International Competition

    • set 14 items

    Fourteen singular films are selected for IDFA’s new International Competition: a manifestation of classical documentary at its most sublime, yet still full of surprises. These are films that use a clearly defined frame, but inside it, anything can happen. Artistically confident, well-rounded, and universally relevant, each of these titles express an unparalleled cinematic mastery that is at once both intricate and effortless.

    Items in this selection

    After A Revolution

    • Giovanni Buccomino
    • 2021

      A look into the lives of a brother and sister who fought on different sides of the uprising in Libya in 2011: he supported Gaddafi, she was one of the “rebels”. As war flares up in the years that follow, their fervor for justice is challenged.

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      The Beach of Enchaquirados

      • Ivan Mora Manzano
      • 2021

        A sense of unfulfilled longing intermingles with irresistible, liberating warmth in this poetic portrait of the Ecuadorian fisher Vicky and the local transgender community she’s part of.

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        Children of the Mist

        • Diem Ha Le
        • 2021

          In the misty mountains of northern Vietnam, a Hmong teenage girl faces the challenges of growing up. In Di’s traditional culture, girls marry as early as 14. But at school she learns there are alternatives.

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          Day after...

          • Kamar Ahmad Simon
          • 2021

            The Rocket is a century-old paddle steamer still regularly transporting passengers along the river delta of Bangladesh. All aboard for this philosophical and kaleidoscopic film in which rich and poor, young and old, and East and West come together.

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            The Delights

            • Eduardo Crespo
            • 2021

              At Las Delicias agrotechnical boarding school in the Argentine countryside, high school students find their way through friendships and boyhood adventures, against an inviting backdrop of dogs and chickens, fields, greenhouses, and meadows.

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              How the Room Felt

              • Ketevan Kapanadze
              • 2021

                A gentle and intimate portrait of a small community of young queer people in a Georgian city, formed around the local women’s football team. Here in this self-made family, shielded from outside threats, they can share love and friendship.

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                Journey to the Sun

                • Susana de Sousa Dias, Ansgar Schaefer
                • 2021

                  Archive films bring to life the bittersweet memories of Austrians who as preschoolers were sent to stay with host families in Portugal to recuperate after the Second World War.

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                  Mr. Landsbergis

                  • Sergei Loznitsa
                  • 2021

                    Singing even a peaceful song can unleash a revolution. Lithuanian politician Vytautas Landsbergis looks back on his country’s independence struggle in this captivating masterclass on the collapse of the Soviet Union by the great chronicler Sergei Loznitsa.

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                    The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost

                    • Qinyuan Lei
                    • 2021

                      Two young sisters spend most of their time at an electronics market in Shenzhen. Their gaze transforms the impersonal world of electronics into a universe full of ghosts and monsters.

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                      Taamaden

                      • Seydou Cissé
                      • 2021

                        Faith, hope and harsh reality: Taamaden is an original story about the everyday lives of West African immigrants and their ties with mystical and religious fortune tellers—African occultism reaches to Europe via the smartphone.

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                        A Thousand Fires

                        • Saeed Taji Farouky
                        • 2021

                          Understated, poetic portrait of a Burmese couple who drill oil from the ground by hand. They hope this grueling work will yield them enough money to give their children a better future.

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                          Turn Your Body to the Sun

                          • Aliona van der Horst
                          • 2021

                            The powerful story of a Soviet soldier who was a prisoner of war during the Second World War and afterwards sent to a gulag. His daughter never got to hear the whole story. Archive footage and personal sources evoke the past in subtle but potent ways.

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                            Vedette

                            • Claudine Bories, Patrice Chagnard
                            • 2021

                              A year in the life of Vedette, a cow with a feisty personality who has to face the agonizing truth that she’s no longer Queen of the Swiss Alps. An affectionate documentary about aging that offers an alternate perspective on animals.

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                              Where Are We Headed

                              • Ruslan Fedotow
                              • 2021

                                The imposing, theatrical corridors of the Moscow Metro form the backdrop to a continuous tragicomedy. Small incidents and conversations create a colorful picture of this underground society in miniature.

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