Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter dir. David ZellnerKumiko, the Treasure Hunter dir. David Zellner
NH Tit-Bits
14 July 2014
Urszula Śniegowska’s Top Ten

The organizers of the 14th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival recommend a number of titles that should not be missed. Here is the Top Ten list as selected by Urszula Śniegowska, a member of the selection committee and the artistic director at the American Film Festival:

As usual, my New Horizons Top Ten will focus on the west, all the way across the Atlantic even. Documentaries are also included, and the films are in no particular order.

Giuseppe Makes a Movie (Films on Art International Competition) – to get things off on the right foot, this film was discovered at the HotDocs international documentary film festival in Toronto. Giuseppe, a crazy filmmaker, or rather video maker (this film could also be screened in the Midnight Madness VHS section), lives in a trailer in the desert along with other social outcasts. His fascination with film develops through video cassettes, and, for several years, he has been making his own horrors that were inspired by the films he has seen over the years.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Panorama) – also about a person obsessed with cinema. Looking for the money that was buried in the ground in Fargo, a young Japanese girl spends all of her savings to travel to the United States. Another innovative film that blurs the line between fiction and reality, between the world of the imagination and the cold winter of Minnesota. Director David Zellner (the maker of Kid-Thing from two years ago, which was shown at New Horizons, who is currently in Wrocław), in a small but significant role, explains to the heroine that "a film is just a work of the imagination, it is not really happening."

Butter on the Latch (New Horizons International Competition) – a discovery from the Forum section at this year’s Berlinale, actress, artist, and performer Josephine Decker (who will also be in Wrocław) tells the story of the amorous turmoil of a young woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown set at an outdoor festival of Balkan music (the title comes from the lyrics of an American folk song). Dreamlike, wild, moving.

Boyhood (Panorama) – 12 years in the life of Mason, his sister, and his family; it would appear to be nothing special if not for the fact that the film was shot over the course of a dozen years, and both the actors and characters grow up and get older right in front of our eyes. A completely un-Hollywood (though the cast certainly is) approach that once again blurs the line between fiction and documentary.

Let the Fire Burn (Third Eye: Communes) – an acclaimed documentary, a well-known group, and a famous case that nearly no one remembers today. Found-footage materials about MOVE, an African-American anarchist commune from Philadelphia that was brutally suppressed by the authorities.

Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets (New Horizons International Competition) – Florian Habicht on a famous British band and more. As usual, Habicht’s documentary is marked by his sense of humor and sweetly ironic approach to reality.

Karol Radziszewski’s The Prince (New Horizons International Competition) – is it possible to get to the truth about a person, a master, an outstanding and controversial artist, a charismatic man, a legend? What is fact and what is a fabrication of his loved ones and acquaintances?

Izabella Gustowska’s The Case of Josephine H. (Special Screenings) – coincidentally, the subject of this original visual experiment is similar to what Karol Radziszewski shows us in The Prince: that we cannot know the truth about a historical figure. Even more so when the historical figure is a woman hidden in the shadow of a master, when she is his muse and his wife. An interesting, unintended sequel, a supplement to Gustav Deutsch’s film from last year, Shirley. With modern-day New York in the background.

Parasite (New Horizons International Competition) – The Sasnals at their best. Minimalistic observation, naturalism, a depressing reflection on life.

And finally, for a bit of a change: Curse of Snakes Valley (New Horizons of Film Language: Special Effects) A special-effects bloodbath from the end of the Communist era in Poland. A must-see for fans of disgusting kitsch.

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