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

Cinema Confronts Prejudices on the Human Body and Identity at BIEFF 2017

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Inviting the audience to reflection and empathy, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF raises a debate on our preconceived ideas about the human body - its presentation, re-presentation and self-presentation - bringing attention to the complex social and political implications of identity. Our popular theme programmes focused on the human body and the meeting area between performance and cinema return to BIEFF’s 7th edition, between March 28th and April 2nd.
The International Competition programme The Politics of the Body explores critical issues ranging from questioning societal norms of beauty and gender, to the search for personal identity and freedom, together offering a common voice to disenfranchised, politicized minorities. The films included in this focus create thus a space of self-reflection, where prejudice is faced head-on, discussed and ultimately dismantled, in favor of open-mindedness, acceptance and inclusion.

BIEFF 2017

Internationally premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Night Soil - Economy Of Love proposes a re-evaluation of the sexual conventions and ideas about intimacy. The film portrays a Brooklyn-based movement of female sex workers who embark on the mission to "mobilize the women’s joint power and empathy towards a place where sex is not obscene, but empowering, not pornographic, but a place of mutual respect and a deeper understanding of one’s spirit and body". (Melanie Bonajo).

BIEFF 2017

Also coming from Rotterdam, American Reflexxx is an unsettling and thought-provoking social experiment pushing the limits between passive voyeurism and active participation. An androgynous presence (Signe Pierce), in a revealing tight blue dress, neon coloured high heels and a mirror-mask, strolls through the city at night, posing provocatively. The performance, documented on camera by Alli Coates, triggers in the passers-by reactions which are growingly stronger and more and more surprising. As the artist's face is a mirror, the aggressive gestures of the spectators are reflected back to the aggressors themselves. Likewise, the film faces us with an uncompromising mirror that reflects the darkest side of mob mentality and the disturbing ease with which it can turn to violence.

BIEFF 2017

Fingers languorously part the lips of book pages, straps of dresses fall off of milky skins, sensuous gazes entice the viewer in a sensual act of artistic voyeurism. Rino Stefano Tagliafierro returns to BIEFF thanks to the kind support of the Italian Cultural Institute, with Peep Show, a film focused on the sensorial pleasures of erotic art. The outcome is a mesmerizing homage, both suggestive and explicit, to the history of art, where the filmmaker explores sensuality across times and cultures.

BIEFF 2017

Deconstructing clichéd representations of the male-female dichotomy, director Maja Borg explores in Man the fluid boundary between genders and identities, destabilizing our common perception on maternity and the female body. The mix of super 8mm footage and watercolour-negative animation makes for a poignant and innovative parallel between the body’s ability to create new life to the artist’s ability to create new meaning. Man is presented at BIEFF with the generous support of the Embassy of Sweden in Romania.

BIEFF 2017

In Flowers and Bottoms by Christos Massalas - a love letter full of erotism and charm - in a dark room, an anonymous viewer watches a film made solely of shots of flowers and buttocks, a melancholic birthday present from what we understand is a former lover. Beyond its assumed absurdity and surrealism, the film skilfully juggles multi-layered observation and exhibitionism, bringing the audience to the blushing realization that what is often publicly labeled as vulgar is what we intimately find sensuous and endearing. The screening is possible with the support of the Greek Cultural Foundation.

BIEFF 2017

Privacy publicly exposed is the concern of Florencia Aliberti in (Self)exhibitions, premiered at IDFA Amsterdam. The film "is a found footage documentary that approaches the new forms of self-representation and exhibition of our intimacy on the internet and in social networks. Confessional and private experiences, turned public and exposed on the web give rise to new self-narratives that become part of a spontaneous circuit of imitations, recurrences and replies between web users, determining the way we show ourselves". (Festival Scope)
BIEFF 2017

Self-representation can be a private challenge, as in Two Snakes, by Kristin Li, a personal essay of somebody unrooted from the native land, striving to reconcile expat feelings of otherness with fragments of different cultural heritages. Screened at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, the film interprets, deconstructs and rearranges the popular Chinese story of the White Snake and the Green Snake, ultimately raising the question: can there ever be such a thing as belonging?
The complete film presentations, written by Diana Mereoiu, are available here.

Within the same focus on body and identity, the programme dedicated to films at the creative crossing of cinema with contemporary dance and performance returns to BIEFF due to our longterm inspiring partnership with the main European dance film festival, Cinedans – Dance on Screen Festival Amsterdam. In the ever-changing media landscape, creators are increasingly seeking different ways to tell their stories. Contemporary dance films are often autonomous art works with a language of their own and an expressiveness that cannot be pigeonholed. Under the title Emotional Bodies*, the films in this selection explore, with profound humanism and impressive conceptual force, fascinating territories of human experience, from the hyper-active modern jungle of the financial world to intergenerational family relationships and post-internet communities. (*title inspired by E-Motional Bodies & Cities – a European artistic exchange programme developed by the Gabriela Tudor Foundation between 2011-2015.)

BIEFF 2017
A banking blog, ten dancers from top ballet companies in the Netherlands and England, and the realistic setting of London of today as backdrop meet in a surprising combination of documentary and dance film. The often awarded Voices of Finance creates a succession of danced monologues featuring bankers and others across the financial sector, who speak about their lives and describe a typical working day. Juggling at the border between anthropology and art, Dutch artist Clara van Gool provides a singular glimpse into the glamorous and stressful culture of the financial world.

BIEFF 2017

How does it feel to lie on your back, arms along sides, pretending you cannot move from neck down? Does it get uncomfortable? Would you like a pillow? Does it feel like you've already waited for hours? Welcome to the world of the quadriplegic. With Paralysis, a powerful statement about the multivalence of the human body, visual artist Karel van Laere submits himself to such an experiment and documents his (physically) painful and (mentally) disturbing 24-hours journey to the world of the paralysed. 

BIEFF 2017

In her short film She/Her, Sonja Wyss goes deep into the anatomy of a mother-daughter relationship, unwrapping layer after layer of feelings of resentment, disapproval, rebellion, and self-consciousness until she reaches a hidden core of delicate affection. Restrained movements portray a middle-aged, middle class comme il faut mother, defied by the daughter's rebellious outbursts. Eventually, the latter's frantic dance fades into reconciliation. After all, her mother is nothing but a future version of herself. The film is screened with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Romania and the Swiss Sponsors’ Fund.
BIEFF 2017

If relationships may prove exasperating and consuming, their absence can be even more difficult to bear. In Néants, Nellie Carrier conducts a convincing and cinematically disturbing study of loneliness in four tableaux. The characters endure loss in spaces once familiar and now devoid of any other human presence, but filled with relics of their formerly populated lives. Their bodies squirm as the wave of dispair rises in a crescendo masterly conducted up to an anticlimax. In the end, we see four people wiping away the traces of their moment of distress and resuming their now futile existence.

BIEFF 2017
Performance and cinema meet to make a choreographed and metaphysical portrait of the post-industrial world in Novaciéries authored by three artists who sign their works collectively as (LA)HORDE. The film investigates the origins and online-powered dissemination of Jumpstyle, a dance emerged from the mainstream Hardcore. While masked dancers perform the characteristic jumps in deserted industrial spaces with forklifts joining in the performance, self-broadcast jumpstyle dance videos proliferate on youtube and other platforms as if announcing a post-cinematic era.
The complete film presentations, written by Adina Marin, are available here.


The 7th edition of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF is organized by Manekino Cultural Association in partnership with PRINTOR COM and Film Monitor Association.
BIEFF is honoured and grateful to receive support and inspiration from its partners: Quinzaine des Réalisateurs – Cannes Film Festival, Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art Berlin, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Cinedans – Dance on Screen Festival Amsterdam, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Tampere Film Festival, Centre Pompidou, LE FRESNOY – Studio National des Arts Contemporains, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Swedish Film Institute, Norwegian Film Institute, Le Pacte, Sixpackfilm Austria, LIMA, LUX, Portugal Film, Agência – Portuguese Short Film Agency, Winnipeg Film Group, Swiss Films, AV-arkki, NISI MASA – European Network of Young Cinema.

BIEFF would not be possible without the support of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund, Romanian National Film Center, Romanian Cultural Institute, Embassy of France, French Institute, Goethe-Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum, Swiss Sponsors’ Fund, Embassy of Switzerland, Embassy of Sweden, Wallonia-Brussels Delegation, Italian Cultural Institute, Greek Cultural Foundation, National University of Theatre and Film Bucharest, National University of Arts Bucharest, National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, MUBI, Sky Tour, Eventbook, Canopy.

Media partners: Radio Guerrilla, Radio România Cultural, Agerpres, HotNews, Cinemagia, Zile și Nopți, Cinemap, Brrlog, Observator Cultural, Revista ARTA, Revista Zeppelin, Liternet, Ziarul Metropolis, Ziare.com, IQads, Scena9, ART7, SUB25, Think Outside the Box, All About Romanian Cinema, Acoperișul de sticlă, The re:art, A List Magazine, Glamour România, Film New Europe.