Consolidating its annual frequency and new venue, the Festival will include a Jean-Daniel Pollet retrospective and screen the legendary film The Central Region, with director Michael Snow.
The 10th Punto de Vista Navarra International Documentary Film Festival is being held from 8 to 14 February 2016, strengthening its annual frequency and coming back to the Baluarte Conference Centre and Concert Hall, which will be the venue where all the activities will take place. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Festival will include a themed retrospective focusing on the concept of time, a special programme dedicated to French filmmaker Jean-Daniel Pollet and the screening of the legendary film The Central Region, with Canadian director Michael Snow in Pamplona.
After a few years of uncertainty resulting from the economic downturn, in 2016 the Festival will cement its return to annual frequency. In 2015, it drew the largest number of international visitors and moviegoers, and got the greatest media coverage in its history.
MICHAEL SNOW (THE CENTRAL REGION)
The great Canadian filmmaker Michel Snow will be one of the most important guests at the 10th Punto de Vista. Many years ago, the Festival named its most experimental section after Snow’s film The Central Region. The title became an umbrella term for the screening of films similar in character to those made by Snow: a film that questions its very essence and thus embodies the spirit and the philosophy underlying Punto de Vista.
In the past edition, The Central Region was used as the title of the Festival’s Official Selection, in an effort to bring together the boldness and experimental nature of new forms and contents, and the films screened in the main section. Therefore, screening Snow’s film is the perfect gift for the Festival’s 10th anniversary. If in the beginning it was a tribute title, it will have a very special, festive, place in the upcoming edition, emphasised by the presence in Pamplona of Michael Snow. He will introduce his film and conduct a master class on screening day.
Michael Snow (Toronto, 1928) is a multi-faceted artist whose works span the fields of painting, sculpture, photography, holography, installations, videos, films, music and literature. His films subsume all these disciplines. Elusive to labels, his independent, radical filmmaking has turned him into a cult director. A Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters since 1995, he has shown his works at the world’s most prestigious museums, like New York’s Museum of Modern Art or the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
The Central Region (1971) is an extraordinary film statement. It will be screened as part of a special programme at Punto de Vista 2016, at the Festival’s finest venue: the chamber music hall at the Baluarte Centre. Seating 444, it has outstanding screening conditions. Shown only a few times before in Spain, The Central Region features no action or men: only a fabulous interplay between nature and machine before our eyes. Shot with a specially designed camera moving in all directions (up and down, left and right, sideways and in spirals), it consists of images in continuous motion in a desert 150km north of Setp-Îles, Quebec – a tree-less plateau expanding into the vast round horizon of the surrounding mountains. Watching this film is a historic experience – a captivating and unforgettable milestone.
TEN YEARS OLDER RETROSPECTIVE
On the occasion of the Festival’s 10th anniversary, the themed retrospective will be dedicated to time itself, to the relation and interplay between documentary film and one of its key concepts and raw materials. All movies, of course, are made of time, just as sculptures are made of bronze or clay. However, in some, time becomes more evident. These are the type of films to be included in this retrospective. Films in which the clock ticks louder, inviting thoughts about the ephemeral and the eternal. Films that make us aware that St Augustine was right, for time cannot be grasped with words. Maybe it cannot be grasped with images either.
Time and film: a dialogue, a dance, sometimes a fight. The connections will be explored in this retrospective, titled Ten years older – a reference to Punto de Vista’s 10th anniversary and a tribute to Herz Frank, who was in Pamplona in 2007 showing his powerful film about a boy getting ten minutes older while watching a puppet show.
Ten years older will show films revisiting places or topics decades after they were shot for the first time. Films about the ages of man. Films about the ages of film. Films ‘fourseasoning’ life in a certain place. Film experimenting with the duration of a shot or a flashback, with repetition, ellipsis and other tools films have to capture and control time.
POLLET: THE HOUSE AND THE WORLD
Jean-Daniel Pollet (1936-2004) is one of the best-kept secrets of French cinema in the second half of the twentieth century. His first film, Pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse, award winner at the Venice Film Festival 1958, was saluted by Jean-Luc Godard as marking the birth of a true filmmaker. Pollet was only 21 years old back then. An indefatigable explorer, after this first experiment – a story told through looks, starring his favourite actor, Claude Melki –, he continued to release films in which he reflected about film form and went over and over a limited set of topics, Greece being central among them.
Beyond French borders, Pollet became known – and revered – thanks to Méditerranée (1963), a baffling, obsessive medium-length film resting on a formal search in which images are words and sequences are phrases. The film is about the Mediterranean and Mediterranean cultures, shown through rites of life and death, images repeated and rearranged in search of a new film alphabet. After a dossier about it was published in Cahiers du Cinéma, it kept fascinating generations of filmmakers until it became a cult film and a milestone in the history of cinema.
After Méditerranée there came L’Ordre (1974), another essential Pollet film about a leper colony on the Greek island of Spinalonga. From his 1958 short film on, Pollet’s movies flew in opposite yet complementary directions within the realism-abstraction binomial.
Pollet is not a well-known filmmaker outside France, for most of his films are not available with subtitles and are thus seldom screened in other countries. Punto de Vista is thus proud to have a retrospective dedicated to him in its 10th anniversary edition. It will be the first Pollet retrospective at the global level since his death in 2004. And it will be broad in scope, including his most experimental movies and following an explicit creative development: images appearing once and again throughout the sessions to reveal a fascinating critical rereading and rewriting process engulfing everything done before. A process framed within a dialectics of journeying and confinement, of trance and stasis, with a turning point in the 1989 train accident that confined the filmmaker who had travelled 35,000 kilometres to capture the memory of the Mediterranean to the limits of his own house. Without ever going beyond its walls again, Pollet imagined brand-new possibilities for his films.