Po festiwalu
Gazeta Festiwalowa "Na horyzoncie", nr 1
19 lipca 2012
An Embarrassment of Riches

The 2012 edition of New Horizons International Film Festival once again features a wealth of excellent films from around the world. In addition to the opening gala screening of Michael Haneke's deserved Cannes winner 'Amour', and the many and varied competition titles, the next 11 days offer a number of films not to be missed.

One of the most unassuming, yet rewarding, European features of the last year is Norwegian helmer Joachim Trier's impressive 'Oslo, August 31'. Ostensibly a day in the life of an ex-drug addict on leave from a rehab centre, the film transforms into a moving exploration of contemporary metropolitan life, and the responsibilities that come with age and status.

Employing a similar technique to Wim Wenders' 'Wings of Desire'(1987), eavesdropping on the thoughts, regrets and concerns of a city's populace, Trier's film is a refreshing take on a familiar subject.

After five years away from the camera, Leo Carax attracted acclaim and ire in equal measure at Cannes this year with his wild, weird and wired 'Holy Motors'. He is reunited with actor Denis Lavant, who starred in 1991's 'Les amants du Pont-Neuf'. Lavant is joined by Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes and veteran actors Édith Scob and Michel Piccoli.

The resulting film is impossible to summarise, often infuriatingly oblique, but ravishingly beautiful and never less than engaging.

Equally provocative is the new film by Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas, who also receives a career retrospective at the festival. Following 2007's exquisite 'Silent Light', 'Post Tenebras Lux' finds the director moving further away from conventional filmmaking. Employing a palette that is inspired by the work of the Impressionists, the film led some critics to suggest that it might be better suited to a gallery. However, there is no denying the importance of this uncompromising filmmaker.

If there was such a movement as the Cinema of Brevity, Lav Diaz would be leading the charge against it. After beginning his career with what he might call series of shorts but the rest of us would regard as normal-length features, Diaz embarked on a new path, directing films whose duration would test even the most resilient bladder. Averaging upwards of five hours, his work over the last decade is monumental in length, yet intimate in scope. The festival is screening Diaz's two most recent films, 'A Century of Birthing'(2011) and 'Florentina Hubaldo, CTE'.

Festival favourite James Benning returns with arguably his most radical work yet.

Two years ago he switched from his trusted 16mm Bolex to an HD camera. The result was 'Ruhr', whose second half comprised of one mesmerising hour-long shot of a coking tower in the heart of Germany's industrial hinterland. Benning continues this trend with 'Nightfall'. It is a single-take, feature length landscape portrait of a day's end in a woods. Like all of Benning's work, sound is as important as image and this new film sees the director moving closer to engaging with the cinema screen as a painter would a canvas.

Finally, amongst the programme of films focusing on mockumentaries, there is Orson Welles' final masterpiece, 'F for Fake' (1973). A study in pathological liars, fakery, forgery and the art of illusion, Welles' film is a unique cine-essay on the nature of filmmaking. Irreverent and witty, it is the highlight of this programme, and one of the many pleasures to be found at this year's festival.

Ian Haydn Smith

Editor, International Film Guide

Moje NH
Strona archiwalna 12. edycji (2012 rok)
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