The Festival is divided into three sections: the international Competition, the Focus, and the open-air screenings of the Piazzale. Take a look on the films and events of 2021.
The international Competition:
The international Competition features fourteen films of all lengths and genres (documentary, fiction, essay) made in the year preceding the Festival. This cinematographic gesture translates the personal, alert and lively world vision of the artists who made it.
The Focus selection:
The Focus selection presents out-of-competition films and performances inviting the public to singular cinematographic explorations, as an opportunity to share special moments with the members of the jury.
The Piazzale screenings:
Each evening, festival attendees gather around the Piazzale (the main courtyard of the Villa Medici) for a programme of recent films intended to bring together all audiences for unique screenings under the stars.
AMANSA TIAFI (PUBLIC TOILET AFRICA) by Kofi Ofosu-Yeboah (2021, Ghana, 95’) Italian premiere Ama returns to the city, where she was gifted to a white art collector as a child, to reclaim her stolen childhood with the support of an ex-lover.
ASSOCIATIONS by Ed Fornieles (2021, United Kingdom, 39’) World premiere The filmmaker’s subconscious is mapped out in a chain of seemingly never-ending images, as we hear the filmmaker allowing his mind to wander in a trance-like state where memories, thoughts and feelings rise and pass away.
BETWEEN THE HEAVENS AND ME by Alfredo Jaar (2020, United Sates, 25’) World premiere Between the Heavens and Me is an intimate diary filmed under lockdown in the first months of Covid-19 in New York. Trailer
EL GRAN MOVIMIENTO by Kiro Russo (2021, Bolivia, France, Qatar, Switzerland, 85’) Roman premiere After a seven-day walk with his companions, young Elder arrives in La Paz seeking to be reinstated in his work at the mine. The big city is overwhelming, and Elder begins to feel sick.
GRAVEYARD CONNEXION by Jonathan Pêpe (2020, France, 11’) Italian premiere It is said that in five years’ time, Facebook will have more dead than alive. Are data centres destined to become memorials, storing the residual files of the dead?
IL BUCO by Michelangelo Frammartino (2021, Italy, France, Germany, 93’) Roman premiere August 1961: young speleologists explore Europe’s deepest cave in the untouched Calabrian hinterland: the Bifurto Abyss. Trailer
INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL by the collective Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers (2020, Hong Kong, 88’) Italian premiere November 2019: the Fight For Freedom Movement in Hong Kong took up the Polytechnic University as their base. With the police blocking all exit routes, it was placed under siege. Trailer
LÈV LA TÈT DANN FÉNWAR by Érika Étangsalé (2021, France, 51’) International premiere Jean-René is a retired workman who has lived in Mâcon, France, since emigrating from Reunion Island at the age of 17. Today, for the first time ever, the quiet man recounts his story to his daughter. Trailer
THE LOST DOG by Amie Barouh (2021, France, 13’48) World premiere A dog is lost in the Gare du Nord district. He passes from hand to hand discovering the contradictions of the neighborhood. Trailer
PETIT AMI PARFAIT by Kaori Kinoshita and Alain Della Negra (2021, France, 88‘) World premiere In Japan, three adults fall under the spell of Rinko, a high school girl in the video game LovePlus. This virtual idyll leads them for a whole weekend in the old seaside city of Atami.
REPÚBLICA by Grace Passô (2020, Brazil, 15’30) Italian premiere The pandemic brandishes the extent of the necro-politics operating in the country and its society goes through a crisis of ethics amidst a government, as an expression of colonialist power.
THE FOULED COMPASS by Madison Bycroft (2020, Australia, France, 24’) World premiere Taking its name from an Adrienne Rich’s 1973 poem, the film takes floating as its point of departure and a methodology of disorientation and a practice of pleasure.
THE WORKS AND DAYS (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin) by C.W. Winter and Anders Edström (2020, United States, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, 480’) Italian premiere The film is a geographic description of the work and non-work of a farmer: a portrait, over five seasons, of a family, a terrain, a sound space, and of duration itself. Trailer
VAS-TU RENONCER ? by Pascale Bodet (2021, France, 72’) International premiere Paris, first third of the 21st century. Édouard is a painter, Charles a poet. They are friends, but discouragement lurks in the face of adversity. Gulcan, a stranger, appears from nowhere. An idea comes to him.
The Focus section present out-of-competition films and performance highlights inviting the public to explore unique cinematographic genres. It also provide an opportunity to share special moments with the members of the jury: Béla Tarr take part in a masterclass, led by journalist Cristina Piccino. Teresa Castro bring together three rare films by two South American directors: the work of Cecilia Vicuña, (What is Poetry to You?, 1980) and Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (La Cueva Negra, 2012 and Black Beach / Horse Camp / The Dead / Forces, 2016) are put into dialogue for their eco-feminist commitment, which manifests itself cinematically in a desire to shift attention, to take care of wounded places and broken stories.
Visual artist Alexis Guillier present a performance entitled La réalité éclatée / A many splattered thing produced at Villa Medici. This performance tells the story of a series of filming accidents, notably from Italian cinema, and explore the paradox they express: both a founding and essential ingredient of cinematic illusion, the accident in cinema is also the unwelcome guest of a staged reality that we seek to control.
The Focus section also feature two films by artists, Aude Fourel and Evangelía Kranióti, Fellow residents at Villa Medici from September 2021. Pourquoi la mer rit-elle ? (2019) by filmmaker Aude Fourel questions, in dialogue with Katia Kameli‘s short film Ya Rayi (2017), the place of Algerian songs in the oral transmission of intimate, societal and political claims. Exotica, Erotica, Etc. (2015) by artist and director Evangelía Kranióti, alongside Suzanne Husky’s film Sur la prolifération des sirènes en temps de naufrage (2017), offers complementary narratives on contemporary maritime mythologies, between erotic odyssey and globalized trade.
Round tables and discussions complete these exploratory itineraries, with Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaître, Edgar Morin, Olivier Père… so that this first edition of the Villa Medici Film Festival unfolds in a spirit of encounter, openness and conviviality.
SERRE MOI FORT by Mathieu Amalric (2021, France, 97’) It seems to be the story of a woman who left. Trailer In the presence of Mathieu Amalric Screening organized in collaboration with Fondazione Cinema per Roma
THE ORPHANAGE by Shahrbanoo Sadat (2019, Afghanistan, Germany, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, 90’) In the late 1980s, 15-year-old Qodrat lives in the streets of Kabul and sells cinema tickets on the black market. One day the Police bring him to the Soviet orphanage. In the presence of Shahrbanoo Sadat Screening organized in collaborationwithFondazione Cinema per Roma and Rome City of Film – UNESCO
DRIVE MY CAR by RyūsukeHamaguchi (2021, Japan, 179‘) Yusuke Kafuku, still unable to fully cope with the loss of his wife Oto, receives an offer to direct a play at a theatre festival and drives to Hiroshima with his car. There, he meets Misaki, a reticent woman assigned to become his chauffeur.
DRAMMA DELLA GELOSIA (TUTTI I PARTICOLARI IN CRONACA) by Ettore Scola (1970, Italy, Spain, 106’) Oreste, a mature Roman bricklayer and convinced communist, meets and falls in love with Adelaide Ciafrocchi, a florist who has a stall at the Verano cemetery in Rome. In the presence of Gianluca Farinelli (Cineteca di Bolgona)
A CHIARA by Jonas Carpignano (2021, Italy, France, 98’) In Calabria, a 15-year-old girl discovers that her father is affiliated with the ‘Ndrangheta and is involved in drug trafficking. In the presence of Jonas Carpignano
For its first edition, the Villa Medici Film Festival is accompanied by a prestigious jury composed of three personalities from the cinema and visual arts: Teresa Castro, Mati Diop and Béla Tarr.
Teresa Castro is a lecturer in film and audiovisual studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. Trained in art history in Lisbon and London, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Musée du quai Branly (Paris) and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin). She has published La Pensée cartographique des images. Cinéma et culture visuelle (Aléas, 2011). Her recent research focuses on the links between cinema and animism, eco-criticism and plant life forms in visual culture. In this context, she has published “The Mediated Plant” (E-flux, 2019), co-edited the collective work Puissance du végétal et cinéma animiste. La vitalité révélée par la technique (Dijon, Presses du réel, 2020), participated in the exhibition PlantRevolution! (CIAJG, Guimarães, 2019) and animated the website Segredos da Natureza / Secrets of Nature (Culturgest, Lisbon, 2021). Teresa Castro is part of the collective La vie à l’œuvre and of the advisory board of the international seminar Doc’s Kingdom. In parallel to her academic activities, she also works as a critic and programmer.
Mati Diop, born in 1982, lives and works between Paris and Dakar. Her first feature Atlantic (2019) was selected in the official Competition at the Festival de Cannes, where it was awarded the Grand Prix. The film was later shortlisted as one of the 10 best international films at the Oscars. She has also directed several short-films and medium-length films: Atlantics (2009), Snow Canon (2011), Big in Vietnam (2012), A Thousand Suns (2013), and In My Room (2020), which were also nominated and awarded in many international festivals. In 2016, Mati Diop received the Lincoln Center of New York’s “Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award”. As an actress, Mati Diop has appeared in Thirty-Five Shots of Rum (2008) directed by Claire Denis, Simon Killer (2012) by Antonio Campos, Fort Buchanan (2014) by Benjamin Crotty (former Villa Medici’s Fellow), Hermia & Helena (2016) by Matias Piñeiro and in her latest short film, In my room (2020), recently presented at the Venice Film Festival.
Béla Tarr began his career at sixteen as an amateur filmmaker. Later he worked at Balázs Béla Stúdió, the most important workshop of Hungarian experimental film, where he made his feature directorial debut. Tarr was a student of the Academy of Theatre and Film (Színház-és Filmművészeti Egyetem) in Budapest (1977-1981). In 1981 he was one of the founders of Társulás Filmstúdió, since its closure in 1985 he has worked as an independent filmmaker. In 2003 Tarr founded TT Filmműhely, an independent film workshop that was led by him until 2011, and in 2012 he founded the international film school Film Factory in Sarajevo. He is a member of the European Film Academy since 1997, the president of the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association, and a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts. His filmography includes Family Nest / Családitüzfészek (1977), Macbeth (1982), Damnation / Kárhozat (1988), The Man from London / A londoni férfi (2007), and The Turin Horse / A torinói ló (2011). After his self-proclaimed retirement from filmmaking, he embarked on a new creative path with his highly acclaimed exhibition Till the End of the World at the Eye Film Museum Amsterdam in 2017.
THE WINNING FILMS
On Saturday 18 September evening, the jury composed of Teresa Castro, Mati Diop and Béla Tarrawarded the two prizes of the 2021 Film Festival on the Piazzale stage of Villa Medici, with a projection of the winning films the day after.
VILLA MEDICI PRIZE FOR BEST FILM Inside the Red Brick Wall (2020) from the collective of filmmakers Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers
Premiering in Italy in the occasion of the festival, this documentary film shot in November 2019 follows the Fight For Freedom Movement in Hong Kong when it took up the Polytechnic University as their base. With the police blocking all exit routes, the University was placed under siege. Inside the Red Brick Wall is a chilling testimony of police repression in Hong Kong.
The Prize for Best Film, worth 5,000 euros, is accompanied by a fifteen-day writing residency at Villa Medici for the directors.
SPECIAL PRIZE OF THE JURY El Gran Movimiento (2021) from Kiro Russo
With its second feature film, Bolivian filmmaker prodigy Kiro Russo films La Paz and the under-proletariat of miners with an astounding magical realism. The film tells how the character of Elder arrives in the big city seeking to be reinstated in his work at the mine.
The Jury Prize, worth 3,000 euros, is accompanied by a seven-day writing residency at Villa Medici for the director.
“The Prize for Best Film goes to a film that has managed, in a single coherent gesture, to combine the absolute urgency of resisting and fighting oppression with the demands of a cinematic eye. A film that questions and invigorates the very notion of the act of filming, a film that from its place of total commitments also questions our place as spectators. A film for which we are grateful for opening our eyes and for reminding us of the cost of resisting.”
“We have chosen to reward the Jury Prize to El Gran Movimiento for its singular filmmaking style and inventiveness. It’s a film with a true social sensitivity and we were impressed by his empathy.”
The jury (Teresa Catro, Mati Diop, Béla Tarr)
“Thank you for giving this award to Inside the Red Brick Wall, especially when the Hong Kong government is passing a lot of amendments as we speak to officially make films like this illegal to be shown in Hong Kong. Please continue to learn more about what is happening in Hong Kong, and we hope this, and other documentary films, can continue to be seen. Thank you.”
Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers
SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
The Villa Medici Film Festival would like to thank the sponsors and partners who supported its first edition: