Directors, Heroes

The documentary program is thematic as always, and this year, it is dedicated to heroes. To those who want to change life for the better using whatever ways and means, including the camera which is lately being used more and more often. This camera looking into the world is by no means impartial; it does not conceal the views and intentions of the author standing behind it. Sometimes it even turns back at the director and involves him or her in the action. Thus a director becomes a character/hero.

Another criterion for this year’s selection is that all the films in the program were shot over the past couple of years. These are the new festival hits and it would be a pity to miss them.

Political and war films make up an important part of the 20th century legacy with its succession of bloodsheds. The 21st century cinema has been soaking up new energy of the open information field and protest force. An American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer has made films about contemporary Indonesia where power remains in the hands of those responsible for the mass murders of the so called communists in 1965-66. The murderers not only deny their guilt but openly boast about their «achievements» in front of the camera, they recount and demonstrate where and how they killed their enemies who were in fact innocent civilians. The first film of the two entitled «The Act of Killing» was nominated for an Oscar in 2012. The protagonist of the second one, «The Look of Silence» (we are showing this documentary at our film festival) becomes Oppenheimer’s rightful co-author. He broadens the discussion of what has been hushed for so long in Indonesia and elsewhere in the world, taking it far beyond the frame of the movie.

The Yes Men activists who are in the center of the film «The Yes Men Are Revolting» (and this is exactly what they are) are reckless guys on the warpath against big corporations and global warming. They are heroes. And they are the directors of a hilarious film about themselves.

Modern-day guerrilla often unravels in the cyber-space. Edward Snowden is one of its key figures and the protagonist of the Oscar-winning film «Citizenfour». It is he who finds Laura Poitras, the director of the future movie about him, and confides to her (and by consequence to us) the secrets of the National Security Agency.

«1989» — a documentary thriller from an Oscar nominee Anders Østergaard (for «Burma VJ ») and co-director Erzsébet Rácz — reveals an incredible truth about the fall of the Berlin wall in the most extraordinary and innovative language of documentary filmmaking.

A Russian director Denis Shabayev gets into his car with his daughter and together they drive to some far-away place; and in their voyage, there is no place for politics or war, there is only the time to be «Together». This sincere, fresh, and a very humane road-movie, having toured dozens of film festivals, has finally come to Sakhalin!

Natalia Pylaeva