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March 28th – April 2nd, 2017 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului & Cinema Elvire Popesco / the 7th edition

Cutting the Cord

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International Competition - Cutting the Cord

 
Curatorial presentation by Adina Marin
We come to this world attached to a cord. Not just the plain, physical, umbilical cord, but a metaphorical one as well - made of family ties and social strands -, with a decisive role in conditioning who we are and what we can be. Family bonds start before birth - it is presumed, and are rarely completely broken. We can push for more room of manoeuvre; the cord may stretch but it will never cut us loose completely. The films in the programme Cutting the Cord: Family Love and Its Discontents explore human experiences along an elongated metaphorical cord which defines a space where family ties and legacies can be a blessing, a curse, or anything in-between.

“These films explore the profound contradictory nature of our affective bonds, which on one side nourish, protect and support us in our growth, while at the same time can limit our personal freedom and our natural impulse to explore life, through more or less conscious patterns of behaviour and thought deeply ingrained in our psyche.” (Adina Pintilie, BIEFF)

Musing over sex, love and the Internet and meandering through the classic themes of father-son relationship and coming of age, by crossing, in their unique way, the line between video game and digital cinema, Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi create in Our Legacy a strange environment where reality is somewhat displaced to make room for another, more disturbing universe.  With his parents away from home, Lucas invites Anäis over. Having the place to themselves, they are free to indulge in naïve explorations of lovemaking.  It  soon transpires that Lucas is quite familiar with sex images. His absent father, a notorious director of x-rated videos, exists in his son's life solely through his video productions. The violence of crude pornography and the tenderness of teenage first love are bound together by childlike fantasies in a loss-of-innocence story told in reverse. “The film leaves space for everyone to experience it in their own way”, says Caroline Poggi. That is, according to one's own personal legacy.

In an exercise of self-exorcism, Alexandru Petru Bădeliță gives a moving personal account of his traumatized childhood with a rich profusion of narrative layers and artistic techniques. I Made You, I Kill You, which translates - literally - in the power of life and death held by the paterfamilias over the members of his family, is the ultimate motto for the patriarchal society that rules the life in the author's native village. A collage of family photos and children's drawings mix with animation and with a touch of surrealism in an arresting cinematic whole. Voice-overs take turns to complete the grim picture of a childhood lived in a toxic family. As in reverberation, the father's account tells of beatings and abuse he had suffered himself as a child, which leads to the dispassionate conclusion that he is not a monster; he simply has no knowledge of another way of life. I Made You, I Kill You casts a poignant uncompromising look at a disturbing world where such experiences are not the exception, but the norm.

When the family fails to satisfy basic psychological needs, computer games may step in, offering - albeit only in a virtual version - rewards, freedom and a connection to other individuals sharing the same interests. Escaping occasionally to some parallel world and morphing into a daring, powerful and highly self-confident hero can be refreshing. Yet, refusing to return to real life spells destructive dependence. Jonas Odell uses in I Was a Winner the very imagery of the gaming world to deliver the personal narratives of three people who have experienced computer game addiction. Under the shape of their avatars and wandering through the landscape of their respective games, the characters tell uncanny stories of a to and fro motion between the real and the illusory, and of the struggle you need to put up to break free when the gaming goes beyond fun. The real world with all its imperfections is out there, waiting, provided you are strong enough to log out.

The Golden Bear winner of the Berlinale Shorts 2017, Diogo Costa Amarante’s Small Town is an endearing cinematic stream of consciousness about that frightful moment when a human being becomes aware of its own mortality. Six-years old Frederico's refusal to go to sleep after being taught at school that people die when their hearts stop beating triggers an emotional journey. Protagonists are the boy and his mother, as well as the director himself, who revisits his childhood fears. The sensations they experience make a mix of horror and tenderness translated into film language by means of a highly intelligent emotional montage. “I suppose he is beginning to understand human interaction”, Frederico's mother reckons. “How to shape himself to forge the world around him”. It's something we all have to do, with every step that drifts us away from the safety of the womb. 

Directed by: 
JONATHAN VINEL in collaboration with CAROLINE POGGI
Musing over sex, love and the Internet and meandering through the classic themes of father-son relationship and coming of age, by crossing, in their unique way, the line between video game and digital cinema, Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi create in Our Legacy a strange environment where reality is somewhat displaced to make room for another, more disturbing universe. With his parents away from home, Lucas invites Anäis over. Having the place to themselves, they are free to indulge in naïve explorations of lovemaking. It  soon transpires that Lucas is quite familiar with sex images. His absent father, a notorious director of x-rated videos, exists in his son's life solely through his video productions. The violence of crude pornography and the tenderness of teenage first love are bound together by childlike fantasies in a loss-of-innocence story told in reverse. "The film leaves space for everyone to experience it in their own way", says Caroline Poggi. That is, according to one's own personal legacy. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
ALEXANDRU PETRU BĂDELIȚĂ
In an exercise of self-exorcism, Alexandru Petru Bădeliță gives a moving personal account of his traumatized childhood with a rich profusion of narrative layers and artistic techniques. I Made You, I Kill You, which translates - literally - in the power of life and death the paterfamilias holds over the members of his family, is the ultimate motto for the patriarchal society that rules the life of the author's native village. A collage of family photos and children's drawings mix with animation and with a touch of surrealism in an arresting cinematic whole. Voice-overs take turns and complete the grim picture of a childhood dominated by domestic violence. As in reverberation, the father's account tells of beatings and abuse he had suffered himself as a child, which leads to the dispassionate conclusion that he is not a monster; he simply has no knowledge of another way of life. I Made You, I Kill You casts a poignant uncompromising look at a disturbing world where such experiences are not the exception, but the norm. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
JONAS ODELL
When the family fails to satisfy basic psychological needs, computer games may step in, offering - albeit only in a virtual version - rewards, freedom and a connection to other individuals sharing the same interests. Escaping occasionally to some parallel world and morphing into a daring, powerful and highly self-confident hero can be refreshing. Yet, refusing to return to real life spells destructive dependence. Jonas Odell uses in I Was a Winner the very imagery of the gaming world to deliver the personal narratives of three people who have experienced computer game addiction. Under the shape of their avatars and wandering through the landscape of their respective games, the characters tell uncanny stories of a to and fro motion between the real and the illusory, and of the struggle you need to put up to break free when the gaming goes beyond fun. The real world with all its imperfections is out there, waiting, provided you are strong enough to log out. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
DIOGO COSTA AMARANTE
The Golden Bear winner of the Berlinale Shorts 2017, Small Town is an endearing cinematic stream of consciousness about that frightful moment when a human being becomes aware of its own mortality. Six-years old Frederico's refusal to go to sleep after being taught at school that people die when their hearts stop beating triggers an emotional journey. Protagonists are the boy and his mother, as well as the director himself, who revisits his childhood fears. The sensations they experience make a mix of horror and tenderness translated into film language by means of a highly intelligent emotional montage. "I suppose he is beginning to understand human interaction", Frederico's mother reckons. "How to shape himself to forge the world around him". It's something we all have to do, with every step that drifts us away from the safety of the womb. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017)