11am, St John’s Maddermarket Church, Norwich
The Norwich Radical Film Festival’s first year is drawing to a close – but even at a main event as epic as ours we could not cram everything in. Below are the details of our final 4 amazing, subversive, ground breaking, radical feature films of our 2016 selection.
Make the most of them.
Plena Rondo – Leaving Language Behind (U)
Dir. Anti Cool
Japan/Argentina, 2016, 1hr 11
11am, Saturday 29th October, St John’s Maddermarket Church
Enigmatic artist/director Anti Cool brings us an intriguing look at Esperanto, the widest-spoken constructed language in the world. The intriguing thing about this is that it strikes at the heart of what both links and divides humanity – the ability to construct shared narratives and identities that in turn help define us as individuals. The film explores the hopes and dreams of those who keep it alive – and who use the language every day as a tool to break down the backward world of segregated nation states, and to help create a peaceful life beyond borders. In Brexit Britain, where even the peaceful streets of Norwich have seen racially motivated attacks in the hateful name of nationalism, projects like this are needed more than ever to remind us that those identities we place so much misguided importance on are complete constructs – and that if we chose, we can forge new, inclusive identities to build a better world. –JB
Dir. Marco Reekers
Netherlands, 2015, 1hr 30
1pm, Saturday 29th October, St John’s Maddermarket Church
The early 1980s sees Amsterdam, the same as London, Paris, New York and cities across the world, plagued by unemployment and homelessness – the future looks bleak, if it exists at all. There is ‘no money’ except the rich live in luxury; there is a shortage in housing at yet thousands of buildings sit empty. No Future follows Anna, a young woman trapped in this unstable and uncaring environment, joins a squat searching for an alternative – and the harsh life lessons about the state she learns through the counterculture she becomes involved with. This unsentimental punk feature shows the problems of ‘opting out’ as a solution to a neglectful society, helping us learn an important message from the past, as a new generation without meaningful work, housing or social security, increasingly come to feel there is no future for them either. –JB
Dir. Johannes Grenzfurthner
Austria, 2016, 2hrs
3pm, Saturday 29th October, St John’s Maddermarket Church
A hilarious, hypnotic and heart-felt search for meaning in amongst the interconnected mess of 21st century post-modernism, Johannes Grenzfurthner’s unashamedly nerdy documentary shows us the wonders and horrors encountered “through hardship to the stars.” What begins seeming like a nostalgia trip, soon becomes a maverick essay on the absurd fallacy of capitalist “progress”, as we journey through America, from the Navajo Nation to the moon, care of Fed Ex. In a world where space exploration is enabled by Nazi science, landfills bulge with discarded video-game cartridges, and teens fight tooth and claw over consumer goods in the same mall where Dawn of the Dead was filmed, a film like this is the only way to make sense of it all. Grenzfurther most importantly tackles the rigged game of neo-liberalism, and the commodification of “nerd culture” as a part of the process that strengthens that oppressive system. Post-modernism sees us increasingly buying into the idea of alternative consumption as liberation – which has led to hordes of fan-study commentators gushing about the “community building” of Pokémon Go, or the “solidarity” present in One Direction forums – but in a world riddled with bullet-holes and racked by famine, these really just put a nostalgic Band-Aid on the fracturing psyches of Western millennials. The problems are still there – we are just too obsessed chasing Pikachu to notice. –JB
Dir. Jason Aaron Goldberg
USA, 2015, 1hr 30
5:15pm, Saturday 29th October, St John’s Maddermarket Church
When I first went into The Three Es I thought “Oh great, another US film about coming home after serving time in the Middle East.” Believe me, there have been loads on this topic and many doing no justice at all. But what is terribly unique about Jason Goldberg’s film is that it is not about the soldier at all, rather, his family and how they cope and forge new relationships with each other in the weeks awaiting his arrival home. He has been badly injured and the Dunn family re-evaluates their daily, sometimes trivial, problems and how all of their lives will change when he returns.
One, word…WOW. What GREAT characters and acting all around…terrific ensemble cast. Jack said the style reminded him of Little Miss Sunshine in its heartfelt treatment of familial ties when blending tragedy with comedy. Usually we see one-dimensional siblings…the sisters here are fantastic. Goldberg really fleshes out their individual points of view. What we see as selfish and narcissistic behavior at the start is justified when we see the circumstances behind their actions. The older sister is the perfect example of a Gen Xer (yes I am biased here) who must return home and face the humiliation of working a job beneath her education. Mom and Dad face their personal demons through marijuana and pie eating. The younger sister, whom we initially thought was going to be a prissy cheerleader, proves to be the backbone needed to pull the Dunn’s through this crisis. A solid, entertaining and meaningful film. –AN