Sunday, April 10th @ 11:00 AM
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TRANQUILITY OF BLOOD by Senad Sahmanovic (Serbia)
Here’s the thing about revengeful people: they are angry, driven, and passionate as hell. Vindictive motives are propelled to motion despite the outrageous trajectory followed. And when this fire wears off into muddled submission, where does the revenge go? Does it seep out and thin itself to nothing in the universe? Circumstances aside, Tranquility of Blood understands the heartbreaking clash of this emotion.
MAMAN AND THE OCEAN by David Wagner (Germany)
Miro’s mother insists: plastic bags kill animals in the ocean. They’re a choking hazard; keep them out of the water. Miro loves his mother, and like a good son, he’ll return her plastic bag like a good boy at her behest for saving the sea animals. That makes him a good person, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it…
FOR ALL EYES ALWAYS by Rob Gordon Bralver (USA)
Many of you are likely familiar with Charlie Brooker’s UK TV series Black Mirror, a series of stand-alone cautionary tales about potential near-future consequences of modern technologies such as 24-hour news cycles and digital simulacra. For All Eyes Always, the new feature from Rob Gordon Bralver, takes a premise that would be right at home in that series, and instead of creating an aura of nauseating dread it pushes the concept to gleefully absurd extremes. In a universe very similar to our own, the CIA has recognized the total distrust that citizens have in the institution, so they create a reality TV show to demonstrate their transparency to the skeptical American public. But as we all know, on reality TV the line between the candid and the scripted is a blurry one and here we begin to question where the real ends and the puppeteering begins. A globe-trotting epic comedy shot with operatic style and showmanship, For All Eyes Always throws caution to the wind skips merrily into dystopia, guns blazing.
Sunday, April 10th @ 1:30 PM
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WIFEY REDUX by Robert McKeon (Ireland/USA)
It really must be frazzling for fathers to watch their daughters enter that darling stage of budding adulthood: boyfriends pattering around the house. Jonathan of Wifey Redux now has little left of his own once electric, pumpkin pie of a marriage, but when it comes to protecting his daughter? Unleash the crazy and just let a dad be a dad.
PAN-DEMIA by Rubén Sainz (Spain)
Yes, that hyphen is supposed to be there. This fascinating story of an encounter between a desperate family man and the bakeress in a local store begins with a risky decision of uncertain moral character and only gets more interesting from there. With some spot-on performances from the central duo as well as some brief supporting characters, we are gifted with a nuanced glimpse into the daily trails that these two face as well as their remarkable capacity for gratitude and forgiveness. Pan-demia is endlessly charming and a must-see.
LITTLE GANDHI by Sam Kadi (Syrian Arab Republic/Turkey/USA)
One of the most poignant images in Little Gandhi is an interview carried out in a dilapidated building. Two activists sit amongst the rubble interrupted by gunshots in the kind of succession that makes releasing one sentence a challenge. The interviewees are filmed in Syria and sporadically in Turkey, each tearfully recounting the horrors of the Syrian Revolution, reflecting on the honor of peace activist Ghiyath Matar. The catch? Director Sam Kadi was never there, and instead trained passionate activists via Skype to capture the violent footage. The distance is irrelevant; it’s easy to feel the energy reverberating off of these people and the passion that flows in bringing peace into fruition.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10TH @ 4:00 PM
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SWEEPER’S PRIDE by Matthias Koßmehl (Germany)
Somehow, in just over five minutes, the tightly-shot Sweeper’s Pride navigates the themes of reclaiming one’s sense of individuality, the difficulties of maintaining a strong work ethic, and the insane economics of contemporary art. That it accomplishes all of this with no dialogue and beautiful, stark cinematography is something of a marvel. The world of Sweeper’s Pride is a sparsely populated one, but each of its details—a musical cue here, a knowing facial gesture there—fills it with life.
AFTER THE END by Sam Southward (United Kingdom)
Two strangers. Both male. Post-apocalypse. Human touch is as forgotten as the memory of mankind. The solution to their lack of intimacy? “You can have a go with ‘dolly’ if you like.” Let this sink in; allow your imagination to run wild. Then proceed to do something wholesome afterwards and rinse off the strange.
KIDNAP CAPITAL by Felipe Rodriguez (Canada)
As the title suggests, Kidnap Capital takes a despicable act and stares it straight in the face, refusing to let its audience shift their gaze. Taking place almost entirely at a suburban home in Phoenix, Arizona, a central hub of kidnapping activity, we are forced to contend with a topical and deeply-seeded fear that pervades the modern world (particularly in America) that our worst enemy may be just next door, finding in plain sight. The enemy may rotate through the years like a spinning cog—Axis powers, communists, illegal immigrants, drug dealers, etc.—but the terror is always the same. Kidnap Capital finds a tense compromise, suggesting that while propaganda declaring the invasion of enemy forces into our neighborhood is always comically overblown, it is not entirely false either.
SATURDAY, APRIL 10TH @ 6:10 PM
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THE VAN BOMMEL BROTHERS by Laurens Jans (Belgium)
Thought your family drives you crazy? The Van Bommel Brothers will show you that yours is a piece of cake. In Van Bommel Brothers, we see four brothers living the tragedy of a marginal existence without the luxury of an exit. The film is hard to stomach but nonetheless symbolic for glimpsing at the helplessness that comes with the weight of complicated families.
MOTH by Tess Löwenhardt (Netherlands)
Edgar doesn’t know how to deal with people. He lives alone, hanging out with his life-size lady doll companion, doing the weirdo recluse thing at his job as a nighttime janitor. And then! Edgar falls in love. Now Edgar- armed with a creepy variety of silent passion – shall discover its twisted consequences.
WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT COSMOS by Konstantin Bronzit (Russia)
In this day and age of arms-reach communication, gems like sincere friendship and loyalty are few and far between. It’s as if friendship today is akin to an unspoken agreement solely for saving face, social media flavored. But we couldn’t possibly owe anyone anything when the quid pro quo of emotional thriving lies in supporting each other. So here’s to loyalty. Here’s to friendship. Here’s to We Cannot Live Without Cosmos.
THE CHICKEN by Una Gunjak (Croatia/Germany)
How do you like your chicken? Some go to McDonald’s and devour it in the form synthetic nuggets. Or in fried and breaded strips at T.G.I. Friday’s alongside barbecue dipping sauce. How about to celebrate a football match over a bucket of fried chicken and cold beer? In early 90s Sarajevo – where your livelihood is at its prime over a single chicken dinner – you won’t take those things for granted any longer.
THE SEED by Barney Frydman (Belgium)
How to change young, troublemaking, angry and hardened throwaway hooligans? Bring innocence, purity, and helplessness in the form of a tiny human into the picture. There’s a soft side in all of us and all we need is a trigger to bring it out.
THE MAN OF MY LIFE by Mélanie Delloye (France)
Under-aged girl competition with a case of the boy crazies. Dare there be a more entertaining time when fights were this intriguing? Alice – a pre-teen with a surprisingly effective death glare and pint-sized protagonist of The Man of My Life – has her boxing gloves on and throws a good punch. But we mean this figuratively – and not literally – the way the rules of competition is understood to unfold, the way Alice is perfectly aware.
MY GUARDIAN ANGEL by Cheyanne Kane & Judy Phu (USA)
Great artists often go mad out of solitude. But great art necessitates the madness and vice versa. Jordan of My Guardian Angel has come to the desert to paint the sky, looking for herself the way artists tend to do. And – from one artist to the next – she will tell you: in the midst of madness, just go with it.
Written by Cooper Hardee and Dara Kim