Centrul Astra Film
Ro / En


Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival 2016


In these times of ours, most people feel the urge to broadcast themselves and share every trifle of their existence. Documentarists can feel it too, but not being ''most people'', we can expect their sharings to be of consequence in form and content. Their journal records can take the form of intimate confessions about their personal experiences in search of their identity,  a chronicle of a turbulent period of their lives, or an attempt to understand social inequities in their own communities through fist-hand experience.

An intimate diary, a journal of war, pages in the chronicle of the Ukrainean Revolution, moments on the Euromaidan, the statement of a generation, coming of age, ''Alisa in Warland'' is something of it all. The outbreak of the revolution sets a gap in the lives of the two authors, Alisa Kovalenko and Liubov Durakova. From then on, there's a 'before', meaning a normal life, and an 'after', spelling war, death, struggle for freedom. It is a documentary made with burning emotion about a personal story which is the story of her generation, about becoming adult the hard way, about understanding the values of life.

With ''Czech Against Czechs'', Tomáš Kratochvíl tackles the issue of the Roma communities living under threat in marginalized getto-like neighbourhoods. He finds that nationalism often at its extreme is well-set in Czech society, so much so that for most people there are the „whites“, who are ok, and  the ''blacks'', who are a problem to be taken care of (violence and death are not excluded as potential solutions). Documenting the first hand experience of a 'white' (the filmmaker) living among the 'blacks', Kratochvíl creates a powerful film and the personal involvement and the immediacy of the images make it even more so.

In a small local television station in a Georgian town, its sole reporter busies herself with covering everything that happens in the community.  'The Dazzling Light of Sunset' by Salome Jashi, winner of the Regard Neuf Competition (Visions du Réel, 2016) draws a pseudoethnographic portrait of a community in Georgia. This cinematic kaleidoscope of characters, places and events unveils the life of the local community and its hybrid values. The act of broadcasting itself is more important than having something worth broadcasting.

''The Halves'' (Alexander Zarchikov) has a first part happening at sea, and a second which follows a journey on the Siberian roads. Initially we are on a cargoboat sailing from Japan to Vladivostok, while the crew busy themselves cutting in half the whole cargo of Japanese cars. It is a scheme to elude Russian customs fees. Once in Russia, the cars are put back together and sold. Half filmmaker and half sailor cum environmentalist, Zarchikov seems to have his life cut in half, same as the cars and the structure of his documentary itself. He brings in the selection this deeply personal film in which he rummages about motherland, religion, nature, and rootlessness. (Adina Marin)