Preview of the 21st Human Rights Film Festival

About Dry Grasses © Nuri Bilge Ceylan
About Dry Grasses © Nuri Bilge Ceylan

21.03.24

As every year, the festival will be presenting numerous topics and stories, including the situation of children during the war in Ukraine, or the recent events in Palestine, through a selection of Palestinian shorts curated by the filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, winner of the festival award in 2019, and the life story of actress Hiam Abbas. There will also be references to the future of work, the weaponisation of migration as a political and military tool, midwives, and plenty of other subjects.

The discussions to be held after the 7:00 / 8:00 p.m. screenings will explore in greater depth a number of current topics, involving representatives of the films, and individuals, activists and organisations working in the field of human rights, who will be sharing their experiences with the audience.

PREVIEW OF THE FEATURE FILMS OFFICIAL SELECTION

  • About Dry Grasses (2023). Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Turkey-France-Germany

Samet, a young art teacher, is completing his fourth year of mandatory service in a remote Anatolian village. After an unexpected turn of events, he loses all hope of escaping the gloomy life in which he feels entrapped. Will his meeting with fellow schoolteacher Nuray help him overcome his anguish? A new film by the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the name behind such other works as Three Monkeys (2009), Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011) and The Wild Pear Tree (2018).

  • After Work (2023). Erik Gandini. Sweden-Italy-Norway

Our society is a society of work. From our childhood onwards we are taught to aim for competence. The emergence of artificial intelligence means that human beings need to reconsider the role that work plays in our lives, because most of the jobs that exist today could disappear in a few decades. The debate as to the consequences of this phenomenon is being controlled by technology specialists and economists, often taking on the features of a science fiction dystopia. What seems to be missing from the debate is the human perspective. Erik Gandini travels around the globe to ask what the future will be like, and what will happen when people no longer work.

  • Bye Bye Tiberias (2023). Lina Soualem. France-Palestine-Belgium-Qatar

At the age of twenty, Hiam Abbass left her home village in Palestine to pursue her dream of becoming an actress in Europe, leaving behind her mother, her grandmother and her seven sisters. Thirty years later her daughter, the filmmaker Lina, returns there with her, wondering for the first time about the bold decisions taken by her mother, her voluntary exile and the way in which the women in her family have influenced both their lives. Flitting between past and present, the work alternates current images, home movies from the nineties and historical archives to depict four generations of Palestinian women who keep alive their legacy and history despite exile, eviction and broken hearts.

  • Green Border (2023). Agnieszka Holland. Poland-USA-France-Czech Republic-Belgium

At the age of twenty, Hiam Abbass left her home village in Palestine to pursue her dream of becoming an actress in Europe, leaving behind her mother, her grandmother and her seven sisters. Thirty years later her daughter, the filmmaker Lina, returns there with her, wondering for the first time about the bold decisions taken by her mother, her voluntary exile and the way in which the women in her family have influenced both their lives. Flitting between past and present, the work alternates current images, home movies from the nineties and historical archives to depict four generations of Palestinian women who keep alive their legacy and history despite exile, eviction and broken hearts.

  • Indarkeriaren oi(h)artzunak (2023). Amaia Merino, Ander Iriarte. Spain

40 years after ETA kidnapped her family and the State tortured her father to death, Tamara Muruetagoiena embarks on a tireless quest for truth and justice. Tamara recounts her family tragedy, face to face: the revolutionary tax, the kidnapping by an ETA commando unit for 17 days, the subsequent family breakdown, persecution by the State machinery, political pressure, the trial, her parents' arrest, the torture, murder… But also her path to the truth, recognition, and the use of dialogue as the key tool in resolving conflict.

  • Midwives (2023). Léa Fehner. France

After 5 years learning to be midwives, Louise and Sofia begin work at a hospital. It is time to face the world of work, to take on major responsibilities, in a place where everything happens at frenetic pace, and there is scarcely time to think. Pressurised by the precarious circumstances they face in their daily lives, they must continuously deal with birth, motherhood and sometimes death, putting their vocation to the test.

  • Photophobia (2023). Ivan Ostrochovský, Pavol Pekarčík. Slovakia-Czech Republic-Ukraine

On a frozen February morning, 12-year-old Niki and his family arrive at a Metro station in Kharkov, Ukraine, to escape the constant bombardments. The light of day becomes synonymous with danger, and so they forbid their son from heading outside. Niki spends the next few months living under neon lights. Until one day he meets 11 year old Vika, and a new world opens up before him. Together they recover the strength and courage to continue their resistance, always yearning the chance to see the sunlight again.

  • Woman of... (2023). Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert. Poland-Sweden

Set at the time of Poland's transition from communism to capitalism, the film recounts 45 years in the life of Aniela Wesoly, who lived as a man for more than half of her adult life in a provincial city. Aniela's journey in search of personal freedom as a trans woman faces countless difficulties in her family life, and huge incomprehension from those around her. She is forced to take many difficult decisions to become who she really is.