IDFA 2019 Overview, Part Two

The 32nd IDFA

November 20-December 1

Yesterday’s post on the largest documentary festival in the world covered its competitive sections, while today’s looks at non-competitive programming.


IDFA’s Masters section presents 26 new and recent films from notable filmmakers, including John Appel’s ONCE THE DUST SETTLES, which looks at life in three locations where disaster struck; Alain Cavalier’s LIVING AND KNOWING YOU’RE ALIVE, in which the filmmaker collaborates with writer Emmanuèle Bernheim on a project about her father’s death; Oeke Hoogendijk’s MY REMBRANDT, profiling several collectors of the Dutch master painter; and Ignacio Agüero’s I NEVER CLIMBED THE PROVINCIA, about how the filmmaker’s Santiago neighborhood has changed over the years.


Best of Fests showcases more than 50 films that have appeared at other notable festivals, including work like: Javier Ávila’s GIRL ALONE, about a Mexican teenager who was killed by a relative in her own home; Yuki Kawamura’s NORIE, a portrait of the filmmaker’s long-departed mother; Aïcha Chloé Boro’s BALOLÉ, THE GOLDEN WOLF, about the workers in a Burkina Faso quarry; and Dorothee Myriam Kellou’s IN MANSOURAH, YOU SEPARATED US, which reveals the little-known story of the forced resettlement of Algerians by the French Army during the Algerian war of independence.


Returning for a second year, Luminous offers immersive nonfiction, including the world premieres of Ines Johnson-Spain’s BECOMING BLACK, in which the filmmaker reveals the story of her long-denied black origins; Li Xiaofeng and Kai Jia’s BALLAD OF ROAMING SPIRITS, about a wandering healer in a small Chinese village; Rami Farah’s A COMEDIAN IN A SYRIAN TRAGEDY, about an acclaim Syrian actor living in exile in Paris; Natalia Solórzano Vásquez’s MOVING SO SLOWLY, an institutional portrait of Costa Rica’s immigration department; Shalahuddin Siregar’s A BOARDING SCHOOL, an observational film set in a traditional Indonesian Islamic boarding school; and Hasan Noori’s THE FORBIDDEN STRINGS, about a rock band formed by Afghan immigrants in Iran. International debuts include Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont’s MARGARET ATWOOD: A WORD AFTER A WORD AFTER A WORD IS POWER, on the acclaimed author; Elisa Amoruso’s BELLISSIME, which follows an Italian mother and her three would-be model daughters; Natalie Johns’ MAX RICHTER’S SLEEP, about the noted composer’s eight-hour piece dedicated to the state between wakefulness and slumber; and Mira Burt-Wintonick’s WINTOPIA, in which the daughter of beloved filmmaker Peter Wintonick processes her grief over her father’s death through the fragments of his incomplete film project.


Finally, also returning for its sophomore edition, Frontlight reveals stories not otherwise covered in media, including the world premieres of Marcos Pimentel’s FAITH AND FURY, on the rise of Brazil’s evangelical neo-charismatic movement; Andres Figueredo’s THE CAUSE, about a Venezuelan prison run by its inmates; Rehad Desai’s HOW TO STEAL A COUNTRY, an investigation into corruption in South African involving a powerful Indian family; Ariel Nasr’s THE FORBIDDEN REEL, which explores Afghan history through films that survived the Taliban; Jia Yuchuan’s THE TWO LIVES OF LI ERMAO, a longitudinal story of the difficult life of a transgender woman in China; and Christopher King and Maia Lekow’s THE LETTER, which explores how Kenyan elders are accused of practicing witchcraft in order to steal their land. International premieres in the section include Louise Unmack Kjeldsen and Louise Detlefsen’s FAT FRONT, a portrait of a Scandinavian body positive fat activism movement; and Juliana Fanjul’s RADIO SILENCE, about a crusading Mexican radio journalist who risks her life to fight against fake news and government corruption.

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

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