THURSDAY 14 MAY 2009
from Huacho, Alessandro Fernández © Charivari Films and Jirafa Films
A Magazine Published By NISI MASA, European Network Of Young Cinema
Huacho Naomi Kawase Vera Egito
Thursday 14 May 2009 / #1 A magazine published by the NISI MASA
s the Cannes festival reaches the grand and rather respectable age of 62, you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s become a little set in its ways. At first glance, the official selection reads like a roll call of perennial favourites (AlmodÓvar: check, Loach: check, von Trier: check…)
by Jude Lister
this not through any impetuous ‘anti-establishment’ or subversive intent mind, but because looking towards the future of cinema is our very raison d’être. Actually, even behind the big names, you can reliably expect at least a few surprises - the latest Pixar animated feature UP, although suitably commercial, was certainly not a choice of opening film that I personally would have predicted. If there’s something this young upstart publication can learn here, perhaps it’s that elements of innovation within a tried and tested
EDITORIAL STAFF Director of Publication Matthieu Darras
Maartje Alders Jude Lister Layout Maartje Alders
format more often than not prove to be worth the risk. This year, the 4th edition of Nisimazine Cannes features several: not only are we expanding our horizons by welcoming young Latin American journalists to join our traditionally Europeancomposed team, but also reaching out to wider international audiences with a new online version accompanied by video blog coverage (all updated daily on www.nisimazine.eu).
Contributors to this issue
Natalia Ames , Eftihia Chatzistefanidi Luuk van Huët, Zsuzsanna Kiràly Jude Lister, Agustín Mango Luis Sens , Thiago Stivaletti Enrique Vivar Coordinators Joanna Gallardo, Maximilien van Aertryck, Gulçin Sahin
NISI MASA 10 rue de l’Echiquier, 75010, Paris, France. + 33 (0)6 32 61 70 26 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nisimasa.com
But don’t hold your breath for Nisimazine 3D in 2010 just yet…
BY LUIS SENS
Meanwhile, our daily is diving into its own favourite territory: with our usual focus on the upcoming talents, first and second features, and short films present this year. We’ll also be giving ample space to the rich diversity to be found in the parallel sections of the festival. All
with the support of the ‘Youth in Action’ programme of the EU
Pablo Lamar (director of the short Noche Adentro (SIC) in preparation for the red carpet
picture of the day
© Charivari Films and Jirafa Films
film of the day Huacho
Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile, France, Germany) SIC
uacho is a corporal experience, a sensorial delight, pure cinema energy that shakes the spine and instantly connected me to my own ground, with the dusty earth that gave me life and the grave which will embrace my bones. I felt it through my senses, just like the mighty sun that holds my awakenings, and in the beautiful language I speak: Español. But above all this film is the place where I belong: Latinoamérica. It tells the simplest story and the oldest one: to wake up, to earn a living, to rest a moment and finally return home and wait for the next day. The main character is a family: two grandparents, a single mother and a son. They are farmers, working-class people living in this century but at the same time in the past. Although there are plenty of themes around Huacho, I will choose two: the first being its
Neorealist heritage, the urgency to continue thinking about cinema as an ethical attitude to life, a compromise with your own time, with your own community. A political way of perceiving filmmaking, that links this film with the ones of visionaries such as Roberto Rossellini, Ken Loach, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Guediguian and Abdellatif Kechiche. Artists who are capable of explaining to us that the world can be united with similar concerns, avoiding exclusion or rejection. The second, and perhaps more meaningful to me (because of its relevance to the way cinema displays images of present-day life) is the subject of labour. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food… ”, seems to echo from the distance of ancient times on every frame of the film. This is life in one sentence (for most of us). And to remind us of this significant statement is one of the
major (and more audacious) comments of the film: to experience the act of work. Are we prepared to be privileged witnesses of real labour? Above all, when it is presented as painful and noble as it is? No cover up, just hard work on beaten hands? This is cinema confronting life, thus the beginning of truth. Huacho (which means to be an orphan of your own country), presents the complexity of the everyday lives of humble people in a remote region, who fight for a living with courage, because it is needed in order to survive. It’s a brave attitude to produce a film which rescues this way of living, totally different from that of a country whose face to the world is the success of capitalism. We must be the centre of our own peripheries, and from that point we can re-define history.
by Enrique Vivar
by Luuk van Huët Marco Borsato is a famous singer (in the Netherlands and in Belgium) of mostly upbeat, melodramatic songs, often Dutch versions of Italian songs. He is also an ambassador to War Child, a foundation that strives to give aid and comfort to traumatized children from war zones. This combination has led to a curious marriage of commercialism and idealism in The Silent Army, a film in which Borsato makes his acting debut as a widowed chef who takes on a ruthless rebel leader to rescue a child soldier.
The budget was a staggering 7 million Euros which translates to an unDutchlike amount of explosions, stunts involving helicopters and beautiful shots of the African wilderness. However, all the money in the world can’t elevate Borsato’s wooden acting and lethargic responses to the carnage that surrounds him. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I wouldn’t go that far just yet, but I’d say the road to Heaven might not be littered with films in which a white
dude unconvincingly takes on an army of evil black guys for the sake of the suffering little children. Especially when your
film, soundtrack, concert and DVD-registration bring in the big bucks.
The Silent Army
Jean van de Velde (The Netherlands) UCR
© Gacaca Films
the killings, but the wounds are still open. A country like Rwanda, facing many problems such as poverty and overcrowded prisons, has to take action against impunity in a creative way. The idea of the government is to face (confront) the victims’ relatives and the killers in the gacacas, where
Anne Aghion (US) OC
emotions are mixed with blurry, conflictive memories, provoking controversy. What happened to this country was so horrible, that even the solutions for issues like impunity are difficult to handle. My Neighbour, My Killer is a film that focuses on its characters, their personal stories, their feelings
years after the killings, their wishes for justice and their still present suffering. This movie not only depicts Rwanda’s situation in a mature, intelligent and well-narrated way, but it also shows possible solutions to deal with past conflicts and their consequences. Natalia Ames
Eicke Bettinga (UK), SIC There are films that prefer to insinuate rather than declare. Together is the ‘introverted type’. It is a short observational story about a relationship between father and son, estranged due to a family loss. German/British director Eicke Bettinga is not using any unknown techniques to capture the presence of the deceased brother. It is more about the actors’ ability to assimilate this experience in the cinematic space with candidness and simplicity. In itself, the bleached photography provides a strong visual tool that tranquilly promotes the sorrowfulness of the circumstances.
8th European script contest
Competition for short ﬁlm scripts
T A B O O Theme for 2009 is:
12 winners will participate in “European Short Pitch”, a script development training followed by a pitching session with European producers.
For people aged 18-28 Deadline : 31st of July 2009 More info:
critics’ week shorts
© PB Filmproduktion
ome sentences at the beginning of My Neighbour, My Killer tell us that during the civil conflict in Rwanda, three quarters of the population were killed. Nevertheless, this documentary does not cover the conflict itself, but the moment when the “gacacas” (community courts) take place. This happens more than 10 years after
My Neighbour, My Killer
The question is, what can be said during a visit of the remaining son to his family’s house a year after the incident? As a matter of fact, not much. Together focuses the narrative on an emotional build-up rather than on momentous explanations and futile dialogue. Gazes, pauses, and gestures reveal more about the relationships than words could suggest. In this respect, the film’s core is essentially the encounter between a father and son, who wrestle, both physically and emotionally, in an attempt to confront their fears. Together is the film you wish could divulge more. However the minimalism in its means of depicting grief proposes a kind of lightness worth embracing. And life goes on.
from Wolke Neun © Peter Rommel Productions
mood picture Red Cross © Flying Moon Filmproduktion
Helge Albers Producer at Flying Moon
elge Albers of Flying Moon Filmproduktion has been successfully producing feature and documentary films for ten years. His newest project Red Cross, by Hugo Vieira da Silva, has been invited to the “Atelier” by the Cinéfondation. The German producer talked to us about his plans for Cannes and recent developments in the film market.
Congratulations for your invitation to the “Atelier”. What kind of possibilities do you think will result from this participation for Red Cross? We have a German-Portuguese coproduction with funds from Berlin-Brandenburg, the Portuguese and Turin film funds. This is a stable funding, which can be extended. In Cannes we will be searching for partners, who want to be involved without considerably changing the structure of the coproduction model. The main idea is to be present at the “Atelier”, find partners and make the project visible at an early stage. Which challenges do you see in Red Cross? This is a project which works for me on an emotional level. I am interested in the main character; I want to know what drives this person and get to know him on a very open level without prejudices. I met Hugo and realised that he wants to challenge himself with this film - he is up for
a tightrope walk on virgin cinematographic soil, which convinced me. Based on which factors do you chose new projects? It’s different from project to project. We try to find films that are special. Hundreds of films are screened in cinemas every year - you have to produce films that stand out. The goal has to be to produce films which are inventive, tell the viewers something they haven’t seen this way before and are entertaining at the same time. But entertainment is a flexible term. From my point of view entertaining films can be challenging, animating and inspiring films. We try to find projects that can be both entertaining and intellectually inspiring. The consequences of the financial crisis on the film industry are not negligible. What are your strategies as a producer? You have to find films for an
explicitly definable public. You have to be able to address parts of the public that have been neglected. As e.g. has happened with Wolke Neun or the Korean documentary Old Partner, which started with seven copies and has gained 14 Million Dollars in the Box Office so far. This is the kind of movie nobody is counting on, which is difficult to plan and to sell. But it shows evidently, that there is an audience that wants to be found. The more focused a film is on addressing its audience, the higher the possibility to be seen in the cinema. What is your evaluation of the recent developments in digital production and distribution? Internet piracy used to harm the majors more than the independent companies. But this is going to change as digital distribution is becoming more important for independent films. The advantage of digital distribution is that small interest groups can be reached more effectively. The disadvantage however is the possibility to copy and spread the films, which is going to affect the independent companies as well. But I can’t tell yet if this is going to affect Flying Moon existentially – from my pers-
pective right now I wouldn’t say so. I support the French model, which unites producers to assume control over the digital film rights. The web is the key to the target audiences, thus the branding of independent companies is critical. There are no models yet that are marketable. And as long as the situation in Germany is vague, we wait and see. In your opinion, is there a “European cinema”, aside from cultural and national specificities? It’s difficult to identify a European cinema per se. I think there are French, English and German Cinemas that have a “national handwriting”. The individual characteristics of films which are the results of coproductions have more interesting aspects, in my opinion. I think that films such as Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, Billy Elliot, East is East and Amélie are successful in Germany, even though they don’t have a German background, because they tell stories that are understood - which also reflects the wishes of German audiences. You can’t give consideration to a film and its creators if you classify it by its national aspects.
by Zsuzsanna Kiràly
Emotional Rescue ase’s perspective How to portray Naomi Kawase? Well, first of all, as a natural born filmmaker. Or in other words, as someone who appears to have been placed on this Earth with the specific purpose of making films in such a genius way that they remind us and connect us most effectively with essential things in life such as love and pain. And there is one place in life where we will most easily find these issues blooming and spreading: family. Indeed, throughout her films, both documentaries and fictions, family is a big thing in Kawase’s world. A declared fan of Victor Erice, Andrei Tarkovsky, and the Dardenne Brothers, Kawase was born in 1969 in Nara, Japan. She was left by her divorced parents to be raised by her great uncles, a scar that would become a primal drive in her later work. Her loving but hard relationship with her great aunt (“grandma”) and the moving search for her absent father were some of the main themes in early documentaries such as Embracing, Katatsumori, and Kya ka ra ba a. Her latest one, Tarachime, is “exhibit A” for the argument made before about her natural pre-disposition for filmmaking. Tarachime is an essay on motherhood in which we witness the birth of Kawase’s son Mitsuki. The instant after she gives birth to him, her first reflex is to grab her video ca-
mera and turn that unique and transcendental moment of her life into cinema. In that precise moment, the relation between herself and her camera, which she holds while observing her baby, is a tight and profound bond, as natural as the umbilical chord still connecting her to her newborn. And so, as they are bound together, Naomi (pardon, but it’s impossible not to use her first name after sharing such intimacy), her son Mitsuki, and the camera, all become one: a beautiful and breathtaking work of art. It’s of the most marvelous simplicity: in Kawase’s films cinema is life, and life is cinema. A long time ago, Samuel Fuller appeared in Godard’s Pierrot le Fou and defined cinema in one word: emotions. In their most natural and pure state, human emotions are what make us feel alive, and there’s no life without emotions. Just as her documentaries work on her own personal issues and become marvelous takes on universal feelings, in Kawase’s fictions feelings emerge from deep-rooted places and are slowly and calmly unfolded until they become transparent. Her love for hand-held cameras and thorough acting direction are some of the means in which she very assuredly peels away her stories and characters until there’s nothing left but the naked core of human emotions. Those are sublime
interview: Laetitia Mikles
“Rien ne s’efface” (Nothing vanishes)
In Rien ne s’efface (Nothing vanishes), Laetitia Mikles explores the art of Kawase. How did you become interested in Kawase’s work? I first saw Naomi Kawase’s work in Nyon (Switzerland) in 2000. I made an interview with her but, I don’t know how, an evil genius erased the tape on which I recorded it. So, my movie was a way to repair that irony of fate by proposing to Naomi Kawase a new conversation. But this time, the new meeting would be a documentary.
What is the reason why your film covers only Kawase’s work in documentaries? Actually it does refer to three of her fictions: Shara, Firefly and The Mourning Forest but it is true that I have a preference for her documentaries, because I think Naomi Kawase is the filmmaker of what Japanese people call the nichijô: she loves to celebrate the beauty of everyday life.
moments, and they’re precisely what makes Naomi Kawase’s films so unique and wonderful: whether it is an overwhelming street parade on a rainy Nara summer afternoon (as the one featured in Shara, probably one of the greatest and most breathtaking scenes in recent cinema), or a phone call to a long lost father (Embracing), or even an old man and a girl enjoying a watermelon (The Mourning Forest), Naomi
by Natalia Ames Is there a connection between Kawase’s work in documentary and her fiction films? Of course! In my documentary she explains that she doesn’t like to write detailed scripts because she trusts more the actors’ improvisation. She likes the unexpected side of the shootings. If she would plan too strictly her movies ahead of time, she would get bored. It would be like trying to command the wind to blow.
Kawase’s films heal and sweep us away with comfort. They go to cathartic extremes, but they are nevertheless soothing and eased by a sweet and calm feel of tranquility, making us feel – as we watched people struggling with the purest of hardships - that everything is still going to be ok.
by Agustín Mango
in focu s Naomi Kawase
© Haut et Court
© Ioiô Filmes
Vera Egito The world in small pieces Telling small stories with big themes, Brazilian Vera Egito will be the first director to open and close the Critics’ Week at Cannes. One day, a friend of Vera’s told her that, as a teenager, she used to smoke almost naked in the stairway of her building, so that her parents wouldn’t find it out by the smell on her clothes. The cinema student had this idea in mind for days, until she decided it would be the starting point for her short film at the University of São Paulo. In Espalhadas pelo Ar (Spread through the Air), the destiny of a 14-year-old girl experiencing her first love crosses that of a 30-year-old woman on the verge of ending her marriage. They meet each other on the stairway and become friends, helping each other without noticing it.
In Bond, Vera shows another feminine fate-crossing: at the beginning of the 80s, a girl meets with her first romantic disappointment on the same day that her mother learns the death of her favorite Brazilian singer, Elis Regina. Her taste for “small stories” is not casual. “I learned from my father, an advertising photographer, to see the world in small rectangles, select what we really want to see. (Argentinean poet Jorge Luís) Borges once said: if you understand a rose, you will understand the whole world”, she says. Intelligent and expressive, Vera goes against the tide when the subject is her work. With all these female characters, does she defend a “feminine cinema”? “I can discuss the concept, but I can’t help doubting it. A man, Fellini, created Cabiria, a woman who learns to forgive herself, in the most feminine trajectory in cinema”, she strikes. Are there many prejudices against female directors? “I see a problem: when a man director is rough on the set, he’s seen as a competent
moviemaker. When a woman is rigid in the set, she’s seen as hysterical. We are raised to be sweet and tender, but a girl should never be ashamed of commanding her team. Mostly, the set is a moment of war for any director”, Vera is not afraid to say. Oddly, for a girl with films in Cannes, Vera does not raise the flag of art movies. “We have to learn how to make commercial cinema. There has got to be something special in a film that is liked both by a grandma and her grandson”, she defends. Another surprise: she’s not a big fan of Brazilian cinema not a single Brazilian director comes to her mind as an influence. When asked for her favorites, she mentions Sofia Coppola, Michael Mann, Wong Kar-Wai (“especially My Blueberry Nights, which critics love to hate”) and Argentinean Lucrecia Martel. For the future, Vera is already post-producing her third short, 25. Unlike her former films, this one portrays a boy, the son of a Chinese-immigrant family in São Paulo whose father sells illegal
DVDs in the street 25 de Março, the temple of illegal commerce in the city. She claims she is not anxious about shooting her first long-feature film. “But it’s like moving out to live with your boyfriend: I’m feeling a lot of pressure to know when the baby is gonna come”, she jokes. In a way, however, Vera will also be in Cannes with a long-feature film: she has collaborated on the screenplay of À Deriva (Adrift), directed by her boyfriend Heitor Dhalia, which is selected for Un Certain Regard. “I’m very anxious about Cannes. Showing your film to an audience is like being naked in front of dressed people. And obviously, there’s always a certain fear that your films may be ran over by the festival’s rush. But I couldn’t feel happier right now”. For a girl used to seeing the world in small rectangles, at the moment Vera’s focus couldn’t be more enlarged.
from Elo (2008)
The film took part in ten festivals and won the French Critic’s Discovery award in the School Cinema Festival of Poitiers – not bad for a 24-year-old student’s first short-film made without pretension. But the best was still to come: with Spread, Vera received a first-time double invitation for the Critics’ Week in Cannes this year. While Spread will close the event, her new short, Elo (Bond), will be screened for the opening of one of the
most prestigious parallel events in Cannes.
by Thiago Stivaletti
WHERE DOES EUROPE END? MOSCOW - VLADIVOSTOK
CINETRAIN NISI MASA SCREENING of CINETRAIN 48th CRITICS’ WEEK Thursday, 21st of May
11 A.M. ESPACE MIRAMAR 35 RUE PASTEUR
NISI MASA European Network of Young Cinema
tel: +33 6 32 61 70 26 email@example.com www.nisimasa.com