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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Switzerland

The 23rd Black Movie Festival celebrates films made in Hong Kong

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- Despite much uncertainty, the festival has decided to organise a hybrid edition, mostly unfolding in person with an online element

The 23rd Black Movie Festival celebrates films made in Hong Kong
Holy Emy by Araceli Lemos

The International Independent Black Movie Film Festival (and many others of its kind) is now more than used to adapting its editions to the ups and downs of the health crisis, what with ever-changing health and safety measures and cinema closures, to name two challenges. However, the enthusiasm and creativity which set it apart have helped the festival to keep its head held high, allowing it to put out an exacting and cutting-edge programme, year on year, showcasing the best of independent filmmaking from around the world.

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After a 2021 edition which unspooled entirely online, the Black Movie Festival is once again looking to throw cinema doors wide open by way of a mostly in-person event (running 21 - 30 January). The festival’s online section will be accessible from 28 January until the end of the event. Swiss audiences will then have the chance to dip their toes into the larger part of the official line-up via the dedicated streaming platform online.blackmovie.ch.

Thus, for ten days, the Black Movie Festival will take over the town of Calvin, presenting a cinematic assortment of 89 films, including 50 feature films and 39 shorts hailing from 48 countries, scattered across 9 enticing thematic sections. There are no less than 17 first films jostling among the feature-length movies on the agenda. Following the departure of Kate Reidy (one of the festival’s two co-directors), this year’s programme has been put together by artistic director Maria Watzlawick together with a team composed of Dija Mambu, Bastien Meiresonne, Victor Teta and Pascal Knoerr.

The rough diamond and centre of gravity for this 23rd edition will be the Hong Kong Blackout section, which will home in on cinematic productions made in Hong Kong before and after 1997 - the year in which the region changed status from a British colony to become a special administrative region of continental China.

As in every year, this latest edition of the festival is set to be graced by a raft of familiar faces, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Hong Sangsoo, Royston Tan, Sergei Loznitsa, Anca Damian and Karim Aïnouz. European productions will also be out in full force, including the Bulgarian title Women Do Cry [+see also:
film review
interview: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
film profile
]
by Vasela Kazakova and Mina Mileva, the French ethnographic essay We [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alice Diop
film profile
]
by Alice Diop, the Romanian movie Întregalde [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile
]
by Radu Muntean, the feminist electro epic Sisters With Transistors [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Lisa Rovner and the punk film made in Latvia We Wanted to Change the World by Aija Bley.

The very many European co-productions on the programme, meanwhile, include Araceli Lemos’ hard-hitting Holy Emy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Araceli Lemos
film profile
]
, Alexandre Koberidze’s enchanting romance What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alexandre Koberidze
film profile
]
, Anca Damien’s The Island [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(whose world premiere will take place simultaneously at the IFFR), Aïcha Macky’s Zinder [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Aïcha Macky
film profile
]
, Kiswendsida Parfait Kaboré’s After Your Revolt, Your Vote! (Burkina Faso/France), Michel K. Zongo’s Pas d’or pour Kalsaka (Burkina Faso/Germany) and, last but not least, Natyvel Pontalier’s medium-length movie Sur le fil du Zénith (Gabon/Belgium).

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(Translated from French)

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