Each summer, the Festival International de Cinéma de Marseille, better known as FIDMarseille, presents an expertly curated sampling of fresh and promising talent in a culturally rich and diverse city just a two-hour drive from Cannes and only a few weeks after the world’s most glamorous festival has wrapped. Few critics attending both events can resist spotlighting the differences between them.
Reporting on the 2016 edition of FIDMarseille for Senses of Cinema, James Lattimer wrote that “it’s actually worlds apart from its glitzier neighbor, whether in terms of its all-embracing conception of cinema, happy disdain for the pressures of the marketplace, or the leisurely feel of its setting.” Last year, when the pandemic postponed Cannes to early July, the even tighter temporal proximity of the two festivals “only underscored the curatorial disparity,” wrote Jordan Cronk in the Notebook, “proving not so much Cannes’ authority as FID’s significance in presenting a fuller picture of contemporary cinema.”
FIDMarseille’s thirty-third edition, running from July 5 through 11, will feature a program of thirteen short films by Ukrainian artists and filmmakers made between 2014—the year that fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists began—and the present. Mati Diop, whose A Thousand Suns premiered at FIDMarseille in 2013, will preside over this year’s international competition jury, which includes Ted Fendt, Patrick Holzapfel, Bani Khoshnoudi, and João Pedro Rodriques.
Among the contending features are A Tale of Filipino Violence, the latest film by Lav Diaz—and yes, it’s long, coming in just a few minutes short of seven hours—and A Woman Escapes, an intriguing collaboration between three filmmakers many might not immediately associate with each other—Sofia Bohdanowicz, filming in 16 mm; Burak Çevik, working with 4K video; and Blake Williams, shooting in 3D.
Talking with Williams for Sight and Sound in 2018, Ben Nicholson noted that the filmmaker and regular contributor to Cinema Scope has been “working with space and perspective on screen since 2011.” In the New York Times,Glenn Kenny called Williams’s first feature, PROTOTYPE (2017), “a puzzle of strange pleasures.” Çevik’s video works have been screened at festivals in Locarno, Toronto, and New York, and his two features, The Pillar of Salt (2018) and Belonging (2019), both premiered in the Berlinale’s Forum program.
In Never Eat Alone (2016), Veslemøy’s Song (2018), MS Slavic 7 (2019), and Point and Line to Plane (2020), Bohdanowicz has worked with actor and director Deragh Campbell to cocreate and develop a fictional character, Audrey Benac, whose emotional and intellectual journey often mirrors Bohdanowicz’s. “Sometimes she’s more explicitly an avatar for Sofia,” Campbell tells POV Magazine’s Pat Mullen. “Other times, she’s more of a fusion of the two of us.”
A Woman Escapes finds Audrey living alone in Paris, tending to a home left empty by a close friend who has recently passed away. In an attempt to reconnect with the world, Audrey initiates an exchange of video correspondences with two filmmakers, Burak in Istanbul and Blake in Toronto. We’re delighted to premiere the trailer for A Woman Escapes.
For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.