Our guest curators will present two programmes each over the weekend, with the remaining programmes presented by the Overnight Film Festival team.
Friday 1st February, 19:30
River of Grass
(1994, US, Dir Kelly Reichardt / 76 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, our opening night film will be a 25th anniversary screening of Kelly Reichardt’s darkly funny debut feature River of Grass. Playing like a localised, myth-busting, anti-Bonnie and Clyde, it’s been described by the filmmaker as “a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime.”
River of Grass brought writer-director Kelly Reichardt back to the setting of her adolescence, the suburban landscape of southern Florida, where she grew up with her detective father and narcotics agent mother. Shot on 16mm, the story follows the misadventures of disaffected housewife Cozy, played with perfect understatement by newcomer Lisa Bowman, and aimless layabout Lee, played by US indie cinema mainstay Larry Fessenden (who also acted as a producer and the film’s editor). Introducing viewers to a director already in command of her craft and defining her signature style, it’s a slyly subversive genre piece that’s more Sadlands than Badlands, and ripe for rediscovery.
Saturday 2nd February, 11:00
The Lifeguard (El Salvavidas)
(2011, Chile, Dir Maite Alberdi / 64 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, The Lifeguard is a visually gorgeous vignette by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi. Mauricio is a lifeguard who steers clear of the water; he believes that a good professional applies preventive measures to stop people from drowning. The problem is that nobody on the beach wants to do what they’re told, and he doesn’t want to risk his life for them.
Saturday 2nd February, 13:00
(2008, Japan, Dir Hirokazu Koreeda / 115 mins / 35mm)
Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al-Lail presents Still Walking, Hirokazu Koreeda’s lyrical portrait of a dysfunctional family reuniting to remember a loved one. Premiered in 2008, this profoundly moving yet also deft and humorous picture is a deeply personal work by the contemporary Japanese master, who won the 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or with his latest feature Shoplifters. Still Walking was created as a tribute to Koreeda’s late mother, the filmmaker explaining: “I didn’t want the feelings of the son towards his mother to be depicted in a sentimental way. I needed to keep it dry, light… with a certain amount of levity, so we could laugh about it” (MUBI Notebook).
The film depicts one day in the life of the Yokoyamas, gathered together for a commemorative ritual whose nature only gradually becomes clear. Rather than focus on big dramatic moments, Koreeda relies on simple gestures and domestic routines (especially cooking) to evoke a family’s entire life, its deep regrets and its daily joys. Featuring vivid, heartrending performances and a gentle naturalism that harks back to the director’s earlier documentary work, Still Walking is an extraordinary portrayal of the ties that bind us.
Saturday 2nd February, 16:00
(1992, UK, Dir Sally Potter / 93 mins / 35mm)
Jen Calleja presents Orlando, Sally Potter’s dazzling 1992 interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s popular 1928 novel Orlando: A Biography. A satirical journey through time and gender, Woolf’s queer feminist source material – “the longest and most charming love letter in literature” – was inspired by her convention-defying lover Vita Sackville-West. Boasting a screenplay taught in film schools as a radical and successful adaptation of a classic work, Potter’s cinematic landmark stars an iconic Tilda Swinton in the androgynous title role, its playful spirit enhanced by Oscar-nominated art direction and costume design (the latter by the legendary Sandy Powell).
Sexy, witty and provocative, Orlando follows the fortunes of an apparently immortal young aristocrat from 1600 to the modern day. Orlando begins an epic quest for freedom in the court of Elizabeth I as a man, and completes the search 400 years later as a woman. Our protagonist travels from the frozen River Thames to Central Asia, experiencing love and loss in the Victorian age, motherhood and war in the 20th century, until finally arriving in the present moment.
Saturday 2nd February, 21:00
(2015, France, Dir Mati Diop, Manon Lutanie / 5 mins / Digital)
With the green background, the slow chords on his electronic keyboard, the stiff strikes of musician Wilbert Gavin of the Cities Aviv band, this dancer radiates intense energy.
All These Sleepless Nights
(2016, Poland, Dir Michal Marczak / 100 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, All These Sleepless Nights merges reality and fiction to conjure a fluid, hypnotic and pulsating odyssey through restless young lives in contemporary Poland. Michal Marczak’s intoxicating feature won the Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary at Sundance 2016, the jury stating: “This filmmaker made a visually stunning film with unique vision. We feel the director is pushing the art of nonfiction into brave new territories.”
All These Sleepless Nights chronicles a Warsaw summer in which art school classmates resolve to experience life to the limit. After Kris breaks up with his long-time girlfriend, anything seems possible. He and Michal, handsome and wide-eyed, roam the metropolis at night, floating from party to party and encounter to encounter. As they chain-smoke, drink, and dance with abandon to pulsing DJ rhythms in city squares and makeshift clubs, big ideas are as palpable as the romance and sex in the air.
Sunday 3rd February, 10:00
(2016, Australia, Dir Soda_Jerk / 14 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, The Was is a sampledelic trip through the neighborhoods of collective memory. Part experimental film, part music video and concept album, it is the collaborative meeting of Australian sample artists Soda_Jerk and The Avalanches.
Dusty Stacks of Mom: The Poster Project
(2013, US, Dir Jodie Mack / 41 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, Dusty Stacks of Mom is an inventive, hilarious and lovingly rendered audiovisual collage structured around Pink Floyd’s space rock touchstone The Dark Side of the Moon. Experimental animator Jodie Mack writes and sings new lyrics for each of the album’s songs in celebration of her mother’s old poster and pop memorabilia store, as the shop’s precious wares come alive on screen.
Interweaving the forms of personal filmmaking, abstract animation, and the rock opera, this animated musical documentary examines the rise and fall of a nearly-defunct poster and postcard wholesale business; the changing role of physical objects and virtual data in commerce; and the division (or lack of) between abstraction in fine art and psychedelic kitsch. Using alternate lyrics as voice over narration, the piece adopts the form of a popular rock album reinterpreted as a cine-performance. It was originally performed live at such events as the 2013 BFI London Film Festival and True/False 2014.
Sunday 3rd February, 11:30
(2010, South Korea, Dir Jae-Hoon Ahn, Hye-Jin Han / 100 mins / Digital)
Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al-Lail presents a rare big screen outing for Jae-Hoon Ahn and Hye-Jin Han’s 2010 animated feature Green Days, which lovingly illustrates the universal highs and lows of adolescence. Setting their story in the 1970s and early ’80s, the South Korean filmmakers portray the fantasy and flutter of youthful aspirations through nostalgic, warm-hearted encounters. Eschewing computer graphics, Green Days was hand-drawn in pencil over a period of 11 years.
Yi-rang is a track runner at her high school. She has never lost a race and prizes her athletic ambitions above everything else. One day she falls behind in the middle of a relay race and, not wanting to lose, deliberately drops the baton. Meanwhile, confident new student Soo-min transfers to the school from big city Seoul and soon befriends Yi-rang. Our heroine also contemplates a romance with budding scientist Cheol-soo, who dreams of becoming an astronaut.
Sunday 3rd February, 14:30
Alice in the Cities
(1974, Germany, Dir Wim Wenders / 110 mins / 35mm)
Jen Calleja presents a timely big screen outing for Alice in the Cities, Wim Wenders’ stark but witty account of the changing face of Europe, the onset of global consumerism and the influences of American pop culture. Boasting gorgeous black and white photography by the late Robby Müller, this poised and poignant road movie remains exceptional, featuring “one of the screen’s most multifaceted child characters, and one of the most empowered female characters in cinema to this day” (Allison Anders, The Criterion Collection).
German journalist Philip Winter (Rüdiger Volger) wants to write a story about America but is unable to accomplish anything but a series of Polaroids before disappointedly beginning his journey back home. He becomes the reluctant guardian of eight-year-old Alice (Yella Rottländer) when her mother (Lisa Kreuzer) leaves the girl with him briefly in New York City, never to return. Back in Germany, an unlikely friendship develops between the two as they embark on a journey to find Alice’s grandmother.
Sunday 3rd February, 17:15
A Girl’s Own Story
(1984, Australia, Dir Jane Campion / 26 mins / 16mm)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, Jane Campion’s perceptive and unsentimental 1984 short A Girl’s Own Story imagines three teenage girls in the era of The Beatles. Pam lives with parents who haven’t spoken directly to each other in two years, communicating instead through their daughters. Gloria wants to play games with her boyfriend Graeme, while Stella becomes popular and puts her friendship with Pam on hold.
A Bagful of Fleas
(1962, Czechoslovakia, Dir Věra Chytilová / 43 mins / Digital)
Presented by the Overnight Film Festival team, A Bagful of Fleas is a raucous early work by the trailblazing Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová. Released in 1962 (four years before her much-loved feature Daisies), it follows the youthful non-conformity of dormitory-dwelling, female factory workers as they defy the rules of their boarding school and textile mill. The protagonists are played by non-professionals and the film is shot in a freewheeling cinéma vérité style.
A Bagful of Fleas introduces themes evident across Věra Chytilová’s career: a woman’s viewpoint in a world dominated by men; the expectations and strictures of female gender roles; and a strong critique of her society. Combining formalism with anarchy and spiked with rebellious humour, her films broke strictures of genre and ideology to chart a new path for Czechoslovak cinema.