OUR LAST TANGO

UN TANGO MÁS


Germany, Argentina 2015
85 minutes
directed by: German Kral

Buenos Aires nights echo with the sounds of the bandoneon, with stories of love, and with the unique and unmatchable beauty of tango. During such nights one of the greatest dancers in the history of tango, Maria Nieves, and her legendary partner, Juan Carlos Copes, share their memories with a group of young dancers and choreographers, who in turn convert their stories into breath-taking choreographies. These are stunning in their execution, not only supremely sophisticated and masterful, but also powerful in the emotions they embody with their movements. Before our eyes the dances transform into stories of love and passion, of tenderness and pain, of vulnerability and strength imbued by harmony.

Masterful photography and camerawork, echoing unforgettable cinema cast a permanent spell with the scenes and images unfolding on the screen. Equally so, the close-ups of the two charismatic dancers, whose faces still radiate the fullness of emotion and dignity. Also extraordinary are the reconstructions of the milongas of Buenos Aires, those seminal events and places where energies crossed to create tango, where dancers’ steps wrote out its living history, whose essence the participants and authors of the film aim to reach. There is no doubt that German Kral is the ideal author of this documentary – Argentinian by birth, a European filmmaker by education and experience, and long-time collaborator of Wim Wenders, his professor at the Munich film school, whose influence extends beyond the role of executive producer on this film.

An exciting work which interweaves a dramatic love story with unforgettable inspired movements of tango’s finest dancers captured by fascinating and kinesthetic shots.

Director's Word: When does a movie really start? I'm not talking about the moment when it's projected on the screen, but when an idea begins to take shape. When it starts to conceive and develop, press and screams until it comes to life...

I remember very well the first time I saw María Nieves in Buenos Aires. It was very late night and she was smoking a cigarette outside the milonga. I told her that I was preparing a film about tango and that I would like very much to talk to her...

Also I remember what I felt when I found and read the autobiography of Juan Carlos Copes. As I passed the pages of the book, I couldn't get out of my head that in the film they had to be the two, Maria and Juan, the greatest tango dancers of all-time!

widehouse.org/film/our-last-tango


Herman Kral

Born in 1968 in Buenos Aires in Argentina. Moved to Germany in 1991 to study film at the Munich Film School. Between 1993 and 1996 he worked as a student with Wim Wenders on the film “A Trick of the Light”. His diploma film “Images of the Absence”, was awarded the First Prize at the Yamagata Film Festival in Japan. His film “Música Cubana“, executive produced by Wim Wenders, had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been sold all over the world. He is based in Munich and Buenos Aires.

Selected filmography

  • IMAGES OF THE ABSENCE (Imágenes de la ausencia), 1998
  • BERND AJHINGER, WHEN LIFE BECOMES FILM (Bernd Eichinger, When Life Becomes Film), 2000
  • THAT’S LIFE (So ist das Leben – La vida es así), 2002
  • MÚSICA CUBANA, 2004
  • THE LAST APPLAUSE (El último aplauso), 2009
  • OUR LAST TANGO (Un tango más), 2015

TWILIGHT OF A LIFE

AU CRÉPUSCULE D’UNE VIE


Belgium, Israel 2015
71 minutes
directed by: Sylvain Biegeleisen

A refined documentary pearl, woven out of the finest strands that connect our inner worlds with the hidden, deepest worlds of others. A testament to a warm and fascinating communication with another being, within whom, thanks to the skill of the poet, we see a small but vigorous luminosity shining in all its power inside the body weaker than the frailest of birds. The mother of Silvain Biegeleisen, suddenly loses all physical strength at the age of 94, and he decides to spend with her and film her final days. And then a miracle happens, despite all prognosis – life refuses to bow to knowledge and begins to sing with a thin, but unstoppable voice. And an elegy, condemned to dark and narrow space suddenly, almost from the first, blossoms into a hymn to the fullness of life, the power of touch and pure emotion, an ode to joy and play, lengthening the days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.

Minimalist in its approach, made in black-and-white touched with subtle, barely noticeable accents of color, this documentary, like poetry, manages to delight you completely and bring you in touch with important and unknowable secrets. “Twilight of a life” is certainly a testimonial to the extraordinary skill of a therapist and communicator with all those who need special attention and care, as well as a testimonial of a talented singer and musician, a charming master of play, who fully and uncompromisingly assumes the position of discrete and dancing shadow, one that fully traces the charismatic appearance of an irresistible woman, mother, grandmother, stuck between worlds at the crossroads of wisdom.

Winner of prizes for Best Belgian and Best Israeli documentary at the festivals in Leuven and Tel Aviv, this poetic film warns us that every moment is the one in which we might seek to better understand and feel others, in order to better understand and feel ourselves.

Director's Word: If I had to define myself in a single word, I would choose “poet.”
Life has blessed me with diverse competencies for self-expression – poetry, photography, editing, directing, painting, writing, group coaching, to name a few...
I belong to that breed which believes that our own actions and work bring about social change, and that those actions are an inseparable chapter of the story of “humanity” and the “universe” in their entirety. I believe that we face a new age, within which art and spirit will occupy a significant space, will allow people to open their eyes and their hearts, and thus build a better world...


Sylvain Biegeleisen

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1948.
He holds a degree in Theatre Direction from the Kibbutzim College of Education, and has studied group coaching at the Geneva Social Animation School.
Also studied creative drama at the London Children’s Drama School and film at the Brussels Institut des Arts & Diffusion.
In 1998 founded the Lahav Association for the Promotion of Values in Society, which manages cinematic, social projects for populations with special needs. The organization has produced numerous films awarded with prestigious international awards, including a, marking the sixtieth year of its activity, and Lahav was awarded with the special prize from UNESCO.
Developed a unique method of cinema workshops.
He is a member of the Israeli Association of Creative and Expressive Therapies (ICET) and has given courses on teaching creativity with video integration as an educational process (Haifa University, Oranim College of Education. Gordon College of Education).
Multi-disciplinary artist: film director and producer, painter and video artist, photographer and musician, group moderator and singer.

www.twilightofalife.com/#!film/cof9

Selected filmography

  • THE LAST CARD (La dernière carte), 2008
  • TWIGLIGHT OF A LIFE (Au crépuscule d'une vie), 2015

MALLORY

MALLORY


Czech Republic, 2015
97 minutes
directed by: Helena Třeštíková

The most recent documentary of one of the most important European authors of documentary film, awarded Grand Prix for Best Documentary at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, made in the unique style of her most famous works, born over years of work. This time Helena Trestikova spent 13 years following and recording everything important happening to Mallory, a young, initially problematic girl, who goes on to become a mother before the camera, and struggles in clumsy and unusual ways to find her place under the sun. Despite temptations and weaknesses, she matures, stumbles and falls, but always finds the strength to pick herself back up again. Precisely in these moments of refusal to submit to despair, unusual twists occur, leading this film, one of a series of the best-known films of Helena Trestikova concerning young people left to fend for themselves on the streets, to gradually become a fascinating contemporary fairy tale told in the bitter tones of precisely documented reality.

Masterfully directed, analytical and empathic to its core “Mallory” reaches the pinnacles of verité documentary films. The film was shot by a total of six different cameraman, an unavoidable consequence of the vicissitudes of such a project, but it is astounding how the photography and camera retain their style, and the frames always appear though-out and precise, full of an authentic atmosphere of the filmed space and the lighting dispositions. The excellent editing of Jakub Hejna, a long-time collaborator of Trestikova, lends the films an extraordinary dynamism, while events and years fly before our eyes building a flawless dramatic composition of the film.

“Mallory” is a powerful testament of the wonders hidden in seemingly simple images of reality, which obtain their full meaning thanks to a unique insight, one capable of encompassing long periods in the life of the main character.

Director's Word: We hope that our film can inspire the audience, who feel that they’re not doing well in their life. (And that can happen to almost everyone.) The message of the film is simple: change is possible and hope always exists.

negativ.cz/en/films/mallory


Helena Třeštíková

One of the most important and productive Czech and European documentary filmmakers. During 35 years she has directed over forty films. Helena Třeštíková was born on June 22, 1949 in Prague. Graduated documentary film directing in 1975 at film academy FAMU in Prague.
In 1980 she made the most important author’s decision to start following people’s life stories on long-term basis. During next six years she dedicated herself to filming the everyday lives of several young couples from the moment of their wedding. The result came out in 1987 as six part television series “Marriage Stories” (“Manželské etudy”) and two feature-length documentaries.
In 1991, together with her film colleagues and sociologists, Třeštíková established the “Film and Sociology” foundation with the aim of providing a new perspective of the society after the great political changes. At the same time she started a cycle of five time-lapse films following the life stories of young delinquents called “Tell Me Something about Yourself” (“Řekni mi něco o sobě”). The most famous one called “René” was completed in 2008 and it was awarded with European Academy Award.
In 1994, together with her husband, publicist Michael Třeštík, she founded the “Man and Time” foundation specializing in time-lapse projects and films reflecting time, its flow and the changes it brings.
In 1996 she started following different women as heros for her new cycle named “Women at the Brink of the New Millennium”. The most important film from that project “Katka” was completed in 2010.
OSince 2002 she has been working as a pedagogue at the documentary film department at FAMU.
Constantly working on her films.

Selected filmography

  • WITH LOVE (Z lásky), 1987
  • LOOKING FOR A WAY (Hledání cest), 1988
  • THE SWEET CENTURY (Sladké století), 1997
  • PEOPLE, I LOVE YOU! (Lidé, mám vás rád!), 1998
  • HITLER, STALIN AND I (Hitler, Stalin a já), 2001
  • MARCELA, 2006
  • RENÉ (René), 2008
  • KATKA, 2010
  • PRIVATNE UNIVERSE (Soukromý vesmír), 2012
  • MALLORY, 2015

LAMPEDUSA IN WINTER

LAMPEDUSA IM WINTER


Austria, Italy, Switzerland 2015
93 minutes
directed by: Jakob Brossman

Is there anything emptier than idyllic summer resorts in the wintertime? Jakob Brossman arrives with his crew, at such a moment of calm and low tide, when all small local problems become big events, and their main protagonists begin to resemble characters of Fellini films. On Lampedusa this is all tinged by the big, unwanted looming shadow, the drama and present of the People from the Boats, rescued in dramatic operations from storms and high seas, sometimes successfully, often not, but always at great risk. And to top it all off – discussions recalling the spirited traditions of the debate forums of the ancient world – can the fisherman survive, will Lampedusa get a ferry, what are the Africans doing in front of the church? With humor and conviviality of the Mediterranean spirit, with a lot of sound and fury, but with empathy and true understanding for the human condition. A story told in rich layers, of the clash of worlds – of Africa v. Europe, the island v. the mainland, provincial outposts v. the center, and inescapably poor v. rich.

It is certain that suffering and victims often cloud our view of the saviors and those who welcome them, and Jakob Brossman chose to focus this documentary, about one of the greatest problems Europe is facing, through the unexpected prism of an inverted lens. Ironically showing us where the cameras “of the eyes of the world” are pointed and all the things this “all-seeing” gaze misses, the authors of the film observe carefully, analyzing even more carefully, and building a complex dramaturgical structure and composition. This specific and subtle approach allows for a unique insight into a phenomenon that has been dealt with countless time, leading towards a true culmination – an exceptionally exciting documented dramatic rescue operation in which for the first time we experience concern for all involved, for the equally endangered rescuers and drowning wretched of the sea.

A fantastic documentary of a developed spirited Mediterranean story which involves us deeper as we watch – we fear, we are entertained, we get angry, we scold and shout, we suffer and finally, all together we discover that behind it all stands a cold and distant, untouchable figure of power!

Director's Word: Lampedusa is a beautiful place, a fantastic holiday destination; there are people there who understand life, even though at times they have to struggle with the very basics.
There are lots of camera crews on Lampedusa, especially in the period immediately after any tragedy. They generally adopt the same approach and ask the same questions. In our case, people noticed that we came in winter, and that we stayed - and if I asked any questions at all, they were not the usual ones. I had a fantastic interpreter; without her I wouldn't have been able to overcome the language barrier. People came to appreciate the fact that we really wanted to understand the situation and the people.

lampedusaimwinter.derfilm.at


Jakob Brossman

Born in 1986 in Vienna, Austria.
Studied Stage and Film Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
His work alternates between theatre, photography, fine arts and documentary film.

Selected filmography

  • DAILY WORK (Tagwerk), 2011
  • LAMPEDUSA IN WINTER (Lampedusa im Winter), 2015

DON JUAN

DON JUAN


Sweden, Finland 2015
92 minutes
directed by: Jerzy Śladkowski

This year's winner of Europe's largest documentary film festival in Amsterdam, IDFA, without a doubt is one of the best documentaries produced in recent years. The initial idea of the author was to make a film about psychiatric institutions and patients in Russia, and even during the first researches suddenly appeared Oleg, a young man trapped by autism, and his mother convinced that her son can and should do more to improve his life. Especially when it comes to women. And Oleg begins long battles to learn how to become Don Juan, to pierce even a little the armor that safely shields him from the world and girls. The camera begins to follow his therapies that slowly multiply and start turning into an interesting odyssey - from conventional conversation, to shocking, grotesque procedures, and finally to making the theater.

Following his hero, Jerzy Slatkovski with his team, in which an important role has brilliant cinematographer Wojciech Staron, manages to be present in moments of crisis, debates and quarrels, to capture moments of opening and closing of the main character, to capture his emotions and blockades, without ever endangering the intimacy of the situation, nor to exceed the invisible boundaries of participants' dignity. While shooting this superb study of the human condition, the author and his film crew managed to achieve the ideal, unattainable request for filmmakers - they have become invisible.

The documentary by one of the masters of European documentary, directed intelligently and focused, with extremely subtle images of warm colors, with the camera that is always in pace with the events, with perfectly constructed internal rhythms, this Film, starting with the always interesting and intriguing view of the "Rain Man", develops a deep, warm and touching story about the person, creating the true, brilliant and convincing film hero!

Director's Word: The best stories usually result from coincidences, accidental meetings and good luck.
The first shooting period was a deep unprepared dive into the world of Russian psychiatric care, with no great expectations.
Russian producer Elena Petlarskaya and I happened to hear Oleg and his mother quarreling in a psychiatric clinic in Nizhny Novgorod about Oleg’s inability to fix up a date with a girl. We introduced ourselves and I shared some memories of my own romantic misfortunes – it was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship.

catndocs.com/index.php/categories/human-interest/744-don-juan


Jerzy Śladkowski

Born in 1945 in Poland.
Graduated from the Department of Classical Philology at the University of Torun and in 1973 from Department of Journalism at the University of Warsaw.
During his studies at the faculty, in 1972, he started to work for Polish Television, first as a reporter, then as director of reportages and documentaries.
In 1982, he left Poland and settled in Sweden, where he lives and works today.
He makes documentary films for Swedish Television and Swedish Film Institute and collaborates also with Finnish, Danish and Norwegian televisions. Since 1993 he is also a contributor to the German public ZDF TV and ARTE satellite channel.
After the departure of Polish made over 30 documentaries mostly on social issues and many of them in Russia.
Since 2011 collaborates with Polish Film Institute and since 2012 works as a tutor at Academy of Documentary Arts (ADA) in Warsaw.
Won FELIX, European Film Academy Award, in 1996.
He is Member of the European Film Academy (EFA).

Selected filmography

  • TRIANGLE OF DEATH (Dödens triangel), 1990
  • CHILDREN OF THE THUNDRA (Dzieci tundry), 1994
  • VENDETTA - ALBANIAN BLOOD FEUD (Vendetta - Albańska zemsta krwi), 1996
  • SWEDISH TANGO (Schwedischer Tango), 1999
  • THE LAPP SICKNESS (Lappsjukan), 2001
  • CADETS AND VIRGINS (Kadetter och oskulder), 2003
  • MY AMERICAN FAMILY, 2004
  • VIEW FROM THE DRAKNESS (Utsikt från Värtan), 2005
  • BEST FRIENDS (Bästisar), 2006
  • PARADISE (Paradiset), 2007
  • VODKA FACTORY (Vodkafabriken), 2010
  • DON JUAN, 2015

BROTHERS

BRACIA


Poland 2015
68 minutes
directed by: Wojciech Staron

From the very first moment of the film, from the first wonderful scene, an unusual and poetic story unfolds in front of us, a story about two brothers and their still unsettled life history that surrounds them. This documentary takes you on the small country roads lined with meadows, in beautiful, blossoming fields, in the dark forests where two old charismatic men are walking through - a painter, constantly in search of what excites his creative spirit, and the other one, who looks like his reflection in the mirror, and who managed, like in fairy tales, to get rid of the physical connection with the character and to become its opposite - a silent, reliable companion and protector. And whatever happens, from wandering through the landscapes full of colors and impressions, riding with no apparent purpose and reason, to everyday situations in which they are talking and being silent at the same time, between the two brothers runs continuous and exciting current which outlines some of the deep secrets of life and human communication. All this is linked by magical scenes of family films, which as a leitmotif of the film testify to the metaphysical sphere in the existences of our heroes.

Wojciech Staroń is the author of the stories of the unseen, documenting and building, above all, an atmosphere of space and events. Staroń is a painter and a poet, when as a cameraman reveals the protagonists in many different settings or when approaches their striking portraits. As a director, he develops a complex structure and story from a seemingly simple scenes and situations, where he successfully plunges deep beneath the tangible manifestations of the real. Finally, he adds to all of this a new, very special visual impression that is created by the use of archival footage of amateur films.

The winner of the festival in Leipzig, film "Brothers" will mesmerize you with its carefully designed visuals, with poetic scenes and portraits, speaking strongly about the relationships that pervade man, about love, wandering and searching.

Director's Word: For a long time I was looking for the answer what is this film about, what will be its main motive and its structure. However I knew from the very beginning that it will be a film about brotherhood. The final structure of the film appeared as a result of a year-long process of editing. I had to eliminate many plots to achieve as kind of universal and clear story.

www.staronfilm.pl/movies-b/2015/7/9/brothers


Wojciech Staroń

Born in 1973 in Poland.
Graduate of the Cinematography Department of the Polish Film School in Lodz.
Worked as a cinematographer on many documentary and fiction projects directed by different directors.
Awarded for his documentary films and for cinematography; won Silver Bear at Berlinale 2011 for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in cinematography.
He is also professionally occupied with photography and had a number of individual exhibitions. His photographs have been awarded internationally.

Selected filmography

  • SIBERIAN LESSON (Syberyjska lekcja), 1998
  • EL MISIONERO, 2000
  • ARGENTINEAN LESSON (Argentyńska lekcja), 2011
  • BROTHERS (Bracia), 2015

PALIO

PALIO


Great Britain 2015
92 minutes
directed by: Cosima Spender

For centuries, one of the most beautiful old city-republics in Italy, Siena, two times a year becomes divided with conflicts, when all residents, from the youngest to the elderly live for Palio - one of the oldest horse races in the world. It is a specific time machine that magically revives Renaissance costumes, flags, coats of arms and trumpets, ceases everything with its primordial force and completely enchants both observers and participants. This is a real battle for prestige turned into a symbolic competition of horses and riders held in a surprising place - in the very center of Siena, on the largest city square. Old ritual lives its intense life even today with never reduced passions without scruples - turbulent Mediterranean mentality and dark tradition of political intrigues of the past times haunt freely, like a ghost, all the citizens, and no one is spared, not even the players or horses.

The director of the film, Cosima Spender, who grew up in Siena, develops this visually attractive, lavish spectacle, showing us Palio from the perspective of four generations of the best, most important race winners; from those who made the most brilliant recent history to the newest and youngest one who is preparing for a relentless battle to realize his biggest dream. The author of "Palio" conceived and developed a real exciting, cinematic film, with extraordinary photography, carefully interwoven dramaturgical flows, which achieves its dramatic climax in the events that really take your breath away! Exceptionally credited with the most attractive moments in the film, especially during the racing scenes, is the brilliant editor Valerio Bonelli, awarded for his superb work at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

"Palio" is a great and memorable cinematic feast!

Director's Word: I grew up with the Palio so I was uniquely placed to gain the trust of everyone involved in the film and our narrator character was able to open doors which are normally closed to outsiders. Yet as a foreigner (I work out of London and my parentage is Anglo-American), I shared the jockeys' ambiguous relationship with Siena, and that is what I wanted to capture in this film.

us.thepalio.com/film


Cosima Spender

Cosima Spender, the daughter of British artists, was born and raised in Italy, then moved to England when she was 14 years old. She graduated in anthropology and art history from the University of London.
Earned a degree from London’s National Film and Television School in 2001.
She has directed her first documentaries for the BBC; also directed commercial work for the music industry.

Selected filmography

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ELEGANT, 2004
  • DOLCE VITA AFRICANA, 2008
  • WITHOUT GORKY, 2011
  • PALIO, 2015