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João Pedro Rodrigues, Deborah Stratman, Fred Kelemen and Iranian Comedies and Films of the Absurd, are the Focos of FILMADRID 2017

João Pedro Rodrigues, Deborah Stratman, Fred Kelemen and Iranian Comedies and Films of the Absurd, are the Focos of FILMADRID 2017

· This year´s FILMADRID International Cinema Festival will focus on four retrospective themes.

· Most of Deborah Stratman’s (USA), Joao Pedor Rodrigues (Portugal) and Fred Kelemen’s (Germany) work will be shown at this year’s festival

· For the first time FILMADRID will devotes special attention to unknown aspects of a country’s cinematography and it will concentrate on Iranian comedies and its cinema of the absurd.

Madrid 27th of April 2017. The section Focos de FILMADRID, devoted to filmmakers of great international significance whose films remain practically unknown in Madrid will have as its main contributors the Portuguese João Pedro Rodrigues, the North American Deborah Stratman and the German Fred Kelemen. It will be a unique opportunity to get to know in depth the work of these artists, three of the most innovative and prestigious filmmakers of our time. Also, for the first time, FILMADRID will dedicate a section to the genre of Iranian Comedies and its cinema of the Absurd.

The section devoted to Joao Pedro Rodrigues will present all the full length feature films made by the well-known Portuguese filmmaker as well as three exceptional shorts. Since his first film O FANTASMA, up until his most recent offering, O ORNITÓLOGO a work of extraordinary maturity was justly rewarded with the Best Director prize at the last Locarno Festival. The work of Rodrigues explores the body and souls of his characters by examining their sensuality, their forbidden fantasies and the politically incorrect It will be the first retrospective viewing in Spain dedicated to the work of Joao Pedro Rodrigues. The Portuguese director will also be responsible for one of the Vanguardias Live of FILMADRID.

The work of Deborah Stratman, one of the most prestigious artists and filmmakers currently working in the US, demanded greater exposure in Spain. Her films cover both the documentary and experimental genres and have been shown in the MOMA, Pompidou Centre, Hammer Museum, the Whitney Biennial as well as in festivals such as Rotterdam, Berlinale, Sundance or Viennale. Her last full length feature film, The Illinois Parables was praised by the specialist critics as one of the best films of 2016.

Fred Kelemen is best known for his work as the director of photography of Béla Tarr’s latest films. (The Man from London and The Turin Horse) but he is also one of the most introspective and genuine directors working in contemporary cinema. His films are visually stunning and portray a film tempo approach as unique as those produced by Tarkovski, Angelopoulos or even Béla Tarr. After an absence of 11 years from making full length feature films, Kelemen has returned with Sarajevo Songs of Woe (2016), a fascinating film which will be premiered in FILMADRID. This season will be organised with the support of the Goethe Institute and will be the first retrospective presentation of one of the true visionaries of our time.

The season dedicated to Iranian comedies and cinema of the absurd will attempt to focus on a cinematography normally overlooked by western media which tends to prefer the more contemplative films of Abbas Kiarostami o Jafar Panahi instead. However, Iranian cinematography is without doubt one of the most complex and unknown in the world. The series of films being presented by FILMADRID at this year’s festival will attempt to bring to the attention of the public the eye opening current tendencies in Persian cinema. It pays special attention to the work of a considered master Mani Haghighi, whose more recent work A Dragon Arrives! (2016) had its world premiere in the official section of the Berlinale film festival.

As far as Nuria Cubas and Fernando Vílchez, directors of FILMADRID these four sections mark a significant advance in comparison to previous editions of the festival. “We hope that, this being the third edition of FILMADRID, our philosophy will be vindicated as well as new tendencies and interests which have stood out since the first edition of the festival. This edition not only is dedicated to specific filmmakers it will include an additional retrospective programme dedicated on this occasion to the as yet little known world of Iranian cinema.”

According to Javier H. Estrada, responsible for the festival’s programming, “Rodrigues, Stratman, Kelemen and the Iranian comedy and film of the absurd sections are a true reflection of the spirit of FILMADRID. All the filmmakers included in the programme present aesthetically powerful work which challenges the established conservative ideologies prevalent in their respective countries. Focos´s very diverse and stimulating cinema will not leave indifferent our audiences. From Rodrigues’s emotionally heart-breaking melodramas to Stratman’s revealing studies of North American human landscape. From Kelemen’s night’s end existential journeys to the outrageous and extremely funny comedies of the absurd from Iran. This last section will be a retrospective which will challenge the currently held impression European maintain of this complex and fascinating Middle Eastern nation.

FOCO: IRANIAN COMEDIES AND CINEMA OF THE ABSURD

The season dedicated to Iranian comedies and cinema of the absurd will attempt to focus on an unknown, complex and unconventional cinematography often overlooked by the western media which, has a tendency to prefer the more contemplative films of Abbas Kiarostami o Jafar Panahi instead.

Traditionally the use of humour and the absurd have been employed as a valuable means to express the dissatisfaction of Iranian society. The recent turbulent history of Iran has been the principal source of inspiration for bold filmmakers who, via comedy verging on surrealism and the absurd express the current predicament of their fellow countrymen. The undisputed maestro of this genre is Mani Haghighi whose most recent work A Dragon Arrives! (2016), had its worldwide premiere in the official section of the Berlin film festival. Set in the 60’s the main character is a detective from Teheran who is sent to investigate the suicide of a political prisoner on a remote island in the Persian Gulf. The journey brings the main character face to face with the more ancient aspects of the country, a hostile territory whose rumblings arouse the supernatural. The director presents a virtuous mix of documentary, film noir, science fiction and comedy of the absurd to reflect the climate of chaos and corruption prevalent in the time of the Shah. A Dragon Arrives signifies the definitive arrival of Haghighi on the scene whose previous works Abadan 2004), Men at Work (2006) and Modest Reception (2012) had positioned him as the most innovative and critical filmmaker at work in the country.

The retrospective series also includes work from masters such as Dariush Mehrjui –whose film The Tenants (1986) was the first of the comedies of the absurd in Iran as well as young talents such as Shahram Mokri y Ali Ahmadzadeh. Fundamental questions dealing with the rise of capitalism, the confrontation between the traditional and the modern and the women’s place in Iranian society will all be considered in this ambitious season which will present the country from a more realistic, funny and subversive point of view.

FOCO: JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES

A sensual and provocative filmmaker, the work of João Pedro Rodrigues encompasses a fascinating duality: the exaltation of spirituality usually manifested by way of the physical such as violence, sex or death. A symbolic creator of queer contemporary art, João Pedro Rodrigues has become one of the most original voices in cinema today with an aesthetic going beyond the genre which has forged his unique and personal view of the world. Since his first film O fantasma he has explored the depth of the body and souls of his characters always by way of a sensual and instinctive cinema. The principal characters in his films can be considered as outsiders- refuse collectors, fetishists, transsexuals, spiteful women, closeted homosexuals- destined, in the films narrative, to a senseless and dramatic fate.

The season includes the shorts O corpo de Afonso, Alvorada Vermelha and the well-known Manhã do Santo António as well as his latest full length feature film O ornitólogo, his most personal film to date which won the Best Director prize at the last edition of the Locarno Film Festival.

FILMADRID will be the first Spanish Film Festival to project the complete work of this must-see Portuguese filmmaker.

FOCO: DEBORAH STRATMAN

The artist and filmmaker covers both the genres of the documentary and the experimental. Stratman’s work examines the relationship between physical environments and the human struggle for power and the control of these spaces. The history, the exploitation and the mythology of these territories range from Muslim China to the suburbs of California have been examined throughout her extensive filmography. Her works have been shown in the MOMA, Pompidou Centre, Hammer Museum, the Whitney Biennial as well as in festivals such as Rotterdam, Berlinale, Sundance, Viennale. Oberhausen or CPH/DOX. Her latest film The Illinois Parables was acclaimed as the best films of 2016 by the specialist press.

FOCO: FRED KELEMEN

Fred Kelemen (Berlin 1964) is best known for his work as the director of photography of Béla Tarr’s two latest films. He is also one of the most introspective and genuine directors working in contemporary cinema today. His films are visually stunning and portray a film tempo approach as characteristic as those produced by Tarkovski, Angelopoulos or even Béla Tarr. They observe intensely sensitive characters who are searching for a sense of identity in a hostile and desolate Europe. Since the beginning Kelemen’s work anticipated some of the darkest episodes which currently affect the continent through works such as Fate (1994) featuring the well-known mythical American intellectual Susan Sontag and is considered as one of the quintessential works of the 90’s or the monumental film Frost (1997-1998).

His subsequent film Nightfall (1999) follows a man and woman’s hypnotic journey into the late hours of the night, littered with suggestive and disturbing physical presences. The main character of Fallen (2005) -a film which unravels as a captivating and mysterious narrative- was riddled with guilt for having ignored a woman on the verge of suicide. After an absence of 11 years from full length feature films, Kelemen has returned with Sarajevo Songs of Woe (2016), a fascinating film divided into three parts employing the Bosnian capital as a metaphor of European decadence and which will premiere in FILMADRID.

This season will be organised with the support of the Goethe Institute and will be the first retrospective presentation of one of the true visionaries of our time.

For further information, interviews and feature suggestions please contact: Henar Ortega / Elena Mellado - comunicacion@filmadrid.com - 678249767 / 646518457

About FILMADRID:

Pasajes de Cine is the force behind the International Film Festival FILMADRID. Its purpose is to promote Madrid as a globally important reference for independent cinema festivals. FILMADRID striving to become an event which brings non mainstream cinematographic culture to the attention of the general public of the capital as well as promoting a passion for cinema. It is an annual festival which takes place every first fortnight in June.

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