International documentary film festival
April 14 - 21, 2024
Kaptol Boutique Cinema, Zagreb

ZagrebDox Friday


ZagrebDox Friday

Yesterday’s festival day was marked by the eagerly awaited premiere of Silvestar Kolbas’s new film Our Children, and the rerun of Vladimira Spindler’s Genes of My Children was once again sold out. A Storm Foretold about Trump’s advisor Roger Stone was also a success. There was also great interest in Electric Yu-topia, while connoisseurs’ circles praised the new and always relevant works of Erik Gandini (After Work) and Ohad Milstein (Monogamia).

The end of the working week is an excellent time to visit the cinema, and Friday the 20th ZagrebDox offers a multitude of intriguing topics and audiovisual treats, among which three titles stand out today. Happy Campers by established New York director Amy Nicholson at 6 pm (theatre 2) offers an atypical Americana about the eviction of a small trailer utopia in Virginia. The film crew came to Zagreb and are looking forward to questions from the audience about this jovial work, the centre of which is a philanthropic community of eternal campers who live for a small sum on a million-dollar location, but are threatened with expulsion from paradise and the loss of generations-long relationships. The second favourite of the day is certainly the Armenian 1489, the winner of the prestigious Amsterdam IDFA and winner of the FIPRESCI International Federation of Film Critics award. The raw and direct film, which is shown at 19:30 (theatre 1) in International Competition, is the authentic testimony of non-professional director Shoghakat Vardanyan, who speaks first of her apprehension, and then of her shock and sadness over her brother’s death in the bloody war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Just as she exposed herself to the bone in the film, Shoghakat Vardanyan will gladly answer the audience’s questions about the experience of the war that passed us by as just another ‘news from the world’. Finally, at 5:30 pm in theatre 3, Regional Competition also offers Fairy Garden (dir. Gergő Somogyvári) about two social outcasts, a 19-year-old transgender teenager and a 60-year-old homeless man, who, like father and daughter, live under the same roof on the edge of town. A girl rejected by her family and an old man who has absolutely no experience with gender indeterminacy or teenagers in general live a life that is extremely difficult on the margins of Hungarian society, but it is only theirs – both gentle and rough and completely human, against the conventions of growing up, home, family and acceptance. After the screening, the author will talk about the film that won a special jury award in Sarajevo.

Ahead of the aforementioned highlights, Friday at the 20th ZagrebDox begins, however, with free screenings in theatre 2, where from 2 pm the title from the International Competition Echo of You by Zara Zerny, a tender and musical tribute to Danish seniors, will be rerun, while from 4 pm an author’s evening: Hrvoje Hribar will be held. Regardless of whether it’s afternoon or not, the wider audience might be surprised to learn that behind the director of a big feature hit is also a sensitive documentarian who, as a member of the generation once called new or young Croatian cinema, signed two notable achievements on the border between reality and fiction. After the screening of the exciting and unusual work Once There Was a Man about a fisherman from Vis, as well as the author’s literary, filmic and natural fascinations and references, Diana Nenadić will host the conversation during which it is not too much to expect something from the director’s proverbial verbal wit.

At 3:00 pm in theatre 4, the screening of the well-received Bottlemen by Nemanja Vojinović about bottle collectors at the huge Belgrade landfill is repeated, from which a lively discussion on labour rights started yesterday as part of the DoXXL panel. In theatre 5, at the same time, those who have already completed Bottlemen are offered a real treat – Pirjo Honkasalo’s Three Rooms of Melancholia. The modern classic, which is exactly twenty years old, is today seen as a tragic anticipation of more recent unfortunate events, because it is a masterfully recorded and soundtracked triptych that shows the closed circle of violence in the Russian Federation. The first story of the film dedicated to the Chechen War depicts thirteen-year-old cadets of the military school in St. Petersburg and it is not difficult to guess where many of them ended their journey 18 years later. The second story tells about the children of parents killed in Grozny, and the third about the inhabitants of Ingushetia.

The rerun afternoon intended for those who didn’t make it to Kaptol Boutique Cinema & Bar during the week then continues at 15:30 in theatre 1 with Arsenie. An Amazing Afterlife, or theatre 3 with April in France. We watch the impressive, lying grandmother-dictator from 5pm in theatre 4 (The Mother of All Lies), and the Yu group (Electric Yu-topia) at the same time in theatre 5.

The last ZagrebDox PRO masterclass open to the public will be held under the title “Here’s why I love documentaries...” at 5:00 pm in Dokukino KIC, with one of the world’s greatest experts in documentary film and a longtime associate of the festival, Tue Steen Müller. Along with numerous film inserts, Müller will give an overview of recent documentary production and summarize new trends on the international documentary scene.

At 17:30 in theatre 1 in Regional Competition three shorter works can be seen together yes: Rea Rajčić’s 1001 Nights, Igor Ilić’s Deep Tones and Ivan Faktor’s Pain. 1001 Nights talks about the importance of the television medium in the lives of senior people through two fans of Turkish soap operas. Deep Tones is an intriguing depiction of healing the psychological trauma of the Zagreb earthquake with deep-tone speakers, and the second film by the late great domestic experimental film, which is being shown at ZagrebDox this year, is a self-portrait, a diary visualization of his illness through shots of everyday life, light attractions and optical obstacles. Rea Rajčić and Igor Ilić will talk to the audience after the screening of their films.

At 7 pm, the Musical Globe section looks back at the legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto in the film by Neo Sora (Ryuichi Sakamoto: Opus), which was also shown in Venice. It is a concert film that contains only the protagonist, his piano and the performance of twenty works that the artist chose with the thought of a narrative about his own life, which at the time of filming was coming to an end. If this powerful film seems too heavy for a Friday afternoon, it is offered in parallel (theatre 5) with another cheerful dox Agent of Happiness (dir. Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó) about the gross happiness index meter in Bhutan.

Controversial dox A Family playing in theatre 3 at 19:30 is the story of the award-winning French writer Christine Angot, the author of the film, who uses archival household materials, newly created footage and her own verbal directness to confront the family with the father’s sexual abuse that they suffered for years. The film is followed by a new DoXXL panel entitled “Consequences of sexual violence and trauma as a key to healing”, in which Marina Ajduković, Hana Hrpka and moderator Dina Pokrajac take part.

In the Masters of Dox section at 8 pm (theatre 2), Our Body is screened by Claire Simon, a regular guest of the world’s biggest festivals and one of the leading French authors of the documentary genre, who in this epic work collects the stories and fears of women faced with abortion, endometriosis, motherhood, gender reassignment, cancer... so that in the end she would find herself among them. With a compassionate and ethical approach, Simon brings the hidden, forgotten and neglected stories of women’s bodies.

At 9 pm (theatre 4) Teen dox Boyz (dir. Sylvain Cruiziat) follows a typical and completely unusual team of three young men from generation Z. With humour and lightness, the film celebrates the last weeks of their shared youth in a musical, fast and colourful way. At the same time, in theatre 5, two films from Regional Competition are shown: Newsreel 242 – Sunny Railways by Nika Autor about the past and present of the Šamac-Sarajevo railway and David Lušičić’s Seagull – a superbly filmed and soundtracked documentary essay about the glorious past and the restoration of Tito’s ship.

At 9:30 pm, the Musical Globe stops the rotation on Ian White’s work Mutiny in Heaven: The Birthday Party about the vocal-instrumental composition that, with frontman Nick Cave, grew into one of the most influential bands of its time. With exclusive, honest interviews, a rich and never-before-seen archive, unreleased songs, studio recordings, animation and multimedia content, the film takes us back to the band’s past, revealing the questions of its origins, dreams, hopes and motivations of key members.

Hollywoodgate (dir. Ibrahim Nash’at) drops the curtain at 10 pm on the Friday of the festival – a chilling and important depiction of Afghanistan from the moment of the withdrawal of the American army and the arrival of the Taliban regime, which is arming itself with sophisticated military equipment in the former American base.


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