In Dir muss brennen
For the 14th time, this section illuminates European working worlds and realities in a time of globalization and economic crises.
This year the series, curated by Katharina Riedler, revolves around the theme of meaningfulness of work under the title What We Do. The four selected works (three documentary films and one fictional work) raise questions such as: What do we actually work for? For personal fulfillment? To live well? Or simply to survive? – The central film this year is the fictional “experimental arrangement” LA MANO INVISIBLE, which focuses on essential things like the meaning, appreciation, and visibility of work, which can also be found in the other films. In David Macian’s feature-length debut, work becomes merely a show, an empty, mechanical, purposeless activity. The teachers portrayed in the German long-term observation ZWISCHEN DEN STÜHLEN are confronted with manifold challenges and are also not driven solely by idealism. In contrast, a protagonist in the visual stunning French documentary film QUELQUE CHOSE DE GRAND, the young construction worker Joao, talks proudly about how working in construction has become a part of him: “It looks as though you were useless, but you are needed.” In the second documentary film from France, DERRIÈRE LES PIERRES, a filmic monument is dedicated to a factory that has long existed, hidden in the midst of the metropolis of Paris, before it vanishes into the periphery and out of the urban world of life.
Ten feature-length documentary films were chosen for this section in 2017, including three names closely connected with CROSSING EUROPE.
Two previous Tribute guests: Peter Braatz, to whom the Tribute section was devoted together with Maja Weiss in 2005, presents his new work, in which old material that he shot on the set of David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET has been newly compiled – during the festival BLUE VELVET REVISITED will also be shown once together with the Lynch masterpiece. With Helena Třeštíková last year’s Tribute guest returns, bringing with her the latest “episode” of her “Marriage Stories” (STRNADOVI), which were veritably stormed by the Linz audience in 2016. The Spanish director and CROSSING EUROPE Award-winner Lluís Galter deals with the cultural transfer from Spain to China and compares the legendary artists’ meeting place Cadaqués with its replica in Asia in LA SUBSTÀNCIA.
“Woman-power” could be called the over-arching theme in three music/dance documentary films, portraying international, Berlin-based music producers, a still living and dancing icon of Flamenco (LA CHANA), and a female world championship duo in street dance (MARTHA & NIKI). Three protagonists, very different in nature, set out in search of the love of their lives or happiness in love in AT ELSKE PIA and GOGITAS AKHALI TCKOVREBA. Participants in the eponymous “Atelier de conversation” also take their future in hand as they meet every week to learn a foreign language together, so that they can “arrive” as soon as possible in their new homeland of France. The tenth selected film deals with the catastrophic Chernobyl disaster and its deadly effects: LA SUPPLICATION is a visually stunning adaptation of the book Voices from Chernobyl by the Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich, telling of the residents of the site of the disaster.
This section assembles current feature films from all over Europe. As manifold as European filmmaking is, so are the 21 filmic positions in this section – including names by no means unfamiliar in Linz, such as the CROSSING EUROPE Award-winner 2004,
Teona Strugar Mitevska, who focuses in her feature film KOGA DENOT NEMASE IME, which premiered at the Berlinale, with the death of five Macedonian young people in 2012, which still remains unresolved today. Another who can be considered a CROSSING EUROPE regular is the Polish enfant terrible director Przemysław Wojcieszek, who provides a drastic survey of Polish society with KNIVES OUT. The Bulgarian director-duo Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov return with SLAVA, exploring the disastrous consequences of corruption of media pressure. Angela Schanelec, a well-known proponent of the “Berlin School”, has already been a guest in Linz before and now presents her new work DER TRAUMHAFTE WEG, which premiered in Locarno. Further “big names” in this section are Alberto Rodríguez with EL HOMBRE DE LAS MIL CARAS and Teresa Villaverde with Colo – both of whom have been guests in Linz before – and Eugène Green (LE FILS DE JOSEPH) and from Romania Adrian Sitaru (FIXEUR), and not to be forgotten – Lucas Belvaux, who will personally present a highly political opening film with CHEZ NOUS.
Strong, self-determined women are a common thread in this program section this year: all of three of them are named Maria, and what they also have in common is a sometimes laborious striving for love and respect (A DATE FOR MAD MARY, MARÍA (Y LOS DEMÁS), MARIE ET LES NAUFRAGÉS). The two female protagonists in ANASHIM SHEHEM LO ANI and SZATAN KAZAŁ TAŃCZYĆ also have their ups and downs, whereby love, sex, and self-realization play a not unimportant role. The young 14-year-old heroine in SAMEBLOD, on the other hand, is just at the beginning of her path, as she has to defend herself against racist prejudices as a member of the Sami and still wants to make her life dream come true nevertheless. There has long been no more room for dreams or self-realization in Manana’s life (CHEMI BEDNIERI OJAKHI), but when she finally pulls the plug and leaves her annoying clan behind, new perspectives open up to her. Two further titles also deal with the so-called nucleus of society – the family: in the award-winning film at Karlovy Vary last year from Hungary (ERNELLÁÉK FARKASÉKNÁL), two sisters are abruptly thrown together along with their families, and within one day, an elegant apartment in an old building in Budapest is transformed into an emotional battlefield. The Belgian film HOME, on the other hand, focuses on the inability of different generations to communicate with one another. The omnipresent theme of xenophobia is also reflected in the program, with DIE MIGRANTIGEN and PLATEIA AMERIKIS – two very contrary films, which both prove to have a special sense of milieus and social warps. The 21st title of this section, DEADWEIGHT, takes the audience out to see, more precisely on an ocean freighter, where the crew and their charismatic captain find themselves confronted with an exceptional situation.
A total of 160 works were entered for this program section last fall. The selection for this year’s festival comprises 60 productions, which are presented in 17 program slots – including 21 world premieres, two Austrian premieres and one international premiere.
The LOCAL ARTISTS section, which is highly popular with the audience, again offers an attractive overview of current Upper Austrian filmmaking, ranging from experimental film to socio-political documentary film. There are additional discoveries to be found among the mid-length films and in the music video field; 15 music videos are competing for the CREATIVE REGION MUSIC VIDEO Audience Award (€ 1.500,-). Further prizes that will be awarded to the films/videos in this section are the CROSSING EUROPE Award – Local Artist with prize money amounting to € 7.000,- Euro and the newly announced CROSSING EUROPE Innovative Award – Local Artist (€ 3.500,-) in 2017, which will be generously covered by the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter and awarded to a work with an innovative artistic approach. The CROSSING EUROPE Award – Local Artist Atelierpreis (powered by Atelierhaus Salzamt of the City of Linz) will not be awarded in 2017, because the future of the Atelierhaus Salzamt is not secure. We hope that our partner will be with us again next year.
Florian Sedmak, Anatol Bogendorfer
Philipp Bruckschlögl, Andreas Schmoller
For the tenth time, the film journalist and festival-maker Markus Keuschnigg has curated the NIGHT SIGHT at CROSSING EUROPE and this year again presents five unusual feature films – all of them from the genre of the “fantastic film”.
This time the curator prefaces them with the motto: Once upon a time there was reality …
The Night Sight program serves up five alternatives to realistic descriptions of the state of the here and now, outstanding and maladjusted European productions, which each approach the warps and rifts of the present in their own unmistakable way: pregnant mothers who sink sharp blades into arteries (Prevenge), alcoholics growing beyond themselves through self-destruction (Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman), lesbian terrorist cells destroying themselves from within (The Misandrists), rationalists overgrown by the primal forces of nature (Without Name), those with their backs against a wall, who start mutually sabotaging one another instead of sticking together (El bar). The selected positions call for taking a stance – toward oneself, toward one’s fellow human beings, and toward the world around us, and that in a thoroughly moral, humanist sense.
Irene Bude, Olaf Sobczak
In April 2017 CROSSING EUROPE will be the first film festival to present a complete retrospective of the film work by the Polish artist couple Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal, which will open with their current feature film SŁOŃCE, TO SŁOŃCE MNIE OŚLEPIŁO / THE SUN, THE SUN BLINDED ME (PL, CH 2016).
The film premiered at the renowned film festival in Locarno and received high praise from critics for its political topicality and artistic quality. The two TRIBUTE guests are no strangers to the festival audience in Linz, as they have already been represented in the festival program twice in the past. In 2012 they won the main prize with Z daleka widok jest piękny / It Looks Pretty from a Distance (PL 2011), which had premiered in Rotterdam, and then returned with HUBA / PARASITE (PL, UK 2014).
Anka Sasnal was born in 1973 in Tarnów in Poland and studied Polish literature and gender studies in Krakow. As a screenwriter, editor, and filmmaker, she lives in Krakow together with Wilhelm Sasnal, who was also born in Tarnów and studied architecture and painting in Krakow. Wilhelm Sasnal attracted international attention as a visual artist with a series of solo and group exhibitions in renowned galleries and art institutions (including the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Frankfurter Kunstverein, MoMA New York, Whitechapel Art Gallery London, and Guggenheim) with visual art in the form of paintings, comic books, drawings, photographs, and videos.
Their first longer collaborative film work is Świniopas / Swineherd, created in 2008, in which the eponymous swineherd – the film is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s literary fairy tale “The Swineherd” (1842) – goes into service with an unpleasant farmer in the Polish province and secretly smuggles a lesbian couple’s love letters back and forth. Shot in black and white, the surreal filmic result is emphasized more than a straight narrative. Performative elements alternate with documentary and experimental film fragments, while a bombastic score, which usually starts unexpectedly, comes in with numbers ranging from Elvis Presley all the way to contemporary atonal pieces. In this first joint film project significant characteristics of their artistic collaboration are already visible: the intensive focus on language, texts and literary models, which they transform into an image language or moving image that suits them. In interviews they both stress that they are not interested in conventional storytelling; while the plot of a story is secondary for them, the cinematographic image language and atmosphere are all the more important. At the same time, they always seek a balance between abstract images and reality. “The way we think about film comes from literature, but not because of the plot, but rather the poetry and the structure. We experiment a lot during shooting.” (Monopol - Magazine for Art and Life, online edition, 12.2.2014). Asked about their role models in film, they come up with names like Bruno Dumont, Ulrich Seidl, Michael Haneke, early Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Skolimowski, and representatives of the “Romanian New Wave”.
An explicit political stance can be noted in their films – thematically Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal circle around the current state of Polish society, rising xenophobia, the relationship of Polish society to the Catholic church, and especially the recent Polish past – Poland was long considered or regarded itself exclusively as a victim of the National-Socialists, but around the turn of the millennium Polish entanglements and involvement in the crimes of the Nazi regime were publicly discussed and treated artistically. In the film Świniopas / Swineherd the “Nazi past” is already washed to the surface, specifically in the form of dishes with a swastika on them, revealing the swamp. A dystopian world view, although not so much a pessimistic one – as they say themselves – may certainly be attributed to their work, along with an undisguised interest in the “dark” side of human beings.