AND Festival Film Programme (2009)
AND presented a mouth-watering selection of North West premieres, mixing special previews of films seen on the big screen for the first time. From the imaginative use of archive material to marauding zombies, stand-up comedians and vengeful women. The programme featured outsiders and troublemakers, bodies and philosophy and plenty to discuss in the bar afterwards.
Anger Is An Energy \\ Louise Forshaw, Mike Stubbs, Isaac Julien, Alain Resnais
Hammer and a Knife – Louise Forshaw, 1987, 5’
Greetings from the Cape of Good Hope – Mike Stubbs, 1985, 5’
Territories – Sankofa Films, Isaac Julien, 1984, 24,
Night and Fog – Alain Resnais, 1955, 32’
This programme, curated by Mike Stubbs, featured distinctive short videos and film, which used seemingly simple devices, relationships between people, memory and place. Stepping beyond the documentary, these films revisit sights of pain and abuse through re-enactment and occupation. Anger is an Energy celebrated useful anger derived through dissatisfaction with old regimes and dystopian histories signposting a need for change, through metaphor, energy and anger.
Image still from Hammer and a Knife – Louise Forshaw, 1987
Be Good (Sois Sage) \\ Dir: Juliette Garcias \\ France, Denmark \\ 90mins \\ Cert. 15
In her debut feature, Juliette Garcias delivers an incredibly tactile thriller to get your cinematic senses tingling. Eve is the new girl in town with an unhealthy obsession with a local family. Played with eerie intensity by Anaïs Demoustier, Be Good keeps you constantly guessing on Eve’s intentions, as suspense turns to a palpable dread.
The Kreutzer Sonata \\ Dir: Bernard Rose \\ USA \\ 99mins \\ Cert. 18
Danny Huston sits on the bed, blood on his hands and calls an ambulance. From the opening scene, it is clear that something very bad is going to happen. Spiralling around the epic themes of sexual possession and jealousy with a closeness and unease that only extremely good digital filmmaking can engender, Bernard Rose offers a follow up that continues to push the envelope. It may be a modern adaptation of Tolstoy, but the worst urges of men remain undiminished.
The Market (Pazar – Bir ticaret masali) \\ Dir. Ben Hopkins \\ Germany, Turkey, UK, Kazakhstan \\ 93mins \\ Cert. 15
One of the UK’s finest young directors, Hopkins (37 Uses For A Dead Sheep) has set his latest film in Turkey, turning a blackly humorous eye to a simple tale of border-crossing trade. Mihram (Tayanç Ayaydin) is a young man keen to legitimise his life by entering the profitable cell phones business. Trouble comes when the temptation for further profit arrives and Mihram faces a system where all the odds are stacked against him.
Breathless \\ Dir: Yang Ik-Joon \\ South Korea \\ 130 mins \\ Cert. 18
Not for the lighthearted, this Korean gangster film exists in an unapologetic vortex of unrelenting violence. Sang-Hoon (played by Yang Ik-joon) is a debt collector and goon for hire. Yeon-Hue is a schoolgirl with a self-destructive family. As two very damaged people collide, a surprisingly moving film emerges.
China Town \\ Dir: Lucy Raven \\ USA \\ 51 mins \\ Cert. U
An experimental animation tracing copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China. China Town considers what it actually means to “be wired” and in turn, to be connected, in today’s global economic system. Composed entirely of individual images with varying frame rates, this intriguing, long edit mirrors the many discrete processes, human efforts, and geographic locations that go into copper mining and commodity production.
Crying with Laughter \\ Dir: Justin Molotniktov \\ UK \\ 93 mins \\ Cert. 18
Joey Fisk is a stand-up comedian who doesn’t know when to stop. With an edgy line in humour that always oversteps the line, an appearance from an old school friend with hidden motives means that this time he might never go back. Stephen McCole’s central performance in this Edinburgh-based thriller is an awesome act, and the film maintains menace and edge throughout, while still being deeply, blackly and laugh-out-loud funny.
Examined Life \\ Canada \\ 87mins \\ Cert. 12A
Eight contemporary philosophers. Ten minutes each. This is theory for busy bees. A fascinating and generous documentary from Astra Taylor, Examined Life features Peter Singer pounding New York streets talking about ethics, Judith Butler discussing disability in thrift stores, and AND favourite Slavoj Zizek traipsing round a rubbish tip to discuss our unconscious fears.
Follow the Master \\ Dir: Matt Hulse \\ 75 min \\ Cert. PG
The Plaza Cinema in Crosby is a community-run organization in Liverpool, using revenue created from commercial screenings to provide film-based educational initiatives for the local community. AND is delighted to be presenting a satellite screening at this fantastic venue, with filmmaker Matt Hulse in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.
Goodbye Solo \\ Dir: Ramin Bahrani \\ USA \\ 91 mins \\ Cert. 12A
A Senegalese taxi driver meets a suicidal redhead on the lonely roads of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The two men forge an improbable friendship that will change both of their lives forever. One man’s American dream is just the beginning, while the other’s is quickly winding down. But despite their differences, both men soon realise they need each other more than either is willing to admit.
Katalin Varga \\ Dir: Peter Stricklnd \\ Romania, UK, Hungary \\ 82mins \\ Cert. 15
A startling breakthrough for new British talent Peter Strickland, Katalin Varga follows the journey of Katalin, a woman who crosses borders of landscape, sex and morality in her matter-of-fact quest for vengeance. With an earthy palette and cold eye on the Romanian countryside, this is a film with dirt under its fingernails and a female character that will not be forgotten.
Mary and Max \\ Dir: Harvey Crumpet \\ Australia \\ 92mins \\ Cert. 15
From the Oscar-winning director of Harvey Crumpet, this 3-D animation for adults tells the tale of two outsiders Mary and Max, whose friendship is linked through a life lived trapped by rules, both externally imposed and of their own making. This is an eccentric, blackly humourous tale pitched somewhere between the quirkiness of Amelie and the deadpan of About Schmidt. The charm of the mismatched characters slowly creeps up on the viewer to become a very moving experience.
Pontypool \\ Dir: Bruce McDonald \\ Canada \\ 96mins \\ Cert. 15
Latenight DJ Grant Mazzy has seen better days. A former shock jock relegated to the smalltown airwaves, the whiskey can’t take the edge off the humiliation of bogus weather reports and interviewing the local amateur dramatics society. Cue: zombies! Bruce McDonald delivers a sophisticated and blackly funny Abandon Normal Devices twist on the genre that still offers a satisfying splatter of gore.
Puffball \\ Dir: Nic Roeg \\ UK, Ireland, Canada \\ 120 mins \\ Cert. 18
A film with a strange pulse. Nic Roeg’s most recent feature, based on Fay Weldon’s novel, is a visceral take on fetal desire. A young architect moves to the country and becomes pregnant after a wave of magic, biological waywardness. Featuring a cryptic cameo from Donald Sutherland as her philosophical mentor.
The Memories of Angels \\ Dir: Luc Bourdon \\ Canada \\ 80mins \\ Cert. U
The most purely pleasurable film of the festival, Memories of Angels is a poetic city portrait of Montreal in the 1950s and 1960s. A digital carousel of vintage footage, the film offers fans of Of Time And The City a new dose of archive wonder. A paean to a city, an era, and the endurance of cinema, the stream-of-consciousness editing suggests Bourdon has somehow dreamt the film we saw before us.
The Yes Men Fix the World \\ Dir: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno \\ Cert. 12A
Troublemaking duo Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, posing as their industrious alter-egos, expose the people profiting from Hurricane Katrina, the faces behind the environmental disaster in Bhopal, and other shocking events.
Turistas \\ Dir: Alicia Scherson \\ 104 mins \\ Cert. 15
En route to a romantic holiday, a couple has a row. He leaves her on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. So starts Carla’s odyssey into the unfamiliar Chilean jungle, where, accompanied by a young backpacker who may not be all he seems.
Zasto ne govorim srpski (na srpskom) + Arena: Saint Genet \\ Dir: Phil Collins \\ Cert. 15
Zasto ne Govorim Srpski (na Srpskom) or Why I Don’t Speak Serbian (in Serbian) is a compelling short film from Turner Prize nominated artist Phil Collins, considering the complex relationship between language and conflict. Filmed in Kosovo, it relays the personal stories of public figures and ordinary people, discussing the collective shift to abandon the Serbo-Croat language.
Phil Collins discussed the film before introducing the Arena portrait of poet, thief and troublemaker extraordinaire Jean Genet. Pinpointed by Collins as a key inspiration for his practice, Saint Genet (1985) presents a formidable character who thrillingly challenges the nature of documentary subjectivity.
Mock up on Mu \\ Dir: Craig Baldwin \\ USA \\ 110 min
Filmmaker Craig Baldwin offers a bracing mixture of fantasy, fact and bizarre speculation in this satiric science fiction story which features both real-life and fictional characters as well as footage from vintage sci-fi flicks amidst new footage. In the year 2019, L. Ron Hubbard (Damon Packard) has been banished from Earth, but he’s making the most of it by becoming the Moon’s leading entrepreneur.
Humpday \\ Dir: Lynn Shelton\\ USA \\ Cert: 18 \\ 94 min
It’s been a decade since Ben and Andrew were the bad boys of their college campus. Ben has settled down and found a job, wife, and home. Andrew took the alternate route as a vagabond artist, skipping the globe from Chiapas to Cambodia. When Andrew shows up unannounced on Ben’s doorstep, they easily fall back into their old dynamic of macho one-upmanship. Late into the night at a wild party, the two find themselves locked in a mutual dare: to enter an amateur porn contest together. But what kind of boundary-breaking, envelope pushing porn can two straight dudes make? After the booze and “big talk” run out, only one idea remains-they will have sex together…on camera. It’s not gay; it’s beyond gay. It’s not porn; it’s art. But how exactly will it work? And more importantly, who will tell Anna, Ben’s wife?
Nic Roeg in Conversation 2009
Iconic director Nic Roeg has created many masterpieces of cinema including Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth. With work that often pushes audiences to question accepted positions (as viewers, as bodies, as citizens), we welcomed Roeg to AND Festival 2009, to examine what it means to abandon our normal devices, whilst talking to filmmaker Don Boyd about his current ideas and inspirations.
- Wed 23rd — Sun 27th Sep 2009