City film festival a picture of good health
From April 11-24, many of Copenhagen’s cinemas will, for your viewing pleasure, be taking part in a city-wide programme devised by Denmark’s largest fiction film festival, CPH:PIX. It is fast becoming recognised as one of the youngest, most exciting festivals on the European circuit.
Originally conceived five years ago through the merger of the NatFilm Festival and Copenhagen International Film Festival as a fiction counterpoint to the better known, documentary-orientated CPH:DOX, the young festival is a showcase for strong visions and original voices who compete for various honours, including an audience award from Politiken and a ‘New Talent’ award for debutant filmmakers.
Amongst the hot tickets this year are War Witch, a Canadian film from Kim Nguyen set in sub-Saharan Africa about a 12-year-old girl who is forced by rebel fighters to become a child soldier. She’s given a gun and told to shoot her parents, or watch them be hacked to death by machete. Ah, the agony of choice. Nordvest opens the festival with Copenhagener Michael Noer’s contemporary story of gangland initiation on the streets of our capital. There’s also the divisive English language debut from Oldboy director Chan Wook Park: Stoker. Starring Nicole Kidman, it’s a creeping horror with themes of familial dysfunction. Another highlight promises to be Austrian master Ulrich Seidl’s (Dog Days) Paradise trilogy, which mixes religious themes with fat camps and sex tourism. They look to be every bit as challenging and uncompromising as you might expect.
A small section of the programme is called ‘3×3’, which offers three films by three directors (including their latest work) with considerably different voices. There’s the youthful drama of the fast-rising Argentinian director Matias Pineiro, juxtaposed with the oddball comedy horror of Great Britain’s Ben Wheatley and some classic thrills from Dutch filmmaker George Sluizer. Sluizer’s beloved Sporrloos (The Vanishing) can be seen here alongside a project he recently finished that he started over 20 years ago: Dark Blood. It was the final film to feature River Phoenix and due to various legal wrangling had thus far remained unfinished.
CPH:PIX also screens new films from cinema’s greats: this year in the ‘Maestros’ section there are exciting new works such as To The Wonder by Terence Malick (Badlands, Tree Of Life), Outrage Beyond by Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano (Hanna-bi, Zatoichi) and Like Someone In Love by Abbas Kiarostami (Ten, Certified Copy).
Speaking of filmmakers returning to their works, an interesting new section this year called ‘Reworked’ sees directors cut new versions of their previous works. Gus van Sant’s teen-ghost story Restless received lukewarm critique when it opened back in 2011, but is now gathering renewed interest thanks to a version that dropped most of the dialogue. This was possible thanks to Van Sant’s habit of shooting a silent version of every shot to potentially solve any editing problems that might later arise. And there’s also a new version of Michel Ghondry’s Science Of Sleep.
There’s the return of the increasingly popular On Location series, which places the audience in often strange venues appropriate to the film they’re watching …
Following in their footsteps
Another interesting new section for this year offers new works by the children of acclaimed filmmakers. While there is no guarantee of greatness, there are films by the offspring of such luminaries as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, John Cassavettes and Francis Ford Coppola.
Films from far and wide
There’s the usual spotlight on the output of various countries and this year we see a selection of films from France, Germany, UK, Italy and Iran: one of which was an unexpected but tantalising prospect – a sci-fi from Iran called Taboor by Vahid Vakilifar …
Ultimately there’s far too much going on to include it all here: big screen outdoor projections, live music events, quiz nights and much more. Whatever your cinematic persuasion, there is an unforgettable experience waiting: for filmmaker and film lover.
Many productions are in spoken English – and most of the others are subtitled in English. Check the listings before buying your tickets. Be sure to pick up a festival guide or look online for complete times and listings.
Various cinemas all over Greater Cph; starts Thu (April 11), ends April 24; Tickets: 80kr unless stated otherwise; www.cphpix.dk