• David Parkinson

Parky at the Pictures - Festivals & Seasons (13/10/2019)

We have already taken a look in another place at the galas, competition entries and golden oldies on view until 13 October at the 63rd BFI London Film Festival. But another 175-odd features have been gathered under the rather twee genre headings that LFF persists in using in the hope of making subtitled cinema more accessible to mainstream audiences. So, let's take a quick look at what's on offer.


CREATE & CULT.


Create is alive with the sound of music at LFF63. Kicking things off is Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars, which allows The Boss to promote his 19th studio album without the fuss and effort of going on tour with a one-off barn concert whose numbers are interspersed with reflections on Springsteen's life and oeuvre. The career of a pioneering trumpeter is chronicled in Stanley Nelson's Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, which considers the stylistic evolution that occurred between Kind of Blue (1959) and Bitches Brew (1970). Funk was also a key component of the Afrobeat style and Joel Zito Araújo shows how Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti fused it with Afropop, jazz, highlife, juju and political critique in My Friend Fela.


Following in the wake of Rupert Goold's Judy, Stephan Kijak's Sid & Judy examines the relationship between Judy Garland and third husband Sid Luft, who steered her through the greatest triumphs of her later years. Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Hamm provide the voices over the relishable archive clips. There's also plenty of memorable footage on show in Mike Figgis's Somebody Up There Likes Me, which accompanies Ronnie Wood on the twisting path that took him from The Jeff Beck Group and The Faces to The Rolling Stones.


Music also plays a key role in a couple of Create dramas: François Girard's The Song of Names and Johnny Ma's To Live to Sing. The former stars Tim Roth as a Londoner trying to find out what happened to the Jewish violin prodigy who disappeared shortly after being billeted with his family during the Second World War. Zhao Xiaoli headlines the latter, as the leader of the Jinli Sichuan Opera Troupe, whose unchanging repertoire is boring performers and patrons alike. But Zhao has hopes that niece Gan Guidan can provide a reinvigorating spark.


It's back to actuality with Midge Costin's Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, which corrals some of the biggest names in Hollywood to discuss the contribution made by such sound wizards as Walter Murch, Ben Burtt and Gary Rydstrom. Recording of a different kind is considered in Matt Wolf's Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, which pays tribute to Philadelphia public access TV producer who amassed 70,000 VHS tapes in recording news bulletins between 1979-2012. Kim Longinotto pays homage to an even more indefatigable chronicler in Shooting the Mafia, which allows octagenarian Letizia Battaglia to look back on four days of photographing the Cosa Nostra in Palermo.


Completing the Create slate are Suhaib Gasmelbari's Talking About Trees and Olivier Meyrou's Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections. The winner of the Berlin Film Festival's Best Documentary Award, Gasmelbari's odyssey follows four veteran members of the Sudanese Film Club, Ibrahim Shadad, Manar Al Hilo, Suleiman, Mohamed Ibrahim and Altayeb Mahdi, as they try to re-establish screen culture in their benighted country. Filmed over three years in Super 16mm and originally entitled Celebration, Meyrou's study of the relationship between the fabled French designer and his life and business partner finally reaches the screen after being held up for two decades after Pierre Bergé sued to have it suppressed.


Where better to start the Cult selection than with Belgian Fabrice du Welz's Adoration, which completes the `Ardennes trilogy' started with Calvaire (2004) and Alleluia (2014) in following 12 year-old Thomas Gioria on a terrifying journey after he helps teenager Fantine Harduin escape from the remote psychiatric hospital where his mother works. A country inn offers eccentric serial killer Jean Dujardin a refuge in Quentin Dupieux's Deerskin, as he persuades aspiring editor Adèle Haenel to turn his graphic snuff footage into a movie.


Such a scenario might have attracted cult icon Richard Stanley, especially as there is a wilderness aspect to Color Out of Space, an adaptation of an HP Lovecraft short story that sees Stanley return to narrative film-making for the first time in 27 years to show how Nicolas Cage's plan to escape the madness of city life by relocating his family to a New England farm is confounded by the mutation-generating meteorite that lands in his yard. The same part of the United States provides the setting for Robert Eggers's The Lighthouse, a slow-burning monochrome chiller that sees Canadian Robert Pattinson arrive at the 19th-century coastal beacon maintained by Willem Dafoe and slowly come to the realisation that his predecessor came to a grisly end.


The living arrangements also prove problematic for Jaeden Martell and Liz McHugh in Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's The Lodge, as the siblings find themselves alone in a woodland cabin with their enigmatic new stepmother, Riley Keough. Grieving parents Leif Edlund and Ylva Gallon might also have chosen their camping site more carefully in Johannes Nyholm's Koko-di Koko-da, as they pitch their tent on a marriage-saving holiday next to the woods occupied by eccentric carny folks, Peter Belli, Katarina Jacobson and Morad Baloo Khatchadorian.


It's also a case of location, location, location for kindergarten teacher Imogen Poots and handyman boyfriend Jess Eisenberg in Lorcan Finnegan's Vivarium. However, they soon come to regret letting estate agent Jonathan Aris interest them in No.9 in the out-of-the-way housing development named Yonder. Abe Forsythe outlines another close encounter of the pre-school kind in Little Monsters, as Josh Gad volunteers to chaperone teacher Lupita Nyong'o's young charges on a trip to a petting zoo on the very day the local army base accidentally lets loose its contingent of zombies.


There's also something sinister going on in the apartment block where Ihsan Önal works as the superintendent in Orçun Behram's The Antenna. He was ordered by the government to instal a satellite dish on the roof of the building situated in an unnamed town. But, while this might explain why tenants keep receiving menacing broadcasts, it surely can't be responsible for the black slime that keeps oozing through the walls. Uncanny things keep happening to New Orleans bartender Armie Hammer and girlfriend Dakota Johnson after he finds a phone that was dropped during a brawl in Babak Anvari's Wounds, which has been adapted from Nathan Ballingrud's novella, `The Visible Filth'. Eerily, the Big Easy also provides the setting for Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's Synchronic, in which paramedics Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie investigate a spate of deaths linked to a newly launched designer drug.


It's back to video for Rodney Ascher, David Lawrence and Ryan Sexton's The El Duce Tapes, which trawls through the hours of recordings that soap actor Sexton made of the Seattle DIY punk combo, The Mentors, to fathom the personality of their provocative frontman, Eldon Hoke. Nineties nostalgia nuts are also going to want to catch Jeffrey McHale's cine-essay, You Don't Nomi, which attempts to rehabilitate Paul Verhoeven's much-derided Showgirls (1995). And Mark Kermode won't be the only one queuing to see Alexandre O. Philippe's last dissection of a screen classic, as Leap of Faith bases its explotation of The Exorcist (1973) around a six-day interview with director William Friedkin.


DARE & DEBATE.


Austrian director Jessica Hausner is in for a busy few days. In addition to heading the Sutherland Trophy jury, she is also premiering her English-language debut, Little Joe, in which scientists Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw began to question the efficacy of a plant they have genetically engineered to spread happiness through its scent. The threat comes from the sugar fields of Haiti in Bertrand Bonello's Zombi Child, which sees Wislanda Louimat guard a family secret when she enrols in a school in Paris and forges a friendship with fellow Stephen King fanatic, Louise Labèque.


Across the city, a detached hand goes in search of its owner, while a pizza delivery boy seeks to make a connection with the girl of his dreams in Jérémy Clapin's animation, I Lost My Body, which has been adapted from Guillaume Laurant's novel, Happy Hand. Revenge is on the agenda when Manika Auxire and her male companions meet to discuss a mutual acquaintance who has caused them all grief in Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's Don't Look Down. But nobody knows quite what is going on in Denis Côté's adaptation of Montréal academic Laurence Olivier's novel, Ghost Town Anthology, as the residents of the small French-Caanadia town of Irénée-les-Neiges begin experiencing eerie visitations after Josée Deschênes's son perishes in an auto accident.


Another mother is anguished to the point of distraction in Phillip Youmans's debut, Burning Cane, as the God-fearing Karen Kaia Livers seeks the advice of Louisiana pastor Wendell Pierce in how to stop her hard-drinking son, Dominique McClellan, leading gransdon Braelyn Kelly off the straight and narrow. The faith of a Brazilian civil servant drives the action in Gabriel Mascaro's droll drama, Divine Love, as Dira Praes spends her days trying to persuade couples not to divorce and her nights at the 24-hour drive-in church asking pastor Emilio de Melo why she and husband Julio Machado can't have any children. Completing Dare's unholy trinity is Jayro Bustamante's Tremors, in which a well-heeled, evangelical Guatemalan family ask the church to intercede after married father of two Juan Pablo Olyslager moves in with his male lover.


Leaping halfway across the world, we land in Finland for Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää's Dogs Don't Wear Pants, as heart surgeon Pekka Strang struggles to come to terms with the loss of his drowned wife. However, hope of a way forward comes in the form of dominatrix Krista Kosonen. In near(ish)by Iceland, widowed police chief Ingvar Sigurðsson discovers that the wife he lost in a car crash might have been having an affair. But his determination to discover the truth has deleterious effects on his family in Hlynur Palmason's unconventional procedural, A White, White Day. Perhaps both men could do with the services of Yuichi Ishii, who runs a company in Tokyo that specialises in replacing absent family members. Naturally, Werner Herzog was intrigued by the discovery of this unusual impersonation agency and he artfully blends inquiry and scripted reality to explore the concept in Family Romance LLC.


A funeral proves key to Pedro Costa's seventh feature, a pseudo-sequel to Horse Money (2014) that takes its title from the name of its star, Vitalina Varela. Arriving in Lisbon from Cape Verde just three days after the burial of the husband she has not seen for 30 years, Varela moves into his bairro shack and begins reliving moments from her past. By contrast, agoraphobic Barbara Giordano has to summon the courage to leave the family home in Swiss director Klaudia Reynicke's Love Me Tender, while Sally Hawkins sees hope of getting over being jilted on her wedding day in a romance with itinerant musician David Thewlis in Craig Roberts's Eternal Beauty.


Another unlikely couple meet in Oliver Laxe's Fire Will Come, as Galician arsonist Amador Arias returns home after two years in prison to strike up a friendship with vet Elena Fernández, who comes to the farm owned by his eightysomething mother, Benedicta Sánchez, to haul an ailing cow out of the creek. Unable to kill terrorist suspects, Algerian soldier Abdullah Miniawy goes AWOL after his mother's funeral in Ala Eddine Slim's Tlamess, only to emerge from hiding in the forest to become a source of solace to Souhir Ben Amara, a mother-to-be who has problems accepting her husband's wealth. Pregnant Nigerian Valerie Dash resists the urging of boyfriend Duke Elvis to have an abortion in Michael Omonua's The Man Who Cuts Tattoos, which contrasts Dash's plight with that of Omowunmi Dada, a young girl in an Edo village who has to undergo scarification in order to prepare her for marriage.


Fourteen year-old Romina Bentancur also has first love in mind, as she takes a fancy to Federico Morosini who works for gardener father Fabian Arenillas. However, as the debuting Lucia Garibaldi reveals in The Sharks, a predator has been seen off the coast of the Uruguayan town, where Bentacour is having problems dealing with mother Valeria Lois and older sister, Antonella Aquistapache, whose eye she damaged by accident. The landlocked hamlet of Seaside provides the setting for Mirrah Foulkes's Judy & Punch, a 15th-century saga centred around the marionette show performed by Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman, whose drunkenly despicable actions involving a baby, a dog and a string of sausages prompt his battered wife to fight back.


Coming forward in time to the end of the Second World War, friends Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina seek to raise a child as a symbol of new hope in liberated Leningrad in Kantemir Balagov's Beanpole, which draws on the testimonies gathered in Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich's book, The Unwomanly Face of War. Czechoslovakian novelist Jerzy Kosinski also made use of eyewitness accounts for the 1965 novel that has inspired Václav Marhoul's The Painted Bird, an uncompromising monochrome account of an unnamed Jewish orphan (Petr Kotlar) and his wartime encounters in Eastern Europe with a miller who feeds human eyeballs to his cats (Udo Kier), an exploited peasant girl (Jitka Cvancarová), a misguided Catholic priest (Harvey Keitel), a sanctimonious paedophile (Julian Sands), a war-weary German (Stellan Skarsgård), some savage Cossacks and a Soviet sniper (Barry Pepper).


Finding a way to negotiate the world is also the theme of Nora Fingscheidt's System Crasher, which follows the efforts of nine year-old Helena Zengel to cope with the rages that have made it impossible for vulnerable mother Lisa Hagmeister to raise her and kindly case worker Gabriela Maria Schmeide to find her a foster home. However, school escort Albrecht Schuch recognises his own anger issues in Zengel's behaviour and suggests how he might help her. Seventeen year-old Xabiani Ponce de León also has trouble fitting in Hari Sama's This Is Not Berlin, which is set around the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. However, sister Ximena Romo's boyfriend, introduces him to the Azteca nightclub run by Mauro Sánchez Navarro, where De León makes important discoveries about himself and his sexuality.


A much sleazier nightclub becomes key to cop Angeliki Papoulia's investigation in Syllas Tzoumerkas's The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea, a Greek Weird Wave variation on David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Exiled to Mesolongi after a botched raid in Athens, Papoulia is drawn to the club run by Christos Passalis after the town is shaken by a suicide. However, she quickly comes to realise that corruption of all sorts is rife and that Passalis's eel-gutting sister, Youla Boudali (who co-wrote the script), knows more than she is letting on.


There are biopics aplenty in the Debate strand at LFF63. In Mr Jones, Polish icon Agnieszka Holland recalls the experiences of New York Times reporter and Stalinist apologist Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard) and Welsh journalist Gareth Jones (James Norton) during the 1933 Ukrainian famine, while in A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick reflects on the travails of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), who refused to fight for the Third Reich during the Second World War. The FBI's campaign against actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) and her Black Panther boyfriend Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) is exposed in Benedict Andrews's Seberg, while the stories of whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley) and Senate investigators Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) and Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) are respectively retold in Gavin Hood's Official Secrets and Scott Z. Burns's The Report.


Shifting into the strictly fictional, JM Coetzee adapts his own acclaimed novel in Ciro Guerra's Waiting For the Barbarians, which centres on the epiphanal moment that colonial magistrate Mark Rylance experiences when sinister colonel Johnny Depp comes to his backwater town to investigate its part in a planned uprising. Director Pietro Marcello teams with Maurizio Braucci to bring another literary masterpiece to the screen, as they relocate the action of Jack London's Martin Eden to Naples to chart the relationship between the eponymous anti-hero (Luca Marinelli) and bourgeois beauty, Elena Orsini (Jessica Cressy).


Another intense relationship comes under strain in Fyzal Boulifa's Lynn + Lucy, as a tragedy threatens to drive young mothers Roxanne Scrimshaw and Nichola Burley apart after decades of friendship. Henry Blake similarly questions the tenets of traditional British social realism in County Lines, as East End mum Ashley Madekwe strives to prevent 14 year-old son Conrad Khan from becoming a mule for drug dealer Harris Dickinson. The vulnerability of youth comes under further scrutiny in Julius Onah's Luce and François Ozon's By the Grace of God. The former sees teacher Octavia Spencer come to suspect that the son Tim Roth and Naomi Watts adopted from war-torn Eritrea (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) might not be over his trauma, while the latter follows the efforts of Melvil Poupaud to force the Catholic establishment to take action against, Bernard Verley, the priest who has abused him at a scout camp.


Prison warden Alfre Woodard faces her own crisis of conscience, as lawyer Richard Schiff seeks to prove the innocence of Death Row inmate Aldis Hodge in Chinonye Chukwu's Clemency, which became the first feature by black female film-maker to win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The fight for justice also informs Stéphane Demoustier's The Girl With a Bracelet, as parents Chiara Mastroianni and Roschdy Zem are powerless to protect daughter Melissa Guers from tenacious prosecutor Anaïs Demoustier, and David Zonana's Workforce, which sees Luis Alberti help sister-in-law Jessica Galvez prove that her plasterer husband was not drunk when he fell to his death while working on a luxurious property.


Seamstress Rikita Nandini Shimu has to fight for her rights in the debuting Rubaiyat Hossain's Made in Bangladesh, after she takes a factory job to support her family and teams up with activist Shahana Goswami to form a union. Catalan teenager also stumbles upon an iniquitous situation in Neus Ballús's Staff Only, when she befriends hotel maid Madeleine C. Ndong and local film-maker Diomaye A. Ngom while accompanying father Sergi López on a trip to Senegal.


Completing the dramatic roster are Hind Boujeema's Noura's Dream (about the threat facing Tunisian lovers when Hind Sabri's violent husband is released from prison); Mehdi Barsaoui's A Son (which sees Sami Bouajila and Najla Ben Abdallah face an inconvenient truth when their son requires a transplant while on holiday in Tunisia); and Apolline Traoré's Desrances (in which 12 year-old Naomi Nemlin shows father Jimmy Jean-Louis that a daughter has value in the strife-riven Ivory Coast).


The slate also contains a number of documentaries, including Alex Gibney's Citizen K (about fallen Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky); Daniel Gordon's The Australian Dream (a profile of Aussie Rules footballer Adam Goodes); Pailin Wedel's Hope Frozen (which follows a family's bid to cryogenically freeze their dying two year-old); Ed Perkins's Tell Me Who I Am (about a brother's dilemma over helping his amnesiac twin); Sasha Joseph Neulinger's Rewind (a courageous memoir of the sexual abuse the director and his sister endured at the hands of three family members); Nuno Escudeiro's The Valley (which considers the efforts of French Alpine residents to help illegal migrants); and Zed Nelson's The Street, which examines the problems facing traditional homes and businesses in gentrified Hoxton.


FAMILY & JOURNEY.


As one might expect, there's plenty of animation to keep younger viewers amused in the Family section. Sarah Paulson and Eddie Izzard contribute their vocal talents to the latest release from DreamWorks, Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman's Abominable, which follows Shanghai teens Yi, Jin and Peng in a bid to return a Yeti named Everest to the Himalayas before he can be captured by zoologist Dr Zara and sinister species collector Burnish. More crusading kids spring into action in Edmunds Jansons's Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs, which sees a couple of cousins attempt to stop a park being being seized for development in the Latvian capital, Riga.


A simian boy named Tom goes on an epic overseas journey with Prince Laurent in Jean-François Laguionie's The Prince's Voyage, while snake hunter Xuan helps Bianca recover her memory in time to battle some wicked demons in Amp Wong and Ji Zhao's White Snake. And there's more cross-species intrigue in Lorenzo Mattotti's The Bears' Famous Invasion, an adaptation of Dino Buzzati's book about how the ursine king, Leander, goes looking for his missing son and unintentionally provokes the Duke of Sicily into declaring war.


There's also a live-action duo on show. Teacher Sherab Dorji is sent to a remote school in Bhutan to learn the value of his profession in Pawo Choyning Dorji's Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, while Sonny Coops Van Utteren conquers his fear of death after helping the free-spirited Josephine Arendsen keep her secret while holidaying on a Dutch island in Steven Wouterlood's adaptation of Anna Woltz's bestseller. My Extraordinary Summer With Tess.


Much has been made of the potential damage that might be done to British cinema by Brexit, as home-based film-makers may no longer be eligible for the grants that help cobble together European production deals. Perhaps, therefore, we should make the most of multi-flagged titles like Fernando Meirelles's The Two Popes, which forms part of the Journey selection at LFF 2019. Adapted by Anthony McCarten from his own play, the story centres on a fictional meeting at Castelgandolfo between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the Argentinian liberal who is seeking permission to retire.


A smaller, but equally enclosed space provides the setting for Dictynna Hood's Us Among the Stars, as ailing Anna Calder-Marshall's kinfolk gather at her Dartmoor farmhouse for what will be her last birthday. However, the celebratory mood doesn't last, as husband Oliver Cotton and his brother, Greg Hicks, fall out with siblings Laurence Fox, Jethro Skinner and Mika Simmons and their spouses. Domestic tensions also simmer in Eva Riley's first feature, Perfect 10, as aspiring Brighton gymnast Frankie Box's preparations for her first major competition are disrupted by the arrival of Alfie Deegan, the half brother she never knew she had.


The sporting activity is less well organised in Scott Graham's Run, which sees thirtysomething Bruce Springsteen fan Mark Stanley hit an early mid-life crisis when teenage son Anders Hayward announces he's going to be a grandfather. Bored with working in a Fraserburgh fish factory, Stanley hooks up with Hayward's pregnant girlfriend, Marli Siu, to relive his wild days as a midnight hot-rodder. Dublin docker Tom Vaughan-Lawlor finds himself in much the same situation in Peter Mackie Burns's Rialto, as he seeks an escape from problems at home and on the waterfront with sex worker Tom Glynn-Carney.


Middle-aged Londoner Henry Golding makes a sentimental return to the land of his birth in Hong Khaou's Monsoon. But, while scattering his mother's ashes in Vietnam, he makes a connection with Parker Sawyers, an African-American who fought in the war that led to Golding's exile. A trip to Uzbekistan has an equally disconcerting effect on Atsuko Maeda in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's To the Ends of the Earth, as the presenter of a cheesy Japanese travel show finds herself struggling to identify with either her camera crew or the local culture.


Another Japanese woman is forced out of her comfort zone in Hikari's 37 Seconds, as Mei Kayama, a manga artist with cerebral palsy, is encouraged to experience the world she depicts in her erotic artwork. Teenager Kim Na-Yeon also steps out of her everyday existence, in Yoon Ga-eun's The House of Us, as she tires of her parents bickering during the summer holidays and becomes a mentor to nine year-old Kim Shi-A and seven year-old Joo Ye-rim. The brevity of childhood is the subject of Shahrbanoo Sadat's The Orphanage, which is set in Kabul in the 1980s and shows how 15 year-old Bollywood nut Qodratollah Qadiri becomes convinced of the need to fight for his homeland when the police consign him to a Soviet-controlled orphanage.


The scene shifts to the Mongolian steppe for Wang Quan'an's Öndög, in which herdswoman Dulamjav Enkhtaivan forges a bond with rookie Norovsambuu Batmunkh when the police detail them to prevent humans and wolves from trampling on a potential murder scene. Indian director Ridham Janve moves us further on to the Himalayas for The Gold-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain, which sees Arjun Pant and his assistant Lokendra Gurung break off from guarding their flock from bears to track down a crashed fighter jet in a distant valley.


Changing tack completely, we head to Bulgaria for Svetla Tsotsorkova's Sister, which is set in a small provincial town and centres on the fantasies that teenager Monika Naydenova weaves around the ceramic figures she sells in a roadside kiosk with her mother, Svetlana Yancheva, and sister, Elena Zamyarkova. However, things become complicated when Naydenova becomes involved with her sibling's boyfriend. Owing debts to Eric Rohmer's La Collectionneuse (1967), Rebecca Zlotowski's An Easy Girl also explores adolescent exploration, as 16 year-old Mina Farid comes to stay on the Riviera with her more experienced cousin, Zahia Dehar.


Life is more of a struggle for Barcelona twentysomething Greta Fernández in Belén Funes's A Thief's Daughter, as she has to cope alone with raising her own child while trying to win custody of her seven year-old half-brother. But her complex situation is exacerbated when father Eduard Fernández is released from prison and promptly disappears. Headlining her own directorial debut, Romina Paula also finds herself raising a young son alone in Again Once Again. So, she decides to head home from Cordoba to her mother's place in Buenos Aires to hang out with some old friends and rediscover herself.


Karim Aïnouz takes us back to Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s for The Invisible Life of Eruidice Gusmao, an adaptation of a novel by Martha Batalha that hones in on the bond between sisters Julia Stockler and Carol Duarte that is reinforced when Stockler is disowned by her stern parents after running away with a Greek sailor and slinking home pregnant. More strangers meet in the night in Eryk Rocha's Burning Night, as Fabrício Boliveira starts driving a cab to pay child support to his ex-wife and becomes smitten with regular passenger, Barbara Colen. Milwaukee medical transport driver Chris Galust also makes a living behind the wheel in Kirill Mikhanovsky's autobiographical dramedy, Give Me Liberty, which juxtaposes vignettes involving his Russian émigré family with such regulars as Lauren `Lolo' Spencer, an African-American woman with motor neurone disease who enjoys giving Galust a hard time.


The documentary part of the Journey programme is led by Sébastien Lifshitz's Adolescents, which has been edited down from the 500 hours of footage that he amassed while following provinciales Anaïs and Emma for 24 days each year between the ages of 13 and 18. Anna Eborn similarly focuses on the way that Tanya gets teenage boys Tolya, Sasha, Denis, Burulya and Dima to dance attendance on her in Transnistra. The impact of the landscape on its people is examined by John Skoog, as he takes a tour of his native Skåne County in southernmost Sweden in Ridge.


Elsewhere, Patricio Guzmán returns to the Santiago of his childhood in The Cordillera of Dreams, which completes the Chilean history trilogy that he started with Nostalgia For the Light (2010) and The Pearl Button (2015). And, finally, in this section, Rachel Mason reflects on growing up with the secret that her parents, Barry and Karen, ran a gay pornography shop in Los Angeles in Circus of Books, which will eventually find its way on to Netflix.

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