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English translation unavailable for 2015.
Directed by: 
CARMEN LIDIA VIDU
Ion Bârlădeanu is already an iconic figure, known worldwide as a homeless art-world darling starring in Alexander Nanău’s documentary, The World According to Ion B. Carmen Lidia Vidu portrays him as a unique soul who ingenuously asserts his obsessions and favourite things found in Bucharest. Through editing she captures fragments of his digressive desires and memories, emphasizing his mercurial personality joined by a significant number of real and fictional figures which exist in his famous collages. She reaches his iconography following his artistic direction swamped in irony and social critique. The collages he puts together are his own films but Carmen succeeds to create a moving collage placing him in the center of his own picture.” (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
GABRIEL ABRANTES
Commissioned by IndieLisboa for the omnibus Here in Lisbon (shared with films from Marie Losier, Dominga Sotomayor and Denis Côté) Gabriel Abrantes' Freud and Friends is a raucous cavalcade of parodies. Abrantes’ film is set up as a TV show, bearing the eponymous title, narrated by famous documentarian Herner Werzog as he goes on location to a laboratory, observing guinea-pig Abrantes who is volunteering for his scientist-girlfriend’s mind-reading experiments. Always the mischievous, self-deprecating filmmaker, Abrantes uses this opportunity to unleash a barrage of subconscious fears and desires (ranging from the cerebral to the gaseous), complete with commercial breaks (look out for the truly Freudian Woody Allen impersonation!). Beneath it all lie incisive stabs at media’s culture of beauty and sex, as well as the eternal fear of commitment. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ZIA ANGER
Setting its parameters from the first words spoken, I Remember Nothing exists precariously on the edge of chaos and poetry, structured around the five stages of epilepsy while looking at a day in the life of teenager Joan. Stuck in the tedium of small-town America and the humdrum of high-school, she is the poster-girl of teenage angst, a budding life-force arrested in development. Her only escape appears at a baseball game, as a source of curiosity and excitement offered by her blossoming puberty. Zia Anger purposefully induces a sense of disorientation and peril through casting choices and flourishes of magical realism, framing Joan’s sexual exploration against epilepsy’s impending assault. By the end, we’re left dazed, confused but fully submissive to the powerful impact of love and its menacing consequences. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
KAREN AKERMAN & MIGUEL SEABRA LOPES
The analogy of life and cinema has never been so delightfully and cleverly laid bare, as in Karen Akerman's and Miguel Seabra Lopes' October Is Over. Cherubic protagonist Tomtom declares that ‘film grows old’ and is rightfully met with the appropriate response from his unseen parents (played by the filmmakers themselves). Their gift of a Super8 camera sparks the toddler’s imagination and the journey of life begins. Discovery leads to frustration (there’s never enough funding!) and under the sleep suggestion of his progenitors (Godard, always!) nocturnal inspiration reaps rewards. Constructed with a formal simplicity that reveals deeper layers of Lacanian psychoanalysis and Eisensteinian montage, October Is Over is a wonderful homage to cinema and the creative spark that gives it life. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
FYZAL BOULIFA
An unconventional replication of the way we communicate in virtual medium, having each shot in a different style, Rate Me portrays a teen escort, Coco, through the prism of others’ trashy and peculiar comments. The directors succeeds to create a contradiction of terms between the critical segments of her clients or random people she met, lacking sympathy and offering a wide range of identities and endings which imply harshly some of their obscure desires. Its music backdrops follow an ironic and a potential political discourse in which the filmmaker wants to oblige us to pay fully attention to structural identity in a modern and virtual world where self-branding is available to each and every one of us and it’s also seen as a lifestyle. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DOUWE DIJKSTRA
Douwe Dijkstra returns to BIEFF with his latest award-winning movie, Supporting Film. A love (and hate) letter to cinema, Dijkstra’s clever and inventive film explores the fussy relationship between you, the viewer, and cinema. Be it communal or solitary, the personal experience of watching films is scrutinized by spectators of all ages, whose recorded testimonies become in Dijkstra’s illustrative, animating hands, individual worlds of artisanal wonder and childlike exuberance. From the opening credits to the closing scrawl and everything in-between, individual idiosyncrasies clash and bond with film language in a celebration of cinema and its power to suspend our disbelief. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
SHANE DANIELSEN
Inspired, among others, by Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, as the director himself acknowledges, Shane Danielasen’s directorial debut was selected in the official Palme d’Or competition at Cannes Film Festival 2015. The Guests, set in the Eastern Europe of the 1960's, follows Anna as she admits some uninvited guests into her home while waiting for her husband’s return. Shortly, an almost psychotic Anna is assailed by shadows and voices while pursuing a desperate quest for her baby in her own home, by now morphed into a nightmarish setting. This short film is like a fit of delirium, leaving Anna a different person than she had been at first. As for us viewers, we are confused, perhaps firghtened, but by no means unmoved. (Andreea Udrea, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
TOM ROSENBERG
For more than 25 years, Louis Akin has retraced Death’s footsteps, separating and re-arranging with detached objectivism the sequential facts of some of the most violent crimes in the USA. Working as a defense forensic investigator, his role in the 2009 mass shooting at a US military base took three years to reconstruct the crime scene that director Tom Rosenberg maps out for us in a spacious warehouse. Within this minimal mise-en-scene, Akin literally walks us through the events of that tragic day, leaving it up to the viewer to mentally reconstruct the carnage mapped out in words and diagrams. As the information accumulates, the mind tries to make sense of it all, but the incomprehensibility of mankind’s constant propensity to violence is too much to bear. Using the simplest of cinematic tools, Nothing Human opens our eyes to the abstract irrationality of violence and the paradox at the heart of what makes us human. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MARA TRIFU
Under the balmy skies of the American Dream, Romanian filmmaker Mara Trifu reaches for the stars in Perfection Is Forever, an acutely observant allegory for our endless search for beauty and wholeness. Within Los Angeles’ culture of glamour and ralter-egos, we’re guided by two crusaders of the ideal: a Superman impersonator and drag-queen Monaliza Doomsday. Captured in their environment on the periphery of downtown’s hustle-and-bustle, they take us through their rituals of beautification as breasts are tucked, make-up is applied and the all-important hair products produce the Superman curl. Out in the open, society calls ‘action’ and the role-playing performance begins. Trifu’s trademark approach of lensing documentary through the magical gives a poignant touch to the film’s closing message: there is, indeed, a Superman in all of us. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
VEDA POPOVICI
Veda Popovici depicts through this video performance a series of tableaux vivants inspired by art poses of Renaissance paintings, Orientalism or sculptures (such as Venus de Milo), providing an intensive discourse about art history retold through the black square created by Kazimir Malevich one hundred years ago. The artist smashes this sign of erudition and class distinction with an enchanted story that guides its audience to reflect moments in the art history and its political contexts. Her delicate movements and discerning eyes, disguised and cloacked with the same black square brings attention to the patriarchal structures which dominated our world, highlighting a feminist discourse which invites you to choose your own revolutionary gear: to participate or to watch. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MISCHA LEINKAUF, LUTZ HENKE, MATTHIAS WERMKE
On July 22, 2014, New York woke up to an unexpected silent declaration: Brooklyn Bridge’s Old Glory was gone, replaced by two white flags blowing in the high winds. In a post-9/11 New York, this gesture galvanized city officials and the media into knee-jerk reactions of fear, anger and panic. In short, a response that every a work of art should produce. Compiled from TV, radio and online reports, Symbolic Threats traces the lifespan of Leinkauf and Wermke’s art installation / intervention, bringing forward the predictable rhetoric seeking culpability rather than discourse. Once the proverbial dust settles and the fever-pitch frenzy of the media machine dies down, we’re afforded poetic tranquility to ponder not only the role of art in our world, but that of our own citizen-selves. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MOHAMMAD SHAWKY HASSAN
And on a Different Note is a deeply personal insight into human behaviour in crisis situations. The author, Mohammad Shawky Hassan, is an Egyptian expat living in New York, who experiences the ongoing political developments in his country by exposing himself to a ceaseless flux of political Egyptian talk-shows. Shots of silent empty rooms with windows overlooking a backstreet intermix with the noise of the angry and bigoted discourse in Arab, of which but a few keywords are translated, making it even more effective. As the audio stream becomes overwhelmingly intense, a growing sense of alienation carries the viewer into the director’s interior world. (Adina Marin, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DAVID RODES
A cerebral wonder of cinematic narration, David Rodes’ film plays out within the liminal realm where thoughts and ideas germinate - the mind. Emanating from its deeply symbolic core, the film envisions its male and female protagonists meeting upon a vast, arid plateau. As their ghostly traces run circles around each other, their real manifestation brings them face to face, under the threat of a colossal electrical sandstorm that is approaching. Words are spoken, glances exchanged and the symbolic offering of an amulet leads to the possibility of contact and communication. Within this simple structure, Ancient Greek mythology is re-envisioned, placing the viewer in the middle of the conceptual plane of the mind. By dramatizing the cosmic meeting between the titans of intellect (Céos) and prophecy (Phoébé), Rodes imparts to the viewer the noblest of offerings: emotion. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
BEN RUSSELL
Questioning beliefs and practices of ancestral divination in South-African societies, Greetings to the Ancestors, winner of the Tiger Award for Short Film, looks towards the invisible world and investigates the divine power of dreams. Ben Russell intermixes ingredients of documentary, ethnography and dream cinema, to illustrate the fluidity of the boders of consciousness, which dissolve and expand. The camera is either anthropologically engaged in the trance-inducing ceremony of the Jericho Congregation, or quietly tracking healers or poets who give account of vivid dreams induced by the hallucinogen African Dream Root, and eventually races along the African landscape, a surreal red filter applied over its lens. It is an expercise in what Ben Russel defines as psychedelic ethnography: a way to allow for the apparently objective facts of existence to be constantly reframed by radical subjective experience. (Adina Marin, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ARNOLD ESTEFÁN & ANCA BENERA
No Shelter from the Storm is a video-installation set in woodland that has been devastated by deforestation and therefore offers no place to hide for those escaping any kind of conflict. Besides its ecological viewpoint which talks in terms of mass destruction by multinational corporations, the video echoes about human condition and loneliness in a homeland that struggles to maintain its habitat. An optimistic note is provided by the intermingled whistling seen as a solitary struggle, in the hope of collective solidarity. Shot in black and white, the textural images offer a timelessness feeling of insecurity, while camera movements depict a paradox between the absence of the forest and its beauty. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DANIEL DJAMO
Wonderfully refreshing and meaningful in its subtextual discourse, Territorial Marking is a beautiful work of naïf art by Daniel Djamo. On screen we see the artist appear in still-frame, waving the Romanian flag through a forest. On voiceover, we hear a recording of his anxious mother discouraging him from creating his next controversial art piece. Blessed with an artist’s stubbornness, Djamo refuses to submit to his mother’s fear of the French authorities and continues the back-and-forth until the perfect alternative is discovered (accidentally and under duress) by the matriarch. Yet listen closely, for behind their domestic argument and the mother’s consternation, you’ll find the traumatic paralysis of the immigrant Other, made worse by the scar of Communist oppression, rearing its head like Djamo’s flailing flag. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
CARMEN JAQUIER
World premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2016, the short film The River Under the Tongue takes us on an intimate journey and makes us witness (or partake in) the infringement of one’s hidden thoughts and desires. After reading his elder daughter’s diary, one mother, feeling to what extend they have drifted apart, takes her and her younger daughter for a walk in the forest. But above the scenic background, above the pictures that linger on the elder daughter’s lips, skin and nymph-like hair, floats the erotic poetry of her diary’s entries. After all our senses are engaged, the perversity of infringing on one’s intimacy is belittled by the philosophic and poetic sensuality. (Andreea Udrea, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
THE BUREAU OF MELODRAMATIC RESEARCH
The Bureau of Melodramatic Research delivers the last installment of their Alien Passions trilogy with the video performance titled Above the Weather. Hidden by the genre veil of the road movie, artists Alina Popa and Irina Gheorghe perform as two coquettish socialites on their way back home. Framed in their turn-of-the-century convertible, their preening conversation stands in oblivious contrast to the surrounding desolate industrial landscape of Romania’s oil-fields and the radio announcements forecasting an impending environmental apocalypse. Captive to the pathetic fallacy of 1950s Hollywood melodramas, Above the Weather is an incisive commentary on our catastrophic dependency on fossil fuels, beckoning us to ‘keep calm and carry on’ gently into the good night, to the telling tune of Eurovision’s parochialism. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DAVID SANDBERG
Kung Fury is an ambitious short film of high production value, which manages to pack every trope of the 80s cop movie genre. We encounter a visual compilation of all time monsters and patterns of action movies, the notion of going back to the past and a battle between good and evil, where the first one is helped by the presence of human-animal hybrids and the latter is the ultimate villain, Adolf Hitler. Apart from being a homage to all the impressive things of the 80s, its stylistic approach and thrilling visual effects mark its camp aesthetic with a sensibility based on deliberate and self-acknowledged theatricality; its graphics and cover story deepens in our brain and reveals a metatextual and an iconic construction of a cult and hip short film. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
CÉLINE DEVAUX
In Sunday Lunch, the experimental delirium of hand-drawn animation, music and voice encapsulates the essence of all family lunches’ atmosphere. Jean, a young adult, stuck in the family Sunday lunch routine, has to cope with the usual weekly inquiries and boredom. The lunch guests – Jean’s parents, maiden aunts and grandmother – take a keen interest in his personal life, sexual orientation, job and house. The family reunion stimulates nostalgic thoughts, discussions on traffic and Tupperware and comments on taxes and life. Enhanced by comedian’s Vincent Macaigne voice and the instrumental rhythm, the animation’s originality and visual delirium hint at both the guests’ tipsiness and unconsciousness. In the end, the French director’s Céline Devaux animation sets the scene for a meditation on growing up, the passing of time, and their effects on intrafamilial dynamics. (Andreea Udrea, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
PETER TSCHERKASSKY
Awarded Special Mention upon its debut at last year’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, The Exquisite Corpus is Peter Tscherkassky’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2009 Coming Attractions. Using as material and thematic basis erotic footage culled from various sources, Tscherkassky employs his trademark techniques of analog manipulation, creating a veritable garden of delight: arriving amongst a nudist colony, a couple approaches a woman sleeping on the beach. Her fortuitous state of reverie takes over and we’re thrown into every celluloid fan’s erotic dream. Montage and manipulation guide Tscherkassky’s formal narrative of the seduction and coital triumph of the body, as it is reinforced by frequent collaborator Dirk Schaefer’s hypnotic sound collages. With its beautiful craftsmanship, The Exquisite Corpus disassembles cinema and the body in a delicious celebration of arousal. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
VIKA KIRCHENBAUER
With YOU ARE BORING!, Vika Kirchenbauer delivers a steady but assured wake-up slap in the face to our repressed, closeted spirit. Through soothing and beckoning direct-address, a choir of people take turns addressing the camera, looking for (you!) the patient, passive, pent-up viewer. Their aim? To sell you, through stiff-and-stuffy yet campily nonchalant rhetoric, their performative bodies of difference and vicarious experience for your personal fantasy wish-fulfillment. Wonderfully subversive and confrontational, YOU ARE BORING! forces us to take a long, hard look at our inner (prudish) limits, while pondering the outer ramifications of our cultural hegemony’s ‘consumption of difference’. Rather than a jolt, the film leaves us with a  warm, embraceful slap to our normative society's politics of representation.” (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DUBRAVKA TURIĆ
The message evoked in Belladonna consists on a ground of human relations and it switches on an emotional feeling and also empathy for the main protagonist. After an internal outbreak she changes her mind when hearing about a misfortune of an old lady that she seems to reject in the first place. The stylistic approach – a blurred point-of-view – speaks about limitation, not only for her sight after an ophthalmological consult but also for communication. The director portrays a woman who will realize that the most beautiful thing about the sensitivity towards the world of others is the emancipation of her own perception and the courage to go beyond the superficial appearance of things. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MARCUS LINDEEN
Winner of the Cinema & Gioventù prize for Best International Short at the 2015 Locarno International Film Festival, Marcus Lindeen’s movie is an absorbing mood-piece on the search for identity within the mirrored reflection of cinema. In 1980 jazz musician Kazzrie Jaxen had a life-changing experience watching Ingmar Bergman’s From the Life of Marionettes. Immersed within his cinematic world of duality and fissured identities, she realized she was a ‘womb-twin survivor,’ the only child born from a dual pregnancy. Lindeen explores this with utmost gentility through a form of cinematic stream-of-sub-consciousness, observing Jaxen episodically as she engages in the process of internalizing this discovery. Accessible but hiding intricate layers of narrative and formal complexity, Dear Director is a wonderful objet d’art of cinematic musicality that unwinds more with each viewing. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
PAUL WENNINGER
Like the flicker of silent films or the delay of memory recall, Paul Wenninger’s Uncanny Valley unravels its story of wartime trauma through the camaraderie of two lone soldiers fighting their way out of the trenches of World War I. Employing the aesthetic mechanics found in stop-motion animation, Wenninger’s real-life protagonists move as marionettes in a theatre of war that flashes at every interval with the fear and danger. Impelled by survival instincts and a balletic camerawork that transverses time and space in awe-inspiring long-takes, the two soldiers emerge out of the ruins of war, shell-shocked and spiritually defeated. Atmospheric and compelling, Uncanny Valley offers a potent statement on the inevitable abstraction of history, erasing individual experience in favour of posterity’s superficial representation. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)