Oscar-winning film score, Finnish punk rock, Ethiopian funk, free jazz and pop and Soviet electronic music – these are the sounds and their stories that we will see on a big screen during the 58th Krakow Film Festival.
For the sixth time the best music documentary films from all over the world will compete for the Golden Heynal award in the youngest Krakow Film Festival competition – DocFilmMusic. As each year a music of all genres will resound in the film stories from every corner of the globe, presenting both the world-class musicians and fascinating stories filled with sounds.
“Big music stars are often producing their own film portraits. In this year’s competition we witness something new. The musicians themselves direct the movies about them. Did they create their own image and avoid embarrassing parts of their biographies? You will have to judge yourself watching the films signed by George Michael and Josh Homme” – says Krakow Film Festival Director, Krzysztof Gierat.
Two Polish productions are in the competition. One of them – “Concerto for two” by Tomasz Drozdowicz – will be presented during the Festival opening gala. The film is an intimate portrait of a charismatic conductor, composer and pianist Jerzy Maksymiuk and his wife Ewa. Among the sounds of musical compositions and numerous travels Drozdowicz paints a picture of a unique relation between two strong characters.
Another Polish film in the competition – “Ethiopiques – Revolt of the Soul” by Maciej Bochniak – tells the story of the most beautiful time in Ethiopian history, the swinging seventies. But it is also a story about love of music that brought together three unique characters on three distant continents. A journey through a music world with a communism storm in the background that tries to destroy musicians and the music they create which was named by the critics one of the most original variations of funk/jazz in the world – Ethiopiques..
Another documentary about an extraordinary musical movement taking place in a particular cultural reality is “Era of Dance” (dir. Viktors Buda), which tells the story of an invasion of electronic dance music in the Soviet Union. Music revolution connected two sides of the Iron Curtain in the second half of the 1980s thanks to a mysterious figure and his largely unknown story which was witnessed by the Soviet pioneers of the rave culture.
The films that for many years have been interesting for the festival programmers are those which put a man and his intimate and original story in the foreground. One of the most distinctive portraits of this year’s DocFilmMusic section is “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Koda” (dir. Stephen Nomura Schible). It is a portrait of an exceptional Japanese compositor Ryuichi Sakamoto, Academy Award winner for his original score from the film “The Last Emperor”, but also a story of a man for whom everything is music, so even when faced with some serious life difficulties he sets out on another musical journey.
“The Ballad of Shirley Collins” (dir. Rob Curry, Tim Plester) follows the return of a singer who many years ago lost her voice. Her struggle with herself and recording of a new album were embedded in a landscape of a British countryside thanks to a subtle use of cinematic techniques.
“George Michael Freedom: The Director’s Cut” (dir. George Michael, David Austin) is a story of the artist’s life from the period when the famous “Listen Without Prejudice” album was released, told by the protagonist himself. The self-portrait is full of painful memories of love, loss, problems at work, but most of all it shows his rise to fame with all its consequences. In this journey, which was told while the artist was still alive, the protagonist is accompanied by other prominent pop culture personalities.
In “American Valhalla” (dir. Andreas Neumann, Josh Homme) we follow two other legends of the musical world, undisputed stars of the American rock scene: Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age front-man, Joshua Homme, who along with Andreas Neumann co-directed the film. The film tells the story of an extraordinary musical collaboration that gave birth to one of the best albums of 2016, recorded in Californian desert, as well as the epic performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London which crowned musicians’ tour.
Another intriguing portrait but also a tribute to a great musician we can find in “Open Land – Meeting John Abercrombie” (dir. Arno Oehri). In this documentary we get very close to the legendary jazzman who passed away last August. A subtle tale creating a very intimate picture of the artist is accompanied by an atmospheric music which can be rediscovered today thanks to the artist’s story.
The filmmakers behind “Punk Voyage” (dir. Jukka Kärkkäinen, Jani-Petteri Passi) documented the last years of the Finnish punk rock band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät. Their efforts resulted in a story, full of ups and downs, of one of the most extraordinary Finnish music projects. Temptations and conflicts arise among the band members who struggle with intellectual disabilities while the passion for music helps to overcome their own weaknesses.
The protagonist of “From Music into Silence” (dir. Farshid Akhlaghi), Peter Roberts, for over 20 years has been practising one of the most unusual professions in the world. His job is to accompany people during their last hours. He plays harp to help the dying leave in piece while everyone around wants them to stay. Being the only Australian thanatologist he has to decide whether to retire.
The international competition DocFilmMusic was first held in 2013 as a response to the immense popularity of the “Sounds of music” section, which each year is presented by Krakow Film Festival in the open-air cinema Kino pod Wawelem.
The list of films selected to the competition:
- “American Valhalla”, dir. Andreas Neumann, Joshua Homme, UK, 82’, 2017
- “The Ballad of Shirley Collins”, dir. Rob Curry, Tim Plester, UK, 94, 2017
- “Era of Dance”, dir. Viktors Buda, Russia, Latvia, 80’, 2017
- “Ethiopiques – Revolt of the Soul”, dir. Maciej Bochniak, Poland, 71’,2017
- “George Michael Freedom – The Directors Cut”, dir. George Michael, David Austin, UK, 108’, 2018
- “Concerto for two”, dir. Tomasz Drozdowicz, Poland, 75’, 2018
- “Open Land – Meeting John Abercrombie”, dir. Arno Oehri, Liechtenstein, 90’, 2017
- “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda”, dir. Stephen Nomura Schible, USA, Japan, 102’ , 2017
- “Punk Voyage”, dir. Jukka Kärkkäinen, Jani-Petteri Passi, Finland, 97’, 2017
- “From Music into Silence”, dir. Farshid Akhlaghi, Australia, 72’, 2017
Films selected to the other competitions will be regularly announced at www.krakowfilmfestival.pl.
The 58th Krakow Film Festival will take place May 27th – June 3rd, 2018.