The Norwich Radical Film Festival has named a few of our programs in honor of two radical legends who passed this year. Their contribution to all of the arts will never be forgotten. – Alexandra Nakelski, Director of Programming
Films in Alphabetical order…
(* Indicates in competition)
“Let the Music Play”
The decapitated monarch look is in this year. Music video for the song Blind of the Berlin based rock band Letters from Eden.
Director’s statement: The history of Singapore is a history dominated by a single metanarrative of progress that is invoked to justify all things from fiscal policy to racial classification. While it is not hard to find discordant accounts at the margins of this narrative that pose serious challenges to its sustainability, these are largely absent from public discourse.
I would argue that this metanarrative has become the late capitalistic norm of all “modern” societies. “Progress” and even more so now, “security” have been the standard issue answers we receive from those in power when challenged about the injustices in civilization. The “progress” of man’s domination over nature has become archaic and compromised our existence on the planet while the progress of technology has only obfuscated the real issues in a neverending sea of misinformation that the masses take at face value without any kind of editorialship. This basic responsibility of any logical thinking citizen has deteriorated in a postmodern hyper-link culture. – Alexandra Nakelski, Director of Programming
“This is Planet Earth” Eco-shorts Experimental animation with particles, breaking down the nature of Laguna de Teminos in Mexico. Since the beginning of time… we were stardust.
Marcia has been carrying around her past on her skin for a really long time. The only way to remove the pain is by saving her father, who in deteriorating health, happens to be the one who gave her these traumatic scars. In order to get this done she needs organs. Pieces that she will seek from others at any cost.Part of our amazing Brazilian shorts program and running theme of “the masks we wear”…compare the “Les Yeux Sans Visage” iconography with other films in our line up! –AN
One of the many mental maladies I bestow upon my self is the “grass is greener” complex. I always think I am missing out on something that is going on where I am not at the moment. A September to Remember reminds us that there is beauty all around us- all we have to do is recognize it. For an entire month Trefor Jones tents in a different park each night in London filming a new dimension to these public spaces and teaches us that sometimes that which we are looking for…is right under our nose. –AN
Dir. Vivek Nipani
India, 2015 21:00
28th August, St John’s Maddermarket Church 3:15pm
“Women of the World” programme
Two women struggle to overcome adversity while facing a patriarchal mindset in their village. Poverty and illiteracy hinder Jassu Bai from feeding her family so she seeks help from Sadna, an activist in her community, who helps empower migrant labors and their families. Sadna also runs a women’s self help group that Jassu Bai participates in. The women of the village decide to barge into a council meeting, where only men are allowed, to bring attention to the issues concerning their village. But the council abandons the meeting when they see women demanding equal representation. This short documentary explores the trouble women go through to live a normal life due to archaic sexism.
Dir. Josh Trett
UK, Norwich, 2016, 15 mins
26th August 2:45pm The Forum / 27th August 11:30am The Garage
“Beginning of the End” programme / “No Future: God Save the Queen” programme
As I said before when describing Sibylle is that you can’t even watch the news anymore without asking your self: “is what I am watching really happening?!” As many were baffled about the Brexit outcome and now that someone like Donald Trump is actually a candidate for president of the USA, it is as if we have all fallen through the looking glass. It is undeniable that we are in some kind of societal transition. What will happen when we come out the other side? If we come out the other side?
Shot entirely in Norwich Above the Fold portrays the beginning of the Strange Days that are upon us. – AN
Dir. David Telles
USA, 2015 14:39
27th August, St John’s Maddermarket Church 11.30am
“We Can Be Heroes (Just For One Day)” programme
To see the world through the eyes of a child is to see it uncorrupted by “common sense” ideological assumptions that cause us to fear and persecute each other. In the traditions of Pixar and Studio Ghibli, Alien Hunter examines the issues of immigration and racism that blight adult society, and through the experiences of a young girl on the US/Mexico border show that deep down, “aliens” are just like us. –Jack Brindelli, NRFF Festival Director
A bit Spielbergian in its sentiment depending on your disposition…we chose this film because it really forces you to see how silly all these adult fears we have of the “Other” really is. We really need to recollect how we were pure in our thinking when we were children and carry that into our adult life. How pleasant things would be if we would just chill out and enjoy people and regard them all as we would an old friend. –AN
All in Her Stride *
Dir. Fiona Cochrane
Australia, 2014 55:00
28th August, The Forum 12.30pm
Butterfly Giving programme with short Cowboys
On June 13th 2016, Eurika Strotto became one of the first in San Diego to take advantage of California’s End of Life Option Act, which went into effect on June 9 after 25 years of effort. Assisted suicide had long been a topic of controversial debate and we at the festival feel Fiona Cochrane’s sincere documentary really sheds light on a person’s right to choose.
This film is about a person… not a subject. I remember once a mentor in Los Angeles told me a quote Milos Forman told her…”I make films about people, not events.” I have found in my political standings and observations that it is so easy for people to be black and white about certain issues without regarding that perhaps every instance should be looked at individually on a case-by-case basis. What this film does so brilliantly is tell the story of actress Leverne McDonnell’s life and death commenting on how the two are intertwined in every human being’s existence. We have stepped far away from the issue of death in modern society, trying to deny that it exists or fight it every year on the quest for immortality instead of just being at peace with it. We fear death because we fear the unknown. But I can confidently say that to alleviate suffering has always been a defining factor in humanity. Our compassion ingrained in us knows that no living entity should suffer. I endorse this film because lately, on the festival circuit, I have seen cinema wandering from the path of allowing the audience to feel. We have become so desensitized with distractions that now actual human emotion is seen as something to be eradicated because of our ineptitude to face it, and even often met with sneers of cynicism when one is passionate. Repressing the human spirit causes anxiety. This film soars in that spirit and requires you, as a viewer, to feel. –AN
Dir. Tine Lammens
Belgium, 2015 6:47
28th August The Forum 4pm
Shorts in Competition III
Mental Health here in the UK seems to be a hot topic currently to a point of it almost being trendy. But it takes more than a condescending leaflet or poster put up around campuses to really actually help those that need it. We see it all around us in the news what is going on in the world. People are fed up with circumstances, yet again and again, if I talk to anyone about my anxiety that cripples me, they always seem to focus on only my individual life, even when I tell them why I feel the way I do. I am 40 and still struggling with the promises made to me growing up in the 80s: work hard, get good grades and you will be fine. I have DONE that. In fact the only time I felt someone speak that really resonated with me about this Gen X issue was Simon Pegg’s speech in The World’s End. I am overwhelmed with cyber society, impossible bureaucracy and the illogical replies I get from those in authority when I question any policy (especially as an American here in the UK). So I get what is going on here in this short film. Inside I am a human spirit soaring higher than words can describe…but when met with societal constraints that try to fetter me, I feel desolate. So for me, no amount of rhetoric from a “qualified” counselor will help. No leaflet saying they understand when they don’t will help. People relying on other people instead of telling me “I can’t do anything because the computer won’t let me” will help. Society really WAKING up instead of constantly treating symptoms instead of the real problems will help. –AN
Remember the good old days of Liquid Television….”What the fuck did I just watch?????!”
Check out more of their strange work at http://whyhuman.com/
Modern Brazil is a land of crystallized contradictions, where the ideology of late capitalism takes its most overt form. The wealthy minority are paralyzed with fear at the thought of the impoverished masses. While cowering behind gated communities, the privileged turn into an authoritarian coup-government to protect the haves from the have-nots. Raul Arthuso pays homage to John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness in this patient and thoughtful short horror; as a middle class family live in fear of a growing congregation of the homeless on their doorstep – threatening the sanctity of their property and values. –JB
“Whose streets? Our streets!” For generation upon generation, the city square has been the centre of popular dissent. They have been the venues for barn-storming debates, rabble-rousing speeches, and radical movements for change in a way that the buttoned down, the suffocating establishment space of the city hall never could be. Now, cities are being reshaped; remade in the image of a consumption-based economy devoid of meaning or progress – with an aim to disperse popular dissent. Brazilian director Fernando Ramos’ incisive documentary considers what is being lost if we allow the continued destruction of our public forums – be they spaces for debate, education, sport or entertainment – and who would benefit from this privatisation of common culture. –JB
Dir. Verónica Jessamyn López Sainz & Andrea Fuentes Charles
Mexico, 2015 10 mins 08
28th August, St John Maddermarket Church, 3:15pm
“Women of the World” programme
Isabel, a young woman from the Sierra mountains of Guanajuato, is motivated by the love of her family and has learned that to achieve her dreams she must sacrifice her present, to be able to value tomorrow’s success.
This short has screened at the Guanajuato International Film Festival and Sundance.
The remarkable thing about those with least in society is that they are more often than not the ones who give most. While they have little in the way of wealth or comfort themselves, ordinary people across the world are the only truly reliable force for change. From campaigning for better welfare provision, to directly intervening to battle social alienation and extreme poverty, these everyday heroes above all show even when we have nothing, we have each other. While Gayi Dennis and his fellow volunteers have sparse resources to help fellow impoverished Ugandans, he has access to filmmaking equipment that enables him to show how, even as Western commentators boast of growing African economies, the population are abandoned by their government. –JB
Brasil Meu Amor *
Dir. Debora Reis Totton
Brazil, 2015 01:16:00
26th August Hollywood Cinema 7pm
Ever since an economic collapse rendered money obsolete, people have been searching for a new form of currency.
In order to survive, people have begun re-starting basic industries and taxing those who benefit from them. Food and skills are now commodities to sell; but people are growing desperate, and the lines between right and wrong are beginning to blur. With nothing left to trade, two sisters are threatened with being cut off from what fragment of society remains – forcing them to question, now that ethics have replaced laws, is it illegal to lead an unethical life?
They want to do something that is upbeat by making your commute or day out better by spreading some good vibes. While we are inundated daily by the awful events propagated to us via the media and news…it is quite radical to actually go out there and do something positive. We can choose to concentrate our attention at the awful elements in life, or focus on the inspirational. Those artists out making public spaces that much more enhanced just by being there deserve more coverage. Buskers is one such story about The Peace Music Industry Group, comprised entirely of the Boyd family, who performs daily in New York City’s Central Park. –AN
One of the core aims of the Norwich Radical Film Festival was to collectivise in the spirit of championing the artistic expression of ordinary people – those ignored and belittled by mainstream media and culture. But the Paint Comes Through shows what empowering people to that end can achieve – documenting the Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca – formed in the midst of a regional uprising in 2006 – and their struggles against an overbearing state, governmental corruption and police brutality through anti-establishment murals, and artistic rebellion. –JB
Castillo y el Armado
Dir. Pedro Harres
26th August, The Forum 11:30am / 27th August, The Forum 2:45pm / 27th August, Moosey 7:30pm
Animated Shorts / Brazil Shorts II / Animation Moosey programmes
Castillo is a young dockworker who lives on the coast between Brazil and Uruguay. He divides his time between the carpets he has to carry, his family and a fishing rod at the pier. On a windy night, he faces his own brutality on the line of the fishhook.
We have been most fortunate to have some outstanding quality animation for this festival. Also as part of our featured Brazilian program, this short premiered at the 71st Venice Film Festival – Orizzonti International Competition.
Director : Anna Thompson and Hanna Brar
26th August, The Forum 11:30am
Cecil dreams of leaving the big city in search of adventure. But when his dream comes true he finds himself missing home.
Dir. Giovanni Rossi
Italy, 2015 24:46
27th August, The Forum 1:15pm
Shorts in Competition II
The astounding aesthetics and stunning musical score of this film will cause even the most steadfast blue collar laborer well up – this is proof that finding beauty in life is not merely the preserve of the bourgeoisie. Based on an interview with Corrado Mancini, a retired Italian fisherman born in 1934, who recalls the romance and the toil of life at sea, Cigno (“Swan”) is one of the most moving pieces of working-class poetry that you will ever see on the silver screen. Focusing on the hard lives of three generations of Italian fishermen, their sacrifices and passions through-out the ages, and the shifting role of technology – the film paints a vivid picture of workers as fully rounded people, taking pride in their responsibility of feeding the community – while still retaining the energy to see hope and art in the world around them. In a world where workers are merely expected to trudge automaton-like through life without aspiration, dreams or hope, that depiction is as radical as they come. –JB
Common Cents tells the story about an ordinary girl who uses the metaphor of a penny to create awareness of modern day slavery. This documentary depicts what can happen when a dream becomes a movement and people unite to fight for human life.
Dir. Bernabé Rico
2015, Spain 20:00
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket 11.30am / 28th August, The Forum 12.30pm
We Could Be Heroes (Just for one day) / Butterfly Giving programme with All in Her Stride
We all feel washed up and unwanted sometimes. The pressures of modern life that often amount to the death of our dreams can drive us from the ones we love, and to build walls around ourselves from the outside world. Occasionally though, people break through those defenses – touching our hearts and re-engaging us with the life we had grown indifferent to. In Cowboys an out-of-work actor begrudgingly agrees to visit a young fan, who has become obsessed with a series of Lottery commercials he features in – unaware the job will cause him to re-evaluate what really matters in life. –JB
We are proud to be partnered with several grassroots social campaigns. Creative Working Lives submitted their own film about engaging Norwich communities with art as expression and resistance – and we are proud to give their work a platform at our festival.
“CREATIVE WORKING LIVES started as a conversation with two friends, driven by the frustrations of feeling unheard, and growing despair about the impact of cuts on the public sector, and on the quality of organisational and community relationships. It has evolved into a collaborative art form, which is unfolding through a process of interaction. To date there have been regular meetings to make artwork and dialogue, two workshop days and an exhibition and a film. People who work or have worked in social care, education, health and community arts have met and given voice to narratives of change in working lives including experiences of unemployment, redundancy, and retirement. Developing its own momentum, it is generating a context through which we can restore social significance and human connection. It is not just political activism, but an art practice with its own characteristics and effects. We welcome new members and a continued dialogue.
Contact: Mandy Rogers email@example.com
Or check out our Facebook page: Creative Working Lives”
This is what I am talking about when I speak of “cyber anxiety.” The transhumanist movement wants to upload their consciousness to digital information. Can you imagine? This is what it would look like…binary code nightmare of a prison. TRON on LSD. I’d rather sit on the beach unplugged… –AN
Sometimes a cinematic impression of history is better understood than a passage from a textbook. The claustrophobic images from this experimental short simulate and represent the suffocating regime of East Germany to someone who didn’t experience it while reminding those that were there the irony of the “makeover” the region is now attempting as explained by the directors:
In West Germany, “Dark Germany” was a derisive term for reactionary regions of the country. Today its mostly applied to East Germany with its attempts to change its image: factories and chimneys are disappearing, wellness centers are popping up, sheep are grazing under solar panels. But recent past is stored close to the new surface.
Director’s statement: “An old and tired Hamlet repeats his soliloquy over and over. Behind the closed curtain, he is anguished by his eternal dilemma: to preserve the purity of his own identity or to conceal it behind the deceitfulness of an obscure social media facade.
The existential question must be solved before the curtain is opened and the show starts: TO BE (oneself) or NOT TO BE (what you really are). The iconic smile of the skull seems to suggest the answer: you need to sacrifice the “ego” in order to exist in this media drama! The old dilemma becomes current and the question unsolved for centuries becomes a disturbing assertion: “TO APPEAR” is the new “TO BE”.”
Robert Tressell wrote of capitalists in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, “They have monopolized everything that it is possible to monopolize; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolized the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it.”
In Daughter of the Lake, we see the arrogance of the capitalist class laid bare, as they stand poised to irreversibly compromise the purity of a Peruvian village’s drinking water in order to purify their gold. Human life is treated as an expendable nuisance – an obstacle to the maximization of profit. Fortunately, we also see the steadfast determination of ordinary people – villagers, peasants, workers to stand up to that greed. Led by a woman who claims to be the spiritual daughter of the lake, they oppose an army of private security and state troops to preserve the natural world, and the lake that has cared for them. In a Britain on the brink of destroying its own ecosystem in the name of short-term profit from fracking, this ecological call to arms is essential viewing. –JB
For over a century more than 100 glass plate photographs were locked away in darkness, hidden in a steel chub box. This is the story of their recent discovery and the incredible revelation of what they depict: pre-genocide Armenian life at the turn of the century – before an entire civilisation was destroyed.
I have been working on film festivals for many years and a common and successful element throughout the world has been a filmmaker ambassador program. A filmmaker comes to the new city and stays with a local who is their host, shows them around town and gets to enjoy the festival with the guest. Being hospitable and opening your door to someone you have never met before is a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures and make a new friend. However, I was quite surprised at East Anglia’s reaction when I tried to implement this program here. People didn’t “feel comfortable” or want a “stranger in their home”. As an outsider living here, I can honestly say…the “fear of the new” is blatant
The phrase “motion picture” is often synonymous with cinema. We define it as a visual medium and too frequently sound is overlooked as playing a major part in creating meaning often emphasizing a visual or juxtaposing incongruence to affect the viewer emotionally. Indeed try to eliminate a brilliant John Williams’s score from any of his legendary contribution and it is immediately obvious that combined with visual aesthetics, sound is often the major contributing factor to our emotional responses. Film scholar, Joachim Strand coined a phrase “Cinesthetic Montage: Hearing the Image and Seeing the Sound” which I found was helpful in understanding why many of the montage sequences I enjoyed in the 1980s especially in early music video worked so well. An image of a palm tree can signify one idea but paired with Jan Hammer synthesizer…and it captures one’s imagination on a more textured level.
The description of this short film’s plot caught my eye in saying: “A young musician goes deaf. He then begins seeing sound.” I think it is absolutely possible to see a sound and hear and image. This is what sets motion picture apart from the other arts is this significant combination of meaning. Even in the Silents, the musical accompaniment added texture to the experience. Perhaps one day instead of asking someone if they “Want to go see a movie?” We will ask, “Would you like to go see and hear a film?” –AN
People often ask me “What is a ‘film festival film’?” Dyab would be a prime example. This is a near perfect film. Yet it makes me angry. Angry when I hear people make a big deal or complain about trivial things. Here is a young boy in a UNICEF refugee camp, a boy that could be in the US living a better life if people weren’t “so afraid” of refugees and complaining about their selfish banal problems. Here is a boy who in the worst of situations makes his fellow children smile and have purpose in “making films.” They have no equipment but there is no limit to how their imagination and spirits soar. This is a film of the human spirit persevering that cannot but stir something inside of you. It also makes me angry that all councils and sources of funding refuse to acknowledge this festival as a platform for voices such as Dyab’s. It was my dream to fly him out here for the festival and meet him and encourage him to never give up. But “dragons” and other hollow mindless “kid” projects are supported because they are safe and have been done a million times before. We are trying to really help kids. Kids with disadvantages like the Pathways children and teach them to make films. This unwillingness from East Anglia has made me decide to have a Brexit of my own and go somewhere that really makes a difference in the world and places that would be willing to open their arms to new adventures and opportunities instead of stagnate and keep all doors closed to outsiders. –AN
12-year-old Dyab is a Kurdish Yazidi boy living at Arbat refuge camp, after the horrendous attacks by the Islamic States on their villages at Shingal Mountains (Sinjar). However, Dyab’s dream is, to become a filmmaker and actor and tell the stories and sufferings of his people to the outside world.
Anne, a fifty-year-old woman with a bourgeois mentality, listens to a message secretly intended for her husband: a man makes an appointment with him in a gay club where you must give the password, « Easy Reappearance »…
Dir. Ruben Pallan
USA, 2015 20:00
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 5:30pm
Things are not always what they seem programme
There is an LA you do not see. Behind the cameras that are shooting the palm trees silhouetting the pink sunsets are those looking on yearningly to be part of that world. Unless you live there, you do not see the actors and musicians and other assorted artists who made the pilgrimage to this western Mecca of fame who are not onstage or in the spotlight. Those who work two or three jobs desperately in between an array of endless auditions in hopes of that one big break… Paying an enormous amount of money in rent and other expenses, they keep a façade of “poverty glam” fooling others into thinking they have more money than they actually do. It is not uncommon for a beautiful looking actress all dolled up in the latest knock off labels to go home to her apartment in the Valley and open up the fridge to an old can of beans and a half bottle of flat Perrier. There is a sweet smell of desperation in the LA air of artists who would sacrifice everything to just have that one moment of glory. It is simultaneously both beautiful and sad in knowing that a huge percentage of them will never see that day. The LA you do not see is the foundation of what defines the city and it is the part that is endeared to those who have lived there forming a bond among each other in a way you could not anywhere else in the States. –AN
A sly socially conscious script and authentic dialogue help this film stand out from other more clean-cut sci-fi, commenting on the abandonment of Scots by the British economy. It says a lot of how little Westminster does for our friends north of the border that a film’s dystopian feel can come from simply using Glasgow as a setting. –JB
Stunning collection of living photographic stills that capture the absurdity of trivial small-town life amongst the grand backdrop of global Armageddon and WWIII. The fact the communist hobo returns to society to spread his message through rock shows a nice understanding of the radical mind – that even when we despair at society, it is impossible to abandon those we empathise with to their own fate, no matter how naive we find them. –JB
Much of my research for my PhD is centered on my theory that the Apocalypse is not a one time cataclysmic event, rather an ongoing process. I believe we are already to date experiencing the early to mid stages of it. –AN
Why do we measure the “Have’s” and ”Have-Not’s” by who has money and who doesn’t? This film re-evaluates that yardstick by who has soul and who doesn’t. A brilliant juxtaposition of people with money trying to eradicate that which makes Brazil great…its spirit. The music of the people, the color of those who don’t have mansions and fancy cars yet lead a rich and full life. They are alive instead of merely existing. Coming from a “colony” myself and having just visited both Portugal and Brazil…you can really see the difference in the “colonies’” rebellious and free spirit nature. If these elites in Brazil really want to rob Brazil that which makes it alive, they best move back to the motherland. – AN
In a world of gross wealth inequality, the dominant classes of most societies usually master a nationalist veneer of being ‘all in this together’ – to disguise their disdain for the multitude of people they exploit. Brazil has reached a stage of inequality where there is no longer any use for that façade – and depicting strips back that layer of faux-collectivism to reveals the disgust and paranoia of the capitalist classes the world over think of us. –JB
Maintaining a sense of normality even after knowing the end of the world is neigh is a defense mechanism. Trying to remain civil when the fragments of society are unraveling can be seen as a form of denial or an attempt to remain humane even in inhumane conditions. NRFF hosts another running theme in our dystopian showcase: the beginnings of the end of late capitalism. It is both exhilarating and frightening to consider that these might be issues we face in the very near future. – AN
Eye on Hungary Programme
I am so grateful that I get to travel to international film festivals, see films I would not see anywhere else, experience new cities and make new friends across the globe. Jack and I travelled to the Transilvania Film Festival to scout for films to bring here to you in Norwich. Here are the gems we picked up and I assure you the directors we met who made these films are just as lovely as their work is.
I had known NOTHING of this region’s history especially regarding the border dispute in Communist times. Cinema can offer education through art. I Iearned more about this era watching these films and speaking with the filmmakers than any US history class that NEVER covered Hungary, Romania or the diasporas of Hungarian people in Transylvania. Also…Transylvania on film… one thinks of …Nosferatu and other Universal monsters…what a treat to see real Transylvanian film in a historical context! The exquisite photography confirmed my preconceived notions of Hungary’s historic attention to artistic beauty.-AN
- Radnóti hétszer / The Dead Poet – Seven Tales of Miklós Radnóti
Dir. Márton Vécsei, Nóra Lakos, Daphne Samaras, Júlia Széphelyi, Andrea Ausztrics, Miklós Mendrei, Márton Szirmai, Pater Sparrow
Hungary, 2015 45:00
28th August, The Forum 2:30pm
Eye on Hungary (with Tabula Rasa)7 incredible short-films commemorate one of Hungary’s greatest poets, Miklós Radnóti who died in Auschwitz. As Hungarian politics edges rightward; building walls to keep refugees out, while the government seeks to absolve Hungary of blame for the Holocaust, and far-right Parliamentarians call for a register of all Jewish MPs – the film draws out themes in Radnóti’s work about Jewish identity, persecution and the historical atrocities we are doomed to repeat if we fail to learn from them. This film is a stunning and diverse call to arms in the name of tolerance and progress – delivering a consistent message in spite of its multiple directors. –JB
- Tabula Rasa *
Dir. Sándor Csoma
Hungary, 2015 30:00
28th August, The Forum 2:30pm
Eye on Hungary (with Radnoti Hetszer)Set amongst the wreckage left by the fall of the Ceaușescu regime, Tabula Rasa is a visually arresting examination of the brutal reprisals that took place for anyone associated with the Communist Party. A father and his son are hounded by mobs bent on revenge after he revealed details on his friend’s anti-establishment views, while being tortured. With stunning aesthetics including lingering shots of a toxic lake created by the old regime in real life when they flooded a rural Transilvanian town, the film asks the audience to imagine beyond that – not to imagine the potential for revenge, but for the potential to forge new relationships and create new beauty as the only true way to defeat the legacy of a hateful past. –JB
Exercising his right to free speech the pastor of a church in Harlem posts very controversial messages on a signboard attacking the LGBT community. Decided to resist peacefully the neighbours started a campaign supporting a shelter for LGBT homeless youth.
When I began the Norwich Radical Film Festival, I aimed to provide a platform to the ignored and marginalized voices of world cinema – but never in my wildest dreams did I expect we would be welcoming a feature filmed amidst the wreckage of the Syrian civil war.
In the most extreme case of life-imitating-art-imitating-life it is possible to conceive, Joud Said’s team dodged US airstrikes and roadblocks to make a film about a volleyball team attempting to live normal lives amongst the carnage. The film is a lethal blend of farce, satire and tragedy – and will move audiences between belly-laughs, tears, and sober contemplation of US and UK foreign policy, as yet another bombing-campaign for peace proceeds to wreck lives in the Middle East. –JB
The Sami of Finland are one of the last indigenous peoples of Europe. This film is a feverish, alternative look at the Finnish state’s treatment of the Sami – with debate ranging from the sterile, suited modern Finnish parliament, to an old man’s nut-sack-baring sweat-lodge monologue. Ridiculing the “horny” ambition of Finland to build its own colonial empire, these Sami are clearly bloodied but unbowed, and despite centuries of oppression, refuse to give deference to the government which now seeks to preserve them in the interest of tourism. As with our festival, this film aims to build a platform for victims of exploitation and brutality to give authentic voice to their concerns – and this earth, often eccentric look at indigenous life does exactly that. –JB
The Kurds are the largest stateless nation in the world – spread across northern Iraq, Syria and Turkey – and they are also one of the most persecuted. They are eternally forced to defend themselves from all directions – in the modern day, even as they fight tooth and nail against the forces of Daesh, they are the victims of Turkish airstrikes, but their victimization dates back centuries. First Encounter… focuses on the 1990s – and the continued attempt to silence such communities as they questioned why they were expected to defer to the authority of the Turkish state.
Director’s statement: 1990s Turkey… There were human rights violations especially in the southeast region of Turkey, where the Kurdish community lives. In this period, thousands of children had to recognize the notion of government – authority by identifying with uniforms, violence and fear. Dedicated to all the children of the world that have been obliged to encounter with every kind of beetle-browed uniformed authorities.
The universality of humanity is similar to the universality of cinema; it often transcends spoken language. It is so wonderful to watch a foreign film and have it evoke so many familiar emotions within you.
Two Croatian families visit their loved ones in a hospital who share the same room. Each has their private conversations with snippets overheard by the other. Each feels empathy for the other family thinking theirs is on the road to an inevitable recovery. The omniscient camera then changes the point of view to allow the viewer to re-examine the given situation as one in which all involved merit compassion. –AN
A beautiful, understated examination of fatherhood and masculinity – as a grieving widower bonds with his daughter while exploring his gender identity in the wake of his wife’s passing. This film is a patient and caring portrait of less represented identities of Brazil, in an Olympic year where the usual clichés are being wheeled out to market the country to the rest of the world. –JB
Forgotten Sex Slaves: Comfort Women in the Philippines
Dir. Bjoern Jensen
USA/Philippines, 2015 46:00
28th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 10am
Don’t Leave Them Behind Duet (in conjunction with Magdalene Group)
During WWII thousands of women in Asia were forced to work as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers. Some of them were still teenagers. They were raped, often beaten and abused. The Japanese called them “ianfu” or Comfort Women. After the war the survivors struggled to continue with their lives, hiding what many considered to be a “shame”. This intimate, touching film tells the story of nine comfort women in the Philippines and follows their efforts to find justice before they die. They are in their eighties and nineties now and time is running out for them.
Every set of siblings have their own traditions and codes that hark back to child-hood. It is important that even when we have grown up, we maintain a healthy relationship with our brothers and sisters – as that almost unbreakable bond can help us deal with the many tragedies of adult life, keeping our inner child alive, feeding our heart in a heartless world. So, pull on your green tights, unsheathe your wooden sword, and put your adult cynicism on hold for this touching short from director Agnes Vialleton. –JB
When many think of a ‘radical” film festival…gritty political documentaries come to mind. This is why I am so pleased to be programming this festival so that I may include a much-overlooked genre at anyfestival…science fiction. No other type of film can use metaphor and symbolism to comment ontomorrow’s societal woes based on today’s cultural shortcomings. There is something morbidly beautiful in the idea of cleansing through Apocalypse and the chance to start over. To rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. Genesis is a “conversation” the director wants to have with the viewer. With great special FX that are hard to come by on low budget shorts…Genesis is exquisite for the eyes and the mind. –AN
Her lover is betrothed to another.
Giselle is summoned from her deep slumber. An experimental piece shot entirely underwater.
Good Muslim Girls *
Dir. Marilyn Agrelo
Iraq/USA, 2015 7:00
27th August, 10am The Forum / 28th August, Forum 6pm / 28th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 3.15pm
Shorts in Competition I / “Controversy” // Women of the World
“They say Allah will punish me, society will punish me.” Two Muslim girls from Iraq receive snubs from other Muslim women because they “dare do the things they want” like refusing to wear the mandatory hijab.
Currently, in Iran, a social media movement called “My Stealthy Freedom” is supported by men who wear the hijab in solidarity with women who are trying to change the laws about mandatory hijab use. They want to “feel the wind in their hair”. While without a doubt many women would still prefer to wear one, it should be each individual’s own personal choice. –AN
Evoking the ghosts of a classic tale, a pair of adversaries is brought back together in the wake of a disaster.
Happy Thoughts is a raw and experimental reimagining of J.M. Barrie’s classic story of Peter Pan and Wendy.
Searching for an escape from an impoverished city life, a retired couple moves to an abandoned country house in the radioactive zone of Chernobyl. Years after the disaster, the husband is convinced the land is ready to be cultivated, his wife on the other hand is less sure
Hell is Other People
Dir. Jessica Hutchison
Australia, 2015 12:41
26th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 1:45pm / 27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 3:30pm
Public Spaces II / “Sign O’ the Times”
I didn’t plan on writing so much on this film but I find this problem of public transport privatization indicative of future police states looming on the horizon for Western countries. Good luck on the London tube or NY subway trying to find someone to help you find the right platform, ticket choice, exit, etc etc. And when you do, they are less than thrilled to condescend to even speak to you. On automated public transport with security armed to the hilt on the lookout for “criminals” your daily commute looks more like a trip on a prison bus. “Hell” is Other People.
I opted to take the “train” from Norwich to Heathrow…what that really means is schlepping from your house to the bus to the train station to the London Underground to the airport. With a good-sized piece of luggage all stress I eliminated on my holiday was regained two fold on my journey home. NO lifts on my stop to Liverpool Train stations and the ticket master belittled me in my lack of knowledge that disabled lifts are only provided at some stops and that I should manage myself to carry my 23 kilo luggage up the enormous amount of stairs among throngs of commuters annoyed at me for taking up space and time in their rat race.
This documentary from Australia shows that this frustration is a norm now not an anomaly. And it occurred simultaneously with privatization of public transport and the automation of ticketing machines. These private sectors only care about one thing…their profit margins. We see clips of old PR videos showing happy employees equaling happy customers. But those happy employees have been replaced with heartless androids blurting out scripted “policy” to each person no matter their complaint. We complain about lack of jobs yet thousands are lost due to automated machines completing the tasks of each person yet without the humanity and interaction. A machine cannot tell you where the platform is, or help you with your luggage, or even…God forbid…smile at you!
The veteran conductor in this doc tells us that “empathy” is missing. Wouldn’t it be nice in our daily commute to get a little but more of that back? How did we get from friendly conductor chat on trams to men with guns flashing a badge waiting to bust you but never to help you? A frequent tram traveler recalls experiments in the 1950s proving that most people become bullies when placed in a simple position of power and muses over the nostalgia for a kinder more personal world compared to the 1984 authoritarian mode of transport for “security” and profit world we have become.
The doc chillingly estimates 5 million more Australian jobs are to be replaced by automation by 2030. –AN
A dystopian and experimental look into the future of home help service.
I Camminatori. Racconto audiovisivo per isole erranti (The Walkers. A Report)
Dir. Cesare Saldicco
Italy, 2015 22:45
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 5:30pm
Things are not always what they seem programme
A shambling mass of distant figures shuffle through the city – they stand together in huge numbers, and yet they are alone, isolated, unable to relate to one another. Voices; whispering, rambling, bellowing voices babble on amongst one another, yet they are unable to communicate. Cesare Saldicco’s abstract essay on social alienation and the post-modern condition seem to owe as much to George A. Romero as anyone, as the horde of the living shuffle through life zombie-like, unable to experience communal life through anything other than consumption. This is a report to serve as a warning to all modern cities – as each city becomes more and more uniform, geared towards this lifestyle – that we are becoming the walking dead. –JB
Dir. Aurèle Ferrier
France, 2015 22:38
26th St Johns Maddermarket Church 12noon / 27th August Moosey 6pm
Public Spaces I / Public Spaces
21st century consumerist living feels like being stuck on a seemingly endless conveyor belt. Just trudge down Norwich’s sterile identikit High Street on a Saturday behind the other shambling shoppers and you will see exactly what Aurèle Ferrier was getting at in this exquisite experimental examination of modern urban environments. This film is a journey through a landscape of concrete and glass that are common to an everyday routine – from soulless malls, to minimalist open-plan offices, and crawling tarmac highways – a deserted world in which meaning and fulfillment are entirely absent, in favor of simply continuing for the sake of consumption. Believe me, after you’ve seen Infrastructures, the tedious shuffle through Chapelfield will never be the same. –JB
I highly recommend everyone read postmodern theorist Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Jameson writes of how all public and private structures in Western culture are designed to purposefully disorientate, maximize wandering about aimlessly to serve consumerism. Look at any airport now; you must walk through swarms of duty fee shops just to get to your gate. In Las Vegas you must walk through the casino with all of your luggage just to reach your room. Architecture serves capitalism. –AN
In The Dreams of Others is a meta-fiction created by S/N, and is the first in a series of location responsive performances. This location explores a rural setting on the eastern banks of Lake Michigan. The performance seeks to question the sway of cognitive and relational impact that location implicates. The narrative is loosely based on creating a narrative within imagined rituals specific to environment, and operates as a fragmented representation of a rural family. The artists begin to inhabit a reality not their own, in the interest of pinpointing the reflection of space on identity.
The investigation exists as a single channel split frame screening.
S/N is a transdisciplinary art group, which works extensively with, but not limited to, video, sound, animation, photography and mobile media. The exhibitions often include performative elements and mediated footage, pushing both experimental and conceptual ideas around media.
In the Shadow of the Mountain
Dir. Neith Sentis
UK/Spain 2015 15:00
28th August 4pm The Forum / 26th Forum 6pm / 27th St Johns Maddermarket 5:30pm
Shorts in Competition III / Who’s in Charge Here? / Things are not always what they seem
Looking for a simpler, downsized life, a young couple expecting their first child arrives at a tiny village in the Catalonian Pyrenees, where the sole inhabitants are seniors. All of the younger people abandoned the remote town and moved to the city. The diminishing old community looks for newcomers that are willing to stay and bring the place to life again. They welcome the trusting couple so effusively, that it overwhelms them, especially the pregnant woman. After seeing the new guests not quite convinced to stay, the villagers will do everything in their power to change the town’s destiny of disappearing in the shadow of the mountain.
A perfect component in our myriad of shorts dealing with vanishing cultures due to globalization. Make sure you don’t come alone! -AN
A Francoist horror – passing comment on post-Civil War Spain, and the horrific measures which reactionary forces will put in place to hold back social progress. Aesthetically stunning, thematically accomplished, the complete short. –JB
When we see pictures of radical events and movements we often take for granted those who are capturing those iconic moments. They are part of the action, yet a degree removed as their camera simultaneously translates objective and subjective perspectives.
This short doc, through the pictures and the stories of those who made these memories immortal, recounts the massacre of Rapid 904 , the murders committed by the gang of the White One youth movements and the island experiences in Kantiere of the Panther movement.
JianJieis the first short film created by young Chinese director Nicole Chen, who we are excited to announce is flying from New Zealand to attend the festival. This kind of story makes me proud to have helped establish a film festival aimed at championing new talent – and as debuts go, JianJie is an amazing accomplishment. Set within the limited world of a young Chinese woman facing identity crisis and isolation in a new environment, the film examines social alienation amongst the millennial generation who, like Fight Club’s Generation X before them, have been promised so much, before being abandoned in an economic and cultural wilderness. –JB
Us Gen X-ers are still waiting for relief from that cultural and economic wilderness!– AN
Dir. Dalton Trumbo
27th August, Cinema City 6:30pm (with short Mi e Ti)
Why look for the perfect mate when you can BUY one??!
In a near future, the SEED Company launches with great fanfare, JULIET1, the first generation of synthetic pleasure beings. Their tagline: “easier than Human.” But as technology evolves and new upgrades come and go, it becomes more and more difficult for mankind to find their own place…
My favorite line from a sci- fi movie, ever: “Why are you doing this?” “Because we CAN.” The Stepford Wives- How can we be in the pursuit of our own extinction? If there is one short you see in our line up…this must be it!!- AN
How many documentaries have we seen where a middle-class student prods rough-sleepers for the saddest answer without really hoping to help them? How would you feel to discover your existence was being puppeteered toward a disastrous end for the dividends of another? Inspired by a short poem by Tim Burton, a homeless stop-motion character discovers a disturbing fate has been planned for her by her animators. Mohammad Zare’s stunning animation takes Burton’s trademark sympathy for society’s outcasts beyond the fourth wall, and examines the lengths to which vulture-like purveyors of melodrama can sometimes exploit rather than aid the downtrodden individuals they depict. –JB
Upon first viewing, one might surmise that this was a film from the 1950s or even earlier. The look of celluloid today provokes a different experience than that of digital. Shaky cam and excessive editing no longer allow the viewer to truly absorb and contemplate the meaning inherent in the images. –AN
By land, air and sea: an audio-visual travelogue in twenty-one chapters. Weaving together numerous journeys across Europe and North America shot in his signature deadpan style, Wiesinger opens up a wondrous world of movements and structures. This heady adventure of discovery is brought together by an innovative soundtrack that envelopes the black and white and abstract sounds.
Discarded when a multiplex chain takes over his independent cinema and installs digital projection making his skilled line of work a thing of the past – he returns to his village on the verge of a personal crisis. However, his passion for story-telling, and his determination to bring happiness to others inspire him to soon find a new way to engage with an adoring audience. The power of cinema is really the power of stories; stories that can lift, enlighten and inspire people on an emotional, intellectual and spiritual level. Kathakaar is an unashamed feel-good movie that will leave you brimming with joy by the end of redundant projectionist Prakash’s journey of self-discovery – and as part of the Norwich Radical Film Festival, it supplies an important message about the importance of community storytelling, in an increasingly isolated digital age. –JB
In many areas of India, children with HIV are treated as the lowest caste. They are considered trash, regarded worse than animals. One man takes care of these children in his village operating an orphanage and school and most of all, loves them. His relative catches wind of what he is using the property for… right before his star pupil becomes deathly ill. –AN
Landscape with a Broken Dog is a requiem for a cinema that has been dismembered. It is the story of a journey to the impossible. It is a film that traces back the original instability of vision using archival footage of various origins.
A psychological struggle ensues between a property developer and his younger brother when they inherit land known as La Plaine de Lenz. A visually experimental piece using real life heads atop figurine dolls that perhaps insinuates that we are all just merely playthings on the corporate game board of greed? –AN
A squatter “breaks in” to a posh bourgeois, nay, aristocrat’s chateau and indulges in the good life. He then invites the powdered wig group over for a proper 18th Century birthday soirée. His monologue about the idle rich is too delicious to miss and the ending will have your eyebrow raised in both surprise and delight to hear T.Rex again!- AN
I predict that in 20 years’ time people will have mutated thumbs looking like T-Rex claws and a hunch in their neck that makes Quasimodo look like he carries a book on his head. Zombies…zombies walking around with their nose in a phone, completely oblivious to the world around them…and when they are aware, manage to take a selfie to validate their existence in the real world. This 3-minute animation speaks volumes of the epidemic surrounding us that is completely condoned by society. –AN
Dir. Fernando Mitjans
UK, 2015 24:27
28th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 12noon
Domestic Workers Duet (with Justice for Cleaners)
When cleaners at SOAS attempted to organize for better pay and conditions, the University went to despicable lengths to prevent unionization of the workplace – ambushing them with visits by immigration control and running campaigns of intimidation to keep employees in their place. This hard-hitting documentary tracks the lives of those still fighting for justice in the UK, and those who were deported for asking for a fair wage for a day’s work. After the film, a representative of the campaign will be in attendance for Q&A. –JB
Bret Hamilton and Harrison Martin’s two-year love note sees them jet from Chicago to Vietnam in search of the answer to life’s great question; what is love? The two films demonstrate the obstacles of true love within two societies stricken by poverty and social inequality – while examining how ordinary people can overcome the seemingly impossible to still care for one another, and how that love helps them survive such hard lives. In an increasingly automated, alienated world where we are all struggling to find the time to socialize, one of the most important lessons a film can teach us is that no matter what, loving each other is not only possible, but essential. –JB
Dir. Joshua J. Provost
USA/France, 2015 7:54
26th Moosey 10pm
“Expressions and Impressions” programme
A light-hearted examination of the nature of love through objects, themes, concepts, repetition, and analysis. Et très Jean-Luc Godard!
Like cinema, wrestling is an art which can reflect the best and worst of society – and become a vehicle for changing hearts and minds. In Mexico, Lucha Libre has been a beloved aspect of the national culture for over a century, embodying the struggle of good and evil in the middle of the ring. With changing times however, it has also come to provide a battle-ground for equality, as a new generation of female wrestlers look to prove that a woman’s place is not just in the home. Luna Magica, a professional Lucha Libre wrestling star in Mexico, dreams of becoming world wrestling champion while fighting to make ends meet as a single mom in Mexico City. Luchadora shines light into the fascinating sub-culture of professional wrestling – often thought of as a backward and reactionary pastime – and shows that by engaging people with new ideas through entertainment, popular culture can be at the forefront of social change. –JB
We don’t even make prints of photos anymore. So how will we in the future hold in our hand an aged photo of who we used to be? Does holding one singular photo make a memory more sacred than scrolling through hundreds on a smartphone? If we could go back in time to meet our past selves would they seem foreign to us…or like an old friend? –AN
As a programmer, you view hundreds of films in a short period of time and it is interesting to see trends in themes threaded throughout cinema from people who live in countries thousands of miles apart. How they not only represent their prospective cultural “Zeitgeist” but the ever growing global one as well. This season issues of identity run rampant and our festival acknowledges these.
How the society we have come to build for ourselves came along with a price…”roles” we must play, masks we must wear for pure survival. And I am not talking about merely financial survival…but the survival of the soul. Whether it is a fake smile for a boss in a job we hate or an avatar we created in cyberland I am curious to see the fear of the other (as we can see perpetuated in Western cultures) has transgressed to our own selves becoming that “other”. –AN
Jailed for years for a minor offence, by the same US legal system that recently handed a 6 month conviction to a white rapist, Marquis’ disproportionate sentencing shows how the continuing legacy of racial oppression continues to blight the lives of millions of Black Americans. It is shameful that the statement “Black Lives Matter” is still considered a Radical notion in the 21st century – but cases like these, as much as numerous acts of police brutality, show how even in Obama’s America the state apparatus clearly don’t believe they do. –JB
100 years ago we (US and UK) were fighting this war. Sadly today the majority of Americans could tell you nothing about it and shockingly for me, many in the UK attach some kind of heroic mystique to it almost longingly looking back to the era as a time of patriotic unity. Almost as if the “Great War” was aptly named because it was actually great and not because of its magnitude.
Mi e Ti challenges this former glory associated with “heroic warfare.”
A young Italian soldier survives a massacre. He eats some mushrooms. He sheds his uniform and finds the beauty in nature as he distances himself away from the war as much as possible. Set to a psychedelic Woodstock-ian score, this piece reflects the much-needed reconnection to Nature to gain internal and external perspective. It is relevant to recall this “great” war and compare it to the way modern war has evolved technologically, but that is no less gruesome and horrific. Shown before our centerpiece film, Johnny Got His Gun, that has a 1971 standpoint of WWI, it is encouraging to see a hopeful outlook of this globally epic conflict without letting it fade into the oblivion of a dusty history textbook. –AN
Minero Fui (I Was a Miner)
Dir. Edgar Omar Alejandro Gutiérrez Neri
Mexico, 2014 10:01
27th St Johns Mad 3:30pm
“Sign O’ The Times”
Located in San Luis de la Paz, in the desert north of Guanajuato, Mexico, is Mineral de Pozos, a small town that once enjoyed great national significance due to its booming mining. A prosperous mining industry has gradually been eroded – and the inhabitants are left struggling to define what their town means while they become increasingly dependent on the tourist trade. Much like Norwich, once England’s second city, San Luis de la Paz was once a regional powerhouse – but now finds itself irrelevant; bypassed by modern life. Rather than stagnate, drawing on old memories of times that cannot and will not return, though, Minero Fui is an education in how to look back at our past to understand our present, without merely repeating it.- JB
A short story to the melody of Tom Waits’ ‘Way Down in The Hole’ about how love can become pure moonshine. Exquisite must-see animation!
From the director: S.R.T. Corporation – Sadder but wiser. Reform. Take hold of the company.
Shot in Super 8, the film documents an aimless walk through one of Kyoto’s former outcast neighbourhoods, which continues to exist below normal Japanese living standards. Despite pro-active legislation, people from families associated with such areas can experience discrimination. The soundtrack was created using a self-built apparatus we call ‘The Octopus’. Voltages from light sensors on the projection screen control an analogue modular synthesizer allowing the film itself to act as a score.
Dir. Prano Bailey-Bond
UK, 2015 15:08
28th August, Owl Sanctuary 5pm
With VHS Massacre & Pig Dream
As Slavoj Zizek would say, “When Fantasy becomes Reality, this is what we call Nightmare.” The ideological underpinnings of social norms are laid bare here, as a picturesque nuclear family is dragged into a ghoulish video-tape named “The Evil Dad”. This glorious homage to the nightmarish video-nasty sub-genre of the 1980s has a sick sense of satirical humor at its heart, and ultimately plays with how the traditional values we take as normal and desirable are really geared toward making us mindless units of consumption. –JB
Dir. Denise Dragiewicz
Mozambique, 2015 15:00
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 10am
“This is Planet Earth” Eco-shorts
One of the most off-putting things about conservation documentaries is that they often center on a white-savior complex, where-in a hypocritical star in need of good publicity, telling everyone about how important it is that we educate the ‘locals’ to preserve endangered species for the sake of future generations of BBC2 viewers. What is refreshing about Ndzou Camp (Ndzou means elephant) is that not only is the conservation left in the hands of the communities who live alongside elephants, but the benefits of the conservation exercise – employment, social stability, community cohesion – remain with the Mpunga community, rather than being syphoned off to Prince William’s trust fund, or being used to indulge a charity CEO’s caviar habit. –JB
Dir. Engin Poyraz
Turkey, 2015 20:00
26th August, Moosey 7pm / 28th August, Moosey 6pm
Visual Feast Programme
Another theme permeating our line up this year is of traditional cultures and modes of life becoming extinct as a result of globalization. Young members of smaller communities are opting to move to bigger cities in hopes of joining the race to “progress”. Simplicity is abandoned for complicated modernization in hope that sacrifice will bring financial prosperity. Then when over- worked, underpaid and overwhelmed ridden with anxiety, we look longingly to the simple life once again. Change is unarguably the only constant in life. Yet can these two highly oppositional ways of living co-exist, or will the rat race completely obliterate the chance for any peace in our high -octane global digital culture? –AN
A spaceship with an unknown race of aliens threatens the USSR. A Soviet physicist warns the nation of the immanent danger and saves the lives of its people…and also his beloved. Director Mikhail Zheleznikov used found archive material to create this short sci-fi comedy and comments on the hysteria nations experience when faced with disaster.
Dir. Samuel Goldbloom
USA, 2015 8:35
26th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 3:45pm
The Masks We Wear
Dir. Alex Anikina
UK, 2015 8:13
26th August, Moosey 8pm / 27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 5.30pm
Take a Second Look / Things are not always what they seem
Throughout history, cartographers, explorers and astronomers changed our spatial perception in relation to the planet. “The words form the landscape” Ostrannenie tells us… and now in the new Millennium, thanks to Google maps and the warping of space and time through various other innovations, we must once again re-evaluate how we define our place both on this planet and in the universe. – AN
A wonderful point of view experimental piece that communicates the chaos and personal strife of real individual people in Iraq better than any “objective” news footage could. We are so honored at this festival to be able to provide a venue for people from underrepresented (and even misrepresented) regions to voice their stories. –AN
Oya: Something Happened on the way to West Africa
Dir. Oluseyi Adebanjo
USA/Nigeria, 2015 30:00
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket 7.45pm
Against All Odds Duet
Oluseyi Adebanjo has an incredible story to tell. As a gender-queer non-conformist Nigerian, this documentary charts her return home, to reconnect with Orisa (African Goddess) tradition, tracing her roots back to her great grandmother – Chief Moloran Iya Oloya. In a patriarchal world where heteronormative male dominance is the assumed norm, the idea of female chiefs, and of non-binary people who refuse to be defined by one gender are explicit challenges to the status-quo.
Day by day, the daughter of an elder military commander takes care of her bedridden father. The dictatorship has come to an end in Argentina, but not in this woman’s life.
Dir. Daniel Lang
Germany, 2016 6:00
28th August, Moosey 8pm
Experiments in Form
Have you ever watched an old film you once loved digitally restored and felt something just wasn’t the same? Angela Bassett’s character, Mace, in Strange Days comments on the truth of memories trying to be restored or relived artificially: “Memories are meant to fade. They’re designed that way for a reason.”
Pigs in suits storm a remote farmhouse where a paranoid man cowers from the pressures of the outside world, while a lecturing insect Queen act as one man’s torturous super-ego. Leeds-based animator Lee Charlish harnesses the power of nightmares to examine the rise of social anxiety and collective paranoia that have led to many campaigners warning of a mental health crisis in the Western World. –JB
Question in Art
Dir. Rocio Lira
UK, 2016 11:24
26th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 1:45pm / 27th August, Moosey 6pm
From Brixton to Norwich’s Anglia Square, urban environments are being looked upon lustfully by profit-hungry property developers looking cynically to commodify working class culture and communities for the sake of a cheap buck. The social cleansing of the UK seems to have reached it’s hideous zenith, as artisanally fixated beard-twiddlers drive ordinary people from areas they have made home for generations in order to open cereal cafes and serve burgers on roof tiles.
At a time where endless regeneration plans permeate much of the world’s urban landscape, this documentary explores the controversial phenomenon of gentrification through the perspective of artists and their artwork in London. –JB
Radnóti hétszer / The Dead Poet – Seven Tales of Miklós Radnóti
Dir. Márton Vécsei, Nóra Lakos, Daphne Samaras, Júlia Széphelyi, Andrea Ausztrics, Miklós Mendrei, Márton Szirmai, Pater Sparrow
Hungary, 2015 45:00
28th August, The Forum 2:30pm
Eye on Hungary (with Tabula Rasa)
7 incredible short-films commemorate one of Hungary’s greatest poets, Miklós Radnóti who died in Auschwitz. As Hungarian politics edges rightward; building walls to keep refugees out, while the government seeks to absolve Hungary of blame for the Holocaust, and far-right Parliamentarians call for a register of all Jewish MPs – the film draws out themes in Radnóti’s work about Jewish identity, persecution and the historical atrocities we are doomed to repeat if we fail to learn from them. This film is a stunning and diverse call to arms in the name of tolerance and progress – delivering a consistent message in spite of its multiple directors. –JB
We are delighted at the NRFF to be offering alternative views on the migration and refugee crisis than what the mainstream media has been providing. We often hear of the trials and tribulations of migrants leaving their homes in search of a better life, but rarely do we see their stories when that “better” life actually isn’t so, and they desire to return home. Very often they have spent all their money just to get there and have no papers. Visas are often refused and the return home seems more impossible than the initial voyage. This documentary also addresses communities in Africa striving to make their living conditions in accordance to a higher standard of living. Demanding their government to provide them the tools to make their villages more suitable and in turn, encouraging the young to stay. To not lose their culture to the “Western illusions” of what ideal living is. To keep those that think they need to migrate home to contribute in bettering the community for everyone. –AN
African refugee Cissoko, dreams for his people and his land. Having arrived in Italy, in the hottest time of migration, Cissoko decides to return home to convince his young brothers to not emigrate in search of false dreams. Once in Africa, he begins making appearances in schools and villages to inform its people about the precarious living conditions of many immigrants, often dramatically close to slavery. Cissoko reiterates over and over to his brothers his invitation to put an end to internal conflicts, to unite and to emancipate Africa, working for its progress while not abandoning it to Western chimera.
At the core of the documentary lies the awareness that what is first and foremost necessary is an internal emancipation capable of inciting each individual to fight for their own true essence.
Dir. Jeremy Lutter
Canada, 2015 15:00
26th August, The Forum 6pm
Who’s in Charge Here?
We live in a disposable culture. If a movie has “dated special FX”…we reboot it. If our relationships aren’t up to snuff… we abandon them. If something doesn’t work, we throw it away instead of attempting to repair it. We look toward technological innovation to make our lives even more convenient and satisfying. Pretty soon androids will fulfill our every need. But we must consider when playing in the game of artificial intelligence, that they may not be satisfied with their submissive roles and refuse to consider themselves as “disposable”. –AN
Dir. Stephanie Maxwell
USA, 2015 10:07
26th August, Moosey 6pm
River presents a unique perspective on the exquisite beauty that is present in infinite abundance when one focuses attention on the intimate motions of river water and its animated reflections and refractions of sunlight and sky. Shot on the Chetco River and Moolack Creek in Oregon, and the Smith River in Northern California.
Roots of Oblivion examines the horrific events of November 1985 – when the Colombian government and emergency services driven by profit neglected to warn the community of Armero about a volcanic eruption. The resulting lahar (a boiling mix of mud and lava) left thousands dead, and countless more fighting for their lives. In the fallout, survivors account of their loved ones being swept away, and of the wounded being refused medical attention unless they paid. It comes as a stark warning, as the UK continues to privatize institutions that people rely on to survive, that when public services are run in the interest of an unaccountable elite, the results can be catastrophic. –JB
Nosferatu meets Trash Humpers in this unsettling dream sequence.
Dir. Milo Gony
France, 2015 9:33
28th August 4pm The Forum / 27th St John Maddermarket Church 11,30am / 26th Moosey 9pm /28th Moosey 28th 7pm
Shorts in Competition III / “We Can Be Heroes (For One Day)” / Experimental Representations / Experimental Representations
Dir. Basil Marples
UK (Norwich), 2015 18:08
28th August, Owl Sanctuary 8.15pm
Irreverent Gilliam-esque absurdity as a babbling caricature leads an unsuspecting man through an existential crisis. Maybe everything matters, maybe nothing has a meaning, one way or another though, you will never look at a head of lettuce the same again. –JB
Sizes of Reflection
Dir. Shayan Fathi
Iran, 2015 5:55
26th August, Moosey 8pm
Take a Second Look
Everything that happened has a reflection, and when this repeated again and again-we see this in a larger perspective. This experimental short will have you wondering how the heck they shot this…must have had a bridge involved and the timing down pat!
Dir. Natsumi Shibata
Japan, 2015 31:43
26th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 6pm
Eye on Japan
A photo of teenage WWII kamikaze soldiers is displayed near the entrance of one small peace memorial hall in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. The photo shows five young pilots smiling. It was taken 2 hours before the boys took off for their final attacks. Despite facing death, these teenagers smiled at the camera. How could they be smiling? This documentary searches the reason behind their smiles through interviews with people who were also youth soldiers and their relatives.
Smile and the World Will Smile Back
Dir. Yoav Gross, Ehab Tarabieh, and the al-Haddad family
Israel/Palestine, 2014 20:00
28th August, The Forum 6pm
Smiling in the face of tyranny can be the ultimate act of defiance – and this extraordinary candid footage not only gives us a chilling glimpse inside the Israel/Palestine conflict, but shows the extent to which authorities will go to try and extinguish a troublesome grin as a result. The al-Haddad family train their family camcorder on Israeli troops while they are prodded and poked and berated by the soldiers, who clearly have nothing but disdain for the Palestinian family. Through all this though, their eldest son continues to smile and joke in front of the camera. What follows is an edge-of-seat Goodfellas stand-off – where you can never be sure if you are on the brink of fits of laughter, or a sudden outburst of brutal state violence. –JB
Would also like to add…I don’t see random police searches like this too far off in our Western world…-AN
This is an incredible story of human perseverance on one of the world’s harshest environments that above all else encourages us all, no matter what obstacles we face on our own, to keep going. -JB
Some Torches Don’t Burn
Dir. Chris Reese
USA, 2015 21:42
27th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 3.30pm
“Sign O’ the Times”
Three generations of Black Americans embody social and political progress, realized or perceived, in their community since the civil rights era, as elderly Winston struggles to reconcile his son’s wayward path with the sacrifices he made in the 1960s.
An alienated trumpet player wanders through the streets of Buenos Aires. In a big city where nobody shows who they really are…the music is his voice.
Dir. Jean-Paul Cardinaux & Xavier Ruiz
Switzerland, 2015 1:40:00
28th August St Johns Maddermarket 6:45pm
Elodie and Marie struggling to find an apartment, come up to an extreme solution to solve the housing crisis: Kick out the ”old people” who are responsible, in their eyes, of the current social imbalance. Then, fill the apartments with teenagers that will work together as a community looking for a better independent life.
In this journey, they will discover that behind their cold calculations regarding the elderly, there are human beings, just as lost and forgotten as they are.
Dir. Lutz Henke, Matthias Wermke & Mischa Leinkauf
Germany, 2015 15:00
26th August, St Johns Maddermarket Church 12noon/ 27th August, Moosey 6pm
Security culture is one of the greatest farces of the 21st century. Not only does it regularly force us to perform absurd routines in order to perform menial tasks that in no way prevent acts of “terror” – but security culture is used as the ultimate, unquestionable excuse to shut down free speech and artistic expression… in the name of preserving freedom of speech and artistic expression. When a gang of guerrilla artists install a bleached American flag on the Brooklyn Bridge as a call for international peace, outcry erupts across the USA – how could this have happened? Artists were able to utilise a public space to call for global unity! ISIS and Al Qaeda have basically won! –JB
I went to an amusement park on Halloween with my face painted…no mask…but painted face. They would not let me in because of “Security”…after an hour or two of my defiance and them threatening to imprison me…I wash it off. Three steps into the amusement park, you can get your face painted for 30 bucks.
You can’t bring your own water on board a plane…why? Not because you may make a bomb out of it (really, how are two 3 oz bottles ok but not one 6 oz? You can’t mix the smaller ones together?) So you must buy a super inflated priced water bottle on the other side of security. I really thought the flags on the Brooklyn Bridge thing was a prank and was more horrified at our news coverage of it.
We really need to unify against this internal “terrorism.” Fear is the tool of those in power to keep the masses complacent. -AN
Set amongst the wreckage left by the fall of the Ceaușescu regime, Tabula Rasa is a visually arresting examination of the brutal reprisals that took place for anyone associated with the Communist Party. A father and his son are hounded by mobs bent on revenge after he revealed details on his friend’s anti-establishment views, while being tortured. With stunning aesthetics including lingering shots of a toxic lake created by the old regime in real life when they flooded a rural Transilvanian town, the film asks the audience to imagine beyond that – not to imagine the potential for revenge, but for the potential to forge new relationships and create new beauty as the only true way to defeat the legacy of a hateful past. –JB
The Anatomical Universe *
Dir. Damon Mohl
USA, 2015 15:02
27th August The Forum 1:15pm / 27th August St Johns Maddermarket Church 5:30pm
Shorts in Competition II / Things are not always what they seem
When I first saw this film, I said to our director of programming, “This is why I am doing this.”
This film is sheer visual poetry, taking an experimental offbeat look at the world, and causing us to ask questions of the way we perceive reality, and the way we perceive those who see the world differently. –JB
Director’s Comment: The Anatomical Universe examines the life of a man named Edward Hillcot. The narrative of the film revolves simply around the friendship between a janitor and a security guard at a community college. Charles Dickens said it best, “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
A vengeful father suspects that his mentally disabled daughter has been the victim of sexual abuse and confronts the caregiver he believes to be guilty. In exacting revenge he forgets about his daughters life threatening condition. A dramatic thriller resting on moral dilemmas.
A Syrian refugee, number 364, is seeking asylum at West Camp. He is alone and has no access to outside world. The refugee is left in the company of West Camp’s looping speaker that dictates his every action.
We must really start to examine how the following societal topics interplay: surveillance “security” culture, consumerism, bureaucracy, refugee-immigration movement, technological gadgets and distractions. What are the forces at play here while our civil and individual liberties and, most of all, privacy are bit by bit taken away from us? We gladly exchange these for comfort and “security. Automated drones, disembodied voices instructing us what to do, how to act and how to behave. The machines are becoming more human-like while we become more robotic.
I remember once speaking with John Carpenter about the budget on his films and he agreed that often low cash flow equals more ingenuity and creativity. The Box is exceptional indie filmmaking. One set, one actor and a plethora of intelligent commentary… Is there even a live human being beyond the walls? Much like the end scene in The Man Who Fell To Earth; we are abandoned and continue our own self-made prisons.
The box tells us what to do…and we listen.- AN
It’s about an archaeological expedition from the twenties, on the tracks of Elephas Falconeri, a dwarf elephant, a real creature which existed and which borders on the edge of the legendary Cyclops, and, of which Theodore Kracklite found fossilised skulls in undersea caverns in Sicily. The Diary of Theodore Kracklite, revisiting a well-known myth from the Iliad, is a metaphor of the present-day ecological crisis (the rise in water levels from which the creature benefited) and a reminder of the massive extinction of species.
How is this radical? Who takes the time for cinematography like this anymore??!! No stock footage here and still using celluloid!
Soylent Green seems starting to become more and more a viable option in the road to overpopulation we face. The beginnings of life jump cut to the atemporal fluidity of networked nudes that form a spiralling galaxy. –AN
Ironically shot on an iPhone6, The Cloud projects the potential nightmare humans may experience if we allow machines and apps to do all the thinking for us. Sci-Fi continually illustrates the relationship between those in power keeping the masses under tighter and tighter control and how high technology facilitates that grasp. –AN
The totalitarian government of the future found an invasive way for the homeless and very poor to still pay for rent…even if they inhabit the city streets. Shot entirely in Norfolk, local filmmaker Danny Cotton, offers an alternative to the uprising of oppressive authoritarianism. –AN
A dream-logic voyage through absurd technological eras of isolation and exploration. A great sci-fi experimental visual piece that fits perfectly in our “Elements” program!
Part of our Brazilian programme, this feature documents the bizarre annual festival hosted in Nova Bréscia, during which the villagers compete to convince each other of the most extravagant and absurd lies, including chance encounters with Osama Bin Laden, and a commendation from former President Lula. This is more than simply an interesting cultural phenomenon though, highlighting the absurdity of many “common sense” fallacies we buy into in our everyday lives. Trust us, this unique and often hilarious examination of ideology is a film not to be missed. Would we lie to you? –JB
Years from now when you hopefully pick up our printed program again, you will remember when this festival came out…The summer of the strangest USA presidential election to date. Films are barometers of the zeitgeist and in this program we have several that are uncannily picking up on the Strange Days that are among us. Is this the beginning of 1984? Or Brave New World? It seems that the rational intuition of all the supporters of the bombastic candidate (you know of whom I am speaking.. He who Shall Not Be Named for fear of a law suit!) is blinded by the subconscious self destructive Apocalyptic fervor surrounding our Western culture. Perhaps the support is fuelled by nostalgia for a yesteryear that never even existed in the first place. Either way how could have it gotten this far? – AN
Hollerin’ itself is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans, and an annual competition has been held in the small town of Spivey’s Corner, NC since 1969. Held as a charity event initially, the contest is born of a multicultural tradition shared by local Indians and white settlers – who used their unique ‘holler’ as a kind of verbal signature, calling to one another over the vast open spaces of rural America. The film charts the rise and fall of the contest, as well as the continuing struggle of today’s Hollerers to keep the tradition alive – an important task in an atomized age of instant anonymous communication, where Twitter and Instagram have brought our voices together, and yet left us spiritually further apart. We live in times where we view life through a small screen, where we have come to feel naked experiencing life without a communication gadget to hide behind, to the extent some even persist with updating in cinemas! Hollerin’ harks back to something real – where distances and words might have stood in the way of complex communication, but where the essence of communication was all together less isolating. –JB
Films like this are what a Radical Film Festival are all about. Incisive, entertaining and subversive, this film takes a stab at the ideological fervor of the capitalist class, and their irrational religious conviction that without any human design the free market will somehow provide for the interests of us all. Part economics lecture, part political thriller – this sharply scripted, brilliantly acted Spanish short examining Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory will have you gripped. After redundancies lead to a family tragedy, a trade union rep takes his unrepentant boss hostage; and examines the fallacy of market-based freedom, which essentially left his cousin with the freedom to starve. The invisible hand does little to shield the suddenly vulnerable capitalist, whose ideological convictions evaporate with his life on the line. –JB
A legendary ghost story from the Westcountry is brought to life through this charming stop-motion animation, adding a creepy edge to a style reminiscent of twee old American Holiday specials. A young tin miner meets his doom at the hands of another and seeks to haunt the roads of Dartmoor forever.
Helpless and confused, Andrea goes back to the factory where she used to work.
Clinging on her past, she tries to survive. But, the violence of reality will shatter all of her illusions.
Class and gender clash in this thought-provoking examination of sexism within the male-dominated trade union movement. Andrea returns to the factory where she used to work to speak to her ex-partner, a ringleader of striking workers at the plant. However, while he is right-on when it comes to fighting the exploitation of his fellow workers, he greets her with derision and gendered slurs – pushing her to the brink of a breakdown. This impassioned experimental examination of how we treat each other will redefine your previous conceptions of ‘solidarity’, and leave you thinking hard on how to be a better ally. –JB
And there is a Duran Duran song!- AN
Arijana Lekić- Fridrih draws out its inner horror of “normality” in this artistic documentary, as a military parade taking place in Croatia is taken to its inevitably disturbing conclusion. Having initially been depicted as a happy, family-friendly celebration, eerie music grows to a crescendo while the beaming faces of children and civilians, gazing in deference and awe at the marching boots of state-sponsored killers takes on a more unsettling tone. Amidst continued attempts by the British state to recast the First World War as The Great War; one of noble sacrifice as opposed to senseless slaughter, this film serves as a timely warning of the dangers of sanctifying the military as heroic defenders of the realm – and glorifying the murder they participate in as a result. –JB
All I can add to Jack’s statement is that the first few seconds of film and sound made my brain think of Night of the Living Dead. Propaganda is alive and well in modern days and it is chilling. We are allowing ourselves to become zombies…why do you think that genre is especially simultaneously rampant? This filmmaker knows how to juxtapose and capture subconscious meaning and bring it to the surface. -AN
This extreme experimental film tells the purely metaphorical story of little Ricky, who one day wakes up to find something irritating, something that bothers him, something that will lead to ultimate extremes, to a human disaster. But for whom?
The Passive Evisceration is unapologetically terrifying – and rightly so – giving an honest and accurate taste of how it feels to be a persecuted mentally ill minority on the wrong end of social exclusion and ignorance.-JB
In 1973 Carl Sagan created the Pioneer Plaque for the NASA Pioneer 10 mission. It was Humanity’s first message for extraterrestrial civilizations. Today, four decades later, the World gets together to collectively compose a new message…
The Brexit thing really took me for a loop. As a foreigner living here, I was familiar with both the benefits and shortcomings of the EU. I wish this film had been necessary viewing before the vote. Four representatives in Brussels from Ireland, France, Germany and Italy give tours of the EU Commission Headquarters by day maintaining the façade of harmony to visitors…while behind closed doors, they quibble and tease each other regarding their respective countries. So painfully funny because so much of it is true…comedy is a great tool to humanize the faces behind the countries we may not agree with and illustrate how at the end of the day, these differences are part of what makes the Union unique. It is OK to tell them to piss off every now and then but to finally put the greater good as a priority and collaborate with those different than you to achieve a common goal. –AN
Dir. Ahmad Mokari
Iran, 2015 2:00
26th August, 4:30pm Forum / 27th August, St Johns Mad 10am / 26th August, 9pm Moosey / 28th August, Moosey 7pm
Tomorrow Land / “This is Planet Earth” / Experimental Representations /Experimental Representations
Has no one read The Lorax?? Without trees and plants…we DIE, people! –AN
Obviously surveillance is a hot topic with us at the festival as exemplified in many shorts in our Dystopian Quadriliogy. Often my students and I have conversed regarding digital invasion and cameras recording our every move. They do not value privacy as much as we (my generation) and those older than I do. Often I am told “well if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then what is the problem?” But I am horrified at the amount of CCTV’s there are (especially on my move to the UK…and I thought the US was bad!) I really encourage people to see 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984) starring John Hurt. Privacy is for you to collect your thoughts and quiet your mind. To have a space all your own. I know I am a dying breed, or perhaps there will be a renaissance of valuing private spaces after the situation gets worse. The Swelling is my worst nightmare come true. Big Brother is watching. –AN
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
Set up in the late 1970s to produce and distribute animated films on social issues, the Workshop remains an independent, not-for-profit co-operative run by women. It has produced around 40 animated films, to international broadcast standard.
The true story of today’s migrant domestic workers, women from the Philippines, Indonesia, North Africa and South-East Asia, who go abroad to support their families. Told in vivid, hand-painted animation.
One of the greatest tragedies of globalisation is a steady homogenisation of culture. Globalisation is not to be confused with breaking down barriers of encouraging cultural exchange – it is an economic force that works towards blandification of the world and it’s people, moulding everyone through commodification and consumption into a single, infinitely marketable demographic. When we lose a culture, we lose another perspective, a way of seeing the world – and we lose a point of view that can help us to see where we need to change. Gornja Dragotinja & Marini is a tiny principality tucked away in the north of Bosnia & Herzegovina – ruled benevolently by a Prince, elected annually for a maximum of two terms. This Prince is not your average idle, wrist-twirling, postage-stamp parasite though, walking amongst his people to settle local disputes and deliver birthday presents to eldery farmers in a way that would give Liz and Charles a prole-induced panic attack.
The Unique Principality of the Balkans isn’t aggressive, it isn’t a damning polemic, delivered from a cinematic soap-box – there are plenty of other films in our programme to deliver that. This film is radical because it patiently and poetically depicts the everyday lives of a culture completely alien to us – in turn highlighting everything wrong with the fast-paced, atomised, corporate hell of late capitalism. It shows us that a slower, more human alternative is possible, and that possessions and profit are worthless when compared to love and community. –JB
Norwich Radical Film Festival was founded on the belief that popular culture can play a vital role in social progress – and we are proud to present a series of films that show how women of the world are fighting patriarchal constructs through culture to make new opportunities for themselves and future generations. Football is the world’s favorite past-time. No other sport or cultural event catches the imagination of billions of people world-wide like the beautiful game – black or white, rich or poor, male or female – and that has led to it becoming one of the foremost battle-grounds for global gender equality.
Mina Amini is a female sports scientist; a soccer analyst and coach for a men’s team in Iran – a fiercely patriarchal country that has enforced strict gender segregation for decades following the 1979 Islamic revolution. The film follows Mina as she rails against the male status quo, which she threatens merely by being an accomplished woman in a ‘man’s’ job. –JB
This is what hell looks like. Teletubbies meets dystopic capitalist nightmare in this bizarre animation by Kosovan filmmaker Naser Shillova. This film presents a visually and morally simple fable aimed at teaching us to share and treat each other well. Resource scarcity is one of the greatest myths of the 21st century – we live in an age of abundance – the issue is that we divide our world down imagined borders, and fail to distribute our resources equitably from those who have too much, to those who have nothing. –JB
Brazil Shorts I
Part of our Brazilian programme, this stylish experimental short examines the crack problem amongst the urban poor in Brazil’s cities.
One man’s encounter with his past puts him back in touch with pain, loneliness, ecstasy, joy and fury, and brings him to reflect on friendship, love and the effects of his use of crack on those around him.
Dir. Jason Petrovitch
USA, 2016 10:07
26th August, The Forum 11:30am / 26th August, 1pm The Forum
Animated Shorts / Satirical Shorts
A couple lives in the immensity and loneliness of the mountain, where the fragility of life aggrieves, and the need for each other becomes urgent. The distance that separates them is inevitable; they have each other, but love between them might have been transformed into something else. A tragedy separates them more and more each day and death presents itself as a tangible option to reach the end of the obstacles, which only exist inside them
From a comprehensive viewpoint, the meaning of their dramas seems to lose sense. But, what human drama can mean something, when we realized the immensity that surrounds us? From which perspective can they measure the gap between them, the distance that keeps them apart? Everything seems to continue… and time loses its natural measure to become meaningless.
Blame! Revenge! Suicide! Cake!
A young man contemplates his existence in a world where God seems absent, uncaring, or downright twisted – in an increasingly bureaucratic and absurd world where rules seem to have no purpose other than to infuriate us, we can all relate to that. –JB
Urban regeneration programs have been reclaiming the earth recently, as patches of green spring up throughout bland cityscapes the world over. This film provides an important message though – which is that decades of corporate abuse of the land has left it contaminated with lead poisoning. This public service announcement is not just doom and gloom however, and is chock full of helpful advice to beat the challenges of urban gardening – it is importantly, a message of hope that aims to motivate all of us living in grey concrete sprawls of modern cities to take the land back, and improve it for future generations. –JB
A tripartite screen shows life from a different point of view for every occasion – together with an engaging soundtrack this setting creates an unusual situation where meaningful navigation requires deep personal investment from the audience. One of the most admirable things about this film’s ambitious artistic vision, is that it aims primarily to create a space in which audiences can think. Let your thoughts drift, and take an active role in creating meaning in the images before you.
Short film of an infant’s first bath based on footage found in a junk shop in Japan. The material dates from the early-to-mid Showa era, a period marked by the disastrous consequences of militarism. Completed during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan, the film invites poetic reflection on the recent political abandonment of the post-WWII pacifist agenda.
Over the past half century, the ancient lowland forests of Borneo have been destroyed at an unprecedented rate. We may be one of the few generations to preside over the complete destruction of these iconic landscapes, the richest terrestrial ecosystem on earth. One indigenous Dayak community has clung on to an incredible hot spot of biodiversity – a bastion of endangered ulin trees – solely, it believes, by the power of a curse. Until now, the logging companies that have destroyed so much of the island’s fragile biodiversity have been held off, but the forest is again under threat from plantation companies.
I said it before and I’ll say it again…do humans not understand our intricate connection to ecology? We need clean air, water and the natural resources that cannot be replaced once lost. Why do we destroy beautiful things? Are we so arrogant that the Industrial Revolution’s mantra to “dominate over Nature” is still at the core of our values? Why is living in harmony with Nature dismissed as hippy dippy? I don’t get it. Once it is gone…there is no “app” for it. -AN
“Let the Music Play” / Public Spaces I
In early 2016, a bureaucratic coup ousted Brazil’s democratically elected President, and ushered in a new era of conservative authoritarianism. With police currently cracking down on the opposition under the guise of “anti-terror” operations in the run up to the Rio Olympics, this documentary examining the horrors of Brazil’s last dictatorship could not be more timely. With a chilling calm reminiscent of the interviews in The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2013), an unrepentant former government agent describes “disappearing” hundreds of communists, trade unionists and political activists seen as a threat to the military regime and Brazil’s super-rich elite. –JB
Workers. Part of the machinery. Working class heroes. Victims of exploitition, deprived of their rights.
Filmgruppe Chaos was founded in 1975 as a collective of Super-8 filmmakers They have produced numerous short experimental and animated films as well as documentaries and features.
It is official. Manufacturers are no longer producing the VHS tape format for purchase. Good luck even finding a VCR brand new either. But more than the actual video…the video store is an anachronism of mid 80s – late 90s.
Kevin Smith, with his Indie treasure, Clerks, captured a moment in time of American History concerning the video store culture. In the 80s, film distributors were worried that VHS home viewing would ruin the industry forever. Instead, it just made more people cinephiles. Wandering around aimlessly among the stacks of new releases, old treasures and familiar faces, movie buffs forged solidarity with other nerds who wouldn’t blink an eye to watch a god-awful film or their favorite film hundreds of times.
I walked by Dereham road and saw an old Blockbuster Video hollowed out looking more like a relic of 100 years ago instead of just 20. It made me sad.
Digital is not merely an upgrading of technology, it literally is the death of a way of being. The rent a video culture was a social community. A tactile experience. Meeting people in the same science fiction/horror nerd aisle as you. Getting a film because the cover looked like crap…just getting out of the house….
Yes digital allows for more variety, quick downloading…instant gratification. But the physical media here in this doc is not simply about the format. It is a shared culture. A collection on your bookshelf that impresses friends when they come by. It represents your membership in the club. I was there and active at the beginning of this short-lived community. We didn’t even own a VCR; we rented it from Blockbuster for slumber parties. Renting a movie was a treat. I was a collector and spent most of my disposable income at Suncoast Motion Picture Company video store at the mall. I spent a lot on out of print titles, went to conventions and read periodicals about bootlegged third generation treasures from the vaults. This way of life was gone as quickly as it came. I miss going to the video store and browsing, paying 49 cents for a one-night rental, the smell of popcorn, and the familiar faces of other cinephiles. Sure other cultures and communities have arisen and will evolve as long as technology does. But the loss of physical media is a loss of certain human connections that I mourn for when I look at the cases of my 500 + collection. -AN
Dir. Maya Tsamprou, Mark Sargent & Harris Tsambas
Greece, 2015 13:13
27th The Forum 1:15pm / 26th 1pm Forum / 26th Forum 7:30pm
Shorts in Competition II / Satirical Shorts / Don’t Let them Fool You
In the 21st century, Greece has become the cradle of post-democracy. Voters Syriza as the first socialist government of the new Millennium, before turning out in their millions to vote OXI against the austerity measures proposed by the EU – measures that would cripple the country economically and socially for a generation. Despite these unanimous calls for a change in direction, the sacking of Athens continued, and the electorate were told in no uncertain terms that what they think has no bearing on public policy. What then? Unfortunately, rather than a glorious revolution, what followed was a grumbling capitulation, before a return to being robbed blind to finance bankers bonuses.
Wall is a cutting satirical short-film because it captures this ultimate deference to authority, that even in places where the appetite for change is high, will leave any movement hamstrung if they cannot move beyond it. The uncaring Life Bank have literally robbed millions of people – but as long as they keep queues running and make empty promises to meet individually to discuss customers concerns, they are in no danger. –JB
It is a bold move to start with a Lord of The Ring’s-ish voice over. But there is nothing like it when it is done well. The ones that came and ended it all were so subtle and awe-inspiring. Did they lose their appetite for humans?
Gorgeous UK landscapes and great sound FX. I will say it again: it is SO hard to do a short sci-fi on a low budget and make it look (and sound) like a million dollar plus Hollywood film.. but Connor O’Hara does it. In Tolkien-ian UK- Not all who wander are lost… but in post Armageddon UK, all must wander to survive.- AN
War Zone *
Dir. Oğuzhan Kaya
Turkey, 2015 5:00
27th August 10am The Forum / 26th August 11:30am The Forum / 26th Forum 7:30pm / 27th Moosey 7:30pm
Shorts in Competition I / Animated Shorts / Animation Moosey
No need to watch the news today if you have watched it within the last 40 years. It is still the same. A Xerox copy… after copy… after copy. We prefer the simulation to the real. Copies of the real. The ink has run out in our late capitalistic Xerox machine. Turkish director, Oguzhan Kaya, is spot on in his analysis of the 21st Century. –AN
I am really surprised at the issue of “bullying” here in the UK. It seems to me to be so cut and dried with no room open for debate. I myself have been accused of “bullying” merely for having a voice of dissent. People are becoming so sensitive that a differing opinion to theirs is seen as a personal attack. If you are dissatisfied with a service you are shut down at many businesses….look at all the signs telling the patron that they will not tolerate any verbal abuse or disrespect. And while I agree wholeheartedly with that statement…since when is asserting you deserve better service for your money something not to be tolerated? (Hello Abelio Greater Anglia, Easy Jet Ryan Air…etc etc)
Pétur is a teenage boy picked on daily by a “bully”. He escapes reality through taking pictures. He sees through his camera lens one day an opportunity for revenge on his oppressor… reciprocal humiliation. Is this punishment justified?
A very sophisticated short for such a young filmmaker. Iver Jensen is 18-years-old from the north of Norway, and pursues telling compelling stories. -AN
A quiet walk through of a deserted dacha settlement illuminated by childhood memories and reflections on the Russian tradition of memorizing poetry.
I first met the celebrated Mitsuyo Miyazaki at the Guanajuato Film Festival in 2011 where her short Tsuyako rightfully won Best Film. I soon found the director to be as beautiful as the film was. It sounds cliché, but truly when you write what you know…great art is created. Miyazaki is without a doubt a craftsman, an artisan and a master of communicating empathy. I have yet not cried at one of her films
She pays meticulous attention to detail and waits for certain time of day to shoot to have that perfect diffused light. And the score composed by Japanese sensation, MONO, punctuates the epic panoramas of Utah.
Rick Altman in The American Film Musical wrote, “ To dance is to love.” Where We Begin chronicles the joy of dancing through the life span of a woman and her forbidden love due to societal ignorance. This is about a lifetime of love, war then full circle to new life and how we must endure to be at peace when the end of all journeys must come.
This personal essay has played Tribeca and at other prominent festivals. I am honored to play it at NRFF and to be friends with such a talented and inspiring filmmaker. – AN
It can be all too easy to instigate a witch-hunt when dealing with the powder-keg issue of sex-offenders or individuals suffering from socially unacceptable impulses – however, by painting them as monsters, not only do we fail to understand how and why human beings do abhorrent and cruel things, but by demonising them we almost excuse their actions by negating their accountability as people. Unlike many other films that paint paedophiles as monsters, this subtle and thought-provoking film depicts a man struggling with the worst impulses found within our species, to live peacefully within society. –JB
Population growth has been left out of the climate debate because it is seen as controversial, yet it is one of the most important factors. The global population has passed the 7 billion mark and India is overtaking China as the most populous nation in the world, but one state in southern India has found the solution. The unique history of Kerala and ‘the Kerala Model’ is outlined, using it as an example of achieving population control in developing countries without coercion.
This is one social issue that I personally believe is absolutely critical. So much so, that I made the conscious decision years ago to not give birth. Since then, I have been constantly met with scrutiny and debate as to why it is so strange for a woman to decide to not have children? I do think there are too many people in the world and I do not consider my giving birth the defining attribute in my femininity. Fiona Cochrane, who also directed All In Her Stride, really has a gift for portraying women as individuals who are masters of their own lives. Now I am not advocating that no one should have kids ever again, but to perhaps consider adoption when thinking of adding another member to the family. -AN