Vanishing Acts in the International Documentary Competition of the 64th KFF

If the Japanese company specializing in making people disappear operated in Romania, Alice would probably use its services. A young lost woman could receive the support she needs from a mature Japanese woman who has devoted her entire life to working for people who wish to vanish into thin air. Alice On & Off by Isabela Tent and Johatsu – Into Thin Air directed by Andreas Hartmann and Arata Mori are two completely different documentaries, telling different stories, that unexpectedly share a common theme. Both titles have been invited to the International Documentary Competition of the 64th Krakow Film Festival.

The Romanian production Alice On & Off by Isabela Tent will have its world premiere at the 64th Krakow Film Festival. Meanwhile, the German-Japanese co-production Johatsu – Into Thin Air by Andreas Hartmann and Arata Mori will enjoy its Polish premiere.

Unexpected

In her directorial debut, Isabela Tent has been following the fate of her colourful protagonist for 10 years. A teenage, aspiring artist becomes pregnant with a much older man. Coming from a dysfunctional family, the girl quickly decides to create her own. However, sharing a home and raising a son starts overwhelming her. Alice’s relationship with her partner is incredibly complex and dynamic. Despite the man giving her a lot of freedom, she feels overpowered by everyday routine and begins to seek her own path, abandoning her newfound family with increasing regularity.

The director of Alice On & Off becomes part of an unusual arrangement in which the protagonist keeps leaving her loved ones only to return a few months later. Sometimes she accompanies Alice, other times she stays with the child and her faithful partner, who patiently endures all of the mother’s misbehaviours. The documentary turns into a record of Alice’s disappearances – a sensitive girl and artist fleeing from her demons.

Pre-planned

Jōhatsu, or jouhatsu is a term used to refer to Japanese men and women who deliberately vanish from their lives, leaving no trace behind. The documentary by Andreas Hartmann and Arata Mori lets us see what happens to people who vanish into thin air and who those responsible for aiding in their escapes are.

In Japan, there are specialized companies that help people disappear. Some choose this path because of debts, some out of fear of their boss or family, and others out of shame. Thanks to their services, Jōhatsu leave everything behind and start completely new lives somewhere else. The film Johatsu – Into Thin Air follows several such disappearances – from the perspective of the escapees, their loved ones, and those who organise it. We delve into the mysterious world of double identities, withheld family dramas, unfulfilled desires, and ambitions.

You can find the list of all films qualified for the International Documentary Competition here.

Passes for the 64th Krakow Film Festival are on sale now!

Krakowski Festiwal Filmowy jest na ekskluzywnej liście wydarzeń filmowych kwalifikujących do Oscara® w kategoriach krótkometrażowych (fabuła, animacja, dokument) oraz pełnometrażowego filmu dokumentalnego, a także rekomenduje do Europejskiej Nagrody Filmowej w tych samych kategoriach.

The Kraków Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the Municipality of Kraków, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the European Union’s Creative Europe program, the Lesser Poland Province, the Polish Film Institute. The festival is co-organised by the Polish Filmmakers Association.

The 64th Krakow Film Festival will be held in cinemas from 26 May to 2 June and online across Poland on the KFF VOD platform from 31 May to 16 June 2024.

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