Among the 3 500 films which have been reviewed by the festival team and its correspondents in latin America, USA, Russia, India and Asia Pacific, 110 docs have been selected for the different sections of the competition.
47 countries are represented in this selection.
Among all the selected films, 13 docs are about or from Asia, including 2 about China, 2 about Vietnam, 1 about Cambodia, 2 about Iran, 2 about Afghanistan, 1 about Myanmar (Burma) and 3 about Japan.
* INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION INTERNATIONALE / feature films
A HOME FAR AWAY
Peter Entell, Switzerland, 2012, 100 min
Lois, an American actress, and her husband, Edgar Snow, the first journalist to have reported and filmed the Chinese revolution, are suspected of Communist sympathies and forced into exile. They end up in Switzerland, near Nyon, half way between the US and China. Long after, when Edgar has passed on, Lois tells all. A story of utopia and disillusionment takes shape before the camera.
VẮNG BÓNG (THE ABSENCE OF SHADOW)
Martin Otter, Germany, 2012, 91 min
As a child, the poet Thanh Nguyen lost his sight in an American raid. He grew up, married and had a family. When his wife fell ill, he decided to go begging around the country, accompanied by his nine-year old daughter. Conceived as confession for two voices (father and daughter), torn by shots of absolute clarity, Vắng Bóng is a journey through darkness.
* INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION / medium length films
EAU DOUCE, EAU SALEE
Aya Tanaka, Belgium, Japan, 2012, 50 min
A sister films her big brother (big in both senses of the term), who has become agoraphobic. A daughter films her father, who has shrunk in common with his ideals. So, Aya Tanaka, a Japanese living in Belgium and a member of the “Lost Gene”, films her Japanese family, the exhaustion of bodies sunk in darkness, in an attempt to avert their disappearance and the loss of her childhood.
Okuma Katsuya, Japan, 2011, 42 min
Young Yosuke finds a substitute father in Kame-chan, an old man living in a public park, under the observant eye of the Amerasian Rickey. Okuma Katsuya’s film, set in the capital of Okinawa, is both fable and documentary. It tells the story of a longing for relationship that throbs with the history of this half-American, half-Japanese island whose status is still disputed.
Loghman Khaledi, Iran, 2012, 52 min
Nessa, a young Iranian Kurd, dreams of being an actress. Constrained by patriarchal values and social pressure, her family opposes her ambitions, violently… or reluctantly. Part cinéma-vérité part interview, the film records Nessa’s battle. A tough, intense film, which tellingly conveys all the tension unleashed by a young woman’s desire for emancipation in modern-day Iran.
* INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION / short films
Hamed Alizadeh, Afghanistan, France, 2011, 29 min
Policemen housed in makeshift huts inspect vehicles entering the centre of Kabul. Recruited in different parts of the country to maintain security in the capital, they do not really know why they are there. Hamed Alizadeh records on film the absurd quality of the daily lives of these men, who think they are involved in building the future of Afghanistan.
* SWISS SECTION / HELVETIQUES
L’OMBRELLO DI BEATOCELLO (BEATOCELLO’S UMBRELLA)
Georges Gachot, Switzerland, 2012, 82 min
Over a period of 20 years, the Swiss paediatrician and cellist Beat Richner, alias “Beatocello”, has opened five children’s hospitals in Cambodia: ultramodern facilities that have saved thousands of lives. The film closely follows the career of this exceptional man, mixing personal account with archive material. A portrait which fleshes out the daily life and work of this visionary “utopia-builder”.
* SECTION STATE OF MIND / ETAT D’ESPRIT
EMPIRE OF DUST
Bram Van Paesschen, Belgium, 2011, 77 min
Lao Yang is Chinese. Eddy is Congolese and speaks fluent Mandarin. The pair work for a company commissioned to build a road between Kolwesi and Lubumbashi, capital of the Katanga province. Following the construction work, Bram Van Paesschen captures with impish virtuosity the sometimes cruel comedy of relations between new colonizers and former colonized.
* FIRST FILMS / PREMIERS PAS
CHUYEN MOI NHA (THE STORY OF ONES)
Lan Pham Ngoc, Vietnam, 2011, 10 min
How do you portray a society that is largely invisible? Using fixed shots brought to life by the sound of Vietnamese state radio, Lan Pham Ngoc observes urban life and transforms his characters, caught at a given instant of their daily existence, into ventriloquist’s dummies, paradoxically resistant to the official discourse which infiltrates talk-shows and popular radio soaps.
MAN HASTAM (J’EXISTE) (I AM)
Tara Parsa, Switzerland, 2012, 23 min
Armed with a tape-recorder, the filmmaker roams the streets of Teheran, accosts passers-by and asks them personal questions. The action takes place off camera. The screen is a black background for the words spoken. At first, what they say is evasive, dictated by timidity and fear. But gradually confidence grows and the Iranians’ capacity for debate reveals the hidden thoughts of the nation.
NUIT DE POUSSIERE (DUSTY NIGHT)
Ali Hazara, ALI HAZARA, France, 2011, 20 min
Ali Hazara, a product of the Varan studios, films the night-time street-sweepers of Kabul. For a miserly wage, these poor folk from the suburbs remove tons of dust from along an avenue, amid the glare of headlights and the incessant din of the traffic. Shadows among shadows, they dance a pathetic ballet: that of a country’s uncertain progress towards “modernity”.
Kham Sai Kong, Myanmar [Burma], Germany, 2011, 7 min
A grandfather with a heart of gold. But he swears like a trooper. He cares for his grandchild, whom he calls “Sweetie Pie” or “Sonny Boy”, letting him do practically anything, like cutting up his banana with a CD, while shouting at him. In his debut film, Kham Sai Kong portrays this ambiguous relationship as a game between children separated by… two generations.
* SECTION DOC ALLIANCE
L’ANABASE DE MAY ET FUSAKO SHIGENOBU, MASAO ADACHI, ET 27 ANNEES SANS IMAGES
(THE ANABASIS OF MAY AND FUSAKO SHIGENOBU, MASAO ADACHI AND 27 YEARS WITHOUT
Eric Baudelaire, France, 2011, 66 min
As the screenwriter for directors such as Nagisa Oshima and Kōji Wakamatsu, Masao Adachi was deeply involved with the left-wing radical politics of his time. After a trip to Lebanon to meet the notorious Japanese United Red Army, he decided to join them. Masao Adachi was arrested in 2001 and forced to return to Japan. Director Eric Baudelaire uncovers one of the best-kept secrets of Japanese cinema and society.
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