(watch from anywhere*)
*If you live in New York City, please support the festival and its host venues by watching films in person.
Mélodie de brumes à Paris
Julius-Amédée Laou, 1985, 23 min
In Mélodie de brumes à Paris, a West Indian man named Richard (Greg Germain) struggles to repress traumatic memories from his time fighting on behalf of France in Algeria. A run-in encounter with his father turns the film into a mournful lament on life under colonialism, before a cameo by the filmmaker (playwright Julius Amédée Laou) spins it in an entirely different direction. — Steve Macfarlane
This is the North American premiere of a new restoration made from the original 35mm negative at LTC Patrimoine (Paris) under close supervision from Laou, in partnership with Jesse Pires (Lightbox, Philadelphia) and film programmer Steve Macfarlane.
Sofia Theodore-Pierce, 2023, 11 min
Sofia Theodore-Pierce reliably constellates disparate styles of image-making into rich emotional atmospheres, perched just on the far side of legible narrative. Here, the stars are signifiers of last century’s bohemia: reclining nudes, languid novels, overfull apartments, cigarettes. As the camera tilts and pans, surveying them with a loose rhythmic formalism, intertitles inject snatches of daily experience, erotic encounters, standard anxieties. All together, the mood lands near one of the foundational lines of American poetics: “While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem.” — Phil Coldiron
The Miracle on George Green
Onyeka Igwe, 2022, 12 min
The Miracle on George Green centers around a public, natural space—specifically a single Chestnut tree within that space—and branches outward into a history of outdoor collectivity; its successes, its failures, its songs. Soft sunlight blurs the edges of Igwe’s frames. The organic pastels of the social and political movements that she documents are inviting. The fact that these documents are memories, imaginations and archival scraps points toward an uneasy sense of loss: in a world ever-teeming with privatized infrastructure, such harmony feels scarce. — Mackenzie Lukenbill
Ryan Clancy, 2023, 11 min
A sober sexual reawakening gives rise to a speculative communion with neanderthals.
Fin de Siglo
Maike Mia Höhne, 1999, 15 min.
From the backseat of a ramshackle taxi, a young woman distractedly rests her cheek on her hand. Out the window, Havana rushes by, at once industrial and aged, in faded 16mm film stock. In voiceover, the cabbie does not mince words. He reflects on the country’s passive acceptance of prostitution, often an economic necessity for women with no other options. The woman is then lying next to a slender man on a spare bed. They’re by turns intimate, playful, detached. A voice — hers? — recounts the scene in German, in the past tense. He eats dinner, asks her about the film she is finishing. The memory however is intruded by the words she remembers him speaking, suddenly voiced in the present, in Spanish, immediate. Later she argues with another man, embraces him, and drives away with him in a car. Or did all this already happen? Fin de Siglo is a work of memory not least for its magnetic, disorienting pull. — Genevieve Yue
The digital restoration of Fin de Siglo (1999) took place in 2022. It is based on the 16mm original image negative and the final mix on 16mm magnetic soundtrack. The restoration was undertaken by Arsenal — Institute for Film and Video Art at CinePostproduction in Munich and Berlin in close collaboration with the director Maike Mia Höhne.
A Picture for Parco
Ayanna Dozier, 2022, 3 min
A Picture for Parco recreates a 1980s commercial made for the Japanese department store chain by Kazumi Kurigami taking on the role previously played by an elegantly dressed Faye Dunaway sitting at a table, set against a black background, slowly and seductively eating a hardboiled egg. Filmed on the one-year anniversary of my last colposcopy, the piece evokes a range of intense feelings not present in the original.This film is part of the trilogy, "Close, but no Cigar."
— Ayanna Dozier
Yaangna Plays Itself
Adam Piron, 2022, 7 min
Here once stood the grandest of all Sycamore (Sha-Var) trees measuring 60 feet high with a canopy spreading 200 feet wide. The tree was given the Spanish name of El Aliso. The original inhabitants of this area, the Gabrieleño, were known as the people of the willow houses. These indigenous people have occupied this land for over 12,000 years. Their once peaceful life was forever changed by the California Mission era.
— Adam Piron
Two Films by Collectif Faire-part
2022, 14 min
Filmmakers Paul Shemisi and Nizar Saleh travel from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Germany for the screening of their new film. During a layover in Angola, they're stopped at the airport because the airline doesn't trust their documents to be real. While Paul and Nizar think they are being led to a hotel, where they would stay until their flight back home , they are actually being taken to an illegal detention center.
Speech for a Melting Statue
2023, 14 min
In June 2020, thousands of people took to the streets in Brussels to make a fist against police brutality and institutional racism in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. For a moment, it seemed that some demonstrators would take down the statue of colonial king Leopold II in a nearby square. For now the sculpture is still standing, but an optimistic poet already prepares her speech for the day it will be removed.