The International Competition comprises of the most captivating and acclaimed documentaries from all over the world, including from Italy. The films selected for this section offer us unprecedented perspectives on the lives, worlds and events that are worth knowing.
The films and recorded talks with directors will be available to watch for free in their original languages with Italian subtitles for anyone who connects to the platform from within Italy.
In Islamic culture, Barzakh represents the intermediate world, a state between life and physical death. A space located between hell and paradise. A real non-place. Whoever enters Barzakh, is waiting to be judged, but doesn’t know when or where he will be going. Barzakh reproduces this phantasmagorical world sheltered by night, placing in its heart a group of children trapped between two worlds: Morocco, the hell they think they are running away from and Europe, the paradise they’re hoping to reach. The hard part is the interval. The day-to-day. The fear. Waking up in the middle of the night to welcome a new day from your hideout. Silently watching the life they desire.
Because of a serious motor disability, Claudia cannot move without being helped by her mother. At the age of 20 she is still a virgin and wonders what sexual pleasure could possibly be like. But one day Marco, a Love Giver, comes into her life. Marco has just attended the first course to help disabled people to discover their own bodies and sexuality, an unprecedented event, on the margins of legality. Supported by a team of specialists, Claudia and Marco embark on a series of meetings which become ever more intimate. However, the project is subject to protocol which includes a rule that is difficult to enforce: never fall in love.
Single mother Anna and her four children live in the front-line war zone of Donbas, Ukraine. While the outside world is made up of bombings and chaos, the family is managing to keep their home as a safe haven, full of life and full of light. Every member of the family has a passion for cinema, motivating them to shoot a film inspired by their own life during a time of war. The creative process raises the question of what kind of power the magical world of cinema could have during times of disaster. How to picture war through fiction? For Anna and the children, transforming trauma into a work of art is the ultimate way to stay human. The screening of this film is in collaboration with Associazione Orlando and Biblioteca Italiana delle Donne.
Racked with anxiety in the chaotic political landscape of 1990s Brazil, Clara finds solace in starving herself, experiencing both rapture and torture. In this elliptical non-fiction film, anorexia becomes a way for Clara to challenge womanhood and find a place in an uncertain, surreal, and brutal world. The screening of this film is in collaboration with Associazione Orlando and Biblioteca Italiana delle Donne.
An isolated monastery in the Italian hills. A kung fu master. A community of Christian monks, with a touch of Asian disciplines. A single faith: to fight evil in the name of the Father. For twenty years, the Warrior Monks, former martial arts champions, have been preparing for a “higher” war, amid night-time prayers and gruelling training sessions. A poetic, emotional journey in an unknown world. A film to investigate the profound motivations for a radical choice, the reasons for devotion. What is one willing to lose, in order to win in the name of faith?
It Takes A Family is a family drama about secrets and repressed memories. Director, Susanne Kovacs, is the grandchild of Jewish Holocaust survivors and the daughter of a German mother and a Danish Jewish father. When Susanne is born, in the eyes of her grandparents she is a child of the enemy and a constant reminder of their tragic past. Years later, Susanne starts asking the difficult questions only to discover that the war never really ended in the tormented family; Somehow, the horrors of the past have always been present as a deafening yet unspoken trauma.
Baron Ronald Busch Reisinger of Inneryne spends his time on outrageous cruise ships amongst romantic couples, wealthy families, hardworking staff and retired elderly. On one such cruise we follow the Baron; parading on the decks in his feudal quilt and king’s cape, he leaves a first impression of being proud and arrogant, bragging about his status, wealth and extravagant life. But there is something underneath his swagger; a universal human desire for recognition and validation.
Hundreds of thousands of Hui people from Qinghai Province in western China work in noodle shops nationwide. This was also the last resort for the 14-year-old Ma Xiang, forced to leave school to help pay his father's debts. For him, happiness was the brief moments he remembered sharing with his mother. He now struggles to find this sense of peace again, faced with unexpected differences between his home town and the unfamiliar outside world, as well as the challenges of reality and survival. Could this tiny noodle shop offer a fresh start on the path to find happiness?
As the Internet finally arrives in tiny Bhutan, documentarian Thomas Balmès is there to witness its transformative impact on a young Buddhist monk whose initial trepidation gives way to profound engagement with the technology.
The United States. Today. A freight train crosses the landscape like a giant steel snake. One day, Ivy, Karen and Christina left everything behind to defy danger and cross the country on board freight trains. They wait for them, hiding in the bushes, sleeping under highway bridges. Amid the grinding and screeching of the metal beast, the director becomes these women's traveling companion. On rail, or wherever their lives lead them, their trajectories cross and echo each other: a desire to live, a spiritual quest, eternal rebellion. They are stronger than society; they are stronger than men; they are free. The screening of this film is in collaboration with Associazione Orlando, Biblioteca Italiana delle Donne and Piazza Grande.
A 10-year-old Roma boy living in Sweden attempts to come to terms with the mysterious Resignation Syndrome that has put his two sisters in a coma. The tight-knit family is trying to rebuild a normal life far from their native Kosovo where they were victims of persecution. While their entire future hangs in the balance of a pending asylum request, the little boy dreams of building a spaceship to leave it all behind.
Director Janna Ji Wonders embarks on a voyage of discovery spanning four women over a century. In order to uncover the secrets and her role in the generation chain, Wonders leads us from the family café at the Bavarian Lake Walchensee via Mexico to San Francisco during the “Summer of Love”, Indian ashrams, a German commune and back again to Lake Walchensee. Questions about identity, roots and self-fulfillment as asked through this search for life, love and death. A personal story about the eternal cycle of life.