Locarno 2015: Documentary Overview

locarnoThe 68th edition of the Locarno Film Festival launches tonight, Wednesday, August 5, and will screen approximately 100 new feature films before it wraps on Saturday, August 15. Once again, the event has shown a welcome acceptance of nonfiction nearly on par with its fiction offerings, and includes more than forty new documentaries or hybrids in its line-up. As has been the custom for several years, these are integrated throughout nearly all of the various sections of the festival, with some highlights noted below:

no home movieAmong the titles in the Concorso internazionale competition are: Chantal Akerman’s NO HOME MOVIE (pictured), a film about the master filmmaker’s mother; Sergio Oksman’s ON FOOTBALL, in which the director uses the 2014 World Cup to reunite with his long-estranged father; Pietro Marcello’s LOST AND BEAUTIFUL, which follows a servant as he attempts to save a buffalo for his shepherd master; and Ben Rivers’ hybrid THE SKY TREMBLES AND THE EARTH IS AFRAID AND THE TWO EYES ARE NOT BROTHERS, an experimental exploration of the artifice of filmmaking. The separate Concorso Cineasti del presente offers such doc projects as Nazareno Manuel Nicoletti’s MY BROTHER, about a man who revisits his long dead brother’s life and work; and Mauro Herce’s DEAD SLOW AHEAD, which tracks a freighter’s journey across the ocean.

saltThe out-of-competition Fuori concorso includes several nonfiction entries, including: Soda Kazuhiro’s OYSTER FACTORY, which explores the integration of foreign workers in a traditionally local occupation; Andrea Segre’s DREAMS OF THE SALT LAKE (pictured), a look at the impact of rapid oil and gas industry development in Kazakhstan; Elena Khoreva’s KIEV/MOSCOW. PART 1, a cross-section of stories centered around the Ukrainian revolution; Malek Bensmaïl’s CHECKS AND BALANCES, a portrait of Algerian journalists; Massimo Coppola’s ROMEO E GIULIETTA, in which a real-life pair of star-crossed lovers attempt to enact Shakespeare’s classic; and Moa Batsow’s ORIGIN OF THE WORLD, an investigation into Brazilian prehistoric art.

brothersLocarno’s all-docs Semaine de la critique includes such titles as: Wojciech Staroń’s BROTHERS (pictured), about the love-hate relationship between a pair of siblings; Aya Domenig’s THE DAY THE SUN FELL, which follows the filmmaker as she searches for information about her grandfather, a victim of Hiroshima; Eliza Kubarska’s K2. TOUCHING THE SKY, in which the children of mountain climbers return to the site of their parents death; and Karolina Bielawska’s CALL ME MARIANNA, about a young transgender woman’s alienation from her unaccepting family.

typewriterPanorama Suisse, the event’s showcase of national filmmaking, includes several docs, like Eileen Hofer’s Havana ballet study HORIZONTES, and Anka Schmid’s profile of female animal trainers, WILD WOMEN – GENTLE BEASTS; while the experimental Signs of Life sidebar features projects like Travis Wilkerson’s MACHINE GUN OR TYPEWRITER? (pictured), about a man seeking his lover through the radio; Kamal Aljafari’s RECOLLECTION, which erases people from Israeli and American films shot in Jaffa; and Jiongjiong Qiu’s MR ZHANG BELIEVES, which explores Chinese history through the story of a declared public enemy.

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

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