The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival reveals major tributes
by Joseph Proimakis
- Austria’s Hubert Sauper and Romania’s Alexandru Solomon will headline the 17th edition’s tributes, while German subversives attract its spotlight
Less than a month before it is due to kick off, the 17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century (13-22 March) is gradually unveiling its 2015 selection, which shines a spotlight on subversive German documentaries, and features Austria’s Hubert Sauper and Romania’s Alexandru Solomon as its main tribute honourees.
With subjects ranging from Hollywood to Bollywood and from Africa to Uruguay, the festival’s assortment of recent German highlights will provide viewers with a full spectrum of a documentary scene whose lens can reach far beyond its geographical borders. Heidi Specogna’s Pepe Mujica – Lessons from the Flowerbed [+see also:
film profile] will present a portrait of Uruguay's president (often dubbed the world’s poorest leader), while the late Oswald von Richthofen's last film, 35 Cows and a Kalashnikov [+see also:
film profile] (executive-produced by Roland Emmerich), will offer a poetic view of Africa’s natural beauty.
Moreover, Andrew Davies and Rieke Brendel will recapture Katharine Hepburn’s on- and off-screen cinematic life in The Great Kate, Alexander Gentelev’s revelatory Raiders will investigate a secret Russian mafia network with ties that reach as far as the country’s political and judicial elite, and Agnieszka Zwiefka’s The Queen of Silence [+see also:
film profile] will blend the surreal with the mundane through the story of a deaf ten-year-old Gypsy girl who dreams of being a Bollywood star.
Meanwhile, celebrated Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper will attend the festival to unveil his latest work, We Come as Friends [+see also:
film profile], which marks his return to a fruitful career ten years after his Oscar-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare. Tracing his work since 1993’s On the Road with Emil all the way to his six-years-in-the-making latest movie, the multi-award-winning documentarian will be on hand to discuss how his love for the African continent has defined the spectrum of his work.
A leading figure in political documentary worldwide, Alexandru Solomon will undoubtedly be an exciting find for those unfamiliar with the Romanian filmmaker’s work. Mixing clinical observation with fearless journalistic research makes for some fascinating viewing in titles such as 2004’s The Great Communist Bank Robbery and 2010’s Kapitalism: Our Improved Formula, which have highlighted the director as an unrelenting anatomist of modern-day society.