Amidst the features that make FEST so special year after year is Be Kind Rewind, a thematic focus that aims to highlight a specific issue and provide the viewers with new and different perspectives on the subject. Past editions have included a closer look at female filmmakers, reflected on ten years of FEST or indeed brought back filmmakers whose career started off at our Training Ground or Pitching Forum.
Exactly one year after Brexit, and having to deal with new waves of nationalism and polarising political and socio-economical issues, Europe is in the throes of an identity crisis. As such, it becomes vital to reflect on what Europe, or being European, means nowadays. With our penchant for bringing together young film professionals and creating new networks that transcend borders, Be Kind Rewind 2017 could only focus on the Old Continent - and that's exactly where Off The Wall comes in.
Launched in 2014 to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the project aims to create new audiences by presenting them with new, challenging points of view on the united Europe that emerged post-1989. Much like its subject matter, Off the Wall is constantly evolving, responding to the rapidly occurring changes and the uncertainty that characterise these times.
The three films picked for Be Kind Rewind do not offer much respite; on the contrary, they represent the darker aspects of our times with uncanny accuracy. Named after its protagonist, Caina takes us to the sinister reality that surrounds the disposal of the bodies washed up on Italian shores. At the centre of this dog-eat-dog scenario is Caina herself, relentless in her quest to scourge her country from immigrants.
Hailing from Spain, The Invisible Hand is based on a novel by Isaac Rosa, and will deeply resonate with the audience. A group of workers is paid to take their daily occupation to the stage, creating a singular theatre production dubbed “the spectacle of work” that will soon cause them to succumb to the power dynamics so common to many workplaces.
Finally, Park takes a look at the current state of the Olympic Village in Athens, which was left to crumble after the end of the 2004 games. In a country so well known for its historical treasures and its impact on Western culture, the obsolete sporting structures become a metaphor that denounces the political situation Greece finds itself in.
As I mentioned earlier, these films are not exactly reassuring, but if you are looking to be challenged, stimulated and informed, missing them is not an option.