The 39th edition of Cinéma du Réel, the documentary festival of Paris, begins tomorrow, Friday, March 24 and runs through Sunday, April 2. The event will showcase approximately 50 new and recent documentary features, along with shorts, panels, and retrospectives. Feature highlights follow:
National nonfiction squares off in the French Competition, which includes the world premieres of such work as: Elitza Gueorguieva’s EVERY WALL IS A DOOR (pictured), a personal, kitschy look at Bulgaria’s 1989 revolution; Hendrick Dusollier’s LAST DAYS IN SHIBATI, an up-close look at a Chinese district redevelopment project; Marie Ka’s THE PAINTER’S PEN, which follows a young boy’s weekends with his father; and Nicolas Klotz and Thomas Ostermeier’s HAMLET IN PALESTINE, an investigation into the assassination of an activist theatre director.
The fest’s International Competition includes world premieres: Xu Xin’s A YANGTZE LANDSCAPE, a meditation on Chinese history set against its famed river; Shelly Silver’s A STRANGE NEW BEAUTY, an experimental consideration of individuality and society; Susana de Sousa Dias’s OBSCURE LIGHT, an examination of the impact on families of victims of Portuguese regime violence; Sylvain George’s PARIS IS A MOVEABLE FEAST – A FILM IN 18 WAVES (pictured), an experimental travelogue; and Sebastian Mez’s POSTCARDS FROM THE VERGE, an abstract consideration of the Middle East conflict.
First-time feature directors competing in the International First Films Competition include: Moran Ifergan’s WALL, an exploration of the significance of the Wailing Wall; Laura Martínez Duque and Nadina Marquisio’s TOGETHER, follows South America’s first legally married lesbian couple back to their Colombian meeting place; Léandre Bernard-Brunel’s VETAL NAGRI, which explores local Indian myths and ghosts; Elisa Flaminia Inno’s PAGANS (pictured), a look at the pagan-infused rituals of an Italian religious celebration; and Camila José Donoso’s CASA ROSHELL, a hybrid profile of a Mexico City cabaret/drag bar.
Special Screenings include the event’s opening film, Bernhard Braunstein’s ATELIER DE CONVERSATION, set in a library’s French language class; Ali Essafi’s CROSSING THE SEVENTH GATE (pictured), a tribute to a celebrated Moroccan filmmaker and author; Leïla Férault-Levy’s LUCE, A PROPOS DE JEAN VIGO, in which the famed French filmmaker’s daughter explores her father’s past; and Arnaud de Mezamat’s THIRD SPRING, a look back at a children’s mental health care center outside Paris.