A bright spark in this dreary January in Geneva is certainly the Black Movie festival.
Take “Silent Mist”, a visually mesmerising film shot on location in a remote Chinese village.
“Still no electricity”, says the Director, Zhang Miaoyan, explaining the string of red lanterns that light up the movie and the night. A moving story, with minimal dialogue. Partly because Zhang wants us to interpret what is obvious, and partly, he says, because the “actors” are really just his friends with no acting experience. Albeit, very effectively played. Most of all, one wants to hold onto each image, to examine it beyond the broad panoramic view, but to reach into the depths of the screen with its fascinating silent detail.
From the other side of the globe, Argentina, “Un ano sin amor” is a gripping story of the early pessimistic years of HIV infection, but a light at the end of the tunnel with new treatment possibilities. Unflinching support by the medical system, and acceptance by family and friends endear us to the film. While the depiction of “undergound” homosexual life is sometimes shocking in its detail, it is, however, the conclusion that makes us want to follow the life of this young poet and writer, beyond the movie.
A lot more to be seen: films from India, Iran, Japan, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Brazil, Egypt, Qatar – and many more countries. How eclectic can a festival get!
In addition, a special section for kids and a series of roundtables. Congratulations to the visionary programme directors of the festival, Kate Reidy and Maria Watzlawick.
Ongoing till Sunday, 28 January 2018.
See the full line up at blackmovie.ch.
Subtitle alert: While most films have English and French subtitles, some have just French. Check the website.
Renu Chahil-Graf, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Renu Chahil-Graf
Renu is a Geneva-based writer and former international United Nations civil servant.