After decades of domestic abuse Fiorella decides to separate from her husband of 40 years. Valentina, the couple’s youngest daughter, returns home to document her bid for freedom and capture her family’s reaction to her decision. However, Fiorella struggles with her decision, being hesitant to abandon her life’s work – the family residence – which in some ways becomes synonymous with her identity. What results is a poignant, personal and intimate debut documentary, in which Valentina is her mother’s ally, in an area where the parochial ways dictate that domestic violence is still tolerated. Moving beyond the personal story this becomes a relevant and timely video essay on family, communities and patriarchal societies. Valentina Primavera • Italia • 2019 • 80′
“Loneliness and the feeling of inadequacy of the past months are now followed by the deep desire of getting back to normality. For my mother, this is the chance to become visible again, to take back lost spaces, to feel included.” (Valentina Primavera, director)
Valentina was born in 1985. She graduated from the School of Arts in Rome and since 2010 she has lived in Berlin. In 2014 she completed an M.A. in Stage Design from the Berlin Institute of Technology. Una Primavera is her directorial debut.
17.10.2019 – 20:30 Thalia 18.10.2019 – 22:00 Thalia
Waad al-Kateab was a student in 2011 when the civil war in Syria started and she became an activist and citizen journalist reporting for international media. For Sama is a video diary, told in a first-person voice, addressed to al-Kateab’s infant daughter that documents five years of Waad’s life, as she falls in love, gets married and has a child, while the traumatic effects of the conflict make life unliveable for everyone around her. Struggling between her desire to fight for her ideals and the safety of her family, Waad and her husband eventually decide to flee the conflict-ridden zone. What results is a powerful statement from a young filmmaker, whose simple act of witnessing transforms the humanitarian crisis into one of the most compelling documentaries on the subject.
Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts • Great Britain • 2019 • 99′
Former child bride Laila Haidari, who had witnessed her brother’s long battle with drug addiction, devotes her life to helping the men and women in Kabul struggling with one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. Determined and courageous, Laila takes initiative and fights to pull as many of the city’s addicts from their seedy environments and bring them to the treatment centre that she runs together with her brother. As financial aid dries up after the departure of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving behind a corrupt government and a chaotic society, the centre survives through funds generated by a local restaurant that she runs, where the waiters are recovering drug addicts. Laila’s efforts are presented directly, as an observational documentary, with the camera unobtrusively following her on her journey to save some of these men and women. Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei • Canada • 2018 • 97′
A documentary essay that examines the strict structures that dictate the behaviour of people in a small industrial Russian town. With an eye for visual composition, Ksenia Okhapkina’s film constructs a discourse on state propaganda through the subtle observations of innocuous, everyday situations, for example scenes of young girls learning about discipline at a ballet school or young boys training for the army shown in juxtaposition with snowy landscapes and the rigorous coordination of operations at the local factory. By being omnipresent and at the same time inconspicuous in people’s lives, from an early age, ideology becomes dangerous. Forgoing narration Okhapkina manages to construct a potent observation of the precariousness of free will in the face of state propaganda. Ksenia Okhapkina • Estonia • 2019 • 61′