FILM CATEGORIES

3
At Home in the Wild
7 films
At Home in the Wild

CATEGORY DESCRIPTION

At Home in the Wild


Closely connected to The Bruised Body of the Planet, which contains films focusing on the environment, this section compiles films where the camera is looking ‘inwards,’ towards the self, towards man. The transformed and ravaged environments documented by the filmmakers in our first section are thus mirrored on the faces of the characters drifting through the films of this second section, as it draws together portraits of people who have one thing in common: alienation. 

 

In particular, these films capture the extremely intimate relationships between filmmakers and their protagonists, as they were already existing or as they blossom. We have the privilege of stepping into a familiar and tender universe of a brother and sister relationship in “I Am Free,” where director Laura Portier documents her own brother, from the turbulent years of an adolescence marked by juvenile delinquency, to an adulthood marked by a period of homelessness, to him ultimately finding his place in one interesting corner of the world. The film is a fluid yet unusual collaboration between the two, blurring and eventually erasing the lines between director and character, as the camera moves from Laura’s hands in the first part of the film to her brother’s, in the second, when he gradually starts filming himself on his own more and more.

 

Other moving relationships between filmmaker and protagonist are formed spontaneously, right during the process of filming. “Looking for Horses” immortalizes the beginning of a peculiar friendship between the director and a fisherman who, after having lost his hearing during the Bosnian War, self-exiled himself on an almost deserted island. Similarly, “What Will Summer Bring” explores a relationship that transcends time and space, with a second-hand camera bought by Argentinian director Ignacio Ceroi acting as mediator. A treasure is hidden on the camera’s memory card: a Frenchman’s amateur footage filmed a long time ago as he was leaving his native country to start a completely new life in Cameroon.

 

The same context of intimacy and empathy is created in “Delphine's Prayers,” which allows us to witness the traumatic experiences and memories of Delphine, a Cameroonian woman who opens up to filmmaker Rosine Mbakam about how during her teenage years she was forced into prostitution, as well as about the compromises she had to make so as to escape from this situation and later become an immigrant married to a white man in Belgium. The journey into these hidden psychological spaces continues in “Idyll,” where we meet a war veteran suffering from PTSD, but also in “Bucolic,” constructed around the remote universe of a mother and a daughter living together in a rural area, a universe which, despite the appearance of marginality, takes on quasi-mythical proportions, thanks to their spirit of survival. Last but not least, “918 Nights” sees journalist Arantza Santesteban revisiting her past as an activist for Basque Independence, an activity which, on the one hand, brings her an accusation of terrorism and a prison sentence and, on the other, makes her a hero within her community. Arantza muses upon her identity, which she cannot place in either of the two options - of hero or terrorist.

 

The films in this section are tender odes dedicated to often marginalized, isolated, or alienated characters suffering from emotional disturbances caused by the stress and the trauma they have been exposed to in their environments, which they try to reject or escape from. These films dare to question the socio-political system we have built ourselves, analyzing their impact on individuals and examining how the structures that we build in the name of the collective good crush those excluded from collectivity. More than a portrait of alienation, these documentaries also capture a glimmer of hope, as we are presented with the examples of people who have managed to free themselves from the shackles of a burdensome reality, often through returning to a simpler way of life, surrounded by nature.



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