In the era of blockbusters, reboots and recurring ideas, film festivals such as New Horizons is something fresh and liberating. You can stop looking at film business through the money race and breathe in pure creativity.
This was my very first time here with a pass. Watching 26 films was not a challenge comparing to other people’s statistics. Yet I am pretty content with my score. After all, I had to balance working at the same time. There are over 200 films to choose from and there’s no way to see more than 51 feature-length. I chose to go full YOLO. I did have a few “must-sees” but apart from these, every day just before the reservation process I picked descriptions most appealing to me.
Luckily, organizers announced media screenings. And being a blogger – I attended almost all of them. It was a complacent way to see films which New Horizons wanted to highlight (God bless, seriously). These were both most “normal” of the bunch, yet some of the best at the festival. Afterwards, my afternoons were filled with films which appealed to me. Some choices weren’t exactly the best but some were a pleasant surprise. I mostly followed a style and subjects I fancy but also took recommendations heard by chance or read at New Horizons’s Facebook group.
Speaking of the festival’s organization there’s not much bad to point out. It was done as well as it could, but I’d prefer that people didn’t queue to enter a screening, leave their stuff and return at the exact time. This is rude. If you want a better seat, leave your butt in it, not come around. If you already have a ticket you will enter if you follow the rules. This way it is problematic because every damn person asks if that seat is free and secondly – it is annoying for the people who actually act as they care and they stick their damn buttocks to a chair. This practice should be treated as an emergency instead of behaving like an asshole on a screening basis. I hope it will be forbidden eventually because people won’t be nice to each other out of their own free will.
Another thing is the fire I already started – the seats available to reserve for the ending gala. I do hope it was done fairly, yet 30 available seats for pass holders was a very low number. There were only 3 top rows available for people with tickets and passes. I am well aware of guests of honour and such but I am not sure if the balance is maintained here. This is only an opinion and I’m sure every person has a different approach here. I don’t want to ignite the same fire all over again.
However the festival is also more than just films, I had to skip all the parties and exhibitions to take as much as possible in the day time. But I’ve heard incredible stories from Arsenal so I hope I’ll find a moment to peek next time. There are also a number of exhibitions and meetings all over Wrocław centre. This year there was even a theatre play based on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia which sadly was sold out before I decided to go.
This festival is a place for cinephiles of any kind. Both young and old, the only thing you need is a little bit of love to film. I strongly believe every person will find something for themselves. It can be sitting in screening halls whole days or discussing your experiences with fellow goers.
On the ending note, I am grateful to the Nowe Horyrouty Association for going with this idea every year, no matter how many walls they encounter. I love the vibes around Nowe Horyzonty festival: the inside jokes, the people who can’t imagine the world without moving pictures and such an exquisite selection of films covering a wide range of subjects and techniques. I do hope they’ll keep evolving and bringing the best selections of films to Wrocław in the years to come. See you at the 20th edition!
New Horizons 2019 TOP 5
The winner of Cannes and a film surprising in the structure. Funny, with twists when you’re sure it’ll be an obvious outcome. I’m very careful with Eastern films because the culture isn’t very appealing to me, but this… This is a damn masterpiece. Dealing with very serious problems in a comedic way, Parasite gives more than just one story. And characters are grey to the core, expressing humanity’s worst flaws. It asks the questions which you completely forget on a daily basis and plays with ethics and morals. Favouring a thought initiated by someone… the less you know the better.
So we shall whisper.
Pain and Glory
Almodovar’s new film speaks volumes about the director. This very personal picture portrayed stunningly by Antonio Banderas. Pain and Glory is slow, deep and leads to consideration, with a lovely surprise at the end. The technique of the Spanish director shows his playful creativity and the style known from his previous films. He balances the life of now with memories. A moving journey that life is: the problems we have to deal every day and the moments of happiness that give us the strength to overcome them.
Loro 1 & 2
OK, technically it’s top six but well.
Loro as the one-part version was available for a while now but New Horizons is the first festival outside of Italy that enabled seeing the film as Sorrentino intended – as a two-part story. And I am super glad that it happened. Loro 1 & 2 is a completely different experience comparing to its cut-off version. The logic sticks, which’s the most important. The feeling that we missed something is gone and everything is in its place. Properly made. And there’re some side plots that extend the story.
Sadly a lot of people skipped this gem at the festival and I don’t blame them. I felt very much disappointed in Sorrentino after the one-part version. But this is what the artist intended and I am glad I could see it.
By the Grace of God
Francois Ozon’s drama based on true events covers the subject very loud in Poland nowadays – paedophile priests. Ozon gives the statement from the perspective of people who survived the rape as children and lived on, dealing with the trauma in many different ways. Eventually, they all try to fight this issue and try to raise awareness. This is done really well, focused not only
on loud emotions but also on the church’s approach to it. Obviously, it is humiliated but it doesn’t define religion as a bad thing. A great thing to watch, incredibly done, I hope it’ll speak to some and help others.
This is something else. The story about a… leather jacket. But not just a jacket, the jacket that shall be the only jacket in the whole world. Deerskin is a film full of absurdities and completely… savage. If you ever want to both love something and scream “what the fuck” at the same time, this is a perfect examplet. The tone more or less similar to recent Jarmusch’s satire “Dead Don’t Die” (which I love by the way). Amazing acting, completely ridiculous plot, mindblowing obsession and love all over. Thank you very much.
My full list of films watched at NH is available here.