A selection of 10 French and European Premiere films.
Editorial of the International Competition
The reality of a society, like that of each individual destiny, is a fragile edifice built, maintained and invented in a daily struggle. The films in this year’s official competition of the Festival des 3 Continents, as different as they are, all seek to capture the way in which each one, with and among others, is endowed with a unique spirit. With a strength, vitality and resistance, where we also see the flaws that make up the humanity of often ordinary characters.
Fictions or documentaries, the films drill down into their protagonists’ lives to create ever-moving portraits – portraits of children in Rapture and The Spectre of Boko Haram, portraits of young men in the making in firedream or Deaths and Wonders, the portrait of a man in his thirties searching for a new start in The Bilbaos, the portrait of a man in his forties at a critical mid-life turning point in The Shadowless Tower. What also moves us in these films is the way that each of them embraces not only solitude but also the bonds of couples, families or friendships, multiplying the scales at which these movements, these struggles, these dynamics reinforce each other.
This doesn’t make our competition into a string of optimistic tales: the films all negotiate anxiety, impermanence, exhaustion, death or sometimes the severest form of violence. And this is where they reveal their force, their rage, their gentleness or their stubbornness. To express the turmoil or poisoning of whole societies, in India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, some films in the selection stand out for their firm anchoring in a metaphorical or naturalist register that exalts the human dimension of the picture. But what all of them film again and again is the living side of life.
A striking coincidence is that poetry – spoken, read or written poems – circulates in at least half of the selected films, including in those where we least expect it, such as Critical Zone. Poetry circulates everywhere in this film with the same familiarity, as if woven into life itself, into this area of being that these films set out to explore, and even protecting it like a flame amidst the storm. The cinematographic gesture is born of the same source, without the need for overstatement: the film’s hospitality speaks for itself.
Poetry and struggle: a certain explosiveness lacerates the form of some narratives or editing, as a way of staring into the abyss without losing sight of what is essential.
Jérôme Baron, Florence Maillard & Aisha Rahim