4 more nominations:
Acasa, My Home (2020, Radu Ciorniciuc)
- Best Fit: Documentary
This is what I wish more documentaries could be: capturing emotion, a sense of place, a sense of connection, a sense of life in all its visceral and cinematically beautiful glory. Acasa, My Home is an instantly immersive film - taking you through the weeds, following children's play, and being thrown into their midst. You can feel their joy - and at times horror - at others, ambivalence - as their home becomes more and more threatened by the outside world. The fact that the filmmaking is immersive, emotional, empathic and visceral is also to a degree necessary to truly form the idea of the sense of home, security and stability that the family actually feels - as any other method of filmmaking would instantly have turned you against them.
The children live in entirely unhealthy surroundings, and don't even appear to go to school - but the backdrop of understanding this sense of home - however odd it may be - placed in a large unbuilt, natural area in the midst of Bucharest. As child protective services, and the state, keep getting involved - we see their lives change drastically. I do not want to "spoil" how the film develops - as it has a clear narrative character - that can also feel like a character and family study - but it does go interesting places. The only slight negative is that the youngest children do get less screen time as the film continues, in favour of the arc of the father and especially the older brother - but the emotional range - and cinematic prowess is incredible.
: In an early scene, the oldest son plays with a swan in a way that could clearly be viewed as animal abuse (he presses it down with his body). Don't worry, it appears to be unharmed, and seems merely startled, but it may be hard to watch for some.
Maryjki / Marygoround (2020, Daria Woszek)
- Best fit: Just Before Dawn, Arthouse
Half oversaturated, artificial depresso-realism - half neon nightmare, Marygoround is a visually stunning and mad trip into a menopausal woman's psyche. We follow Maria, a 50-year old, highly religious virgin working in a small grocery shop - that could easily be mistaken as a set from a Paul Vecchiali film from the 80s, with a pinch of Kaurismaki dryness. Life seems a lull, but things start to unravel and breakthrough mundanity with menopause hits, and she not only starts to get urges she never felt before.
The result is utter fantasy, mood swings, hallucinations and rasher and rasher acts - played for both comedy and horror - but never without sympathy. This 80-minute film won't fly by - rather it will click you down with utter unease as you start to feel every second - and wonder just what will happen next. It is dynamic enough to genuinely leave you surprised, and to somehow, in all its deranged madness maintain a sense of, erm, charm? This is a balancing act unlike most you've seen, and frankly, regardless of some pulpier elements, it succeeds in both styles - and marvellously well.
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020, Dalibor Baric)
- Best Fit: Animation
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus, one of the most visually unique films I have seen - combining everything from cutouts to computer altered images from films - to drawings - to cartoons/graphic novels, to everything at once. It is a psychedelic threat that is eternally dynamic, changing the visual ideas from shot to shot - or even, within the same shot, altering the colour tones, design, rendering, etc. entirely as a character speaks. Scenes of cars driving can on the other hand be a mixture of a print with clear edges being moved over a map, to drawings, to real cars rendered in various animated styles - and you never know what you will see next.
Old film stock is actively reworked, complete with new dialogue and stories, mixing and blending characters, contemplative narrations and set-pieces. My only issue with the film is that it simply lacked a clear drive or purpose beyond simply existing. We get several set-pieces, some fantastic, some lesson, with characters and situations, but they all rather merge into a bit of a blob. Undoubtedly extremely accomplished, and a great viewing, but if it had that purpose and drive it could even have become my number 1. As it stands though, it is "merely" a great film - but one I think everyone should see.
Nos ili zagovor netakikh / The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks (2020, Andrey Khrzhanovskiy)
- Best fit: Animation
The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks is not just a visually creative animated opera production of The Nose. It simultaneously stages the creation of the story, the opera adaptation, the actual performance(s) of the opera, the reactions against it and even the creation of the film itself. It is a reflection of Russian and USSR heritage, a highly comical takedown of Stalin's regime and also just all out operatic surrealism.
The film actually opens in the real world, as passengers on a plane watch various movies on their small screens. Some rather tacky American productions and blockbusters, others Russian classics - and it is in this kind of collective consciousness that The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks is born. This is a film that in certain ways is even a little informative, and sets the stage, while in others is just all-out ridiculous.
Extremely fast-paced, and almost throwing too much at you in too high a tempo - and maybe not thinking through each of its ideas. It is genuinely not uncommon for a sequence to include the animator creating that very sequence - and the visual style and the topic at hand is constantly moving and changing. Let's just put it like this: there is never a dull moment. The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks manages to be visually intense and spellbinding, funny and melancholic, all at the same time - while managing to speak of both the love of creation and the history of Russia/USSR.
2020 is a really interesting year for experimental animation. Along with my previous nomination Circumstantial Pleasures, not to mention Zzzorf's Away, and films like Kill It and Leave This Town, etc. the offering has either been far more notable than usual - or, they have somehow gotten more prominence in the vacuum left by cinema closures and many larger films moves to 2021
My nominees so far:
First Batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265#p681808
1. Longa Noite / Endless Night (2019, Eloy Enciso)
2. This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
3. Om det oändliga / About Endlessness (2019, Roy Andersson)
4. Transit (2018, Christian Petzold)
5. Der goldene Handschuh / The Golden Glove (2019, Faith Akin)
6. O que arde / Fire will come (2019, Oliver Laxe)
Second Batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265#p682206
7. Dylba / Beanpole (2019, Kantemir Balagov)
8. Kız Kardeşler / Tale of Three Sisters (2019, Emin Alper)
9. Le Livre d'image / The Image Book (2018, Jean-Luc Godard)
10. La fameuse invasion des ours en Sicile / The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (2019, Lorenzo Mattotti)
11. Raiva / Rage (2018, Sérgio Tréfaut)
12. Your Face (2018, Tsai Ming-liang)
13. Lúa vermella / Red Moon Tide (2020, Lois Patiño)
Third batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=80#p683612
14. Ar Condicionado / Air Conditioner (2020, Fradique)
15. Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle / Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019, Frank Beauvais)
16. Les hirondelles de Kaboul / The Swallows of Kabul (2019, Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec)
17. Sheytan vojud nadarad / There is No Evil (2020, Mohammad Rasoulof)
18. Eyimofe / This is My Desire (2019, Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri)
19. Tipografic majuscul / Uppercase Print (2020, Radu Jude)
20. A Metamorfose dos Pássaros / The Metamorphosis of Birds (2020, Catarina Vasconcelos)
21. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn)
22. A portuguesa / A Portuguese Woman (2018, Rita Azevedo Gomes)
23. Bergmál / Echo (2019, Rúnar Rúnarsson)
24. Khorshid / Sun Children (2020, Majid Majidi)
25. Circumstantial Pleasures (2020, Lewis Klahr)
26. Acasa, My Home (2020, Radu Ciorniciuc)
27. Maryjki / Marygoround (2020, Daria Woszek)
28. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020, Dalibor Baric)
29. Nos ili zagovor netakikh / The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks (2020, Andrey Khrzhanovskiy)
And with that I only have 1 wildcard left.