Tuesday at ZagrebDox


Carlos Saura’s latest film, the unusual (self-)portraits of Ivory and Godard and 15 years of HAVC make up the ‘classic’, the masterclass of a Ukrainian director and volunteer about the war documentary unfortunately the up-to-date, and obsessive projects, karaoke, video games and Sinéad O’Connor the more relaxed programme of the festival’s day two

Artistically ambitious, provocative and relevant films, lively debates and full theatres marked the first day of the 19th ZagrebDox, which continues today from 3 pm at Kaptol Boutique Cinema & Bar – first, as usual, with free screenings in theatres 2, 4 and 5.

Theatre 2 at 3 p.m. screens Sam Now, the work of the self-taught American director Reed Harkness, who spent 25 years filming his brother and himself in this autobiographical hybrid of archival and home movies, cinéma vérité and interviews. In theatre 4, Ruthless Times – Songs of Care (dir. Susanna Helke) is a Finnish critical and black-humoured, but heart-warming film by a prominent Nordic documentary director and theoretician about the country’s public welfare system and its employees gathered in a modernised tragic chorus of sorts. In theatre 5, a treat for film lovers is presented by Cyril Leuthy’s Godard Cinema, a portrait of the recently deceased French New Wave great that takes us beyond clichés about a myth that sometimes slipped into caricature and introduces us to a man who is more sentimental than it seems, a man who is permeated and sometimes surpasses his art.

In theatre 1 at 3.30 p.m. Denis Dobrovoda’s Cathedral is a look into the obsessive life project of building a magnificent cathedral from waste and recycled material in the Spanish town of Mejorada del Campo. In theatre 3 in the Teen Dox block, you can see Hardly Working by Total Refusal, an Austrian animation collective known for its cinematic appropriation of computer video game launchers that ironically explores the Sisyphean role of non-playable characters (NPCs), and Tolyatti Adrift, a film about a teenage movement to salvage old cars from the legendary Lada factory in today’s impoverished Russian metropolis.

At 5 p.m. in theatre 2 in the Happy Dox section, another Finnish film Karaoke Paradise (dir. Einari Paakkanen), a touching and weird work about a series of lonely souls who find company and solace in front of a microphone, is preceded by the short film Desire Lines (dir. Duncan Cowles), a miniature allegory about the human user experience in relation to the environment by the BAFTA winner whose works are known for their comic, self-aware and sensitive approach. After the screening, Petra Blašković will talk to Einari Paakkanen.

At the same time, in theatre 4, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre is marking 15 years of its existence with a retrospective program H-15: Fifteen Years of Croatian Cinema, in which we recall the winners of the Audience Award from previous editions of ZagrebDox: the films by Miroslav Mikuljan (People from the Milky Way), Irena Škorić (The Destiny of the Number 13, Dear Lastan), Dana Budisavljević (Family Meals), Nebojša Slijepčević (Gangster of Love), Eva Kraljević (I Like That Super Most Best), Tomislav Žaja (Neighbours), Ivana Marinić Kragić (Nun of Your Business), Anđela and Davor Rostuhar (Love Around the World) and Vedrana Pribačić and Mirta Puhlovski (Bigger than Trauma). Tomislav Žaja (Gral Film), Vanja Jambrović (Restart), Tiha K. Gudac (current artistic advisor for documentary film) and HAVC director Christopher Peter Marcich will take part in the conversation about Croatian documentary film in the domestic and international context.

In theatre 5, the regional competition continues with David Gašo’s Thicket, a portrait of an anonymous exhibitionist who leads the author through a forest for public sex in the middle of a city park, and The Love Room, Suzana Dinevski’s feature debut about the lives of two women whose husbands are serving prison sentences. Višnja Pentić talks to David Gašo after the screening.

At 5:30 p.m. in Hall 1, the last film of the recently deceased Spanish Master of Dox (and feature film) Carlos Saura, Walls Can Talk, is a research-transcendental treatise on street art, its Palaeolithic roots and contemporary development, characteristic of the final phase of the great filmmaker’s work dedicated to intersections of music, dance and painting. In theatre 3, A Cooler Climate is a self-portrait by Oscar winner James Ivory created on the basis of hitherto untouched home recordings of his trip to Afghanistan in 1960, which changed his life.

At 7 p.m. in theatre 2, the regional competition ‘heats up’ with the films by Jasmina Beširević (Lina, about the nine-year-old daughter of divorced parents left by her mother with her father to look after her for Christmas) and Vlad Petri (Between Revolutions, about the friendship of an Iranian woman and a Romanian woman through whose experiences and correspondence during the 1970s and 1980s, the rifts of the two social systems broke down). Both films are characteristic of the creativity of their authors – Beširević often deals with children’s issues, and Petri likes to use archival film – about which they discuss with Dina Pokrajac after the screening. In theatre 4, Love Is Not an Orange is a moving depiction of the emigrant experience of Moldovan women through the video tapes their daughters sent them from their homeland in the 1990s. After the screening, director Otilia Babara will talk to the audience about the film and the Moldovan transitional experience. In theatre 5, International Competition continues with Calling Cabral by the Portuguese-Guinean artist Welket Bungué about the post-colonial experience and the relationship between the two nations, and Kiril Nenashev’s Ice under His Feet about the young opponents of the Putin regime.

At 7.30 p.m. in theatre 1 Nothing Compares (dir. Kathryn Ferguson) gives a fresh, feminist look at the rise and fall of Sinéad O’Connor, featuring never-before-seen footage and a new interview with the protagonist. In theatre 3, the second and last screening of the domestic omnibus Eight Chapters is scheduled at the same time.

At 9 p.m. in theatre 2 in the Regional competition, a Serbian director specialising in Yugoslavian, often archive-mediated experience shows the first part of the diptych The Labudović Reels with the subtitle The Non-Aligned, a work created from the footage of Tito’s personal cameraman Stevan Labudović. The first part takes a look behind the scenes of the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the second, titled Ciné-Guerrillas, will be shown as part of the Special Screenings on Wednesday at 9 pm in theatre 2. In Hall 4, Neighbour Abdi (dir. Douwe Dijkstra) is competing in international competition, speaking about a Somali furniture designer in exile in The Netherlands who performatively reconstructs his painful experiences with the director in the visual effects studio, and Dream’s Gate (dir. Negin Ahmadi) about Kurdish female warriors in northern Syria, but also the search for the female identity of the director herself. Green Dox presents Waters of Pastaza (dir. Inês T. Alves) today in theatre 5, a story about the children of the isolated Ecuadorian rainforest community of Suwa, their close relationship with nature and their relationship with new technologies.

At 10 p.m. in theatre 1, you can see two films from the State of Affairs section: Solmatalua (dir. Rodrigo Ribeiro-Andrade), a poetic-hypnotic, experimental essay about the Brazilian African diaspora, and A Family Sentenced (dir. Saeed Keshavarz) about an Iranian family that faces the possibility of his father’s execution. Theatre 2 offers a new opportunity to watch Volodymyr Tykhyy’s One Day in Ukraine.

On the second day of the festival, ZagrebDox Pro begins – a five-day program that brings together filmmakers in an analysis and recommendations for further development of submitted projects. This year’s edition under the title ‘Dox of War’ deals with the question “How to film a war?”. The mentors are Hans Robert Eisenhauer, John Appel and Nebojša Slijepčević (both moderator and host).

Instead of Wednesday, today, Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Dokukino KIC, the masterclass ‘The Edges of War’ by Alisa Kovalenko will take place, a lecture on finding a balance between risks and decisions, personal and artistic perspective, emotional engagement and distance when working on a war documentary. The Ukrainian director born in Zaporizhia, who joined the volunteers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the fight for the freedom of her country, will speak based on her own films Alisa in Warland, We Will Not Fade Away and Frontline (in development), and the interview will be hosted by Nebojša Slijepčević.

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