Doclisboa 2013 Overview

Doclisboa-300x167One of the largest film events in Portugal, Doclisboa, opens tonight, Thursday, October 24, and wraps up its eleventh edition next Sunday, November 3. In total, nearly 250 films from 40 countries contribute to its impressive line-up, including over 120 feature-length docs. Competition titles vie for €32,500 in cash and services, recognizing both international and Portuguese films, while several non-competition sidebars provide audiences with, among other categories, selections of retrospective, student, and experimental fare in this rigorously curated festival. What follows are some of the features that caught my eye from various sections.

jorge's pathsDoclisboa’s Portuguese Competition includes seven titles, such as: Maria Clara Escobar’s THE DAYS WITH HIM, about the filmmaker’s father, who was the victim of Brazil’s military dictatorship; Miguel Moraes Cabral’s JORGE’S PATHS (pictured), about a man who earns a living sharpening knives and scissors; and Gonçalo Tocha’s THE MOTHER AND THE SEA, on the fisherwomen of a small village. Nine features are part of the International Competition including: Stéphanie Régnier’s KELLY, a portrait of a Peruvian woman caught in an immigration quagmire; Pippo Delbono’s BLOOD, about the director’s interaction with a former Italian paramilitary leader; Avi Mograbi’s ONCE I ENTERED A GARDEN, a meditation on an imagined Middle East, free of conflict; and Luca Magi’s ANITA, a Fellini-inspired found footage journey through Italy.

roaring lionThe fest’s Investigations section offers personal explorations of various concerns, including war crimes in the former Yugoslavia in Sarah Vanagt’s DUST BREEDING; a half-century of Algerian independence in Lamine Ammar-Khodja’s EQUIVOCAL CHRONICLES; an exploration of the Baha’i faith and its Iranian origins by Mohsen Makhmalbaf in THE GARDENER; and an essay about time and aging in Philipp Hartmann’s TIME GOES BY LIKE A ROARING LION (pictured). Boundaries and genres are pushed in New Visions, including: Aleksandr Balagura’s LIFESPAN OF THE OBJECT IN FRAME (A FILM ABOUT THE FILM NOT YET SHOT), a consideration of photography, memory, and time; Jonas Mekas’ OUTTAKES FROM THE LIFE OF A HAPPY MAN, an assemblage of fragments from the experimental director’s more than six decades worth of work; and Christian von Borries’ I’M M, an exploration of Mexican telenovelas, class, and voyeurism.

time/spaceObservational cinema is highlighted in several of the fest’s Special Programmes, including: Tiago Afonso’s TIME/SPACE (pictured), a six-month immersion into prison; Laurent Krief’s INSTRUCTIONS POUR UNE PRISE D’ARMS, which follows high school students as they engage with opera, poetry, and philosophy; and Jean-Marie Teno’s LEAF IN THE WIND, a revisitation of a decade-old interview with the late daughter of a Cameroonian freedom fighter. The Green Years gives a platform to student filmmakers, including a couple of mid-lengths: Patrícia Nogueira’s 3 HOURS TO LOVE, on prison conjugal visits; and Catarina Laranjeiro’s BECAUSE OF TODAY, a reckoning with the colonial past of West Africa’s Guinea-Bissau.

Death Metal Angola 1Doclisboa’s several other sections include Heart Beat, featuring music and performance-focused docs like Jeremy Xido’s DEATH METAL ANGOLA (pictured) and Simon Brook’s PETER BROOK – THE TIGHTROPE; a series of biographies in Portraits; a focus on photography in Moving Stills; a bridge between film and museums in Passages; and several retrospectives, including a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Chilean military coup.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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