The 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival’s tribute will introduce a prolific documentarist to the audience: the multifaceted Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter, who reconfigures reality into cinematic works of art.
The tribute’s lineup includes nine films, and the director will be awarded with an honorary Golden Alexander. Through masterly and meticulous shots and geometrical compositions, Geyrhalter records the incessant battle between humans and nature, as well as the devastating repercussions of the Western way of life.
The multi-awarded director will deliver a masterclass, as part of the tribute «The Art of Reality: Beyond Observation», where he’ll discuss with the audience the way he perceives, observes and records the world around us.
Matter out of place (2022)
Waste on the shores, waste on the mountains. On ocean floors and deep down in the earth. The term “matter out of place” refers to objects in a place they originally do not belong to. And there are many such objects in the places Nikolaus Geyrhalter visits for this film. In his unique imagery consisting of minutely composed pictures, the director traces immense amounts of waste across our planet.
From the mountain tops of Switzerland to the coasts of Greece and Albania, into an Austrian refuse incinerator and then to Nepal and the Maldives, and finally to the deserts of Nevada. Matter Out of Place is about human-made refuse, which is surrounding us all the time everywhere.
On his journey, Geyrhalter illustrates the sheer endless struggle of people to gain control over the vast amounts of waste that we produce every single day. Collecting, shredding, burning, burying – a Sisyphean task, which ostensibly solves the global problem of rubbish that is stealthily growing.
Homo Sapiens (2016)
A film about the finiteness and fragility of human existence and the end of the industrial age, and what it means to be a human being. What will remain of our lives after we’re gone? Empty spaces, ruins, cities increasingly overgrown with vegetation, crumbling asphalt: the areas we currently inhabit, though humanity has disappeared.
Now abandoned and decaying, gradually reclaimed by nature after being taken from it so long ago. An ode to humanity as seen from a possible future scenario. Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s fantastical Homo sapiens depicts a disquieting scenario whereby the world made by people is slowly won back by nature: it is science fiction and documentary in equal measure, equal parts contemporary and post-apocalyptic.
Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans – with shovels, excavators or dynamite. Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people, in mines, quarries and at large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.
7915 KM (2008)
A motor-sports spectacle that kicks up plenty of dust. On the trail of the 2007 Dakar Rallye 7915 KM undertakes a search, along the way encountering the variety to be found in Africa’s present in Morocco, Sahrawi Republic, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal. 7915 KM demonstrates the extent of this distance, which is the result of political and economic conditions, and also the ideas and prejudices to be found in both Europe and Africa.
It also makes the closeness tangible, which becomes clear in the stories of everyday life, work, hopes and worries. Keeping the sobering reality in mind, it creates an homage to humanity and slowness which questions deep-seated perceptions and the role of Europeans in numerous, presumably African, problems.
Our daily bread (2005)
Welcome to the world of industrial food production and high-tech farming! To the rhythm of conveyor belts and immense machines, the film looks without commenting on the places where food is produced in Europe: monumental spaces, surreal landscapes and bizarre sounds – a cool, industrial environment which leaves little space for individualism.
People, animals, crops and machines play a supporting role in the logistics of this system which provides our society’s standard of living. A wide-screen tableau of a feast which isn’t always easy to digest – and in which we all take part. A pure, meticulous and high-end film experience that enables the audience to form their own ideas.
The year 2000, elsewhere. 12 months. 12 episodes. Weeks, days, single moments of different ways of life. Tradition and change. People of different cultural and geographical backgrounds. A film about their life. A journey through voices and sounds from elsewhere, with no commentary added.
Landscapes, outlooks on the world, outlooks on life: Desert, snow, valley, jungle, ice, rainforest, stones, swamps, mountains, the sea, forests, a South-Sea atoll. An homage to humanity at the beginning of the 21st century.
After the catastrophe in 1986, a 30-km restricted zone was erected around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and 116,000 persons were evacuated from this area. A portrait of the people who still live and work there, and of those who have moved back.
What is life like for these people, a life with the invisible and incomprehensible danger of radioactivity? How do they deal with the aftereffects of an accident which is claimed to be statistically improbable? Four protagonists tell their stories and provide a look at everyday life in “their” zone.
The year after Dayton (1997)
A portrait of the first year of peace in Bosnia. This is a human story played out before a background of a war which still makes itself felt, a story of a possible life together, which has on the other hand become impossible in many cases. Rajko, the Serbian mechanic and his family must leave their home for the second time. Nermin, the actor, lost both legs in the war and might have the chance to learn a new role. Halid, a shepherd from the Muslim-controlled region, risks his life to visit friends on the western (Croatian) side of Mostar.
Washed Ashore (1994)
Life on the Danube is essentially determined by two factors: the river itself and the often-strange idiosyncrasies of the people who live along its banks. And they are multifarious: fishermen and graveyard wardens, Buddhist monks, allotment holders on Danube Island, stranded shippers, tramps and soldiers. All linked by the great current against which they swim. The film tells their stories and their longings in tranquil images by an unobtrusive camera.
The 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival takes place from Thursday, March 2, until Sunday, March 12.