Vision and Reality from the Banks of Lake Geneva
With the spring drawing near, documentary fans can feel not only the whiffs of the blooming landscape but also the breath of a fresh dose of creativity that will spread from the banks of Lake Geneva for the 47th time thanks to Visions du Réel. Although the screening halls of the Swiss Doc Alliance festival will open only in the middle of April, it brings an exclusive online film programme to all lovers of documentary now already. Enjoy a selection of six films awarded by the festival from March 21 to April 4 at DAFilms.com for free!
As festival director Luciano Barisone reminds us in an exclusive interview for DAFilms.com, the very name of the festival, merging the words vision and reality, starts an original play of blending the worlds of reality and imagination which you can fully enjoy both during our online event and during the festival. This year, it will welcome three original and truly unique filmmakers. The festival’s main honorary award, the Raiffeisen Maître du Réel Award, will go to famous British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. Master classes held within the Ateliers programme will be presented by directors Dominic Gagnon and Audrius Stonys, whose work will also be introduced in the form of film retrospectives from April 15 to 23. If you think of following the fresh creative wind blowing from Lake Geneva, then do not hesitate and pass the time while waiting for your documentary journey by watching the six awarded films!
Most of the presented films are intimate portrayals of protagonists facing a difficult reality of life with resilience and in various forms ranging from revolt to silent acceptance. While the much discussed documentary I AM FEMEN offers an insight into the background and activities of one of the most medially known political-artistic groups of the present, the Iranian documentary MASHTI ESMAEIL paints a calm picture of old age and reconciliation with a life that could be considered too difficult and even impossible by many.
The difficult task of taking responsibility for the lives of family members is also waiting for only fifteen-year-old Georgiana in the Romanian documentary WAITING FOR AUGUST. While her mother leaves to work in Italy, driven by the bad local economic situation, Georgiana must take care of her six siblings. The motif of care also plays a significant role in the next presented film called 9999 which is set in a Belgian prison. It captures the lonely and dragging days of inmates who are mentally ill. Without any treatment and therapy, they are abandoned both by the social and the legal system.
The selection of award-winning films gains an easier tone with AUTOFOCUS and the CINETRAIN: RUSSIAN WINTER film series. While the playful mid-length film AUTOFUCUS captures a humorously diverse group of tourists who, unaware of the documentary camera, enter a popular Croatian monument to experience the common, uncommon and even bizarre micro-stories of their lives, the documentary project CINETRAIN: RUSSIAN WINTER invites the viewers to take a wild ride through the landscape of Northern Russia and Siberia. During their journey, 21 participants of the adventurous film enterprise from 14 countries made seven short documentaries dedicated to seven cultural stereotypes traditionally linked to the Russian nation: vodka, women, the Russian bath, the Russian soul, bears, winter and cold, and the Lada car.
Enjoy the first gust of the film spring and watch six films awarded by Visions du Réel from March 21 to April 4 at DAFilms.com for free!
Films for the event
Autofokus (Orig.) / 2013 / Croatia / 27 min
Every summer, St. Nicholas Church (12th century) draws large crowds of tourists. Situated in an untouched Arcadian landscape, on a picturesque hill and next to a lone tree, it is as if the site becomes a stage where various unusual events take place. Thus, the tourists, unaware of the proximity of the camera, become performers in a daily show.
9999 (Orig.) / 2014 / Belgium / 71 min
Wilfried refers to himself as ‘king one-eye in the land of the blind’. This land lays in Merksplas’ prison in Belgium and the blind are the internees who reside in the prison without treatment. Mentally ill criminals in Belgium are not held responsible for their actions but become separated from society. There criminal acts range from murder to stabbing fire of a bike...
Mashti Esmaeil (Orig.) / 2014 / Iran / 60 min
Despite his blindness and old age, Mashti Esmail walks three hours every day to till his rice paddies. The open-hearted old man fills everybody around him, including his wives, with his friendly optimism. The portrayal of everyday reality is depicted with cinematographic sensitivity reminiscent of Still Life, a 40-year old classic of Iranian cinema.