Unconventional movies from Berlinale and Rotterdam in Romanian premiere in the BIEFF 2012 competition!

After winning over the audiences at Berlin and Rotterdam, some of this year’s most interesting short films arrive for the first time in Romania, in the International Competition of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival, part of BIEFF’s endeavour to connect the Romanian audience to the most original trends in contemporary cinema.


Winner of the DAAD Award at Berlinale Shorts 2012 and highly acclaimed in many other festivals such as Sarajevo, Melbourne, Hotdocs, etc., THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY is a musical-documentary with an impressive audience appeal that tells the real life story of a Broadway performer (the director’s uncle) in six original songs. Both surprising and charming, “this eccentric film employs outstanding music and choreography to create a hilarious, personal narrative full of emotion”, according to the Berlinale Jury Statement. A real feel-good movie!



Premiered at the 2012 Berlinale, one of the most intriguing cinematic experiences of the BIEFF Competition, IMPOSSIBLE EXCHANGEaddresses the viewer directly, involving him in a seemingly banal episode, which carries in fact a strong political and emotional charge. Aboard a luxury cruise ship, some French tourists negotiate with the Lebanese merchants on shore. The moment is expanded through slow motion and textual interventions which materialize an imaginary dialogue between the two parties involved in the transaction, the image reaching thus an interesting metaphorical level: it is not about exchanging a rug for money anymore, but about exchanging the merchant's status in the world with that of the tourist. However, the exchange is impossible, as the gap between their two worlds is immense.” (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2012)



This year BIEFF continues its excellent collaboration with the Rotterdam Film Festival, which began in 2010, bringing again to Bucharest some exceptional films from the Rotterdam official selection, of which we mention:


A new immersion in the surreal universe of the Romanian born visual artist MIHAI GRECU – author of the innovative COAGULATE and CENTIPEDE SUN (BIEFF 2010) – GLUCOSE, combining 3D animation with real footage, reinvents our domestic space, completely changing our way to perceive it. In a humorous and full of anxiety interpretation of the quantum physics’ idea that we could be in two places at once, familiar objects suffer strange physical distortions, breaking nature’s laws. "The film creates thus unexpected associations between micro- and macro-universe, and we follow in awe how every glass of water becomes an ocean full of fish, each yolk of egg disintegrates in what seems to be a solar explosion, the wall surfaces become arctic landscapes, while the fish cross the now permeable walls of the aquarium, thus floating in air as naturally as they do in water. A deeply sensorial experience, GLUCOSE becomes an intelligent commentary about our universe." ( Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2012)



Also from Rotterdam, exploring the same topic of the relativity of perception, the Italian visual artists Flatform join BIEFF with two fascinating experiments. 57.600 SECONS OF INVISIBLE NIGHT AND LIGHT and A PLACE TO COME are two ingenious collages of optical illusions which destabilize our certainties, showing that what we take for granted as being real can actually be just an illusion.


In 57.600 SECONDS…, consisting of one single long shot, the camera follows several people who either prepare an outdoor shooting or just pass by. They move mechanically, absent-mindedly, seeming fully immersed in their own thoughts or actions, without noticing the world around them, where strange things start to happen: day turns into night and vice versa, in an unusually fast pace, while an invisible demiurge seems to randomly manipulate the humans' movement speed. A fascinating and unsettling experience which reminds us that, absorbed in our own limited experiences, we forget what is truly important and that life passes us quickly by.


A PLACE TO COME is a philosophical visual essay which highlights the miraculous power of the camera to transcend reality and offer, thus, unexpected perspectives on the world. Establishing through sophist reasoning that what we see on screen doesn’t exist, the film challenges our perception not only of cinema, but also of life, making us question our own existence in the world.



A tropical fantasy featuring skinheads and exotic butterflies, THE MEANING OF STYLE has impressed countless festivals including Rotterdam, Sarajevo, Telluride or Bello Horizonte. A lyrical study of the Malaysian skinheads subculture, resembling that of the British suburbia of the ‘70s, this video installation is an incisive, yet extremely seductive reflection on the relationship between East and West, between the British colonial history and the pop culture in South-East Asia, subtly discussing complex issues such as building one’s identity through imitation and how colonialism continues to exist in the form of mass-media and occidental culture influence.


Also from Rotterdam comes SHELTER, an unsettling essay on love and loneliness, consisting of one single long shot that seems to follow a moment in the life of a couple: a girl and a boy, leaning against each other, tired, in the back of an empty bus. Yet, gradually, the nature of their relationship becomes ambiguous - the boy's increasingly passionate embraces seem to leave the girl strangely indifferent. In spite of their physical closeness, the two appear to be painfully alone. A very unusual suspense is thus created and becomes more and more intriguing until, in the end, the film almost imperceptibly crosses the line between reality and fantastic, entering a parallel, spiritual realm. What initially appeared to be an ordinary scene becomes a deeply emotional experience and, at the same time, a contemplation of life's frailty and of the immense power of our feelings.



The new edition of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival – BIEFF will take place between 20th – 25th of November at Cinema Scala and Cinema Elvira Popescu. The entrance to the screenings and related events is free of charge, depending on the number of available seats.


Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF is organised by Asociaţia Cultură şi Imagine and supported by Centrul Național al Cinematografiei, Universitatea Națională de Artă Teatrală și Cinematografică, Universitatea Națională de Arte, Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporaines, MNAC Muzeul Național de Artă Contemporană, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Jameson, JTI, Samsung, Noumax, Romania Film, Fundația Konrad Adenauer, Forumul Cultural Austriac, Goethe Institut, UNIFRANCE, Institutul Francez, Institutul Polonez, Ambasada Republicii Koreea, Dacia, Today Advertising, Cărturești, ALLTUR, Kraftmark.

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