Art & culture

Max Frisch, Citoyen (2008)
Matthias Von Gunten
Switzerland
94′
Max Frisch was the last great Swiss intellectual whose "voice" was widely heard and appreciated beyond the borders of his country: a character like none can be found today. Against the backdrop of the late 20th century, the film follows the story of Frisch.
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Neruda
Pablo Larraín
Chile
108′
An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.
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Tatsumi
Eric Khoo
Singapore
96′
Tatsumi celebrates the life of Japanese comic artist, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. As he becomes successful, he redefines the manga landscape with an alternative genre for adults-and his work plunges into the darker aspects of life.
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Ken Bugul
Silvia Voser
Senegal
64′
Ken Bugul is a Senegalese writer who lives in Africa, where her soul is anchored. She has had an exceptional life. Silvia Voser’s film shows her as an iconic figure of the female condition and of relationships between Africa and the West. Ken Bugul is considered one of the most brilliant writers in Senegalese and French of these past decades. Over the years, thanks to her great command of the French language and the uncompromising care she takes with the wording of the meaning of Wolof vocabulary, her mother tongue, her novels have become absolute references in the realm of linguistic studies. "What you read in French in my novels is how we think and speak in Wolof in my village". Ken Bugul’s personal story is overshadowed by Africa’s turbulent history. She was born in 1947 in an isolated village in Senegal, at that time a French colony. Her father was 85 years old and her mother left them before Ken turned five. This was a fundamental event in Ken Bugul’s life. In spite of lacking a mother’s love, she was full of energy and a yearning for freedom, and she received an exceptional education for a village girl of that time. In 1971, she left for Europe to go to university and there she met people from the upper middle class and discovered new ideologies and liberties, modern art, drugs, alcohol, loneliness, incomprehension and disdain, and prostitution to relieve her need for affection. As she says in "The Abandoned Baobab": "For twenty years all I had learned was their thoughts and their emotions. I thought I’d have fun with them, but I ended up even more frustrated. I identified with them, but they didn’t identify with me." She came back to Senegal, a broken, lonely and penniless young woman. People thought she was crazy and she was rejected by her family and society. For two years, she slept in the streets of Dakar, hanging out with outcasts, beggars, prostitutes and artists. Dirty, hungry, almost naked, she started writing her first novel, "The Abandoned Baobab". Worn out, she decided to go back to her family. And there, in her mother’s village, she found refuge with the Serigne (marabout), a wise and much respected man. He took her as his 28th wife, enabling her to re-enter society, and he supported her in her desire to write and to be free. He died in 1981, a year before the publication of her first novel, "The Abandoned Baobab", which was an immediate success. Ken Bugul was invited to present her book all over the world. She met a doctor from Benin, married him and moved to that country, where she gave birth to their daughter Yasmina. Her husband passed away four years later. For the past thirty years, novel after novel, Ken Bugul has painted a picture of her life as a woman, of her loves, of the relationship between her continent and the West. "To write", she says, "is to dazzle the senses, and the senses are colourless." Silvia Voser leads us gently into the secret, tormented world of an artist whose writings show an understanding of the world that is rarely achieved.
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W. - Was von der Lüge bleibt
Rolando Colla
Switzerland
111′
The autobiography of Bruno Wilkomirski, who described his childhood in a concentration camp in it, led to a scandal, because it was exposed as fiction. Interviews and archive material are used to investigate the motives of the man who turned his personal trauma as an orphan in Switzerland into a collective Jewish trauma and thus became a perpetrator himself.
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Paul Nizon: Der Nagel im Kopf
Christoph Kühn
Switzerland
84′
The film tells of the radical life-search by the Swiss writer Paul Nizon, born 1929 in Bern, Switzerland, who became what “he was meant to be” in Paris. Now 90-year-old, Paul Nizon grants insights into his life and work in a self-ironic, direct manner. The intimate portrait of a great literary outsider emerges, for whom the risk of life and the risk of writing merge into one and the same work of art.
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Paul Nizon: Un clou dans la tête
Christoph Kühn
Switzerland
81′
The film tells of the radical life-search by the Swiss writer Paul Nizon, born 1929 in Bern, Switzerland, who became what “he was meant to be” in Paris. Now 90-year-old, Paul Nizon grants insights into his life and work in a self-ironic, direct manner. The intimate portrait of a great literary outsider emerges, for whom the risk of life and the risk of writing merge into one and the same work of art.
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Becoming Astrid
Pernille Fischer Christensen
Sweden
124′
Astrid and her siblings count themselves lucky to be growing up on their parents’ parsonage farm in Vimmerby. Although their daily routine is shaped by strict religious values, their mother Hanna and father Samuel always manage to give them security and a sense of freedom. Astrid’s parents enable her to attend a secondary school that would normally be the preserve of wealthy bourgeois kids, and they do not get in the way of the 18-year-old when the owner of the local newspaper offers her a position as a volunteer in the editorial office. Not only does Reinhold Blomberg teach her to proof-read and write texts, he also falls in love with her. When she becomes pregnant, Astrid makes a momentous decision: she refuses to marry him and instead decides to take care of herself and her son Lasse on her own. In her film about the youth of the writer Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002), Pernille Fischer Christensen portrays a strong, independent young woman who breaks social norms and faces difficult decisions with courage. Alba August plays Astrid as both wild and thoughtful, a responsible young woman battling her own feelings of guilt.
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La nuit des rois - Night of the Kings
Philippe Lacôte
Ivory Coast
93′
A young man is sent to "La Maca", a prison of Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new "Roman" and must tell a story to the other prisoners.
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Le Grand Bal
Laetitia Carton
France
89′
This is the story of a ball. A grand ball. Every summer, more than two thousand people come from accross Europe to dance together, dance even more, during seven days and seven nights, in the countryside of France. A joyful crowd of men and women from all ages, speaking different languages, beginners, virtuosos, enthusiasts. A crowd that reveals how different it is when we dare look into one's eyes, when we dare touch one another. And how life pounds.
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And Then We Danced
Levan Akin
Georgia
113′
Merab has been training since a young age at the National Georgian Ensemble with his dance partner Mary. His world is suddenly turned upside down when the charismatic and carefree Irakli arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire. In this conservative setting Merab finds himself having to break free and risk it all.
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Ema y Gastón
Pablo Larraín
Chile
107′
Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo), a young dancer, decides to separate from Gastón (Gael García Bernal) after giving back Polo, the son they both adopted and were unable to raise. In a desperate search through the streets of the port city of Valparaíso, Ema seeks love affairs in order to overcome her guilt. However, she has a secret plan to recover everything she’s lost.
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Isadora's Children
Damien Manivel
France
84′
Following the death of her two children, Isadora Duncan created the solo Mother in which a mother cradles her child in a moment of extreme tenderness, then lets it go. A century later, four women encounter this heart-rending dance.
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Picture of Light (1993)
Peter Mettler
Switzerland
87′
An hallucinatory tale of a filmmaker’s journey to Canada’s Arctic in search of the Northern Lights – an encounter with the gulf between the knowable and the ineffable, between humankind’s need to capture and control Nature, and Nature’s refusal to be caught… aurora borealis, the lights with no bodies pouring colours from the sky… more special than any special effect…
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Walter Pfeiffer - Chasing Beauty
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
89′
At an age when others might look for a quieter life, Walter Pfeiffer had burst onto the international scene as an artist and fashion photographer - which is a joy to see. Alongside those who accompanied Pfeiffer through this journey, we also hear from his former models. We discover what they gained from agreeing to be photographed. And as he only photographed the young, we catch glimpses of youth culture over four decades.
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Jazz on a Summer's Day (1958)
Bert Stern
United States
83′
Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational music to Gospel. It's a concert film that suggests peace and leisure, jazz at a particular time and place.
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Uzak - Distant (2002)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
110′
A photographer who is haunted by the feeling that the gap between his life and his ideals is growing finds himself obliged to put up in his apartment a young relative who has left behind his village looking for a job aboard a ship in Istanbul to go abroad.
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Le mystère Picasso (1956)
Georges Henry-Clouzot
France
78′
Using a specially designed transparent 'canvas' to provide an unobstructed view, Picasso creates as the camera rolls. He begins with simple works that take shape after only a single brush stroke. He then progresses to more complex paintings, in which he repeatedly adds and removes elements, transforming the entire scene at will, until at last the work is complete.
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Markus Raetz (2007)
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
75′
The Swiss artist Markus Raetz is an established figure in the international art world. For the film by Iwan Schumacher, the artist from Bern is for the first time giving a camera team an insight into his 40 years of work.
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Nostalghia (1983)
Andrei Tarkowski
Italy
126′
Andrei Gortchakov, a Russian writer, travels through Italy in the footsteps of a fellow composer to write his biography. With great sensitivity for the emotions of those who are far from their country, Andrei Tarkovski, supported by his Italian co-writer Tonino Guerra, draws a meeting of cultures and periods.
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Tatsumi
Eric Khoo
Singapore
96′
Tatsumi celebrates the life of Japanese comic artist, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. As he becomes successful, he redefines the manga landscape with an alternative genre for adults-and his work plunges into the darker aspects of life.
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Beuys
Andres Veiel
Germany
107′
For the German artist Joseph Beuys, art was used for provocation and he wanted to "provoke" discussions with his works. He was a sculptor, performer and draftsman.
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The Song of Mary Blane
Bruno Moll
Switzerland
86′
The painter from Solothurn (CH) Frank Buchser was sent to the USA in 1866 to paint a large painting of the "Heroes of the Civil War" for the future Council of States Hall in Bern. Initially Buchser was busy portraying politicians and generals in the spirit of his clients. More and more, however, he became interested in the Indians expelled to the reservations and in the living conditions of the slaves who had just been freed. Years earlier, fascinated by Moorish culture, Frank Buchser rides disguised as a Turkish sheikh to the Moroccan town of Fez, which is forbidden to Christians under death penalty. The Swiss filmmaker Bruno Moll (Pizza Bethlehem, Tunisreise) tells the two adventurous journeys of the rebellious and controversial artist. The film narrative begins with film documents of the riots in Charlottesville in August 2017 and the diary entries made by Frank Buchser in 1869, when General Lee was his model for the portrait. In a large flashback the film tells Buchser's story of his stay in Andalusia and Morocco in 1858, returns with him to his homeland and closes with his North American adventure.
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Passagen (1972)
Fredi M. Murer
Switzerland
44′
H.R. Giger became known all over the world as the designer of the aliens in Ridley Scott's feature film ALIEN. In this documentary about H.R. Giger's work, which was made many years before, the artist's creative process and the interplay between conscious and unconscious influences are the focus. Statements by experts and contemporaries address the question of the artist's position and social responsibility.
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Storia probabile di un Angelo - Fernando Birri
Paolo Taggi Domenico Lucchini
Italy
76′
A journey into the world and the work of the great master of the South American cinema, Fernando Birri. As Birri said, it’s his "spiritual kino last will".
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Urs Fischer
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
102′
The 36-year-old Swiss artist Urs Fischer, who lives in New York, has been enjoying international fame for some years now. This documentary follows him during the preparation of his exclusive exhibition in an American museum and thus takes us into the daily life and work of an artist.
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma
France
121′
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman. An intense relationship develops between the two.
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Amiet
Iwan Schumacher and Cornelia Strasse
Switzerland
52′
Cuno Amiet lived from 1868-1961, yet seen today many of his pictures have a contemporary edge. Amiet was a Swiss pioneer of modern painting along with Ferdinand Hodler and Giovanni Giacometti. The film visits three highly individual Amiet collectors in Dallas, Geneva and Studen, near Biel. Surrounded by Amiet’s works they tell us what part these paintings play in their lives.
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The Man Who Sold His Skin
Kaouther Ben Hania
Tunisia
103′
Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he accepts to have his back tattooed by one of by the World’s most sulfurous contemporary artist. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will however come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.
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Hidden Away
Giorigo Diriti
Italy
119′
The film tackles the life journey of Toni Ligabue, visionary naïf painter who used to draw tigers, lions and jaguars while living among the poplar trees of the boundless Po valley. A harsh life that is a fairy tale too, as a lonely and marginalized kid finds redemption in his art, and a way to express himself and be admired by the world.
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Das grosse Museum
Johannes Holzhausen
Austria
94′
This documentary portrays one of the most important museums in the world, Vienna’s Museum of Art History. An extensive look behind the scenes at this fascinating institution employs a number of charismatic protagonists and the varied routine there to show us the museum’s special world.
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Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog
United States
86′
Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity
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with bonus
Medianeras
Gustavo Taretto
Argentina
90′
Mariana, Martìn and the city of Buenos Aires. Martìn and Mariana live across from each other on the same block, but never meet. They pass each other, not knowing about the other’s existence. She goes up the stairs as he goes down the stairs; he gets on the bus just as she gets off the bus. They go to the same video rental shop, but a video rack separates them; they sit in the same row at the cinema, but the auditorium is dark. The city brings them together, and, at the same time, keeps them apart. Director Gustavo Taretto told the story of Mariana, Martìn and the city of Buenos Aires once before: «MEDIANERAS is a short film that received 40 awards worldwide - a short film with a feature film hidden inside. Our aim is to bring the feature to light. In the film EL SOL DEL MEMBRILLO (QUINCE TREE OF THE SUN), Víctor Erice reflects, among other things, upon Antonio López’s obsession with painting a tree that he had planted and seen growing in his garden. The tree changes with the passing of time, the seasons, and especially in different shades of light. MEDIANERAS is my tree. I planted it over four years ago, and I’ve been watching it grow since then. Following the analogy with the painting, the short film unveils the gesture in the stroke, the artist’s palette, the trunk which holds it in place, the main branches and the colour of its leaves. Now, with the feature, the moment has arrived for going into detail, for exploring depth and hues, ambiguities and contradictions. The story changes in exactly the same way as the city that serves as its setting: Buenos Aires. Some of the scenes wither away, while others bloom.» (Gustavo Taretto)
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Une ville à Chandigarh (1965)
Alain Tanner
India
53′
When, in 1947, a portion of Punjab province was assigned to the newly created Pakistani State, Albert Mayer began planning a new capital for the portion which remained in the possession of India. Le Corbusier had been responsible since the 1950s for general planning and, more particularly, for large-scale buildings typical of the governmental sector. A year after the death of Le Corbusier, Alain Tanner began shooting his film in a city still partially under construction, or even, in certain places, at the planning stage. The inhabitants of the metropolis, however, already numbered some 120,000. Among the most modern of cities architecturally, Chandigarh was archaically constructed by hand. Impressions of this green horizontal city-brick not permitting vertical development-are captured in long static shots and numerous traveling shots. John Berger's commentary inscribes the visual beauty of that reality within a larger reflection: climate did strongly influence the decisions of the planners, whereas the new city did not succeed in breaking the old social rules with a single blow. These rules continue to determine the level of education and income, and it is not even possible for these workers who are in the process of constructing Chandigarh to live in it themselves. However, the film partakes of Le Corbusier's optimism in its appreciation of architecture as an instrument aiding men to clarify their visions, to exercise their powers of discernment and to establish new relations, even if the results will only make themselves felt in the long term.
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No Man Is an Island
Dominique Marchais
France
96′
No Man Is an Island travels across Europe, from the farmers working together in the Galline Felici cooperative in Sicily to the architects, craftspersons and elected representatives who collaborate in the Swiss Alps and in Austria. All are engaged in politics through their work and all believe in a common destiny. Is the local level the last possible place for a viable utopia?
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Architektur der Unendlichkeit
Christoph Schaub
Switzerland
85′
Temporality and age are inherent in every object and creature and, depending on one’s outlook, may transcend to infinity. Schaub explores, together with the architects Peter Zumthor, Peter Märkli and Alvaro Siza Vieira, the artists James Turrell and Cristina Iglesias and drummer virtuoso Jojo Mayer, the magic of sacred spaces, defined here as far more than church buildings. Who owns spirituality?
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Sekuritas
Carmen Stadler
Switzerland
117′
Before an office complex is set to be demolished, it expresses one last wish: a love story. It centers around desire, security, and a melody that runs through the entire fabric of the building. So when darkness descends and everything falls silent, the routine lives of those within its walls sparkle like stars, paving the way for intimate chance encounters and absurd humor to unfold. A nocturnal kaleidoscope of longing, loneliness and freedom.
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Durak
Juri Bykow
Russia
121′
Dima Nikitin is a simple and honest plumber who works in a small Russian town. Except for his unusual integrity, nothing makes him stand out of the crowd, until one night in a dorm mainly occupied by drunkards and outcasts, the pipes burst, endangering the occupants. Everybody needs to be immediately evacuated but nobody cares, so Nikitin sets off on a night-long odyssey to fight an entire system of corrupt bureaucrats.
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White Building
Kavich Neang
Cambodia
90′
Samnang faces the demolition of his lifelong home in Phnom Penh coupled with pressures from family, friends, and neighbours, which all arise and intersect at this moment of sudden change.
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with bonus
Hyènes (1992)
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Senegal
111′
In Colobane, people expect the return of Linguère Ramatou, a former local girl now rumored to be richer than the World Bank. But her generosity has its conditions: she offers a check of ten billion for the death of Dramaan Drameh who refused to admit that he was the father of her child 30 years ago. "Life made made me a whore, now I'm turning the world into a brothel" she tells the citizens of Colobane.
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with bonus
Félicité
Alain Gomis
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
124′
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
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Canción sin nombre
Melina León
Peru
97′
Peru, at the height of the political crisis of the 1980’s. Georgina is a young woman from the Andes whose newborn daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets Pedro Campos, a lonely journalist who takes on the investigation. Based on a true story.
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Mortu nega (1988)
Flora Gomes
Guinea-Bissau
92′
The story of a woman who searches through the country for her husband, a resistant, while the war for independence is raging. She finds him at last and saves his life. When peace finally arrives, they have to learn how to be together again and start living in a destroyed land.
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Liyana
Aaron & Amanda Kopp
Swaziland
76′
LIYANA is a story born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The film follows the children, Zweli, Sibusiso, Phumlani, Mkhuleko, and Nomcebo, as they collaborate to tell the original tale of Liyana, a fictional character whose early life bears remarkable similarities to their own. The world that the children imagine for Liyana is brought to life in an innovative style of animated artwork. This hybrid film weaves documentary scenes together with the animated adventure. LIYANA is executive produced by British-Zimbabwean actress, Thandie Newton, with artwork from rising Nigerian talent, Shofela Coker. Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, the children transform their darkest memories and brightest dreams into fuel for their fairytale. After an idyllic early childhood, Liyana’s world is shattered when her father contracts HIV and both of her parents die. Inspired by a recent real-life robbery, the children decide that there will be a frightening attack at Liyana’s family homestead. In the aftermath of this terrible night, the girl and her trusty sidekick, the family bull, embark on a dangerous, beautiful, and often humorous quest into the wilderness. Hunger, wild animals, and treacherous terrain stand between Liyana and an uncertain fate. As our young storytellers move their fictional character forward through trial and temptation, we periodically return to intimate documentary scenes of the children’s lives in Swaziland - nightly rituals, herding cattle, and a trip to a local clinic for an HIV test. The children’s creative journey is echoed throughout the film by allegorical scenes of the group hiking down a steep ravine in search of a mysterious river. These intertwining narrative strands work together to draw connections between Liyana and the children. As the real and imagined worlds begin to converge the children must choose what kind of story they will tell - in fiction, and in their own lives.
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Blind Dates
Levan Koguashvili
Georgia
99′
Sandro is a forty-something teacher and still lives with his parents, who constantly meddle in his private life. He shows little interest in the blind dates his friend Iva pressures him to go on. On an outing to the Black Sea, he falls in love with the hairdresser Manana. When her husband Tengo is released from jail early, Sandro’s predicament takes on absurd dimensions. He gets caught up in wild family disputes and feels compelled to move Natia, pregnant with Tengo’s child, into his parents’ home. Wrong conclusions and misunderstandings are the driving force of this melancholy comedy, in which everyone meddles with everything but no one really listens, which only leads to yet further confusion. When in doubt, they all argue together with true ferocity, the situation invariably ending in intense outbursts. Levan Koguashvili’s second feature is thus in keeping with the best traditions of Georgian cinema. The narrative tone stays calm, as the events come thick and fast. Unsentimental, with various ellipses and allusions, and shot with wonderful colour compositions and an incredible feel for space, architecture and cityscapes, the film ultimately attains extraordinary profundity.
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Luzzu
Alex Camilleri
Malta
95′
Jesmark, a Maltese fisherman, contends with a newfound leak in his wooden LUZZU boat. Barely getting by, he sees his livelihood—and a family tradition from generations before him—imperiled by diminishing harvests, a ruthless fishing industry, and a stagnating ecosystem. Desperate to provide for his wife and their newborn son, whose growth impediment requires treatment, Jesmark gradually slips into an illicit black-market fishing operation.
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Zu Fuss nach Santiago de Compostela (2007)
Bruno Moll
Switzerland
96′
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Annette
Leos Carax
France
140′
Los Angeles, today. Henry is a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor. Ann, a world-renowned opera singer. Under the spotlight, they form a wholesome and glamorous couple. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious little girl with an exceptional destiny, will turn their lives upside down.
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Jazz on a Summer's Day (1958)
Bert Stern
United States
83′
Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational music to Gospel. It's a concert film that suggests peace and leisure, jazz at a particular time and place.
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Searching for Sugar Man
Malik Bendjelloul
Sweden
86′
Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. The film won Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.
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Leto
Kirill Serebrennikov
Russia
128′
Leningrad, one summer in the early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of the Perestroika. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the destiny of rock’n’roll in the Soviet Union.
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Maria by Callas
Tom Volf
France
114′
Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs, the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.
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Le Grand Bal
Laetitia Carton
France
89′
This is the story of a ball. A grand ball. Every summer, more than two thousand people come from accross Europe to dance together, dance even more, during seven days and seven nights, in the countryside of France. A joyful crowd of men and women from all ages, speaking different languages, beginners, virtuosos, enthusiasts. A crowd that reveals how different it is when we dare look into one's eyes, when we dare touch one another. And how life pounds.
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Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989)
Aki Kaurismäki
Finland
79′
The Leningrad Cowboys, a band with foot-long quiff hairstyles and long Winklepicker shoes to match, are seeking success in Siberia, but nobody seems to like their music, except for the mute village idiot, Igor (Kari Väänänen). Thwarted by a lack of local commercial potential, they are encouraged to move to America, for people will "buy anything" there. They depart for New York, bringing with them a band member who had frozen the previous night while practicing outside. They arrive at the CBGB bar in Manhattan. An agent offers them a gig at a wedding in Mexico and recommends that they change their musical style to rock and roll. They buy a used 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limousine, strap the coffin carrying their frozen band member onto the roof and set off to earn their way through the Deep South, adapting their musical style to suit local tastes at each new location. All the while they are being driven on and exploited by their money and food hoarding manager Vladimir (Matti Pellonpää), who has a seemingly unlimited supply of beer in the ice-filled coffin. Meanwhile, Igor, who stowed away on the plane, follows the band by his own means of transportation. When he finally catches up with them, they appoint him as their road manager. During the trip, the band spends time in jail, has their car engine stolen, causes a nightclub to close after playing an unsuccessful show, and reunites with a long-lost cousin (Nicky Tesco) whose singing gives positive reception from the audience. They eventually make it to Mexico and perform their wedding gig, where the thawing bass guitarist is revived with a shot of tequila and joins the group on stage, as does Igor. Vladimir watches them play then wanders off, but the band finally finds success in Mexico, making the top ten.
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Utopia Blues (2001)
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
94′
The story of Rafael, a fun-loving youth on the verge of manhood who is trying to make his dream of total freedom become reality. Determined to conquer the world with his Utopia Blues Band at any cost, Rafael's philosophy is that “life is a game”. But the game unexpectedly becomes bitter earnest. How much freedom is permitted?
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Soul Power (2008)
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
88′
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte has brought the disparate and unedited film of Zaire '74 together into one coherent form for the first time. The rainchild of South African musician Hugh Masekela and American record producer Stewart Levine, Zaire '74 was a three-day music festival that took place in Kinshasa in 1974. The event assembled America's biggest rhythm and blues talents – including James Brown and the Mighty JBs, Bill Withers, B.B. King, and the Spinners – along with top African acts such as Miriam Makeba and Afrisa. The festival was held in conjunction with the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman known as the "Rumble in the Jungle." Most of the American performers, emboldened by the civil rights movement, were visiting Africa for the first time, exploring their roots and somewhat naive beliefs about the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The promoters hired a team of esteemed documentary cameramen to film everything, including street life in Kinshasa and behind-the-scenes footage of the show being assembled. The crew masterfully recorded classic numbers such as Makeba's "The Click Song," King's "The Thrill Is Gone," and of course, Brown's "Soul Power." And then the footage sat unedited for over thirty years, until now. DHE MUSIC *************** SOUL POWER Written by James Brown Performed by James Brown & the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Crited Music, Inc. (BMI) BAKOBOSANA Written by Lita Bembo Performed by Lita Bembo & Les Stukas All rights reserved - Tous droits réservés I'LL NEVER LET YOU BREAK MY HEART AGAIN Written by Fred Wesley, Charles Bobbit, Reggie Bryan Performed by “Sweet" Charles Sherrell and the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI) ONE OF A KIND (LOVE AFFAIR) Written by Joseph B. Jefferson Performed by The Spinners Under License from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) SIMBA NKONI Written by François “Franco” Luambo Makiadi Performed by OK Jazz featuring Franco All rights reserved - Tous droits réservés HOPE SHE’LL BE HAPPIER Written by Bill Withers Performed by Bill Withers Under license from Songs of Universal, Inc. on behalf of Interior Music Corp. (BMI) THE CLICK SONG Written by The Manhattan Brothers Performed by Miriam Makeba Under license from Makeba Music Company ON AND ON Written by Curtis Mayfield Performed by Sister Sledge Under License from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. on behalf of Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. and Todd Mayfield Publishing (BMI) THRILL IS GONE Written by Rick Ravon Darnell and Roy Hawkins Performed by B.B. King Under license from Universal Music-Careers (BMI) PUT IT WHERE YOU WANT IT Written by Joe Sample Performed by the Crusaders Under license from Chrysalis Songs (BMI) QUIMBARA Written by Junior Cepeda Performed by Celia Cruz and the Fania All Stars Under license from Universal –Musica Unica Publishing on behalf of Fania Music (BMI) PONTE DURO Written by Johnny Pacheco Performed by the Fania All Stars Under license from Universal - Musica Unica Publishing on behalf of Fania Music (BMI) BONJOUR L’AFRIQUE Written by Big Black Performed by Big Black Published by Jokot SELI-JA Written by Tabu Ley Rochereau Performed by Tabu Ley Rochereau & L’Afrisa International Under License from EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. PAYBACK Written by James Brown, John H. Starks, and Fred Wesley Performed by James Brown & the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI) COLD SWEAT Written by James Brown and Alfred James Ellis Performed by James Brown & the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI) I CAN’T STAND MYSELF (WHEN YOU TOUCH ME) Written by James Brown Performed by James Brown & the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI) SAY IT LOUD (I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD) Written by James Brown and Alfred James Ellis Performed by James Brown & the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI) . SAME BEAT Written by James Brown Performed by Fred Wesley and the J.B.’s Under License from Unichappell Music, Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Co. (BMI)
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Il Bacio di Tosca (1984)
Daniel Schmid
Switzerland
87′
Giuseppe Verdi's «finest work», as he himself described it, still stands today on the Piazza Buonarroti in Milan. It is the «Casa di riposo», founded by Verdi in 1896 for «people who are less fortunate than I» - people who never made a big career, and people who have long spent their dream salaries. Today they live, all long forgotten, in a small room with a suitcase full of memories.
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Accordion Tribe (2004)
Stefan Schwietert
Switzerland
92′
Five highly original musicians from different countries form the Accordion Tribe. Together they aim to reinforce the original power of the long disdained instrument. The film follows the energetic soundscapes and their performers on a journey through Europe. An extraordinarily intensive documentary on the communicative, connecting power of music.
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Buena Vista Social Club: Adios
Lucy Walker
Cuba
110′
Revisit with the remaining original members of the Buena Vista Social Club and explore their contribution to the unknown history of Cub
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Acorda Brasil – The Violin Teacher
Sérgio Machado
Brazil
102′
The movie tells the story of Laerte (Lázaro Ramos), a talented violinist who after failing to be admitted into the OSESP Orchestra is forced to give music classes to teenagers in a public school at Heliopolis. His path is full of difficulties, but the transforming power of music and the friendship arising between the teacher and the students open the door into a new world.
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