From the Golden Bear in Berlin to the Golden Lion in Venice: the CineFest documentary selection for this year

2023.08.10. 11:53

The documentary line-up of the CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival features nine exciting films. From 1 to 9 September, this year’s CineDocs selection will invite you to discover deeply human stories, explore fascinating careers and explore the big questions of filmmaking. The line-up includes Berlin’s Golden Bear and Venice’s Golden Lion winners, as well as three Hungarian films.

A surprise winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival was On the Adamant, a film about the patients and carers of a psychiatric center in Paris. The floating structure on the Seine welcomes adults with mental disorders and offers care to help them recover or improve their state of mind. The dedicated caregivers do their best to resist the decline and dehumanization of the psychiatry profession. French director Nicolas Philibert’s film is a unique journey: human, sensitive and intimate.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is a powerful, emotional, complex story about internationally acclaimed artist and activist Nan Goldin. Through Goldin’s photographs, interviews, groundbreaking work and rare archival footage, the film tells the story of the activist’s fight to hold the pharmaceutical giant, the Sackler family, accountable for the opioid epidemic. Laura Poitras, the Oscar-winning director of Citizenfour, won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival for her latest film and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

William Shatner is a legendary actor who is familiar to the Hungarian audiences as much as the title character in T.J. Hooker as Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series (and of course the Star Trek movies). The star has had quite a diverse career, being known as a science fiction writer, a singer and, at 90, one of the first and still the oldest space tourist. The community-funded Call Me Bill from coming from the American SXSW festival explores this magical career, largely interpreted by the star himself. Director Alexandre O. Philippe has previously made films about a number of Hollywood sensations, including the portrait of the recently deceased William Friedkin, a film on the making of The Exorcist, as well as a visual account on the famous shower scene in Psycho. His admiration for Shatner is undeniable: the actor had been approached by several people with the idea of a portrait film, but Philippe’s enthusiasm and knowledge were the only thing that convinced him to say yes.

In 1982, Wim Wenders asked sixteen of his colleagues in Room 666 how they saw the future of cinema. The past forty years have seen many changes in the film industry, most recently with the pandemic once again predicting the death of cinema. Room 999 goes back to Wenders’ original question. At the Cannes International Film Festival, the greatest celebration of cinema, director Lubna Playoust asks sixteen of the greatest directors of our time, from David Cronenberg, Asghar Farhadi, Baz Luhrmann, Ruben Östlund, Paolo Sorrentino and Joachim Trier to, of course, Wim Wenders, what they think about the coming decades of cinema.

What happens when humanity’s narcissism and the unrestrained free market meet 45 billion cameras? Filmmakers Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck point their cameras directly at society, this time to discover, explain and expose how our unbridled obsession with the image has changed our behavior. From the Camera Obscura and the Lumière brothers to YouTube and the world of social media, And the King Said: What a Fantastic Machine uses only archival and found footage to show how we have gone from capturing the back yard to a multi-billion Euro content industry in 200 years.

The Rule of Two Walls is an intimate view of the war in Ukraine, as seen through the eyes of Ukrainian artists who stayed in their country to continue creating in defiance of aggression. Blurring the boundaries between what is seen in front of the camera and what is seen behind it, this film, which has already proved its worth at the Tribeca Film Festival in the US, with nine-time Emmy-nominated actor Liev Schreiber as executive producer, explores what it means to make a film in a time of war.

Glória Halász’s film, The Circus Siblings, stars the members of the extraordinary Hungarian artiste class. They are given the opportunity to pursue international studies. Their journey, full of trials and unexpected turns, leads them to the Kiev Academy of Circus Arts. Through the relationship between the Hungarian students and their Ukrainian teachers, a bridge is built between the two cultures, as they and their peers become a family and grow up.

Ink is about the history, past, present and possible future of tattooing, and in particular of Hungarian tattooing, examining how tattooing emerged from low culture to become an independent art form. The film by Anna Márta Kempf features several internationally renowned Hungarian tattoo artists, including Róbert Borbás, László Borsos aka ‘Boris’, István Gémes aka ‘James’, Csaba Müllner and Zsolt Sárközi.

Directed by Ottó Bánovits and Sándor Takó, Nicola Before Tesla is an inspiring story of the world-famous inventor’s life in Central Europe, as never told before. Following Tesla’s own narrative, the film reveals the fragile man behind the emblematic genius we all know.