If in contemporary European cinema the limits between reality and fantasy are blurred, the New Waves/Non-Fiction section emphasizes the richness of the documentary feature, with works that deal with History (and stories) in innovative ways.
Matthew Mishory, the son of an exile from the Moldavian town of Mărculesti, investigates the effects of the Romanian holocaust on one of the most impoverished areas in Europe with Absent, having its international premiere at SEFF. From Caligari to Hitler, the first feature film by the well-known film critic and historian, Rüdiger Suchsland, revises sequences from a list of great filmmakers -Murnau, Lang, Siodmak- and also forgotten talents who foretold the arrival of Nazism in Germany.
Kommunisten, by Jean-Marie Straub (a reference in European cinema since the 60s), is a journey through the history of the 20th century and of resistance, portraying landscapes and faces that bring to light the invisible clash of sentiment and politics. In La France est notre patrie, the Cambodian director Rithy Panh (an award winner at Un certain regard with The Missing Picture) tells the striking story of the French colonies from the point of view of the conquered.
A prizewinner at festivals such as Locarno and Venice, the French director Philippe Grandrieux is participating in New Waves/Non-Fiction with Meurtrière, a new cinematic experience that is part of his trilogy about worry. A key figure in European cinema of the last 40 years, Chantal Akerman died at the start of October, leaving as her film testament No Home Movie, which shows the gradual ending of the life of her mother, a Polish woman who had survived Auschwitz.
Co-directed by Lea Glob and Petra Costa, Olmo & the Seagull (a prize-winner at CPH-DOX and Locarno), documents the work of actors who are preparing a version of the The Seagull by Chekhov, and brings fiction into the film. Nikolaus Geyrhalter spent ten years following the workers at an Austrian textile factor in Over the Years, sufficient time to build a portrait that puts faces to sociological analyses.
After Maidan, (one of the great documentaries of 2014) the Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa again deals with the conflict between his country and Russia in The Event, an epic film constructed with archive material that centres on the failed coup that marked the end of the USSR. The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes are not Brothers is a hallucinatory journey in which Ben Rivers, representative of the freest, most experimental side of English non-fiction, documents a shoot by the Galician director Oliver Laxe in the Moroccan Sahara.The following short films will be screened, out of competition: Back Track (3D) by Virgil Widrich; Iec Long, by Joao Pedro Rodrigues and Joao Rui Guerra da Mata; Things, by Ben Rivers and La guerre d’Algérie, by Jean-Marie Straub.