The 12th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival,the biggest movie event in Poland, will take place in Wroclaw from 19 through 29 July 2012, featuring 469 films, including 226 feature-length movies. One hundred sixty movies will have their Polish premieres.
Opening and Closing Films
The festival will open on 19 July with a showing of Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning film at Cannes, Amour, with terrific performances by Jean-Louisa Trintignant and Emmanuelle Rivy. This intimate film by the maker of The Piano Teacher and The White Ribbon deals with universal problems displaced by modern culture: aging, illness, death. The opening day's second film will be Behn Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was a sensation at the Sundance Festival (winning the top prize) and Cannes (winning the Caméra d'Or for the best debut). This is a fascinating visual combination of a realistic story, a fantasy movie, and a fairy tale, set in a distant province drowned in a flood of apocalyptic proportions. This year's opening will also feature a third film, the Chilean Year of the Tiger by Sebastián Lelio, the maker of The Sacred Family, an award-winning film that was shown during the sixth edition of New Horizons. The festival's closing film will be Walter Salles' On the Road, an adaptation of Jack Kerouac's cult novel, that became bible of the Beat Generation. The film tells the story of a road trip across America by two 20-year-old friends; the story has been invoked as an idealistic quest for freedom for more than fifty years already.
The most important and most exciting part of the festival will, as usual, be the competitions. The New Horizons International Competition will feature 12 unconventional films shown in Poland for the first time. The titles were chosen from among hundreds of submissions that have been shown at festivals throughout the world. Among those competing for prizes will be representatives of Chilean cinema, which is getting better and better all the time - Summer by José Luis Torres Leivy and Thursday through Sunday by Dominga Sotomayor - the Catalan winner at the festival in San Sebastian, Isaki Lacuesta's The Double Steps, Mondomanila by Filipino director Khavn de La Cruz, and Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky's psychological drama Francine, featuring Melissa Leo, who won an Oscar for her outstanding performance. The competition will also feature Francophrenia, directed by Ian Olds and American movie star James Franco.
Feature-length, artistic documentaries will be competing for awards in the International Competition Films on Art. Among the films in the competition will be Zavtra (Tomorrow) by Andrei Gryazev about the Russian anarchist group Voina; Turning, by American video artist Charles Atlas, which tells the story of an experimental project by the group Antony and the Johnsons; Shut Up and Play the Hits about the last days of the legendary group LCD Soundsystem; as well as Rodney Ascher's Room 237, a brilliant, multilevel interpretation of Stanley Kubrick's cult classic The Shining.
There will also be competitions for Polish short films and European short films.
The jury for the New Horizons International Competition will be made up uncompromising artists, including the well-known director of Nothing Personal and Code Blue, Urszula Antoniak; the prominent Japanese director Naomi Kawase (The Mourning Forest); one of the most important directors in contemporary Mexican cinema, Amat Escalante (The Bastards); the Filipino minimalist Lav Diaz (Century of Birthing); and the independent Polish director Przemysław Wojcieszek (Secret). The winner of the Films on Art International Competition will be determined by directors and visual artists, including the prominent American experimental director James Benning, who will be familiar to New Horizons audiences from such films as 13 Lakes and Twenty Cigarettes; the acclaimed installation and performance artist Zbigniew Libera; the German performance artist, actress, and director Susanne Sachsse; Selection Committee member at the festival in Marseille Rebecca De Pas; and festival programmer and producer Sean Farnel.
The festival's programme also includes permanent sections, including Panorama, which features works by masters of contemporary artistic cinema, as well as new discoveries, and award-winning films from international festivals both big and small. One of the highlights will be a new film by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, winner of the Palme d'Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Beyond the Hills won awards at Cannes for best screenplayandfor best actress. The film, which raises questions about faith, should both liberate audiences and also make them uncomfortable. Wroclaw will also show Cannes' most bizarre entry: Holy Motors by Leos Carax, one of the most secretive directors of French cinema. This is a surreal tale about a cinema in Paris that is the setting for the successive incarnations of the film's hero. It features Denis Lavant, Michel Piccoli, Eva Mendes, and Kylie Minogue. Panorama will also show the most recent films by a variety of international directors: Xavier Dolan (Laurence Anyways), Abbas Kiarostami (Like Someone in Love), Guy Maddin (Keyhole, with Isabella Rossellini), Giorgos Lanthimos (Alps, winner of the award for best screenplay in Venice), Chantal Akerman (Almayer's Folly), Zemi Demirkubuz (Yeralti), Apichatpong Weerasethaluk (Mekong Hotel).
Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present
One of the festival's most important events will be the Polish premiere of an American documentary by Matthew Akers, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, which won the Audience Award at this year's Berlinale. Abramović, an icon of both body and performance art, has been revolutionizing contemporary art for the past 40 years. From the former Yugoslavia, the artist subjects her body to extreme experiences, which has the effect of putting spectators in a variety of emotional states. The film shows her life and work through the prism of one of her most spectacular performances, which took place at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 2010 during a retrospective of her work. For three months, she spent several hours a day sitting motionless on a chair in an empty room. Visitors were invited to sit next to her. For some, this was a type of therapy without words, while others formed spontaneous relationships with the artist. This experience will also be shared with festival audiences through the film that recorded this special artistic event. There will be screenings of the film on 20, 21, 27, and 28 July in room 7 at the Helios cinema. Tickets cost 20 PLN and are on sale now at www.nowehoryzonty.pl.
Gdynia in Wroclaw
Beginning this year, Polish films will be shown in the section Gdynia in Wroclaw, which was prepared in cooperation with the Gdynia Film Festival. Screenings will include films chosen by the director of the Gdynia Film Festival, Michał Chaciński. The programme for the section will feature, among others, Secret Europe by Przemysław Wojcieszek, In the Bedroomby Tomasz Wasilewski, and You Are God by Leszek Dawid. All of the films that were invited to take part in Wroclaw premiered in the main competition at the festival of Polish films in Gdynia.
Ulrich Seidl is one of the most interesting and most controversial artists in European cinema, director of the well-known award-winning films Dog Days and Import/Export and outstanding, feature-length documentaries such as Animal Love and Models. Seidl is one of the most unforgiving and ruthless critics of contemporary European society. His newest film, shown as part of the main competition in Cannes, Paradise: Love, is a brutal satire about the illusion of happiness that tells the story of sex tourism in Kenya through the eyes of lonely Austrians. The Polish premiere of the film will take place in Wroclaw. Ulrich Seidl will be a guest at the festival.
Carlos Reygadas is a visionary filmmaker, a mystic, a poet, and one of the most important representatives of contemporary Mexican cinema, the director of Japan, Silent Light and Battle in Heaven. He won the prize for best director for Post Tenebras Luxat this year's festival in Cannes. The film will have its Polish premiere at the festival in Wroclaw. Told in the first person, this is the very personal story of the emotional collapse of a young married couple. The director will be a guest at the festival.
Dušan Makavejev, one of the best-known Yugoslav directors, made his debut at the beginning of the 1960s. Part of the New Wave, he has been called the "Godard of Eastern Europe". His films, which were often considered too daring and were thus banned by the censors, stood apart because of their anarchist mood and experimental form. Makavejev is the creator of Sweet Movie, which showed timeless allegories that both mocked and accused fascism and communism; and WR: Mysteries of the Organism, which was made up of sexual and political variations on the theme of the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. Makavejev will be a guest at the festival.
Peter Tscherkassky is a prominent, experimental Austrian director who mainly makes found footage films, compilations of existing audiovisual materials. His multidimensional works, which have been shown at international festivals and in prestigious galleries, are created by hand using traditional editing methods: on a montage table and in a darkroom. The festival in Wroclaw will also show found footage films by the avant-garde director Eve Heller.
Witold Giersz is a well-known animator and the creator of nearly 50 films, for which he has received more than 60 awards and honours at numerous prestigious festivals. This master of so-called motion painting is the creator of the following legendary animated films: Little Western, Red and Black, The Horse,and Fire. A book about the artist will be released on the occasion of a retrospective about his work: Ruchome malarstwo Witolda Giersza (The Motion Painting of Witold Giersz), written by Joanna Giersz and Jerzy Armata.
This year's festival will feature Mexican cinema. We will see 16 movies produced in recent years, including films by Amat Escalante (Sangre, The Bastards), Nicolás Pereda (Perpetuum Mobile, Summer of Goliath), Matias Meyer (The Last Christeros), Michel Lipkes (Malaventura), and Daniela Schneider (Ceased). The individual style of these directors has helped shape our way of thinking about contemporary Mexican cinema, which is currently a phenomenon in the world of film. A number of Mexican directors will be guests at the festival.
One of the highlights of the festival will be a review of mockumentaries, films that use the conventions of documentaries to create their own, non-existent reality. Wroclaw will feature 22 such films, including some classics of the genre: Peter Watkins' War Games, Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap, Orson Welles' F for Fake, Peter Greenaway's The Falls, Peter Jackson's Forgotten Silver, and Remy Belveaux and André Bonzel's Man Bites Dog. Contemporary hit mockumentaries will also be shown, including Clayton Jackson's Kenny and Michael Mongillo's Being Michael Madsen. The festival will also include a radio play with improvised music inspired by the legendary 1938 radio play War of the Worlds by Orson Welles.
The festival in Wroclaw will also show 39 films produced at the Karol Irzykowski Film School, which opened in 1981. The studio brought together young filmmakers who had managed to create a serious artistic alternative to the commercialized Polish cinema of the 1980s. The program will include Mariusz Treliński's A Farewell to Autumn, Wiesław Saniewski's Control, Leszek Wosiewicz's Kornblumenblau, and Marek Koterski's Madhouse, as well as films by the review's creator, the late direct Piotr Łazarkiewicz (I Love Cinema, a documentary about the festival in Jarocin, as well as Wave and Stone).
One of the most popular sections of the festival, Midnight Madness, will feature films with rock, pop, and hip-hop stars. In Re-mixed. From the Stage to the Screen, you will see an animated version of the Beatles in George Dunning's cult movie Yellow Submarine, David Bowie in Jim Henson's fantasy classic Labyrinth, Mick Jagger in Nicholas Roeg's crime film Performance, David Byrne of the Talking Heads in his own project True Stories, Tupac in his last role in Vondie Curtis-Hall's comic-drama Gridlock'd, and even Beyoncé in Robert Townsend's Carmen: A Hip Hopera.
The topic of this year's fourth edition of the festival's education and discussion forum, New Horizons in Film Language, is sound. During a series of presentations, lectures, and discussions with artists, as many as 10 films will be subjected to a careful analysis, including Jacques Tati's masterpiece Play Time, Piotr Szulkin's science-fiction classic Golem, the cult film Decoder by Muscha and Klause Maeck, the mysterious film The Mountain by Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab, and Pontypool by Bruce McDonald. This section will also feature a showing of Rose by Wojtek Smarzowski and a discussion with multi-awarding-winning sound director Jack Hamel. One of the highlights will be the first Polish edition of the Michael Chion's book Audio-Vision about the relationship between film and sound.
PERFORMANCE STAGE: 12TH T-MOBILE NEW HORIZONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
THE HAPPY END - IMAGES FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Screenings at Helios Cinema
Section curator: Ewa Szabłowska
The Happy End is a New Horizons take on the Apocalypse, showing an alternative to the popular theme of end-of-the-world cinema. One of the highlights will be The Legend of Kaspar Hauser by Davide Manuli, a delirious, stylized, black-and-white technowestern with Vincent Gallo, featuring surreal dialogue and electronic music by DJ Vatalic. We will see one of the first films by a director well known to New Horizons audiences, F. J. Ossanga, the postpunk Treasure of the Bitch Islands; the 3D film Daimon by the Italian film collective Zapruder; and The Three Days of Darkness by Khavn de la Cruz, which plays ironically with a religious version of the theme of the Apocalypse. In what we might call the "depressing collection", we will see The Great Sadness of Zohara, the debut of the avant-garde American director Nina Menkes, as well as Consolation Service by the Finnish icon of video art Eiji-Liisy Ahtilli. The "suicide" cycle will include a Korean study of female insanity, Suicidal Variations, by Kim Gok and Kim Sun, and Karol Radziszewski's MS 101,inspired by the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
BWA Awangarda Gallery
ul. Wita Stwosza 32
Curators of the exhibition: Łukasz Gorczyca and Katarzyna Roj
An exhibition called Discontinued Film will consist of works by contemporary Polish artists inspired by cinematography, the poetry of film images, or particular works and film themes, though the artists themselves work with a variety of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, or words and sounds. The artists are interested not so much in the stories of films, of moments captured in time, but rather in how the cinema experience translates into and inspires traditional artistic media. Discontinued Film begins before the invention of film, and, at the same time, it is an attempt to imagine film after it has ended through memories (not always accurate) of images and experiences. The name of the exhibition unequivocally suggests a situation at its end, the momentary or final loss of consciousness. A number of significant works will be included in the exhibition, including new photographs by Zbigniew Libera. Discontinued Film is a montage of works by dozens of artists and is made up of sequences dedicated to various aspects of the cinema experience: the cinema itself, posters, projection, slow motion, actors, extras, and sound film (as opposed to silent film). Participating artists include Azorro, Agata Bogacka, Michał Budny, Oskar Dawicki, Zbigniew Libera, Przemek Matecki, Zbigniew Rogalski, and Szymon Rogiński. The curator of the exhibition is Łukasz Gorczyca.
CARLOS REYGADAS - SERENGHETTI
Projection room at the BWA Design gallery
ul. Świdnicka 2-4
19 July - 25 August 2012
Serenghetti is the most subversive work of Mexican director Carlos Reygadas. It tells the story of two female football (soccer) teams that meet for a mesmerizing match against the background of the ancient mountains in central Mexico. The match is a pretext for Reygadas' formal approach, and he borrowed some of his language of expression from the repertoire of television. His delicate treatment lends the movie an uncanny atmosphere that highlights the epic landscape, which stands out in contrast to a design borrowed from the world of television. Full of cinematic tension, this film was previously shown at the festival in Rotterdam. In Wroclaw, it will be presented in the projection room at the BWA Design gallery with a special soundtrack, which will allow the audience to have a sensual confrontation with the creative work of this Mexican master.
Scenario and production: Katarzyna Krakowiak
Curator: Katarzyna Roj
An integral part of the festival's performance stage will be an urban game, produced according to a scenario by Katarzyna Krakowiak, who is representing Poland this year at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. The game's creators are interested in dark scenarios that were played out (or that potentially could have been played out) in pre-War Wroclaw, undefined paths in guidebooks for tourists, unofficial roads known only to a few. The urban game will outline this suggestive picture of the city and its displaced visions, including occult, revolutionary, and manic phenomena. The game's crime story will present the city as an apocalyptic set par excellence, the harbinger of which will be wild acts of decadence and desperation. The game will be set in authentic corners of the centre of the city and nearby areas. Players will rely on a specially produced map and hints provided by the artist. The scenario will be based on both real and fictitious events, and the knowledge gained from the game will be unsure and spectral. One of the key locations for the game's dynamic will be the Dizajn gallery, which, for the duration of the project, will be partially transformed into a headquarters for the distribution of materials related to the game.