blur Cinemateca Astra Film:  Invitation to the Finest Documentary Films

Cinemateca Astra Film: Invitation to the Finest Documentary Films

Astra Film Cinematheque reopens its doors this summer and returns in June with four of the best documentary films awarded at the last edition of the festival. The program begins on Thursday, June 6, with the screening of the documentary Amar (2023), by Diana Gavra, and continues every Thursday of the month with other films applauded at AFF2023: The sweet kiss of the earth (2023), by Gautier Gumpper, The Wind of Change (2022), by Nikoloz Bezhanishvili and The Place Where Nobody Says "I Love You" (2023), by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento. The screenings will take place in Sibiu, at Sala Astra Film Cinema, Piața Mică no. 11.

Cinemateca Astra Film is an Astra Film program initiated under the Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007 Program. This summer, screenings will be held every Thursday at 6:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the cinema hall on the evening of the screening. Ticket prices are 10 lei for adults and 5 lei for pensioners, pupils, and students. For reservations, call 0751166516. Access will start at 5:45 PM.

Astra Film Cinematheque program in June

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 6:00 PM | "Amar" (2023), dir. Diana Gavra

A Romania-Spain production, this 125-minute documentary tells the story of experienced pickpockets across most European countries, for whom this activity has become an art form. It delves into their personal and professional lives, revealing the mentality and spirit behind such thefts. Diana Gavra's film presents slices of real life, operational methods, including the study of the "victim," showing how pickpockets perceive the world around them. Moments of irresistible humor alternate with genuinely dramatic, emotionally charged scenes.

At last year's anniversary edition of the Astra Film Festival, "Amar" was awarded the Best Debut Prize. According to the jury's motivation, the documentary tenaciously and courageously built "a relationship of trust and intimacy with the protagonists, bringing us closer to a group of people for whom pickpocketing is—as they describe it—a way of life. With objectivity, without sensationalism, giving the characters space to sincerely express their complicated lives, this film masterfully reveals the personalities of the people behind the stereotypes."

Thursday, June 13, 6:00 PM | "Earth's Sweet Kiss" (2023), dir. Gautier Gumpper

This French production, lasting 108 minutes, presents the peaceful and constructive protest of Ștefan Hladiuc, who felt wronged by a court in Romania and sought justice at the ECHR. He chose to live under a bridge in Strasbourg, working a patch of land from morning to night, transforming it into a true flower garden, an oasis of beauty that soothes both the eyes of passersby and his inner peace. A unique and special story, a production with a philosophical touch, expressed through the values held by the main character.

Gautier Gumpper's film was considered the Best Documentary Film of the Romania competition. According to the jury members, "it is a film that presents the beauty of life born from struggle, from the desire to preserve dignity and individual integrity. Using a formally limited, austere style, it progressively and masterfully develops a narrative about life on the margins of society. With dignity and poetic strength, skillfully utilizing cinematic means, the author creates an affective intimacy with the protagonist, giving voice to the voiceless.

Thursday, June 20, 6:00 PM | "The Northeast Wind" (2022), dir. Nikoloz Bezhanishvili

A production from Georgia, Nikoloz Bezhanishvili's film, presented at AFF 2023, lasts 94 minutes and brings to the forefront a group of nostalgic Stalinists from Gori, Stalin's birthplace, outraged by the demolition of the former dictator's statue. They launch a campaign for rehabilitation, trying to oppose this "sacrilege." "The Northeast Wind" is a documentary that, at times, borders on fiction, with many hilarious situations and sad characters, about a generation trapped in the past, unaware that the world around them has irrevocably changed.

Nikoloz Bezhanishvili's film was awarded Best Documentary of the Central and Eastern Europe Competition. "Weaving a thin line in portraying men and women marked by history, this documentary is bold and delicate at the same time, presenting its characters with cold empathy: neither as heroes, nor antiheroes or victims," the jury explained at the award ceremony.

Thursday, June 27, 6:00 PM | "Adieu Sauvage" (2023), dir. Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento

A Belgium-France production (93 minutes), the film is a participatory foray into the Cácua indigenous community in Colombia, lucidly and sensitively revealing the invisible wounds of colonialism. Sarmiento sets out to conduct an informal ethnographic study on the causes of alarming suicide waves among the indigenous Colombian population. Under the guise of a coming-of-age story, the film progressively becomes an arena for a complex and emotional intra- and transcultural dialogue about identity, love, traditions, and language. The issue of understanding (or not understanding) the other is staged in a poetic, sensory, and intimate key, ultimately touching the notes of a profound existential quest.

Director Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento's film was awarded Best Documentary in the New Voices in Documentary Cinema Competition. "A picturesque, emotional film with many layers; the director's personal journey in search of his own identity opens a narrative about the effects of colonialism. This oscillation between personal experience and history is approached from both an intimate and charming angle, as well as a humorous one. The film is grounded in a growing friendship between the director and his 'guide,' a journey embarked on with humility and clarity, documented and narrated with mastery," the jury noted, appreciating the "chance to partake in the director's discoveries about a disappearing culture that resides in his very DNA."

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