Cinéma du Réel burns bright in Paris
by Fabien Lemercier
- From 24 March-2 April, the 39th edition of the festival will highlight the crème de la crème of today’s documentary creations
The Austrian-French co-production Atelier de conversation [+see also:
film profile] by Bernhard Braunstein will tonight open the 39th Cinéma du Réel Festival in Paris. The Pompidou Centre will thus host another edition (24 March-2 April 2017) of this unmissable, top-quality rendezvous for documentary works from all around the world - and incidentally, this will be the last edition to be curated by artistic director Maria Bonsanti (who has held the position since 2013).
This year, 44 films (30 of which will be having their world premieres), selected from among more than 2,800 applicants hailing from 135 countries, feature on the line-ups of the four competitive sections. Standing out among the 11 feature films locking horns in the international competition are six European (co-)productions: Luz Obscura by Portugal’s Susana de Sousa Dias, Paris est une fête - un film en 18 vagues by France’s Sylvain George (set to be released in French theatres on 12 April, courtesy of Zeugma Films), Postcards from the Verge by Germany’s Sebastian Mez, Ghost Hunting [+see also:
film profile] by Raed Andoni (Palestine/France/Switzerland – winner of Berlin’s Best Documentary Award, handed out for the first time in February), Memory Exercises [+see also:
film profile] by Paz Encina (co-produced by Argentina, Paraguay, Germany and France – revealed at San Sebastián) and Mama Colonel [+see also:
film profile] by Dieudo Hamadi (Democratic Republic of the Congo/France; also unveiled at Berlin, in the Forum section).
Meanwhile, in the French competition we find titles helmed by duo Nicolas Klotz and Thomas Ostermeier (Hamlet in Palestine), and Régis Sauder (Retour à Forbach – on general release from 19 April via Ciné-Sud Promotion). But the programme, which is made up entirely of world premieres, is also noteworthy for the strong presence of female directors, with Charlotte Pouch (Des bobines et des hommes), Elitza Gueorguieva (Chaque mur est une porte), Juruna Mallon (Les Îles résonnantes), Diane Bouzgarrou (Je ne me souviens de rien), Marie Ka (La Plume du peintre), Marie Moreau (Soleil sombre) and Katharina Wartena (Tenir la distance). The bill is rounded off by Hendrick Dusollier (Last Days in Shibati), and duo Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz (Prends, Seigneur, prends).
Besides the other two international competitions dedicated to debut films (features and medium-length movies) and shorts, the special screenings also look particularly appealing, with titles such as Austerlitz [+see also:
film profile] by Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa (popular out of competition at Venice), Cinema, Manoel de Oliveira and Me [+see also:
film profile] by Portugal’s João Botelho, Cinema Futures by Austria’s Michal Palm, the Dutch production Burma Storybook [+see also:
film profile] by Petr Lom, which will bring the festival to a close, and French titles of the likes of Frère Alain - EA5 by Vincent Dieutre, Troisième Printemps by Arnaud de Mezamat and Luce, à propos de Jean Vigo by Leïla Férault-Levy, not to mention Off Frame aka Revolution Until Victory by Mohanad Yaqubi (which screened at Toronto and Berlin), a co-production between France, Lebanon, Palestine and Qatar.
Also of note are the comprehensive retrospective of the works of late Italian filmmaker Andrea Tonacci, who emigrated to Brazil; a programme dubbed Rebellion, including a Charles Burnett retrospective; the thematic Dé/montage(s) section; a focus on the work of Thai director Ing K, who has always wielded her camera in defence of her people’s freedom of expression; and a tribute for the centenary of the birth of Jean Rouch, one of the founding fathers of the Cinéma du Réel Festival.
(Translated from French)