26.9. - 5.10.2019

First Films

Stories of families and of romance, portraits of artists and films that memorialise what should not be forgotten: Here’s a first look at this year’s programme at the FILMFEST HAMBURG, which includes Cannes, Karlovy Vary and Sundance award winners such as Dogman, I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History as Barbarians and Butterflies.

At the 2016 FILMFEST HAMBURG, Radu Jude was honoured with the Hamburg Producers Award for European Cinema Co-Productions for his film, Scarred Hearts. The Romanian director is returning to Hamburg this year with I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History as Barbarians, the story of a theatre director who attempts to unpack Romanian complicity in the Holocaust through a provocative theatrical performance. The international co-production, also made with German involvement, won the Crystal Globe at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; at the FILMFEST HAMBURG, it will be screened as part of the Veto! series.

In Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, kind-hearted dog groomer Marcello and the other inhabitants of a run-down suburb in southern Italy find themselves increasingly terrorised by tyrannical former boxer Simone – until Marcello finally retaliates. This urban Western features Marcello Fonte, winner of Best Actor at Cannes, in the lead role. At the FILMFEST HAMBURG, Dogman will be screened in the Kaleidoscope section for international films.

Tolga Karaçelik was already a guest at the FILMFEST HAMBURG in 2015, for his film Ivy. In Butterflies, the Turkish director charts three siblings’ journey to the Turkish countryside to carry out their father’s dying wish with a healthy dose of black humour. Butterflies, which will also be screened in the Kaleidoscope section in Hamburg, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the Sundance Film Festival.

Another Day of Life, from Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow, is the thrilling story of well-known Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński’s three-month voyage through war-torn Angola. The film is loosely based on the themes of the novel Another Day of Life, in which Kapuściński explored his own experiences during the Angolan Civil War with highly detailed observations and the sensitivity of a seismograph. The film’s directors have skilfully combined animation with documentary stills. Another Day of Life, a co-production with Hamburger Wüste Film, celebrated its premiere in Cannes and will be screened as part of the Freihafen section at the FILMFEST HAMBURG.

Another Cannes film in that series is Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, a Turkish production with German involvement. In it, a young writer returns to his native village and muses on his place in life and within his family. The Turkish director, whose previous film, Winter Sleep, won the Golden Palm at Cannes in 2014 and was likewise screened at the FILMFEST HAMBURG, again artfully contrasts language with images in The Wild Pear Tree.

In his Palestinian film The Reports on Sarah & Saleem, Muayad Alayan – co-founder of a filmmakers’ collective located in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem – offers an unusual exploration of turmoil in the region. An extramarital affair between a Palestinian man and Israeli woman in Jerusalem takes on a dangerous political dimension when the lovers are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Much more than their marriages is on the line. The Reports on Sarah & Saleem will be screened in the Freihafen section.

In Ella and Nell, two friends who have reconnected after a long time set out on a hike in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in an attempt to revive their friendship. This feature film debut by Aline Chukwuedo will be screened in the new Große Freiheit section for contemporary German films and is in the running for the 25,000-euro prize for Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions.

In Who Will Write our History?, a documentary film with fictionalised elements, director Roberta Grossmann explores the life of historian, politician and journalist Emanuel Ringelblum, who created and oversaw Oneg Shabbat, an underground archive, in the Warsaw Ghetto. He and his colleagues tirelessly documented the lives and deaths of the Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto, driven by the desire to keep their history from being written by their oppressors. The film is based on the eponymous book by Samuel Kassow, and the FILMFEST HAMBURG marks its European premiere, in the Kaleidoscope category.

Two documentaries are portraits of world-renowned British fashion icons: Alexander McQueen brought punk back to fashion. He was an eccentric designer whose opulent shows always sparked scandal. But Alexander McQueen, who died in 2010, was much more than simply an enfant terrible who provoked and shocked the general public with his creations. Alexander McQueen, directed by British directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, uncovers the multifaceted story of an unassuming boy from London’s East End whose ambition and talent led him to become one of the most famous fashion designers of all time.

In Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, director Lorna Tucker illuminates the beginning of Vivienne Westwood’s career, following the vibrant fashion icon’s revolutionary ideas and the evolution of her work over time. The main focus is on Westwood’s political activism and the messages her creations still convey today. Both of these films will be shown in the Kaleidoscope category.

The full programme will be announced on 11 September 2018.

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