Everything Ends

Ian Haydn Smith
12/08/17
A Crisis of Love: 120 Beats Per Minute T-Mobile New Horizons Daily 07

We're nearing the end of the 17th New Horizons Film Festival. For some - the diehards amongst you - that has meant 46 films over the course of the last 10 days. For others, the tally might be less but there are sure to have been discoveries along the way.

But we're not at the very end yet. There are another five time slots today to catch the last few films and, like all good festivals, it offers the chance to catch up with titles you might have missed. So, with that in mind, here are some recommendations to take you through the day and will hopefully help you forget that 'normal' life returns tomorrow.

The Red Eye Slot

Forget sleep after that heavy night in the Arsenal or one of the many bars around the festival cinema. There's a film to watch.

09:45 knh 2 Sieranevada

Let's start the day with an epic chamber piece. Cristi Puiu's tale of a family gathering for the wake of its recently deceased patriarch unfolds almost entirely in one tiny apartment. And no one is feeling calm. From discussions of Romania's past and the nature of religious belief to family squabbles and the intrusion of strangers, Puiu's film is by turns hilarious and moving.

10:00 kn66 The Last Days of Louis XIV

No less a chamber piece - this time set entirely in one bed chamber - Albert Serra's account of the Sun King's last days is mesmerising. Jean-Pierre Léaud gives one of his finest performances and the film dwells on the minutiae of daily court life, as the death of its head approaches.

Forget Lunch

The first of two afternoon slots feature some of this year's best releases

12:45 kn1 Loveless

Fe contemporary filmmaker possess the formal brilliance of Andrey Zvyagintsev (The ReturnLeviathan) and his latest observes a family as it self-destructs. The pivotal conversation in the film is excruciating to watch, but Zvyagintsev is a master of control and Loveless might be his finest film to date.

13:15 kh9 Félicité

Félicité sings in a bar in Kinshasa. On discovering her son is gravely ill she is willing to do anything to save him. Even deal with the people who have made her life hell. Alain Gomis' powerful drama features an excellent central performance by Véro Tshanda Beya and fabulous music from the Kassai All Star Band.

Late Afternoon Blues

This is the halfway point of the last day. But fear not, there is a wealth to see now that will keep you sprightly.

15:45 kh1 Happy End

Okay, this may not make you happy, but Michael Haneke's latest will at least make you feel happy that you're not a part of the family you encounter in his film. Some critics have suggested that this is Haneke working in a minor key compared to his recent The White Ribbon and Amour. Alternatively, it could be seen as the sum of his work to date, refining themes he has approached before. Or you could just call it a very good film.

15:45 kn3 The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood

Not a new film - it was made in 1990. Nor is it a complete one, having been hacked to pieces by the Iranian censors. But with whatever remained being pieced together by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, this 65-minute account of oppression is still a powerful and essential work.

Forget Supper…

After all, there are more films to be seen. What other sustenance could you need?

18:45 kn1 Loving Vincent

It's visually audacious - a film subsequently hand-painted that captures the life of Vincent van Gogh in his own visual style. Clint Mansell's music is rapturous. The B&W flashbacks are stunning. It's a lovely homage to the artist.

19:15 kn7 A weird, little documentary about insect life. Worth watching if only to see a dung beetle take on a Sisyphean task.

Closing Act

The lost slot - everything must end some time. You can go out with grand guinol-style thrills or drift into a hypnotic state of bliss. If it's shocks you're after, go to kn1 for Raw. Just don't eat too much before you watch the film. More sophisticated thrills come in the form of Elle (kn2) and The Handmaiden (kn3). Both deal with sexual violence and coercion, albeit in starkly different ways. Paul Veerhoeven's Isabelle Huppert-starrer is a provocation, whereas Park Chan-wook's period thriller is a sensual delight. Toni Erdmann (kn9) will have you ending your time at the festival in laughter, with a tinge of melancholy, while Ulrich Seidl's Safari and Amat Escalante's Untamed rank high on this festival's WTF meter (trust me, there is one). Finally, if it's refection you're after, there's a choice: Jacques Rivette's Mad Love, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker or Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendour. All fine films and perfect, in the own ways, as an end to your festival experience.


Ian Haydn Smith

Ian Haydn Smith is a British writer and editor. Formerly the editor of the International Film Guide, he is the co-author of New British Cinema and author of the forthcoming The Story of Photography. He has attended New Horizons since 2008.


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