For the last several years we’ve been screening films that I like to call observational narratives; that is narrative films that adopt a documentary approach to their filmmaking. See previous calendars inclusion of films by Pedro Costa, Lisandro Alonso, and Ulrich Seidl amongst others.
We believe these films are carving out new territory in the cinematic language, casting aside preconceptions about what a narrative or a documentary is and utilizing the tool kits from both forms to paint new cinematic canvases in their own styles. Many of them we’ve been heralding to our colleagues across the country through our distribution program. In the last year we sent Lisandro Alonso’s last work LIVERPOOL to twenty-six cities in North America. Starting this fall we’re circling the latest discovery in this kind of work THE ANCHORAGE from Anders Edström and C.W. Winter who will attend screenings of the film here in Seattle in mid-October.
THE ANCHORAGE was Winner of the Filmmakers of the Present Award at the Locarno Film Festival, and opens with an elderly woman about to take an early morning swim in the cold waters off the Stockholm Islands, where she lives alone except for the occasional visit from her daughter. But the sudden appearance of a deer hunter disturbs her peaceful and quiet life. It is a beautiful portrayal of the mystical landscapes where nature and mankind compose a perfect harmony. In the words of its authors, “it is made as a surrendering to grace—as a set of distinctions between realism and actuality. It’s a film about the passage of time, both in life and in movies themselves,” which pretty much sums up what most of these filmmakers are up to.
Today’s NY Times had a marvelous article from Dennis Lim talking more broadly about these recent works, using Miguel Gomes, who’ll visit NWFF next month, as a starting point. THE ANCHORAGE as well as Alonso’s films are mentioned and from our point of view, the article is worth reading as a kind of overview of the recent work we’ve been championing.