Celebrating its sixth year, the Art of the Real festival offers a survey of the most vital and innovative voices in nonfiction and hybrid filmmaking. This edition promises yet another vibrant slate of brilliant new works by internationally acclaimed filmmakers and impressive, award-winning debuts from around the world, plus a retrospective of Japanese experimental filmmaker Toshio Matsumoto’s nonfiction work and a tribute to the late Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes.
Presented with support from MUBI.
Hirofumi Sakamoto, Mathilde Rouxel, Michel Lipkes, Garbiñe Ortega, Julian Ross, John Mhiripiri, Arthouse Hotel New York City; Ancine; Austrian Cultural Forum; Consulate General of Switzerland; Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Following a bad breakup with his boyfriend at the beginning of 2016, festival programmer Frank Beauvais found himself alone in his midforties, stuck in a small town in Alsace, the region tucked away in the northeastern corner of France, without a car, a job, or prospects for attaining either. He began watching four or five films a day and working on Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream, a compilation of thousands of clips from over four hundred movies with a diary-like voice-over. When it premiered in February as part of the Berlinale’s Forum program, the film generated considerable buzz, and tomorrow, it’ll open the sixth edition of Art of the Real, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s showcase of new work by artists and filmmakers at the forefront of nonfiction and hybrid cinema.
As an adventurous spectator of cinema who writes about films and is very much interested in where cinema is headed as an art form, I can say that Art of the Real, a film series that showcases innovative, daring, non-narrative films, has been a great wealth of resources and a place of discovery over the years.
Since its inception in 2013, Art of the Real at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center has been celebrating genre-bending, non-narrative filmmaking. In its sixth year, the series presents new such works by filmmakers from around the world, plus a retrospective featuring Japanese experimental filmmaker Toshio Matstumoto’s non-fiction work and a tribute to the late Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab. If you are a curious about the possibilities of cinema as an art form, and hungry for something new and thought provoking as well as entertaining, the Art of the Real series is the place to be.
Q&A with Frank Beauvais · North American Premiere · Opening Night Reception · Screening with Deborah Stratman's Vever (for Barbara)This first-person essay film, composed of excerpts from over 400 films and accompanied by a soundtrack featuring the intimate recollections of director Frank Beauvais, reframes otherwise incidental images into an indelible and immensely moving reflection on life, love, and loss.
Q&A with Tamer Hassan, Armand Yervant Tufenkian * Monika Uchiyama · North American Premiere · Screening with Uchiyama's A New UseIn this 16mm travelogue, Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian trace a collection of letters, originally written to accompany seed packets sent between friends and families, across the U.S.
Q&A with Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Anton Vidokle · Screening with Vidokle's Citizens of the CosmosThis wry reinvention of the nature documentary spies upon the local fauna of Lithuania’s Curonian Spit, observing from the same remove the cormorants who nest there and the human tourists who come to puzzle at their curious existence.
Q&A with Lei Lei · North American PremiereIn Chinese filmmaker Lei Lei’s first feature, anonymous images and found materials skip and stutter through analog animation techniques, while on the soundtrack the director’s mother speaks of her youth in Maoist China and of violent dreams of animals fueled by late nights in front of the television.
U.S. PremiereFilming with a patient and unobtrusive hand, Nicole Vögele observes the goings-on at a late-night eatery in Taipei where Mr. Kuo and his wife, Mrs. Lin, cook for the city’s night owls. Through overheard conversations and the restaurant’s routine activities, a vivid portrait of a working-class community slowly takes shape.
Q&A with Julien ElieShot in stark monochrome, Julien Elie’s Dark Suns chronicles the hundreds of murders of women, journalists, and activists in Mexico since the early 1990s and the insidious culture of cartel violence and police corruption behind them.
North American PremiereLebanese artist Ghassan Halwani's debut feature is an evocative, procedural investigation of the thousands of people who were disappeared in Beirut throughout the Lebanese Civil War.
North American Premiere · Screening with Mauro Andrizzi's Cairo AffaireComprising footage shot aboard the Costa Concordia during the production of Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme and civilian-shot footage of the ship as it ran aground two years later, this “anatomy of a disaster” reanimates the ship’s ghostly aura and offers precious insight into Godard’s process.
Q&A with Marine de Contes · Screening with Diana Allan's So Dear, So LovelyDeep in France’s Landes forest, a group of wood pigeon hunters navigate a complex system of pulleys and tunnels; as they patiently await their prey, conversations highlight the traditions still honored by the practice, even as the distant sound of falling trees signals its imminent demise.
Q&A with Ian Soroka · North American PremiereIan Soroka’s debut feature navigates caves, quarries, archaeological sites, and a fallout shelter transformed into a film archive to excavate the buried histories of the Partisan Liberation Front, who resisted the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia during World War II.
North American PremiereThis wild and hallucinatory film explores the mysterious forests of a remote territory on the Finnish-Russian border, an idyllic setting where folklore, magic, and traumatic histories intersect.
Q&A with Kavich Neang · North American PremiereAs Phnom Penh’s historic White Building, a thriving artist community, faces redevelopment, longtime residents somberly reflect on their old home and its imminent destruction, stirring up the dust and memories that have accumulated in its storied walls.
Q&A with Sebastian Brameshuber · North American PremiereA result of director Sebastian Brameshuber’s friendship with his film’s real-life subject, a Nigerian mechanic toiling away at the base of a centuries-old Austrian ore mine, this myth-shrouded document of one man’s solitary existence doubles as a meditation on our globalist economy.
Q&A with Miko ReverezaA cross-country journey from Los Angeles to New York—captured in images of transit zones and passenger-train interiors—serves as the backdrop to this highly personal reflection on the experience of undocumented people in ICE-age America.
Q&A with Anand PatwardhanAnand Patwardhan’s epic chronicle of India’s ongoing persecution of its own people provides both a detailed history of the murders of many public figures and a present-day exploration of the terrorist acts that have resulted from the country’s fall from democracy.
Q&A with Igor Drljača · U.S PremiereIn The Stone Speakers, myth and memory share space as director Igor Drljača explores Bosnia and Herzegovina’s heritage and cultural identity through its attractions and landmarks, highlighting a self-styled ideology the country hopes to reinforce through the Balkan tourism boom.
Q&A with Sarah J. Christman · U.S PremiereSet around Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano, Sarah J. Christman’s debut feature depicts the allegorical quests of a pair of female beekeepers, a Hawaiian activist, and a group of scientists, drawing ambitious parallels between the earthbound and the cosmic, the intimate and the expansive.
Q&A with Francisco Marise · North American Premiere · Screening with Gürcan Keltek's GulyabaniThis psychological portrait from first-time director Francisco Marise centers on a Cuban special forces veteran who, when not channeling his trauma through a rigorous training regimen, seeks to reconnect with old comrades.
North American Premiere · Q&A with Clarissa Campolina and Luiz PrettiThis discreetly expanding fiction from partners Clarissa Campolina and Luiz Pretti traces through vivid montage and voiceover the relationship between two immigrants who meet while living in New York. Combining elements of the diary and travelogue film, While We Are Here captures the beauty and fragility of love and its memory.
Q&A with Daniel ZimmermannUsing only 360-degree sequence shots, director Daniel Zimmermann methodically charts a fir tree’s journey from the Austrian countryside to the Brazilian rainforest, highlighting the relative value and consequence of globalized trade and man’s place within the larger ecosystem.
Q&A with Deborah Stratman and Lynne Sachs · Free and open to the public!To commemorate the passing of pioneering experimentalist Barbara Hammer, Art of the Real presents a free program featuring one of Hammer's most indelible works—the 1978 portrait of sapphic intimacy Double Strength—alongside two 2018 homages.
Q&A with Eric Baudelaire and Elena López RieraFeaturing Julio Iglesias’s House by Natalia Marín, Walked the Way Home by Eric Baudelaire, Those Who Desire by Elena López Riera, and On Guard by Jeamin Cha.
The filmmaker and critic Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017) was both a pioneer of experimental cinema and video art in Japan and a highly influential theorist, challenging the conventions and exploring the boundaries of documentary art, avant-garde film, and narrative cinema alike. From his collaborations with the collective Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop) in the late 1950s, through his expressive “neo-documentarist” and electrifying expanded cinema experiments of the 1960s, to his radical appropriation of emerging video technologies in the 1970s and ’80s, Matsumoto’s efforts to reinvent the moving image at the molecular level resulted in one of the most rigorous and expansive bodies of work in the cinema.
Art of the Real Spotlights
Co-presented with e-flux Bar Laika, 224 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn. Each edition of Art of the Real features a selection of Spotlights that take a closer look at a range of practices in experimental documentary. This year, we collaborate with e-flux Bar Laika to present two spotlight events with the artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire and the scholar and critic Erika Balsom.
Free and open to the public!With works spanning the past decade—including selections from [SIC] (2009), The Makes (2010), Letters to Max (2014), and the work-in-progress A Dramatic Film, the result of a four-year collaboration with a group of Paris Banlieue middle-schoolers—this program engages with the artist’s process of “protocol” and its profound and original results.
Free and open to the public!This talk will consider how and why hybridity, fiction, and “blurring boundaries” have figured as recurring preoccupations in critical and curatorial efforts to conceptualize the vitality of experimental documentary practices.
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