Apart from Marilyn Monroe and Clint Star, there is a distinct Eastern European/Balkan feeling to this section, made up of a dozen documentary profiles.
Alexander Sokurov's recent documentary, "The Knot," is included here, as is "A Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich" by Chris Marker (who is expected at the festival). The French director's film documents the visit of exiled film great Andre Tarkovsky's son to his father in Paris in the mid-1980s.
Depending on which side one is on in Chechnya, Khozh-Ahmend Noukahaev's group is either a mafia organisation or a liberation movement. In "The Making of a the New Empire" director Jus de Putter considers the history of the war-torn region.
The Greek portraits gathered in this section are diverse. They include: leftist journalist/publisher Yiorgos Zioutou, Greek naval officer Angelos Papanastassiou (filmer of occupied Greece), legendary rembetiko artist Marcus Vamvakaris and well-loved, plump actress Veta Betin. "Return of the Magus" is about English author John Fowles and his connection to Greece, and the island of Spetses in particular.
"Nalan Turkeli, a Woman From the Slums," directed by Evelyne Ragot is about an Istanbul woman who secretly writes at night. She wins an award, but her life doesn't change, as she continues to escape a tough daily life through writing.
Just when it seemed that there was no new "angle" on Marilyn Monroe, Gene Feldman and Suzette Winter have put together a film on the Hollywood legend that offers new insight. Their "Beyond the Legend: Marilyn Monroe" avoids cliches to reveal that the actress was more than the victim the media usually portrays her as.
I LIKE HEARTS LIKE MINE - MARKOS VAMVAKARIS
Screenplay:Yorgos C. Zervas.
Cinematography: Ilias Konstandakopoulos.
Editing: Electra Venaki.
Sound: Marinos Athanassopoulos.
Music: Markos Vamvakaris.
Producer: Yorgos C. Zervas.
35mm Colour 66'
A meditative portrait of Markos Vamvakaris (1905-1972), who was undoubtedly the most important figure of the classical period of the rebetiko song (1932-1940), before it opened up to wider social strata. The rebetiko, a great moment in modern Greek civilization, and correspondent in many ways to the blues of the American South, was not simply an art form, but a way of life with its own codes and values. The world of the rebetiko was a special category of people: poor; occasional day-labourers doing exhausting jobs; desperate or marginalised people who resisted the dominant social values of money and power. They wished to be free of all their problems and hardships, and tried to do so with the help of hashish, women, song, dance and friends...A rebetis was a sort of social objector, with both romantic and anarchist elements; however, he did not wish to change the world or to destroy it, but simply to break through it, to escape. Through the case of Markos Vamvakaris, unique, but at the same time representative of this world, the film examines the life of the rebetes and its relation to the rest of society.
THE MAKING OF A NEW EMPIRE
Screenplay: Jos de Putter.
Cinematography: Andrzej Adamczak.
Editing: Danniel Danniel, Puck Goosen.
Sound: Lukasz Nowicki.
Music: Vincent van Warmerdam.
Producers: Jan Heijs, Ruud Monster.
35mm Colour 98'
Grozny, capital of Chechnya. Two years after the fierce battle for independence against the Russian army, the city is still devastated. For hundreds of years, this region has been known as the Wild East; nowadays, it is referred to as mafia country, where anarchy rules. Yet it is from here that the future of the Caucasus is being charted; a future based on the old tradition of clans, deep religious feelings and the law of the vendetta. This is the portrait of a man and his country at a decisive moment in history. Twenty-five years ago, Khozh-Ahmed Noukhaev founded a Moscow-based underground movement, which later became known as the widely feared Chechen mafia. To the Chechens, however, it was the cradle of the liberation movement. Noukhaev fits in the long and strong Chechen tradition of the bandit-warrior. He is godfather, escaped convict, war hero, publicity manager and visionary, all rolled into one. The film traces his personal history, and through him we learn about the mystical and proud, but also violent history of the Chechen people. As for Chechnya's future, since this region controls the oil pipes from the Caspian Sea, the largest oil reserves on the planet, it will certainly have an impact on the future of the Western world.
ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVITCH
UNE JOURNEE D'ANDREI ARSENEVITCH
Screenplay: Chris Marker.
Cinematography: Chris Marker, Marc-Andre Batigne, Pierre Camus.
Footage "Medvedkin 88": Francoise Widhoff.
Editing: Chris Marker.
Photographs: Pierre Fourmentraux.
Video Colour 55'
In his 1986 journal, Andrei Tarkovski comments on the footage of his son Andriusha's arrival in Paris, after the Soviet government have finally allowed the family to reunite: "I look frightfully ill-at-ease, I am holding back my feelings and repeating the same nonsense...Larissa [his wife] is no better, she's soliloquizing, spouting words as if making a toast, laughing and crying at the same time..." This very Russian day is the pretext to recall, quote, and put into perspective the language of one of the greatest cinematic stylists of all time. The films are examined in the light of the central Tarkovskian themes and his unique style, going as far back as his first work at film school in Moscow and the practically unknown Boris Godunov that he directed at Covent Garden in 1983. The structure of the documentary imposed itself, based on two other video shoots: that of a visit to the exterior settings of Sacrifice in Gotland, a few months earlier, when Tarkovsky did not yet know he was ill, and one he would have wished, as a testimony to his work, when, shortly before his death, he directed the editing from his bed. The title is certainly a nod to Solzhenitsyn, but is also an echo of a mythical Russia that no longer exists, but whose exiles, ironically, are today its sole witnesses.
MARILYN MONROE: BEYOND THE LEGEND
Direction: Gene Feldman.
Screenplay: Gene Feldman,
Narration: Richard Widmark.
Cinematography: Rick Robertson.
Editing: Leslie Mulkey.
Sound: Robbie Robinson, Pawel Wdowcak.
Producer: Gene Feldman, Suzette Winter.
16mm B&W-Colour 60'
Her story is a classic: lonely child, yearning for affection and approval, becomes Hollywood's greatest love goddess, scaling heights few even dream of. But in spite of breakdowns, failed marriages, and sordid rumours surrounding her life (and death), Marilyn was never just a "victim". She was unique, a phenomenon as vital today as ever, and all that is blazingly magical in a star. Here is the "real" Marilyn, in her great moments on film (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot, Bus Stop, The Misfits), and more. Also, the earliest films, home movies, archival footage, and the memories of those who knew her best, including Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Susan Strasberg, Don Murray and Celest Holm.
DEEP INSIDE CLINT STARR
Cinematography: Marcos Arriaga.
Editing: Katharine Asals.
Music: James Cavalluzzo.
Producer: Silva Basmajian.
Video Colour 89'
Deep Inside Clint Star takes you on a hilarious, bittersweet and intimate journey into the hearts and minds of some very ordinary, extraordinary young Canadians. Director Clint Alberta leads us through the film as the character Clint Star. Handsome and charismatic, Star adopts several personas, from 70s disco king to futuristic robot. Up gritty city streets and down dusty reservation roads, Star seeks out his far-flung buddies, young Natives like himself. They talk about it all -sex and life; love and abuse; five hundred years of oppression- with humour, grace and an uncommon dose of courage. The film explores complex issues of identity, sexuality and intimacy, while retaining the creative and playful styleof a director who is not afraid of turning the camera on himself.
THE KNOT (A. SOLZHENITSYN)
Screenplay: Aleksandr Sokurov.
Cinematography: Aleksandr Degtjarev, Alexei Federov.
Editing: Konstantin Stapheev, Vladimir Vasiljev.
Music: Ignat Solzhenitsyn.
Producer: Svetlana Voloshina.
Video Colour 90'
Internationally renowned Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov turns his camera on the great writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, now in his 80th year, and having returned to Russia following years of exile in the United States. Together, the two men wander about Solzhenitsyn's garden, discussing their approach to art, their thoughts on the corrupt nature of mankind, and generally trying to unravel the Gordian knot that is human existence. The conversation is fascinating enough, but the pacing and sense of place elevate this way above the reach of television.
NALAN TURKELI, A WOMAN FROM THE SLUMS
NALAN TURKELI, UNE FEMME DES BIDONVILLES
Screenplay: Evelyne Ragot, Oya Delahay.
Cinematography: Julien Hirsch.
Editing: Catherine Gouze.
Sound: Yunus Acar.
Music: Philippe Dieu.
Super 16mm Colour 62'
In the shanty town of an Istanbul suburb, a woman writes at night, unbeknownst to her husband and children. By day, she does innumerable odd jobs to support her family. Her first book, published in 1994, brought her national recognition, but didn't change her situation. She continues to write, because it is the only thing that gives meaning to her life, and because she wants to bear witness. The film recounts the life and struggle of a unique and affecting woman and, in the process, affords an inside look at the daily reality of these neighbourhoods torn by lawlessness and violence, where the massive migration from the countryside has led to the proliferation of "spontaneous", illegal and substandard living conditions. Yet, despite the hardships it records, this film is also the portrait of a woman who has broken away, in search of an alternative, immaterial world that she sees in the pages of her journal.
GEORGE ZIOUTOS: JOURNEY WITHOUT END...
Screenplay: Katerina Zoitopoulou-Mavrokefalidou.
Cinematography: Yorgos Kourmouzas.
Music: Kostis Drygianakis.
Production: Katerina Zoitopoulou-Mavrokefalidou.
Video Colour 35'
The film is a portrait of George Zioutos, journalist, editor, publisher, researcher and leftist intellectual, and is based largely on his diaries and notes. Born on Mount Pelion, in 1903, Zioutos studied Law in Athens. He entered journalism at an early age, and worked as a writer and editor for various newspapers. He became actively involved in Greece's workers' movement, and during the German Occupation he was an important figure in the outlawed resistance press of the National Liberation Front (EAM) and the Communist Party. After the armistice, he worked as director of the Communist Party's publishing company "New Books". In 1947, he left for Paris, where he remained until his death in 1967.
Screenplay: Martha Swetzoff, Jane Gillooly, Karen Scmeer.
Cinematography: Jane Gillooly, Martha Swetzoff.
Editing: Karen Schmeer. Music: David Torn.
Producers: Jane Gillooly, Martha Swetzoff.
16mm B&W-Colour 54'
Art dealer Hyman Swetzoff was murdered in Boston, in 1968. The murder, rumoured to be "gay-related", remains unsolved. In this personal film, his daughter tells the story of Hyman's life, death, and her struggles to make sense of this homicide. Her mesmerizing two-decades journey to find personal peace and closure began with a student film, at age 19. Now, 20 years later, she has incorporated pieces of her ealry probe into a work of maturity and philosophical vision, a keen social history of a time in the 1960s when gayness was routinely closeted, even in modernist philosophical circles. "Murder doesn't end with the death of the victim. That event is the beginning of a new life for those left behind, a life marked by anger, frustration and alienation, which can be very destructive for survivors. I was tired of seeing films about murderers, but not about what it is like to live with murder over the course of many years." Martha Swetzoff
LOVELY BIG VETA
Cinematography: Nikos Kanellos.
Sound: Periklis Patsourakis.
Video Colour 22'
Veta Betini, well-known actress and lyricist, tells the story of her life to the camera and how, despite her bulk, she managed, through humour, to make a career in entertainment.
THE RETURN OF THE MAGUS
Screenplay: John Fowles, Kirki Kefalea.
Cinematography: Yiannis Daskalothanassis.
Editing: Nikos Bistinas.
Sound: Nigel Morgan. Producer: Lilette Botassi.
Video Colour 52'
A 54-minute documentary concerning the relationship of the English author John Fowles with Greece, and specifically the island of Spetses. The film follows the return of the novelist after 45 years, to places like Spetses and Monemvasia, which inspired him to write "The Magus". Given that the novel contains many autobiographical elements, this journey offers John Fowles a unique opportunity to "return" to his young self. At the same time, the author declares his deep love for Greece and presents the cultural and intellectual elements that he respects in this country.
Editing: Kati Juh'asz.
Music: Tibor Smemzo.
Producer: Cesar Messemaker.
Video Colour 60'
As a royalist, Angelos Papanastassiou's life in the thirties was mainly defined by the royalist/republican schism. As a result, he had to leave the navy and eventually become a successful stockbroker, factory-owner and, in the late thirties, an alderman of Athens. After Greece bravely fought off the first Italian invasion, Angelos, along with all his fellow-Athenians, was forced to witness the full might of the German war machine entering Athens. The population was shown little mercy. Somehow, Angelos realized that the full horror of these events should be recorded. He used all his resources to secretly acquire a stock of film, and then set about filming the rapid downfall of Athens and the terrible deprivation and atrocities the Athenian people had to suffer, knowing full well that anyone caught taking so much as a photograph would be sentenced to death. There was little that happened during that time that Angelos did not capture on his little camera. There is footage of the Italian invasion of Greece in 1940; the German invasion in 1941; the raising of the Swastika on the Acropolis; starvation on a massive scale; the SS execution squads; scores of people being hanged in the streets. At the same time, he kept on filming his family and gatherings with friends. Forgcs ingeniously intertwines scenes of Greece's history with the day-to-day life of a young family.