The Rotterdam Film Festival has a reputation for supporting the work of new filmmakers through the Hubert Bals Fund. The Bright Future sidebar focuses on directors making their first or second film. Too bad nobody took the title very seriously. Features and documentaries alike this year tackle dead serious issues while also bending the limits of their respective genres. In the first part of our sidebar preview, the curriculum includes Brazilian gentrification, African genocide and baby fever gone bad. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. No razor blades or exhaust pipes will be allowed in the theatre.
Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)
The pitch: A Recife neighborhood is relocated to make way for a coastal motorway.
The evils of gentrification, eh? Gabriel Mascaro’s film is closer to a portrait of the transplanted barrio. Mixing fact and fiction, the changing ‘hood is seen through the eyes of a videographer waiter and his clients.
Any shooting? Only the filmic variety. The subjects include a little boy who wants to be Spider-Man and a girl who is applying to be on Idolos Brazil.
El camino entre dos puntos (The Way Between Two Points)
The pitch: An oil worker in Patagonia lights out for the territory, where he witnesses the struggle between man and nature.
Does he turn into a blue alien smurf? Nope. This is the first feature from video artist Sebastian Diaz Morales, whose work has been described as “filmic narratives embracing stories that sometimes resemble science fiction, sometimes with certain catastrophic overtones, and in which there is an ever-present common denominator of a minimalist narrative style wherein the camera is always moving and in which the characters virtually function as metaphors for a story that goes beyond the anecdote to reveal problems of great scope in current society.”
Phew! Like I said, does he turn into a blue alien smurf? The results look closer to a combination of There Will Be Blood’s celebration of imperialism with the badlands of No Country for Old Men. But let’s move on, shall we?