On a New York summer day, we accompany Feña darting to and fro between strange apartments and an empty gas tank, forgotten apartment keys and purses. Over the course of 24 hours in this charming mix of chaos and bustle, we sense Feña’s unyielding struggle between accepting closeness or keeping distance to other people and also oneself. In an unexpected reunion with an ex-partner, the sudden appearance of the younger sister, and planning a visit by the father from Chile, Feña must navigate relationship constellations ensnared in a limbo between the past and their bearing in the present. In Feña’s exploration of intimacies, Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s debut film MUTT confronts us with a deeply human experience of love, gender, and an in-between state of trans-ness and life as such.
Inspired by her own experience, Gessica Généus’s debut feature follows the lives of a family amid the vibrant everyday life of Port-au-Prince. FREDA portrays the relationship of the eponymous protagonist with her older sister Esther and their single mother Jeannette: three women with very different attitudes towards, and expectations of, life. With growing economic pressure, patriarchal social structures and political instability, staying in the country presents more challenges every day. Despite the dire situation, Freda – whose name refers to the Vodou goddess of love and abundance – is determined to stay and build a life for herself in Haiti. Documentary footage of the street protests in Port-au-Prince against the embezzlement of PetroCaribe funds in 2018 conveys a visceral sense of the protests against the turmoil the country is facing. (dp)
Dakar, between the skeletons of futuristic luxury buildings and the reality of construction workers looking for jobs. Ada is to marry the wealthy Omar, but she is haunted by her lover Souleiman, an unpaid construction worker who lost his life at sea when crossing the Atlantic together with other economic refugees. Captivating and hypnotic, Mati Diop’s film tells the stories of the women who stayed: the mothers, sisters, and lovers of those who were looking for work and cheated of their wages and whose attempts at migration were thwarted by the disastrous asymmetry of global migration policy. They have not departed this world peacefully and their ghosts haunt the living. In an act of rebellion, the grieving women stand up against this massive injustice and demand that those whose hunger for power is responsible for the growing social injustice be held accountable. (dp)
Airplanes are taking off into the bright blue sky every day, but Mare remains on the ground. She has never been on a plane in her life despite living right next to Dubrovnik airport with her husband and three children. Mare’s partner Đuro – her youth love – works at the airport, she herself is a dedicated mother. One day Piotr appears in the neighbourhood and kindles a previously unknown desire for independence in her. In their third collaboration, filmmaker Andrea Štaka and actress Marija Škaričić paint a lively yet intimate portrait of a woman who reclaims a degree of freedom in a life largely determined by pragmatism and necessities.
Poverty creates invisibility. Invisibility is exactly what Theresa, Robert and their young adult daughter Old Dolio aim for as they try to eke out a living through carefully orchestrated, but not tremendously successful, petty thefts and scams. When Melanie appears on the scene the family dynamics change. Bubbly and empathic, she soon makes Old Dolio reassess her view of the world that has until then been largely informed by her parents. Smart, witty and uniquely quirky, the latest offering of performance artist, author and director Miranda July is a tender comedy about finding the courage to explore intimacy and desire. Well-choreographed detours into the absurd act as loopholes in a cemented, detached world which is shaken by an earthquake that has been coming for a long time.