THAT ISN’T ALL, FOLKS!
There is a lot of very healthy life in that animation that doesn’t follow the patterns set by Hollywood. The European crop is increasingly larger and more interesting, and the #15FestivalSevilla is going to support its different trends, giving visibility to a more than stimulating diversity of genres and formats, of styles and tones. There are up to five titles that will shine in the various sections of the festival.
Over 20 year ago, Milorad Krstić won at the Berlin Festival with his short film 'My Baby Left Me' (1995). Although his long career as painter, sculptor and illustrator has delayed it, he is now making the move to feature films with 'Ruben Brandt, Collector', a film that mixes devilish action with multiple winks at the world of art and cinema. The Ruben Brandt of the title is a psychotherapist transformed into an art thief as a way of overcoming his terrible nightmares. Along with a peculiar gang formed by four of his patients and a very strange cat, our man will carry out dramatic thefts at the most important, most carefully protected galleries in the world. With an aesthetic (and a private detective) from the most classic noir and with a Picasso-style influence in the design of some of the characters, the film will compete for the Gold Giraldillo in the Official Section.
DIBUS AND (THE CRUDEST) REALITY
Two of the films that will be shown in The New Waves Section have a lot in common: both situate us at the height of the Palestinian conflict, both capture a tragic family portrait and both play, of course, with the multiple possibilities offered by animation. 'The Tower' and 'Samouni Road' will establish an unusual dialogue that will provoke reflection. The first feature film by the Norwegian Mats Grorud, 'The Tower' uses puppets and traditional 2D animation at the service of humanism, tenderness and emotions: in the film both sombre and hopeful, a Palestinian girl grows up in the Lebanese refugee camp in which her family has been trapped for 70 years. Full of details, rounded out with some flashbacks which go over the long history of the conflict, the film has its genesis in the year Grorud spent working in the Burj el-Barajneh camp, in Beirut.
Samouni Road, from Stefano Savona
Stefano Savona says that, in some way, animation can bring back the dead. In 'Samouni Road', the Italian filmmaker combines resources typical of the documentary, a genre which has marked his career to date, with less conventional animation, in collaboration with the artist Simone Massi. Real images fuse perfectly with the scratchboard (sgraffiti illustration technique) in an unusual, heartrending reconstruction of the so-called Zeitoun Incident: some twenty civilians from the same family, including several women and children, were bombed and massacred by the Israeli Army in Operation Cast Lead, a military campaign against the Gaza Strip carried out between December 2008 and January 2009. Striking in form and content, 'Samouni Road' was an award winner at the recent Cannes Festival.
Like Stefano Savona, the Swiss director Anja Kofmel has also opted for a hybrid that functions like clockwork. A highlight of the New Waves – Non Fiction section, “Chris the Swiss” is an exercise in intimate memory, following the trail of her cousin, a reporter who died in strange circumstances in January 1992 while he was reporting on the war in the Balkans. Combining a forceful black and white animation with archive images, Kofmel visits the places where Christian Würtenberg spent his last days. In her painstaking search, the filmmaker gives voice to her ghosts, but she also interviews journalists, a Spanish mercenary and even the terrorist Carlo, the Jackal. The result, rotund and symbolic, is a warning against forgetting, a fierce shout against the atrocities of war.
More or less dark, more or less removed from the conventional, the four films will also be included in Film Lovers of the Future, the section created in 2017, the axis of the #15FestivalSevilla’s commitment to the forming of new audiences through education and film experience. A fifth feature film will be added to the animated party: the winner at the latest Annecy Festival, “Funan” also reflects the adventures of a family in a violent setting. The first film by French director Denis Do is a political film and, also, a tribute to his people, Cambodia, and to his own mother, who was the inspiration for the heroine of “Funan”: a woman separated from her son at the height of the genocide by the Khmers Rouges. Dark and violent, “Funan” is, in the end, Do’s reencounter with his origins, with his roots, from a position of honesty and love.
Funan, from Denis Do
Chris the Swiss, from Anja Kofmel
The Tower, from Mats Grorud