This year’s Competition section of the festival entails nine of the most exciting films in the whole selection, which will be evaluated by two juries: one made up of professionals from the international film industry, and the other of high school students from around the country.
Four of the nine documentaries in this year’s competition directly approach the central theme of the edition, as they talk about women’s experiences and the struggles for their well-deserved recognition. In “Little Red Riding Hood,” Argentinian director Tatiana Mazú González delicately makes two historical periods and two types of mentality confront, using her desire to learn to sew as a pretext for talking with her grandmother at length about the evolutions and the contradictions of their status as women.
In “The Metamorphosis of Birds,” Portuguese director Catarina Vasconcelos evokes a past wherein to be born a woman meant to be predestined to a traditional and patriarchal existence. “My Mexican Bretzel” (directed by Nuria Giménez, Spain, 2020) is an authentic - and at the same time deceiving - portrait of a woman of the postwar high society, who oscillates between conformism and emancipation and, finally, with her debut, “Night Shot,” Carolina Moscoso offers us a painful account of the sexual abuse of which she was a victim, and of its consequences.
Talking about marginalization, integration, and justice, we have films such as “Caterpillars,” a documentary on the pygmies of the Central African Republic, victims of the implacable logic of the market and of the oppression of minorities. “Corporate Accountability,” director Jonathan Perel’s film, talks about the workers repression during the Argentinian military dictatorship between 1976-1983. In “There Will Be No More Night,” through French filmmaker Eléonore Weber’s voice, we get to fly above some regions in the Middle East, observing the world below us while we become aware of the irony of seeing a lot, yet understanding very little.
In “Rara Avis” we embark on a trip on the Pacific Ocean, together with five troubles teenagers who are part of a reeducation and social reintegration program, affectionately observed by Swiss filmmaker Mirjam Landolt. The Altar desert, located on the border between Mexico and the United States, is the protagonist of “The Shadow of the Desert” (Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, Mexico, 2020), a character which, in unperturbed manner, witnesses the ongoing flux of immigrants and the efforts for survival of the last indigenous inhabitants left in the region.
These remarkable films will be viewed by two juries. The first of them will consist of five professionals specialized in contemporary criticism and dramaturgy, the art of editing and sound design, distribution and curation: Mihaela Michailov, critic and playwright who activates mainly in social reflection theatre; Dana Bunescu, editor, sound designer, and director; Patrick Holzapfel, critic and author of MUBI’s online magazine; Rene Wolf, head of acquisitions and senior programmer of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and Nicole Fernández Ferrer, the coordinator of the Simone de Beauvoir Center in Paris, dedicated to the feminist and LGBT film production, distribution, archiving, and analysis.
This year’s high school jury will be comprised of female students of ages 16 to18: Sânziana Șendroiu, from Câmpulung, Raluca Cocor, from Iași; Miriam Gurguță, from Vaslui, Arina Litvinova, Maria Mitulescu, and Iulia Precup, from Bucharest. They will participate in the second edition of the cinematographic education program for high school students, “Zero for Conduct,” coordinated by Dragoș Apetri and Cristina Haneș. Apart from the activity within OWR, this also entails being a part of the team of selectors of the “Super” International Festival for Film and Art made by Teenagers.