Pope Francis on the road in a modern classic, shocking footage of Russian teenagers, an Oscar nomination from the cold Arctic, Sinéad O'Connor’s second and last time in Zagreb, the singing Ugandan opposition, a queer director in the cocaine capital, Filipino environmental warriors... and much more for the cinematic end of the work week
The 19th ZagrebDox on Thursday offered a handful of unique film experiences and discussions, and on the eve of Saturday’s exciting award ceremony, treats for the eyes, ears, mind and soul await us today. Unmissable, at the very least, is the new film by the modern documentary classic Gianfranco Rosi about the pastoral travels of Pope Francis, as well as much more about his world view and Rosi’s work (In viaggio), shocking (18+) YouTube and TikTok videos of Russian teenagers and the accompanying panel about the mental health of young people (Manifesto), the Academy Award-nominated The Haulout and an interesting combination of likable Argentinian butchers (A Robust Heart) and a Colombian queer director from Medellín (Anhell69).
Opening the festival Friday at 3 pm are Eternity for You and Me (dir. Sanne This) from the Happy Dox section (theatre 2), Le Mali 70 (dir. Markus CM Schmidt) from Musical Globe (theatre 4) and the local trio from Regional Competition, Knin-Zadar (dir. Melita Vrsaljko), Horror vacui (dir. Boris Poljak) and Scenes with My Father (dir. Biserka Šuran). An Eternity for You and Me is a Danish autobiographical film by a Belgian director about relationships, entrenched gender roles and the struggle of two people to fulfil their dream of a child, and Le Mali 70 is a German work about the Malian big band, the music that embodied hope for independence before it was stopped by the coup d’état, and the Berlin fans are reuniting legendary brass players. Tickets for screenings at 3 pm are free.
At 3:30 pm in theatre 1 the biographical doc Bobi Wine: The People’s President (dir. Christopher Sharp, Moses Bwayo) is screened, about the Ugandan opposition leader – a thrilling epic drama about power, vanity and democracy that follows Wine and his family since 2014, and the first protest songs until 2021 and the presidential candidacy. In theatre 3, another ‘green doc’ Delikado offers a look at three Filipino environmental warriors who are trying to save the nation’s resources from politicians and businessmen. Filmmaker Karl Malakunas, deputy editor-in-chief of France-Presse in Hong Kong, has been dealing with environmental issues, natural disasters and political unrest in Asia for two decades.
At 5 pm in theatre 2, a new ZagrebDoXXL event, also with free entry, is an author’s evening by Igor Bezinović with a selection of eight films (Above Average, An Encounter, Waiting, Kierkegaard, The Lovetts, Postcards: Momjan, Microcassette – The Smallest Cassette I've Ever Seen and United Colors of Zagreb) and a conversation hosted by Diana Nenadić. Bezinović’s work is partly perceived as a walk along the social, material and gender margins where documentary meets elements of fiction, experiment and animation. It is an unequivocally activist filmography from the heart of turbulent events.
Also at 5 pm, but in theatre 4, in Regional Competition, Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels is shown again, but this time followed by an interview with director Mila Turajlić. Moreover, as all screenings of the film are sold out, an additional screening of this ‘archival’ hit is organised today, at 9 pm in Dokukino KIC (Preradović Street 5), along with a conversation with the director.
In the Teen Dox section in theatre 5 at 5 pm Growing Up by Canadian Fania Pelletier is an intimate portrait of an extremely connected but lonely generation growing up on the border between the virtual and the real world – a work about girls who constantly record and share the process of discovering their own bodies and identities with their peers. Obsession with one’s own image, but also a great insight and inner struggle are characteristics of the young girls that the film carefully portrays.
At 5:30 pm in theatre 1, the Turkish biographical dox Blue ID (dir. Burcu Melekoğlu, Vuslat Karan; about the Turkish actress Rüzgar Erkoçlar who secretly changes her gender, but when exposed on Twitter is forced to search for her identity in front of the media and the public) in another ZagrebDoXXL event is joined by the panel Being a Transgender Person in Croatia hosted by Dina Pokrajac and featuring Bojana Ivanišević, Espi Tomičić and Iva Žegura. The current topic of conversation, precisely on the International Day of Transgender Visibility, is the recent great pressure on their hard-fought rights, and the goal is to raise awareness of everyday discrimination, the importance of education and presence in society, and the acceptance of gender diversity.
Regional competition at 5:30 pm in theatre 3 presents the new film by Damir Markovina Deserters and Gorana Jovanović Balls. Through intimate epistolary correspondence and static shots in the form of a hybrid documentary essay, Markovina reconstructs the youth of Mostar interrupted by the war, and Jovanović tells the story of the little-known indoor football meetings of soldiers from the former Yugoslav republics at the place from which football fans in military uniform used to shoot at people.
At 7 pm in theatre 2, the International Competition trio consists of The Haulout (dir. Yevgenia Arbugaeva, Maxim Arbugaev), Wild Wounded Animals (dir. Jakob Pagel Andersen) and Aralkum (Mila Zhluktenko, Daniel Asadi Faezi). The Haulout, nominated for the Academy Award, is a film about a marine biologist who witnesses changes in the ancient gathering of walruses in the Siberian Arctic, which, due to the lack of ice, go ashore earlier and have to travel longer distances in order to get food. Wild Wounded Animals is a story about fatherhood and anxiety mediated by, among other things, expressive hunting scenes, and Aralkum is an artistic depiction of the Aral Desert, a former sea, and its inhabitants that reveals the devastating human impact on the ecosystem.
In theatre 4, at the same time, the cheerful dox A Bunch of Amateurs (dir. Kim Hopkins) shows members of a British working-class film club in a remake project of a favourite musical. A whimsical and sardonic tone and playful editing will attract the audience to this somewhat absurd journey. In theatre 5, 07:15 – Blackbird, Will You Look at Me and Jaime are being reshown, this time with a conversation with Judith Auffray, the director of 07:15 – Blackbird.
At 7:30 pm in theatre 1, you should not miss the new film of Gianfranco Rosi’s modern classic In viaggio about the two pastoral visits of Pope Francis to Lampedusa and the Middle East, which provide an opportunity to review Bergoglio’s views on the world, as well as Rosi’s work. As part of the International Competition and Zagreb DoXXL, Angie Vinchito’s Manifesto presents a found footage film composed of shocking videos of Russian teenagers on YouTube and TikTok as a metaphor for the vicious cycle of cruelty and a painful depiction of a generation lost under the boot of dictatorship. Please note that this is a film exclusively for adult viewers (18+), which will be accompanied by the panel Mental Health of Young People and Social Networks in which, moderated by Dina Pokrajac, Judita Gamulin, Lovro Marušić, Kristijan Orešković and Sena Puhovski will take part. In the conversation, we learn how to seek help, detect and define our own problems, and create spaces where young people are not alone.
The international competition continues in Hall 2 at 9 p.m. with the films A Robust Heart (dir. Martín Benchimol) and Anhell69 (dir. Theo Montoya). A Robust Heart is a simple but effective story directed by a butcher’s son about Argentinian butchers who, in addition to their work, talk about fatherhood, blood ties and masculinity. Anhell69 is also an autobiographical work about a young director in the queer scene of the infamous Medellín where he lost many friends. In theatre 4, the ISIS members from the film Rojek (dir. Zaynê Akyol), also from the International Competition, will be rescreened, and in theatre 5 the new film of the documentary star Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Matter out of Place is scheduled.
Finally, Friday will conclude the screenings in theatres 1 and 3 at 10 pm – Nothing Compares about Sinéad O'Connor and Josipa Krčelić’s Enemies 86 (a controversial miniature about a Bad Blue Boy on the wrong side of the law) and Paying a Visit to Fortuna – a sincere film about middle-aged lottery winners whose ordeal however ends happily in Croatia.
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