INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION: Things To Come
Saturday, 16 January 2021
WONG PING'S FABLES 2, dir. Wong Ping
Otherworldly phenomena, dystopian landscapes and an incarcerated cow all feature in this programme of a world suspended in stasis.
In Nelson Makengo's multiform non-fiction, political upheaval has forced darkness onto the increasingly resourceful population of Kinshasa, whilst Wong Ping (Wong Ping’s Fables 2) offers a speculatively hilarious yet chilling prelude to the Hong Kong protests.
In a nod to the global lockdown, these short works narrativise a world holding its breath in anticipation - be it striving for political change, waiting for environmental devastation or, like the titular characters in Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki's 2 Lizards, pining for that oft-mentioned notion of “a return to normality”.
Programmed by Tom Grimshaw and the international selection committee. 80'
Please note, the films Up At Night and Sun Dog can only be accessed by UK audiences at the request of their filmmakers.
Save 25% with a pass to all five International Competition virtual screenings, or buy a full online Competition pass (all 10 programmes of UK and international award-qualifying short cinema) for just £25.
UP AT NIGHT
Democratic Republic of Congo
Three separate screens foreground the resilience of a population that reinvents light in front of an invisible government.
“Shot on the streets of Kinshasa, Nelson Makengo’s Up At Night is a nocturnal ode to the endurance, resilience and hope of its citizens. Forced to live in intermittent darkness by an absent government, Makengo depicts, with tableaux-like clarity, the measures taken by its people to bring light back to the city. The symbolism of the light and the practicalities of creating it gives the film a dystopian edge - gasoline is poured into generators, batteries are sourced. Through its triptych of frames and Makengo’s filmic painting with light and shadow, the film is frequently imbued with a reverence that recalls the faith and form of the Renaissance masters.”
— Tom Grimshaw
2 LIZARDS (EPISODE 1)
Meriem Bennani, Orian Barki
A beautiful moment of communion through sound waves in socially distanced Brooklyn.
“Co-conceived, produced and released during lockdown, Bennani and Barki’s Instagram series is an earnest depiction of the collective experience of quarantine. Drawing from real world events, the series mirrors our own ups and downs, perfectly encapsulating the sluggish, out-of-time distortion of reality that has shaped our lives this last year. Although modest in scope, its observational acuity and the warm, poetic resonance of its dialogue offers an insightful view of a world caught between boredom and uncertainty.”
— Tom Grimshaw
WONG PING'S FABLES 2
Completed before Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests of 2019, the dark turns taken in the lives of an ex-activist vegetarian cow and a three-headed rabbit show what may have caused tensions to boil over.
“Beneath their gleefully retro VHS aesthetic and a subversively crude humour, Wong Ping’s films offer some of the sharpest commentary on living under hyper-consumerist late stage capitalism. With his Fables, Ping has crafted a collection of moral tales that highlight the tension created when our desire to fit into that system sits anxiously against our own moral and ethical codes, resulting in ironic and often violent denouements, that reflect our own real world abjection and debasement.”
— Tom Grimshaw
Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation and blurring the boundaries between documentary filmmaking and science fiction in the environmentally devastated state of Iowa.
“Both a wordless B-movie thriller and filmic speculation on climate destruction. Emily Drummer’s high concept compositions, uncanny recyclings of science fiction motif, feel heavy with the menace of human meddling (hands poised to fuss at peripheries; breaths weighted through respirators lowering throughout) but the film’s organic matter, a thriving plant life, exists between and beyond each of these interventions, proposing the order and inevitability of a post-human future.”
— Jenna Roberts
Fedor is a young locksmith in Murmansk, a frozen city in the obscurity of the Russian Arctic, who's dreams are corroding his relation to reality and opening a door to a phantasmagoric universe.
“Created via the refraction of hexagonal ice particles, a sun dog is an atmospheric optical phenomenon where the sun appears to be flanked by two or more smaller suns. In Dorian Jesper’s graduate film, the sun dog could just as much refer to Fedor, a harangued and belittled locksmith roaming the frozen streets of Murmansk, searching for something that will elevate him beyond his surreally hostile and oppressive environment. This is where the beauty of Jespers film lies, in its intricately crafted tension between the quotidian and the fantastical, where the conventions of both fiction and documentary wholly evaporate, leading to a finale that’s breathtaking in its audacious, life-affirming beauty.”
— Tom Grimshaw