BIEFF.12 – Handle with care

19 September, 2022

The 12th edition of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival will take place between September 27 – October 2. This year’s theme, Handle with care, focuses on the concept of “care”, questioning the state of fragile balance and uncertainty defining the contemporary world, and tackling the human vulnerabilities in the context of the current world crises: climate change, pandemic, war.

“The theme that will define the festival experience in 2022 centers on the notion of care understood as a binder for the social and natural, political and cultural fractures and ruptures facing humanity today. Care in response to concern – care for the other, but also for ourselves, care for future generations, care for all living beings. Care as a social value, with a collective dimension, in opposition to the individualism of the highly marketed notion of self-care and the historical exploitative dynamics underlying care work.” – Oana Ghera, the Artistic Director of the BIEFF.

The festival selection includes over 70 cinematographic works, which explore the limits of cinematic language. Shown in premiere in Romania, the documentary De Humani Corporis Fabrica (dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel), an amazing exploration of the human body, presented in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs section at Cannes 2022, will have a special screening at the closing of this year’s edition.

Fairytale, the film directed by Alexander Sokurov, and the last of the tetralogy inspired by the most controversial political figures of the 20th century, will also premiere in Romania, on the occasion of the opening event of the 12th BIEFF edition. You can read the film review written by Andreea Pătru here.

For the first time in its history, the festival will include a competition section dedicated to feature films made by filmmakers who are on their first or second feature film. The new section comprises 7 titles that have distinguished themselves in the last year on the festival circuit through formal ingenuity and innovation.

The International Short Film Competition includes 35 productions, curated by Oana Ghera, the artistic director of the festival, together with Flavia Dima, associate curator. The films are organized into 7 curatorial themes.

Lost and Found – discusses colonial and post-colonial dynamics, as well as the relationships of dependence, submission and control still present today in the so-called free world;

State (of) Terror – questions both the state’s monopoly on violence and the representation of victims in the media;

Future (After) Life – investigates the way technological progress has left its mark on our way of life;

Second Nature – speculates on contemporary anxieties, triggered by the disasters unfolding in the world, and the relationship with the natural world and this second nature constructed by man with the help of technology – the virtual world ;

Bodily Rites – deconstructs the patterns that govern traditional gender roles, campaigning for the re-appropriation of the body as a vehicle for the navigation of desire;

Legacies of Love – explores the concept of love, alternative visions of love and its absence;

Handle with care – How do traumatic experiences influence our existence both individually and collectively? The films in this program address phenomena such as isolation, loneliness and depression, as well as possible mechanisms of resistance and rebellion in the face of oppression.

12 cinematic works are competing in the National Short Film Competition of BIEFF 2022. “The time has finally come for a consistent Romanian experimental cinema, and its beginning moment may well be the most exciting, as it is completely uneven, lacking in shared aesthetics. Identity politics, video diary, dance, archival, found footage and so many other thoughts and manners of making this/that kind of cinema were just waiting to overcome their eternal condition of local precedent,” says film critic Călin Boto, associate curator, about this year’s selection.

The contenders are:

A.I. Poetries of Female and Non-female Beings in Gas Stations at Night (dir. Cristina Iliescu)

Dancen (dir. Corina Adrian)

For You Can See No Other (dir. Thea Lazar)

Being Nina (dir. Adina Mocanu)

Maybe there is no distance (dir. Letitieia Popa)

Archival Study (Portraits) (dir. Răzvan Anton)

When Flamingos Fall from the Sky (dir. Dragoș Hanciu)

3 Dialogues About the Future (dir. Alina Manolache)

Rural Rumor (dir. Chrystèle Nicot, Antoine Alesandrini)

Cutting Hand (dir. Alexandra Tatar)

Lost Footage (dir. Adrian Țofei)

Faulty Technologies (dir. Sabina Suru)

The Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival will take place between September 27 and October 2, at Cinema Elvire Popesco, Cinemateca Eforie, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Fore more details, visit the BIEFF website and Facebook page.

Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.