Mastercard Off Camera 2019

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  • Friday, April 26, 2019 - Sunday, May 5, 2019

Cinematic Paradise

It’s spring at last, and a three-month-long film celebration is about to start! We’re kicking off with the exhibition WAJDA and the Off Camera festival.

The best independent productions, fascinating documentaries from all over the globe and beautiful music of the silver screen: the next three months are unmissable for cinephiles with the Off Camera Festival, the Film Music Festival, the Krakow Film Festival and the exhibition WAJDA, brought together under the banner of Cinematic Kraków.

 “Our city makes a great impression on the silver screen. Hollywood recently saw Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones, with many of the scenes shot in Kraków. It’s living proof that the capital of Małopolska is an outstanding cinematic setting,” says Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Kraków.

The great outdoors

We start the celebration of cinema on 6 April with the opening of the exhibition WAJDA at the National Museum in Kraków (more about the exhibition on p. 35). Between 26 April and 5 May, our city becomes a vast outdoor cinema. The 12th International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Camera is a cinematic feast, featuring the competition Making Way and the Polish Feature Film Competition for young filmmakers from Poland and abroad competing for the Krakow Film Award and the Kulczyk Foundation Award. “We want to encourage young filmmakers and show that their dream of creating cinema is within their reach,” stresses Szymon Miszczak, director of the festival. So what else have the organisers prepared for us?

Cat and mouse

From pickpockets to godfathers of crime empires, from inept police recruits to hardcore guardians of the law, police and gangster cinema has created myriad protagonists over the decades. Cops and Robbers is one of the first five new sections prepared by the festival organisers. Has the time come for equal opportunities in this traditionally “male” genre? Time to play cat and mouse!

Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer starring the outstanding Nicole Kidman (nominated for the Golden Globe) is a cinematic tale about a former FBI agent, her demons and her yearning for revenge after her career is ruined by a single man. The protagonists of David Oelhoffen’s latest film Close Enemies are plagued by a dilemma whether they are supporting criminals or the police pursuing them.

The programme of Off Camera is also filled with Festival Hits. We will see Rafiki – the first Kenyan film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, banned in Kenya for its homosexual themes – and Nikos Labôt’s Her Job – a portrayal of a Greek housewife forced by recession to take a job as a cleaner, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

Male archetype

Filmmakers are always inspired by contemporary events, and these days they are asking questions about the role of men in the contemporary society, dramatically shaken by the #metoo and #timesup movements. The section Where Are These Men? presents portrayals of archetypal men alongside alternative models of masculinity.

Papi Chulo is the latest film by the Irish director John Butler, whose Handsome Devil was shown during the festival two years ago. Butler returns to Kraków with a story of an unconventional friendship between two men from different social classes, played by Matt Bomer and Alejandro Patiño. In the film Belmonte (dir. Federico Veiroja), Gonzalo Delgado takes on the role of a rather lost artist who is trying to find himself in the modern world. Thunder Road is Jim Cummings’s feature debut – a study of masculinity in crisis filled with cynical observations. Yon Rozenkier’s The Dive is a semi-autobiographical story of three brothers, with the Israeli director challenging macho stereotypes.

Sugar-coating reality

Given the myriad crises facing today’s world, it’s no wonder that the escapism provided by cinema is as appealing as it ever has been. The festival section Reality? No Thanks explores these themes. How do we survive in a reality dominated by social media and virtual relationships? We discover with the film Miriam Lies (dir. Natalia Cabral, Oriol Estrada) – a cinematic portrayal of the uncertainties of growing up and exploring different ways of coping with the world. Where will their experiments with cloning and creating a living organism take the protagonists of The Innocent? The Swiss director Simon Jaquemet shows what happens when the worlds of Christian belief and state-of-the-art technologies collide.

The section Us Versus Them examines the classic division. Giant Little Ones (dir. Keith Behrman) is a moving story of adolescence, when independence is as intoxicating as it is terrifying. Firecrackers, the debut film by Jasmin Mozaffari, explores themes of friendship between girls, youthful energy and the price that has to be paid for freedom. Yann Gonzalez’s Knife + Heart, starring Vanessa Paradis, recalls the aesthetics of 1970s B movies.

And more…

... there will be something for fans of TV dramas with numerous panels, discussions and special screenings held as part of the SerialCon. As always there will be the Off Stage section and outdoor screenings, while the cinema village hosts meetings with independent filmmakers far from red carpets and flashing cameras.

***

We can’t wait for the heralds of the cinematic paradise: the 12th Off Camera Festival is just the start of events held throughout May and June! You can read about the Film Music Festival and the 59th Krakow Film Festival in the May issue of “Karnet”.

(Justyna Skalska, miesięcznik „Karnet”)

26 April – 5 May
Organiser: Off Camera Foundation
Co-organiser: Krakow Festival Office

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