Director's Choice: Ciro Guerra

With his EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, which premiered in Cannes, the Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra has been hugely successful at various festivals and in the cinema. His latest film BIRDS OF PASSAGE (co-directed with Cristina Gallego) celebrated its world premiere at the Quinzaine des réalisateurs in Cannes and its Swiss premiere at the Piazza Grande in Locarno and was Colombia's Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film 2019.

«Adolfo Aristarain is a master of cinema, a humanist and a philosopher of everyday life. Seeing him working with the great actor Federico Luppi is always a great pleasure.»
«Glauber Rocha's debut feature, which opened the Pandora's box of his genius.»
«The story of a man and his son trying to cope with the time and life that is theirs, trying to ignore that those below are always the first to lose.»
La tierra y la sombra (2015)
Acevedo César Augusto
Colombia
98′
Alfonso is an old farmer who has returned home to tend to his son, who is gravely ill. He rediscovers his old house, where the woman who was once his wife still lives, with his daughter-in-law and grandson. The landscape that awaits him resembles a wasteland. Vast sugar cane plantations surround the house, producing perpetual clouds of ash. 17 years after abandoning them, Alfonso tries to fit back in and save his family.
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«The most beautiful and moving film of contemporary Colombian cinema, a song to those who have left and to those who remain.»
Teza (2008)
Haile Gerima
Ethiopia
134′
Anberber has studied in Germany and returns post-graduate to Ethiopia. He is full of hope that he can support his country with his newly acquired knowledge. It's a story about hope and disillusionment, about foreignness and homeland.
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«Haile Gerima's meditation on the tragic unfolding of his country's history, seen through a personal and intimate lens and with a sophisticated and free style, reminiscent of Jazz and the impossibility of taming an inspired creation.»
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
151′
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that "something new and different" will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
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«Ceylan had already made it clear before how well he was mastering his craft, but from this film on his cinema took a new poetic flight towards the infinite, the unfathomable. The night scenes are simply unforgettable.»
Bal - honey (2010)
Semih Kaplanoglu
Turkey
100′
Six-year-old Yusuf has just begun attending primary school where he is learning how to read and write. His father, Yakup, is a beekeeper. He goes about his trade deep inside the woods where he hangs up his bee hives in the treetops of the highest trees. The mountain forest is a place of deep mystery to Yusuf and he derives great pleasure from accompanying his father there. One morning Yusuf tells his father about a dream he had the night before. Yakup turns on him curtly telling him never to share his dreams with others. The same day, Yusuf is asked to read out a text in front of the class. He suddenly begins to stutter and he is laughed at by the rest of the class. One day the bees suddenly disappear, throwing into question the family’s means of earning a living. Yakup decides to set off for the remote mountains. But no sooner has he left, than Yusuf stops speaking. His mother Zehra, who works on a tea plantation, suffers a great deal on ac count of her son’s sudden loss of speech, but is unable to persuade him to speak. The days pass - and still Yakup does not return. Mother and son begin to worry. Yusuf goes to his grandmother’s place in a neighbouring village where he spends the magical night during which the prophet’s arrival is celebrated. When he hears the story of the prophet he is convinced that his father, with whom he identifies the holy man, will come home again. Yusuf and his mother set off on a fruitless search for signs of his father’s whereabouts after which Yusuf decides to continue the search for his father on his own. His is a journey into the unknown. Will the dream he had be - come reality?
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«With a touching delicacy, each scene seems to have been painted in oil.»
The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
Michail Kalatosow
Russia
94′
Veronika and Boris come together in Moscow shortly before World War II. Walking along the river, they watch cranes fly overhead, and promise to rendezvous before Boris leaves to fight. Boris misses the meeting and is off to the front lines, while Veronika waits patiently, sending letters faithfully. After her house is bombed, Veronika moves in with Boris’ family, into the company of a cousin with his own intentions.
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«Kalotozov's technical mastery is one of the great wonders of the history of cinema. His films are full of astonishment and audacity.»
Nostalgia de la luz (2010)
Patricio Guzmán
Chile
94′
In his documentary essay film, Chilean Patricio Guzmán takes a double look at the past: On the one hand there are the astronomers who look up to the sky in the Atacama Desert and explore the origin of the universe, on the other there are the women who search in the desert sand around the observatories for the mortal remains of their loved ones who have become victims of the military dictatorship. A journey into the light.
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«Another masterpiece by Patricio Guzmán, which takes documentary language to the level of poetry and the highest science.»

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