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Lost Lost Lost - Movies from the Outer Edge

5/05/19
Dark Skull, dir. Kiro Russo
Małgorzata Sadowska about "Our Time" by Carlos Reygadas 19th New Horizons IFF: Volunteering

The section's curators, Agnieszka Szeffel, Mariusz Mikliński and Mariusz Wojas, look at the outer edge of auteur cinema, i.e. at directors who have experimented with the language of film production in recent years. They also catch overlooked titles, films that didn't get exposure at lesser-known festivals or were buried in marginal sections, but are the work of filmmakers not afraid to take risks.

Lost Lost Lost is a response to the increasingly short lifespan of films, especially those that aren't seen outside the festival circuit because programmers are now choosing from an increasing number of submissions and focus on new works. Movies in this year's edition of Lost Lost Lost seem to be one great escape - an escape from genre classifications, the rigor of classical narrative, story, words and even from light. 

Dark Skull Viejo calavera, by Kiro Russo (2016)

Today, the only kind of revolution that we can afford may be in the cinema, says Kiro Russo, a Bolivian native educated in Buenos Aires and director of Dark Skull (2016), his full-length debut. The "opening" of language is crucial. The greatest novels are usually dense and not easy to read, but they contain "something more." Stuck within the film industry, we become cinema consumers.Kiro Russo and the characters of his award-winning (Locarno) film descend into the depths of the earth; most of the action takes place in a Bolivian mine. Following the story of a constantly drunk boy who, after his father's death, is forced to take his place in the mine, the director experiments with the texture of darkness. It shows the life-long oppression faced by the protagonist who lacks any prospects or goals.

The Tree / A Árvore, by André Gil Mata (2018)

I could build a message in a few seconds using dialogue, but I think that the only category that can create true thought is time, claims Portuguese director André Gil Mata, graduate of the Béla Tarr Film Factory, who was named Best Director at last year's IndieLisboa. In The Tree (A Árvore; 2018)director Gil Mata gives over to dialogue-less cinema (which does not mean silent), using long shots and protracted camera rides to destroy the impression of time's linear nature. The two protagonists, a boy looking for his mother and a man who sets out each day before dawn with bottles to collect water for his entire building, meet in a Sarajevo subsumed in darkness and war. However, the genesis of this meeting remains a mystery - are not we dealing here with one person who, struggling with his own loneliness, exists in two dimensions? Cinema has always been about gestures, says Gil Mata, and the seemingly mundane activities assume an abstract and "timeless" form in The Tree.

Green Belt / Cordão Verde (2009) 
The Taste Crème Brûlée / O Sabor do Leite Creme (2012) 
by Rossana Torres, Hiroatsu Suzuki

The case is similar in films produced in Portugal by a duo of visual artists, Rossana Torres and Hiroatsu Suzuki. Rossana was a student of António Reis (Pedro Costa's mentor) and has been living for years in Mértola, in the Alentejo region. Hiroatsu hails from Kyoto, lived for many years in Okinawa, and came to Lisbon to study Portuguese cinematography. The festival program includes their entire filmography, Green Belt (Cordão Verde; 2009) and The Taste of Crème Brûlée (O Sabor to Leite Creme; 2012) in the Lost Lost Lost section and the DocLisboa award-winner, Earth (Terra; 2018) in the Discoveries section. It is cinema focused on the rhythms of nature, human life and work. The directors question how much and what kind of information is needed to build a reality in cinema, to give it fleshiness and authenticity while also provoking the ephemeral beauty that lies within it. They show the traditional crafts of Alentian villages (Green Belt), the main characters in Earth are two mounds used to fire charcoal, while in The Taste of Crème Brûlée it is an old family house belonging to two sisters. Observation of the material world is not only a pretext for a story about the people and history of these places, but a way to build a form spectacular in its minimalism. The key principle is breaking the rules of classical documentary film.


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