VISUAL FRONT at the 18th New Horizons International Film Festival. According to the dictionary, "front" can refer to the forward-facing part of a building, the foremost line of an armed force engaged in fighting or an alliance or coalition with a common goal-usually referred to as a "united front."
It's primarily this last meaning that we're most interested in, as expressed by a coalition of artists and filmmakers. Visual Front is an experimental part of the festival: an area where cinema and art intermingle; a space for confrontation, where artists battle with the film form and filmmakers take on conceptual narratives; it is also a place for exchanging ideas. Below, you can find information about where best to see artists in action on the front lines at this year's festival.
Caniba, dir. Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, France 2017
This story of a Japanese cannibal who ate one of his friends from university, as told by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaign-Taylor (Somniloquies, NH 2017; Leviathan,NH 2013), goes beyond the sensational aspects of these events. With anthropological precision, the founders of the Harvard Sensory Lab have produced a carnal study of crime and lust.
The Wolf House, dir. Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña, Chile 2018
Fairytale folklore against the background of a religious sect. Nightmares, people turned into objects, talking animals. Wildness of heart and unchecked emotions often lead to hell. Stop-motion animation, two artists from Chile, a record of a journey into the unknown: into the murk of the forest, into a terrifying home, into oneself. The best film at the Berlinale Forum 2018.
★, dir. Johann Lurf, Austria 2017
A nighttime journey through the history of cinema: from silent films to the present. From the conquerors of the cosmos to melancholy glances at starry skies. A symphony of humanity's nocturnal fears and silent hopes. ★ is a film for hopeless dreamers, amateur astrologers and the lovestruck.
Casanova Gene, dir. Luise Donschen, Germany 2018
Pink flamingos and BDSM. An unorthodox film about lust and seduction. From an evolutionary point of view, polygamy among women doesn't make sense, but it still exists in nature. Is there a gene for promiscuity, the so-called Casanova gene, that is passed from father to daughter? A meandering essay-based on associations-about physical experiences.
Unsettling, dir. Iris Zaki, Israel 2017
Tekoa is trendy place, more like a hipster oasis in California than an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The tension is palpable when a leftist director from Tel-Aviv arrives with her mobile film studio. A simple intervention provokes a complex chain reaction.
The Goose, dir. Mike Maryniuk, Canada 2018
This psychedelic road movie by a self-taught native of Winnipeg who calls himself a "film folk artist" includes a mixture of performances by local oddballs and funky animations, video-game aesthetics and allusions to silent movies. Neon, leather jackets and karaoke. Postinternet on the big screen.
Beautiful Things, dir. Giorgio Ferrero, Frederico Biasin, Italy 2017
Many of the items that we collect throughout our lives and consider necessary start out in quiet, lonely laboratories. Others are created in the din of industrial sites. Futuristic science fiction about a future that we are already living in with an electrifying soundtrack. An award winner at Venice and Cph.Dox.
Dragonfly Eyes, dir. Bing Xu, China 2017
Welcome to a brave new world! According to statistics, Big Brother watches us from CCTV cameras up to 300 times a day. Xu Bing reviewed 10,000 hours of recordings to create an emblematic biopic of our era. From a quiet girl to a YouTube star.
Lek and the Dogs, dir. Andrew Kotting, UK 2017
Russian nihilism versus apocalyptic sci-fi in the incredible story of a four-year-old raised by stray dogs on the streets of Moscow. The topos of a wild child unspoiled by civilization is juxtaposed against images of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Drifting over the apocalyptic landscape is the spirit of Tarkovsky's Stalker and Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. An unforgettable work by one of England's most intriguing artists, a man recognized as the spiritual heir to Derek Jarman.
The End of Fear, dir. Barbara Visser, Netherlands 2018
Who's afraid of red, yellow and blue? A film about the murder of a painting by Barnett Newman and, more broadly, about vandalism in the world of art. Why does modern art so often arouse fear and aggression? Is it an expression of hatred against those elites who are identified with the art?
The Eyes of Orson Welles, dir. Mark Cousins, UK 2018
Apparently, every letter is a love letter. This is especially true in the case of Mark Cousins. His enthusiasm is so contagious, his commentary so brilliant and his associations so new that it's hard not to succumb to infatuation. "What's in the box, Orson?" asks Cousins, looking into a box of drawings by the great director, and thus begins this film letter, a project that is in no way a classic biopic.
Kusama: Infinity, dir. Heather Lenz, USA 2018
Obsessive, hallucinatory patterns of dots are the trademark of Yayoi Kusama, an eccentric Japanese artist-not to mention the country's most expensive artist. In the film, we meet her in New York in the 1960s, where she is fighting for fame. And she is also fighting on other fronts: against racism and sexism in the male-dominated world of art, where she is considered a curiosity. Go, girl!