A Spell To Ward Off the Darkness dir. B.Rivers, B.RussellA Spell To Ward Off the Darkness dir. B.Rivers, B.Russell
25 July 2014
New Horizons International Competition

The T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival works to promote and support new names in Polish and world cinema. As each year, the festival’s most important event is the New Horizons International Competition. Thirteen auteur films that seek new forms of expression will screen during the 14th festival edition.

Competition films include those shown at what is currently one of the world’s most interesting film festivals, the Rotterdam Film Festival. In his second film, The Distance, director Sergio Caballero, winner of Rotterdam’s Tiger for Finisterrae, composer of electronic music and conceptual art, takes audiences into the severe surroundings of a defunct Siberian power plant. There, an artist reminiscent of Joseph Beuys orders telepathic midgets to steal the eponymous object. It is a parody of Tarkovsky’s Stalker and an ode to those who seek a better life. Meanwhile, Ben Rivers (Two Years at Sea, 12th NH) and Ben Russell (juror of last year’s Films About Art International Competition) shot A Spell to Ward Off The Darkness in a commune of Estonian hippies, a Finnish forest and at a neopagan concert in Norway. Between the silence and noise of the film’s hypnotic takes the artists seek the key to the condition of today’s eremite. Musician Robert AA Lowe, aka Lichens, plays the main role. The Rotterdam festival also screened the Austrian black-and-white film by Peter Brunner My Blind Heart, which is a story of a loner suffering from Marfan syndrome since birth who tries to experience a bit of happiness and freedom in rather dramatic circumstances.

Two films show a woman’s perspective in the competition. Swiss director Lorenz Merz in the film Chery Pie sketches an intense and emotional portrait filled with mystery of a nameless young hitchhiker. During her muddled trip, the hitchhiker accidentally assumes the identity of a woman she meets. Meanwhile, American director Josephine Decker tells the story of a sensual micro cosmos in the Californian Mendocino Forest, the scene of a Balkan music festival. The star of the naturalistic and improvised Butter on the Latch frees her own sexuality and submits to new and abrupt feelings.

The French film Mouton, whichwon an award at the Locarno Film Festival, is a formally mature feature-length debut by Gilles Deroo and Marianne Pistone, which shows a silent 17-year-old escaping from his alcoholic mother. The camera peeks over the boy’s shoulder, following his first steps in adult life. The directors, following the path of realism à la the Dardenne brothers, decided to implement an unexpected twist wherein Mouton becomes an impression about the significance of coincidence in life.

We recommend taking a close look at the theme of the fight for survival in the film Canopy by Aaron Wilson. The Australian, in telling a story about a pilot who parachutes into the Singaporean jungle during World War II and attempts to evade Japanese patrols, creates a separate world reminiscent of films by Bruno Dumont or Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Noaz Deshe’s film White Shadow about albinos in Tanzania, which received an award at the Venice film Festival, will surprise viewers with its different and unexpected approach to the exotic.

Argentina is represented in the competition by Benjamín Naishtat’s film History of Fear, in which the wealthy residents of a gated community are confronted with the reality of adjacent slums. Meanwhile, in Falling Star, the Spaniard Luis Miñarro tells the story of crisis-riddled 19th century Spain and the government of Amadeus I, Count of Savoy, an intriguing Spanish king of Italian ancestry, who avoided meat and alcohol. Three Polish films made it into the competition for the first time in festival history: Parasite byAnna Sasnal and Wilhelm Sasnal, How to Disappear Completely (world premiere) by Przemysław Wojcieszek and Calling (world premiere), the feature-length debut by Marcin Dudziak based on the prose of Kazimierz Orłoś.

14th edition archive website (year 2014).
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