RIDM 2017: City of the Sun (Georgia – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Rati Oneli’s hypnotically impressive City of the sun brings us at the center of a disturbing abyss.

In the Georgian mining town of Chiatura, people seem abandoned by the rest of civilization. They go on about their mining business during the day and about their social life later, resumed by expressing creativity in half-preserved surroundings and decaying architectures. Longings and hopes seem like distant foggy dreams.

Using numerous long trackings, longshots and deliberate slow pace, City of the sun, with its depiction of a semi-ghost town, is a dark and moody piece in a near apocalyptic setting. The approach is of a fiction film. Oneli spent months with his subjects. He observes his protagonists, rather than interviewing them.  They forget his presence. It took Continue reading

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RIDM 2017: Taste of Cement (Syria)

 

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for Cinetalk.net

Syrian filmmaker Ziad Kalthoum’s Taste of Cement is a great achievement. His documentary essay follows the destiny of Syrian construction workers building a new Beirut while their own homes are destroyed. Using the contrast of situations that were in reverse not long ago, with war torn Lebanon, Kalthoum creates a gallery of artistic and thoughtful powerful images. The medium of cinema is well served with sharp cinematography by Talal Khoury and highly effective sound design by Ansgar Frerich & Sebastian Tesch (who’s also on scoring duty) whilst its subject’s depth is also mastered all along.

In Taste of Cement, exiled men in captive freedom (they are restrained to their quarters by a curfew and can’t visit the city they help to reshape) are filled with memories, dreams, nightmares exposed in a voiced poetry (Written by Kalthoum with Talal Khoury and Ansgar Frerich) that matches the exquisite visuals. We hear moving stories of Continue reading