IDFA in Kriterion is back! Every month, Kriterion in Amsterdam picks one of the documentaries from the IDFA 2019 selection. This month it's Talking About Trees, screening June 21st.
Talking About Trees
In Sudan, cinema is a thing of the past, but four directors and lifelong friends refuse to accept it. They learned their art abroad—one of them is jokingly referred to as the Sudanese Eisenstein by the others. With their Sudanese film club, the men struggle to keep their film culture alive. Much of their work has been lost, but a few excerpts are included in the documentary.
To introduce others to the magic of film, they decide to rent a dilapidated old open-air cinema for a big free screening. But how do you do this in a country where there are power cuts, you lack the equipment and infrastructure, and the call to prayer blares out from mosques on all sides? “How did we used to do it?” they wonder, laughing. Then they realize that there didn’t used to be a call to prayer. Sudan’s repressive and violent history remains in the background, but film is clearly still out of favor with the regime. Nevertheless, the men remain hopeful.