The curators ask in the program notes, Can remembrance fix a broken world? At the core of this inquiry into the world, and the status of the human within its historical, sociopolitical, technological, and ecological parameters, lies the emphasis on feeling.
More than an exercise in how to evade censorship, This Is Not a Film is also a film essay, of sorts. It interrogates the essence of cinema, and poignantly shows how a film experience transcends its purely technical means.
Denis is hardly ever literal, but she does present a sobering vision of maternity as a prison, as “being caught,” subjugated. In this sense, Dibs wielding her power—what she calls her “total devotion to reproduction”—is also a slavish act of treason. She is a victim, and yet she becomes a tool and perpetrator.
As she relates the basic historical facts behind the international seed preservation project, the camera leads us through verdant Syrian fields, capturing the beauty of stalks swept by the wind. Again and again, Manna will mix sensuous imagery with more prosaic words.
"It was about creating this open space and stretching it as far as possible, moving step by step, adding new elements one by one. At one point, it became inevitable that the making of the film itself should come into view."
It’s an expansive visual travel journal—Chidgasornpongse rode all of Thailand’s train lines over the course of six years—though on screen it seems as though it’s all happening in a single day (represented in 102 minutes of footage).
Ghost Hunting, which won a special prize at the 2017 Berlinale for Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni, is a relatively cool and sober restaging of interrogations and tortures suffered by prisoners in the Israeli interrogation center Moskobiya.
While the selection includes both fiction and nonfiction films, the slant toward documentaries is pronounced: this year, out of the 15 films presented in the international competition, the vast majority were documentaries or fiction/nonfiction hybrids.
His latest film and fourth feature, Uncertain Terms, is perhaps Silver’s most mature depiction of imperfect love to date. As the title suggests, it focuses on relationships whose terms are in constant flux, setting its characters off on identity quests.
"I was challenging myself with the idea of not just depicting a certain fictional reality, but trying to depict its different levels, in a more subconscious, dreamlike way. At the same time, I didn’t want to simply have dream sequences, but to give the whole film a different quality."