The 26th Astra Film Festival kicks off today
by Ştefan Dobroiu
- A total of 126 documentaries will be screening until Sunday in the Romanian city of Sibiu
The 26th edition of the Astra Film Festival, Romania's longest-running documentary gathering, kicks off today with Sergei Loznitsa's State Funeral [+see also:
film profile] (Netherlands/Lithuania). Another 125 films will be screened over the next few days, with the festival even making room in its programme for full-dome and VR sidebars.
Besides the four official competitions (see the news), the festival explores various topical and burning issues across 12 thematic sidebars. Europe 30: Inbetweening and Videograms-Romania 1989 take a look at the turbulent year of 1989 both in Europe and in Romania (read the news).
Powerful female characters will be in the spotlight in the Power Is Feminine sidebar, with Kim Longinotto's Shooting the Mafia [+see also:
film profile] (Ireland/USA), Gulistan Mirzaei and Elizabeth Mirzaei's Laila at the Bridge (Canada/Afghanistan), Zosya Rodkevich and Evgeniya Ostanina's White Mama [+see also:
interview: Zosya Rodkevich
film profile] (Russia), and Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska's Honeyland [+see also:
interview: Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara K…
interview: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir S…
film profile] (Macedonia) among the features in the selection.
Marriage, Sex and Beyond is one of the most complex sidebars of this edition, with documentaries exploring wildly different topics, from the struggle of an Afghan woman to prosecute her father, who has been raping her for more than a decade, in Sahra Manis' One Thousand Girls Like Me (Afghanistan) to young Russian women’s efforts to marry well-to-do men in Alina Rudnitskaya's School of Seduction [+see also:
interview: Alina Rudnitskaya
film profile] (Denmark). What six decades of married life mean for four elderly couples in Japan, the United States, India and Germany is explored in Yasemin Samdereli's The Night of All Nights (Germany).
Sex Work Stories groups together several documentaries about men selling their bodies for money, with Tomer Heymann's Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life [+see also:
film profile] (Israel/Germany) and Jorge Pelicano's Until Porn Do Us Part [+see also:
film profile] (Portugal) in the selection, while The Family Camera rounds up several movies about filmmakers exploring various topical issues by showing cases within their own families. Unknown China delves deep into Chinese society with titles such as Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang's One Child Nation (USA/China), Inigo Westmeier's Dragon Girls (Germany/China) and Mijie Li's Confucian Dream (USA/China).
The Great Masters sidebar shows the newest documentaries by Werner Herzog, Victor Kossakovsky, Kim Longinotto and Sergei Loznitsa. And, while grownups can get up to speed with the world's most pressing issues, kids can see dozens of films appropriate for their age in Astra Film Junior, a parallel event dedicated to kids between the ages of eight and 18.
The four juries of this edition will announce the winners on Saturday night.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.