The fifth edition of the New Horizons Film Language will focus on character: the way it is constructed, its relationship with the director and audience as well as an actors’ interpretation. This annual educational series shows the backstage of film form and workshop secrets using 10 carefully selected films, most from the last decade. Previous years’ topics included: editing, cinematography, set design and sound, with each accompanied by screenings, lectures and Q&As with artists and practitioners.
Character is more than just the hero who might be on the screen from the first to the last minute, or the just the opposite: the lost, sought, mentioned, invisible, imaginary character. Just think of puzzle films such as Citizen Kane, L'Avventura and The Usual Suspects. It is also the actor’s performance that plays a vital role in perception, either overly or under-expressive. The history of cinema evokes such paradoxes as the initially baffling mimicry in Japanese films (Rashomon), or Robert Bresson’s painfully neutral model-actors (Au Hasard, Balthazar - with the titular donkey!). Finally, the viewer's emotional identification that the more skilled directors efficiently control, is key: the negation and rejection of empathy and identification, and everything in between. Films such as Palindrome, I'm Not There and Parnassus, expose us to the test by casting numerous actors in one role, often different in age and appearance, skin color and even gender. Some movies make heroes of all objects or ideas instead of people - how does this affect the character and reception?
All these topics will be discussed with artists and audiences during NHFL: Character, as part of the 13th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival. A list of the titles of the sections will be announced in April 2013.
Grzegorz Kurek, Jan Topolski, section curators
The program includes:
Au Hasard, Balthazar (1966) dir. Robert Bresson
I’m Not There (2007) dir. Todd Haynes