Leading documentary festival IDFA has added 47 films to its program, which run as part of its Masters, Paradocs and Best of Fests sections.
In the Masters section, IDFA has selected 18 titles from today’s auteurs of documentary cinema. In “Irradiated,” winner of the Berlinale Documentary Award, Rithy Panh “contemplates the image of human suffering throughout history in a revolutionary film that approaches cinematic installation,” according to a statement from the festival.
In “Gunda,” Victor Kossakovsky “intimately examines our relationship with animals as he invites audiences to fall in love with the titular character, a wonderful mother pig.” “Paris Caligrammes” sees Ulrike Ottinger “curate a rich archival history of 1960s Paris,” in which the director features alongside the great artists, thinkers and revolutionaries of the day.
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Dieudo Hamadi’s “Downstream to Kinshasa” pays tribute to the survivors of the Six-Day War in Hamadi’s native Congo, “finding poetry in stories of human resilience.” European premieres include Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI,” an investigation into secret U.S. documents that uncover Martin Luther King Jr. as the victim of a decade-long FBI witch hunt.
Oscar-nominated director Hubert Sauper returns with “Epicentro,” a thought-provoking portrait of Cuba that charts the neo-colonial history of one of the world’s last communist countries. Frederick Wiseman’s four-and-a-half-hour “City Hall” presents “the heart and soul of Boston policy-making, revealing the inner workings” of the filmmaker’s hometown.
David Byrne’s “American Utopia” is described as a “concert film extraordinaire,” which offers a “joyous meeting of minds” between director Spike Lee and the Talking Heads frontman, celebrating Byrne’s “unadulterated creativity.”
In the Paradocs section, IDFA showcases 11 of the year’s best experimental documentary artworks. Within the selection, several titles “subvert the passing of time, pushing it to its cinematic limits.”
“Purple Sea” by Amel Alzakout and Khaled Abdulwahed plunges audiences into a capsized refugee boat via a submerged body camera, as the clock ticks in real time. In “13,” director Shinya Isobe condenses five years of astronomical activity into one 16mm short film, “leaping across the color spectrum in 11 minutes of haptic bliss.”
Meanwhile, Anders Edström and C.W. Winter’s eight-hour “The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)” takes “slow cinema” to new heights, offering a slice of daily life in a Japanese mountain village.
Time also finds new meaning in films that employ pre-existing footage, as several titles “confront complex layers of representation and reappropriation, prompting audiences to question what they are really seeing.”
“There Will Be No More Night” by Éléonore Weber reworks video footage from U.S. and French armed forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, deconstructing the first-hand perspective of a fighter pilot. In “Geographies of Freedom,” Miguel Peres dos Santos explores Shell’s alleged links with colonial and environmental violence in Curaçao, and its representation through propaganda films, news reports, and original cinematography.
In “Cause of Death,” Jyoti Mistry “reimagines the representation of violence against women through a powerful collage of archival scenes, animation, and spoken word.”
IDFA also revealed 18 additional titles selected for the Best of Fests section. The complete program now includes 39 feature-length films, four mid-length films, and five shorts, with notable additions such as Francesca Mazzoleni’s “Punta sacra,” winner of the main award at Visions du Réel, and Catarina Vasconcelos’ “The Metamorphosis of Birds,” winner of a FIPRESCI Prize at this year’s Berlinale.
IDFA runs Nov. 18-29 at venues in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in addition to online screenings running Nov. 18 to Dec. 6, and an online markets that operates Nov. 16-20.