BLACK MOVIE: Review of the 23rd edition!

BLACK MOVIE: Review of the 23rd edition!

A big sigh of relief, and not least! The Geneva International Independent Film Festival Black Movie closes its 23rd edition with an overall attendance of 25,000 festival-goers, who enjoyed many films, round tables and night events. Suspended from the evolution of health measures, the event – ​​the first solo of artistic director Maria Watzlawick – was able to take place in theaters in compliance with the rules in force. The festival also has an online component, which still offers until February 1 more than three quarters of the program. The Critics’ Prize goes to the film Zinder, by Nigerien filmmaker Aïcha Macky.

From January 21 to 30, the public was able to discover 89 films from 48 countries. While around ten guests finally managed to get to Geneva to present their films, Black Movie also offered pre-recorded Q&As online with 14 filmmakers. The 5 round tables, the 2 cinema-concerts in the Petit Black Movie section and the 3 festive evenings organized at the Groove (the latter saved in extremis!) attracted a large audience, beyond all expectations.

From January 28 to February 1, 70 films can still be streamed on the festival platform.

Among the most watched films, the festival is delighted with the success of the retrospective section “Hong Kong blackout”, which brought together a selection of films evoking the before and after the handover of Hong Kong to mainland China, among including Faceless by Jennifer Ngo, Infernal Affairs by Andrew Lau & Alan Mak, and Boat People by Ann Hui. The preview of Memoria by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a film starring actress Tilda Swinton, co-produced by Geneva-based company Bord Cadre Films, also sold out. The films presented by filmmakers were particularly followed by a public fond of exchanges in theaters, whether for example the committed documentary Our bodies are your battlefields by the French director Isabelle Solas, the very surprising Life of Ivanna by the Guatemalan Renato Borrayo Serrano, and the spellbinding animated film The Island by Romanian director Anca Damian.

The festival had many highlights. Thus, the public particularly celebrated the recent enthronement of Congolese rumba on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity by flocking in large numbers to the sessions of The Rumba Kings by Alan Brain Delgado. He was also deeply seduced by the subject of Burkinabe director Kiswendsida Parfait Kaboré’s film, After your revolt, your vote, which coincided in a spectacular way with the burning news of the coup d’etat in Burkina Faso. The spectators of Women Do Cry savored the brief passage of Bulgarian directors Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva, who came to present their film for one evening, between two other festivals. Particular attention was paid to the story of the Japanese Atsushi Sakahara, survivor of the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway perpetrated by the Aum sect, and who in the film Me and the Cult Leader confronts a member of the group with his little remorse. The public also enthusiastically visited the exhibition devoted to the Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing, shown at the Center de la Photographie Genève and visible until February 6 – a fruitful collaboration which the festival is delighted with.

The success of the Petit Black Movie program has not been denied, in particular with the long-awaited “Mini Mini Chat Mini Mini Show” cine-concert, with the holding of workshops for children and with the screening of the feature film La Traversée by the Frenchwoman Florence Miailhe.

The 2022 winners
The Critics’ Prize, endowed with CHF 5,000.- by the Department of Culture and Digital Transition of the City of Geneva, was unanimously awarded to the film Zinder, by Nigerien filmmaker Aïcha Macky: a documentary immersion in a hyper-masculine and closed environment in Zinder, a city in southern Niger, to meet idle young men who organize themselves into bodybuilder and brutal gangs.

The jury notes in particular that by “leaving great freedom of expression to the protagonists, the film penetrates into all the layers of a systemic problem with which a population is confronted”. He points out that “his film also helps to give a different perspective to many preconceived ideas. While carrying a very strong aesthetic dimension: the close-ups on the scars thus become the metaphor for the ills of the country. and concludes that “despite everything, hope appears in the end”.

A special mention is given to the film Captain Volkonogov Escaped by Russians Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov.

The intercantonal jury was made up of Pascal Blum (Tages Anzeiger), Regina Grüter (Luzerner Zeitung), Adrien Kuenzy (Ciné-Feuilles), Chiara Fanetti (RSI) and Sarah Stutte (Deadline).

The Youth Prize, worth CHF 1,000.- endowed by the Department of Social Cohesion and Solidarity of the City of Geneva, awarded by a jury whose members are secondary II students, is awarded to Pebbles from Indian PS Vinothraj. The jury praised “a touching, innovative and daring film” and said it was carried away by “a magnificent work, rich in symbols; a film presenting simple and grandiose landscapes at the same time, a film which knew how to show the characters and the links which unite them much more by the silences than by the dialogues. »

The Payot Petit Black Movie Prize, worth CHF 1,000.-, goes to the film Black Slide by Uri Lotan (Israel, United Kingdom). The jury made up of Francine Bouchet, Lynn Devillaz and Antonin Niclass salutes “the aesthetic choice as well as the digital special effects, which are assumed and work well, while the animation and editing plunge us into sensations that leave us speechless” . A special mention is awarded to Dans la rivière by Weijia Ma (China, France).

Finally, the Children’s Prize, awarded by a jury of children aged 7 to 9, was awarded to the animated short film El pingüino y la ballena by Ezequiel Torres & Pablo Rafael Roldán (Argentina).

The Black Movie Festival will return for a 24th edition from January 20 to 29, 2023.

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