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Invited Films 2018


24th Street

by Zhiqi Pan
China
88 minutes

24th-Street

China does not have a lot of room anymore for migrants like Su. Thirty years ago, Su had left his hometown with his girlfriend Qin. They did part-time jobs in the city. In 2010, they had reached Hangzhou. They set up a ramshackle restaurant next to a construction site on the 24th street. But, of course, Su neglected the need to obtain a permit and the plot they occupied faced problems and the authorities send him and the other illegal dwellers away instantly. Now Su decides to go back home to the countryside, where his wife and children, along with Qin’s family, still live. After being away for 30 years, how will Su face his family and a completely different hometown? “24th Street”, with its colourful main character, offers an original twist to the story of modernizing China and those on the fringe who cannot keep up, through observing Su and Qin’s experiences, without comment.




69 Minutes of 86 Days

by Egil Håskjold Larsen
Norway
71 minutes

24th-Street

At an unspecified quay, we are led into a crowd full of people by a trail of lifejackets that have been discarded. This places the film in a familiar scenario: Millions of people on the run, thousands who have lost their lives in a patchwork of political games.
With this serving as the entry point to the story, the camera moves onward. Walking along a Greek highway, a little girl stands out from the crowd. 3-year-old Lean is brimming with curiosity and childlike energy. Her playful nature engages us, which is in stark contrast to the intimidating backdrop of Europe. Without any background information on the child and her family, one can only guess where they’ve travelled from; we naturally assume they have crossed the ocean and already been through a lot.
Filmed from one metre above ground, the camera captures the story from the viewpoint of the child. We are with her and her little ‘Frost’ backpack amongst all the trouser legs and bags belonging to the adults around her. We realize that she understands the seriousness of the journey and that she is on her way to a new future, but throughout the entire journey she holds onto her childlike ability to normalize her days. She sings, plays, shares a lollipop with her little sister, washes the face of her uncle and sleeps in the arms of her parents when she gets too tired. The landscape changes continuously as national borders are crossed, but in the same way that the child herself has no relationship to the various countries, we can’t be sure where she is either. All we know, is that Lean is on her way to her grandfather in Sweden and that she dreams of learning to swim.




A Young Patriot

by Du Haibin
China
106 minutes

24th-Street

“A Young Patriot” is a documentary about a post-90s young man Xiao Zhao. The film follows the protagonist Xiao Zhao’s life experience, from a 19-year- old boy waving the flag and shouting the slogan “Long live China! Go China!” on the street of Pingyao, an ancient town in Shanxi province, to a college student in Chengdu of Sichuan province, and as a volunteer teaching in Liangshan Yi autonomous region. It records Xiao Zhao’s emotional and ideological change during the four years starting from his senior high school to his sophomore year, and meanwhile witnesses and presents the restlessness and disturbance the Chinese society is currently undergoing.




Communion

by Anna Zamecka
Poland
72 minutes

Communion2018

When adults are ineffectual, children have to grow up quickly. Ola is 14 and she takes care of her father, an autistic brother and a mother who lives apart from them; but most of all she tries to reunite the family. She lives in the hope of bringing her mother back home. Her 13-year-old brother Nikodem’s Holy Communion is a pretext for the family to meet up. Ola is entirely responsible for preparing the perfect family celebration. Communion reveals the beauty of the rejected, the strength of the weak and the need for change when change seems impossible. This crash course in growing up teaches us that no failure is final. Especially when love is in question.




Of Fathers And Sons

by Talal Derki
Germany, Syria, Lebanon
98 minutes

Of Fathers And Sons

After his Sundance award -winning documentary film “Return to Homs”, Talal Derki returned to his homeland where he gained the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses mainly on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12) are in the center of the story. They both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. The film captures the moment when the children have to let go of their youth and are finally turned into Jihadi fighters. No matter how close the war comes—one thing they have already learned: they must not cry.




The Dazzling Light of Sunset

by Salomé Jashi
Georgia
74 minutes

The Dazzling Light of Sunset

Flanked by her phlegmatic sidekick, Dariko is the only outside broadcast journalist at a local Georgian television channel. With derisory resources, she races from one report to another to give an honest, if not objective, image of the current events that shape her environment: from the capture of a “giant” owl to the obituaries—where we thus learn that the bearer of the Soviet flag fluttering over the Berlin Reichstag in 1945 has just been buried—passing via the elections. Noticed with Bakhmaro (2011, screened as part of the Focus Georgia, VDR 2015), Salomé Jashi provides, with humour, distance and a consummate sense of framing, a pseudo-ethnographical portrait of a community that, due to modernity and technological miniaturisation, has never ceased to gather material about itself. The multiplication of camera angles (journalist, filmmaker, amateur filmmakers) in “The Dazzling Light of Sunset” induces a relative competition between images and their distinct depth of focus. She turns the micro-events that punctuate this tragi-comedy with absurd overtones into revealing examples of a country that has begun a still chaotic transition.


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