care for it, but I thought those who enjoy arthouse cinema would enjoy it (though I don't know if the film itself would be considered arthouse). Glad to see my assumption was correct :D

That Bears film is one I want to see.
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Just been studying the spreadsheet so I'm more familiar with it. What are the pink squares in the scores?
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zzzorf wrote: January 5th, 2021, 3:01 am Just been studying the spreadsheet so I'm more familiar with it. What are the pink squares in the scores?
I use that to indicate that I intend to watch a film. Helps me to remember which films I already have, or the ones I've committed to watch.
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Fergenaprido wrote: January 5th, 2021, 3:33 am
zzzorf wrote: January 5th, 2021, 3:01 am Just been studying the spreadsheet so I'm more familiar with it. What are the pink squares in the scores?
I use that to indicate that I intend to watch a film. Helps me to remember which films I already have, or the ones I've committed to watch.
Good idea, I might follow that practice myself.
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