The 22nd Astra Film Festival kicks off
by Stefan Dobroiu
- For seven days, 350 films, master classes, debates and other events will provide cinemagoers with a window to the world, say the organisers
The 22nd edition of the Astra Film Festival (5-11 October, Sibiu) comes with a change of perspective: documentary film is still the star of the show, but the organisers are also offering an interesting selection of fiction films, theatre plays and drawing events closely connected with how reality has been presented through art. As many as 350 events have been prepared for local cinemagoers, but also for filmmakers and representatives of festivals such as IDFA, Visions du Réel, Documenta Madrid, Doclisboa, Cronograf and many others.
The festival showcases four competitive sections (International, Central Eastern European, Romanian and Student), with 48 films vying for an award. If in 2014 Răzvan Georgescu’s Trading Germans [+see also:
film profile] was the must-see movie of the edition, in 2015 it may be Matthew Mishory’s turn with Absent [+see also:
film profile], a documentary about one of the darkest moments in Romania’s and Moldova’s history: the execution of 1,000 Jews by the Romanian army on 8 July 1941.
Among the gathering’s special programmes, there are “Neorealism and New Realism”, a selection of nine classic films that show how directors like Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica wove reality into their fiction films, and “Under the Height Limit”, a collection of documentaries about dwarfs and their place in the world. Ursula Macfarlane’s The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz presents the history of the Ovitz family, seven dwarf brothers and sisters from the Romanian county of Maramureş who would go on to become the subjects of Dr Josef Mengele’s gruesome experiments in Auschwitz.
Children and high-school students are certainly not neglected: a special selection for each age group has been prepared in the Astra Film Junior programme.