Not only is this the year I will finally have an opportunity to revisit one of my favorite documentary festivals, but one of my favorite contemporary artists, Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo, will be making the selection for the Top 10 for the 23rd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The festival was started over two decades ago by Ally Derks and is still running under her impressive leadership today. As Honkasalo has done for nonfiction film, so has Derks done for nonfiction festivals. In fact, in my report from the festival in 2007, I recall using the word "Mothership."
In terms of Honkasalo's work, I can hardly ever properly articulate my feelings for her films, they move me so deeply, in particular, The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (an unmitigated masterpiece), and her latest, the quietly powerful, exquisitely beautiful, Ito--A Diary of an Urban Priest. The images from her films resonate and haunt me forever, it seems.
Honkasalo's selected films place an emphasis on cinematography, and also show off the exciting territory between fiction and nonfiction storytelling some of the best filmmakers of the 20th / 21st centuries have explored. A retrospective of her own work will be exhibited and Honkasalo (pictured) will be holding a masterclass at the festival, as well. The IDFA will be held from 17 to 28 November and will be staged, as it has been for the last four years, around the Rembrandtplein.
Here are Honkasalo's selections:
The Earth by Aleksandr Dovzhenko (Russia, 1930); The Mad Masters by Jean Rouch (France, 1955); The Earth Trembles by Luchino Visconti (Italy, 1957); Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1990); Kyoto, My Mother's Place by Nagisa Oshima (Japan, 1991); Quince Tree of the Sun by Victor Erice (Spain, 1992); Brass Unbound by Johan van der Keuken (Netherlands, 1993); Tell Me What You Saw by Kiti Luostarinen (Finland, 1993); The Smiling Man by Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann (Germany, 1996); and Blockade by Sergei Loznitsa (Russia, 2005).
Also, something of note coming up In New York City: The New York Times and P.O.V. are holding a free event. There will be a panel discussion entitled, "The Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg and The Times," moderated by Jill Abramson, the paper's managing editor. The panelists are Daniel Ellsberg, Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter, and Max Frankel, the Times' former executive director. The event will take place on Monday, 13 September from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the TimesCenter (also home of the Cinema Eye Honors). RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, October 5, P.O.V. will broadcast the Oscar-nominated film, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith. If you can't make it to the live event, it will be edited and broadcast along with the film next month.