Dariusz Jablonski, Poland, 1998

‘I found out that people are capable of adapting themselves to the most extreme conditions,‘ says the Jewish doctor Arnold Mostowicz. He is one of the few survivors of the ghetto in the Polish city of Lodz. The gripping interview excerpts with Mostowicz have not only been shot in black and white, but his face is also kept half hidden by means of shadow effects. Presumably to emphasize that his eyes have seen things that in fact cannot tolerate daylight. Mostowicz‘s story about the degrading conditions in the ghetto are alternated with colour photographs, made by a German bookkeeper. The photographs that were recovered only in 1987 are unique in more than one way. They are not only some of the very first colour pictures ever made, they have registered life in a ghetto in a very exceptional way: through the eyes of a Nazi supporter. In a dramatised voice-over we hear how the photographer — obviously not realising the impact of his pictures on later generations — lodges complaints with the manufacturer about the poor colour quality of the photos. These distressing quotations, also of high-ranking German officers and officials, reappear at various times in the film. They principally illustrate how thoughtlessly people were busy with their daily worries, while the massacre was being performed. The Polish director Dariusz Jablonski visited the houses and locations on the photographs. His recently shot black-and-white images are faded into the colour pictures, creating a stylized and highly alienating effect. Nowhere on the photos or in the footage do we see corpses or skeletons, but the impending atrocities are painfully tangible behind every image and behind every quotation.

Opening film: Stranger in Paradise October 18, 2016 | IDFA 2016 will open at the Royal Theatre Carré on November 16 with Stranger in Paradise by Dutch director Guido Hendrikx, exploring the relationship between Europe and refugees in a film on the boundary between documentary and drama.
Three films selected for IBF Europe distribution support October 18, 2016 | The IDFA Bertha Fund has concluded the final selection round of 2016. Three documentaries will receive grants through the IBF Europe scheme for distribution support.
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Film List 2016 October 10, 2016 | The full line-up for IDFA 2016 is now online. Full details on all films and programme information will be announced November 3.
IDFA Spotlight in Ramallah October 4, 2016 | IDFA will present a documentary programme during the upcoming ‘Days of Cinema’, taking place October 15-21 in Ramallah.
Special focus program: Assembling Reality October 4, 2016 | In the IDFA 2016 special focus program Assembling Reality, leading international editors - including director/editor Frederick Wiseman - will discuss the role of editing in constructing documentary narratives.
Special focus program: Shifting Perspectives September 27, 2016 | The special focus program Shifting Perspectives will investigate the role of opinion-shaping in terms of the way we see and think about race and identity, as well as the perspectives from which we do so.
Special focus program: The Quiet Eye September 20, 2016 | IDFA’s special focus program The Quiet Eye will investigate ‘slow documentary’, presenting documentary projects that take the experience of time in real life as their starting point.
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IDFA Award at Docu Rough Cut Boutique August 19, 2016 | At last night's closing ceremony of the Docu Rough Cut Boutique of the Sarajevo Film Festival, the IDFA Award was given to City of the Sun by Rati Oneli.
The Vice Documentary Pitch at IDFA July 25, 2016 | VICE returns to IDFA to launch The VICE Documentary Pitch at IDFA, offering filmmakers a chance to win a commission from the VICE documentary team. 
IDFA Bertha Fund Concludes May 2016 Selection July 12, 2016 | Eleven documentary projects from countries including Sudan, Chile, Syria, Cuba, Afghanistan and Ukraine will be supported through IDFA Bertha Fund - Classic. The selection includes new projects by Maite Alberdi, Alisa Kovalenko and Manolo Sarmiento.


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