Visions du Réel 2019 Overview

The 50th Visions du Réel

April 5-13

This notable Swiss nonfiction event reaches a landmark anniversary year with a lineup of nearly 80 new documentary features, in addition to extensive retrospective programming.


Making their world premiere in the National Competition are films like: Laura Coppens’ TASTE OF HOPE, which follows workers who manage their own factory; Tamara Milosevic’s NAÏMA, a portrait of a Muslim woman who works to prevent radicalization; Aurelio Buchwalder’s ISOLA, on an Italian agricultural penal colony; Beat Oswald and Samuel Weniger’s GOLDEN AGE, about a luxury retirement home in Miami; and Martine Deyres’ LUCKY HOURS, which explores an unusually successful 1940s French psychiatric hospital.


Among the debuts in the International Competition are: Jannik Splidsboel’s DREAMS FROM THE OUTBACK, which explores the lingering impact of colonization on Australia’s aboriginal community; Ezequiel Yanco’s LA VIDA EN COMÚN, which follows Argentine indigenous youth during a rite of passage hunt; Greta Stocklassa’s KIRUNA – A BRAND NEW WORLD, about three residents of an Arctic Swedish community forced to relocate; Ester Sparatore’s THOSE WHO REMAIN, on a Tunisian woman searching for answers about her missing husband; Friederike Güssefeld’s OUT OF PLACE, about three German juvenile delinquents sent to Romania for rehabilitation; and Michał Bielawski’s THE WIND. A DOCUMENTARY THRILLER, which explores the strange phenomenon of a destructive seasonal wind.


Meanwhile, the International Competition for Medium Lengths offers world premieres for, among other projects: Christopher Murray, Israel Pimentel, and Josefina Buschmann’s GOD, a collective film exploring Pope Francis’ 2018 trip to Chile; Hubert Charuel’s COWS WITH NO NAME, recounting how the filmmaker’s mother transitions her cows to an industrial farm; Nadia Parfan’s HEAT SINGERS, a look at modern Ukraine through an energy company and its choir; Verónica Haro Abril’s WHEN THEY LEFT, in which the filmmaker visits the few remaining residents of her late grandparents’ Ecuadorian village; and Alexis Delgado Búrdalo’s THIS FILM IS ABOUT ME, an intimate portrait of a woman convicted of murder.


Among the debuts in the formally inventive Burning Lights Competition are: Ben Guez and Sasha Kulak’s QUICKSILVER CHRONICLES, an observational portrait of long-standing radicals as they respond to a changing America; Jonas Spriestersbach’s ANIMALS, a disquieting film about our emotional connection to pets; María Onis’ INSULA, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of an ethnographic film in Argentina; Nathan Hofstetter’s LOULOU, the filmmaker’s attempt to demystify his paranoid schizophrenia; Rory Barrientos Lamas’ EL GURU, a portrait of a Chilean cannery worker who moonlights as a boxer; Stéphane Riethauser’s MADAME, a dual portrait of the filmmaker and his distinguished grandmother; Riccardo Giacconi’s PIUCCHEPERFETTO, an essay about a teenager obsessed with his social media image; and Mali Arun’s THE HOUSE, about a once famed sanitarium now home to the marginalized.


Additional sections include the Swiss premieres of Grand Angle, with work like Rozálie Kohoutová and Tomáš Bojar’s OFF SIDES, following a Czech junior ice hockey team as they travel to Morocco; and Willem Baptist’s RING OF DREAMS, about a group of Dutch professional wrestlers; and the non-competitive Latitudes, with films such as Jean-Gabriel Périot’s OUR DEFEATS, in which Parisian high school students re-enact scenes from revolutionary May 1968 films; and León Siminiani’s NOTES FOR A HEIST FILM, following the filmmaker as he collaborates with an imprisoned criminal on a heist film; and Special Screenings, which includes François Ruffin and Gilles Perret’s J’VEUX DU SOLEIL !, in which the filmmakers travel France to speak with members of the Yellow Vests movement.

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

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