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Films about photography at Millennium Docs Against Gravity

Films at Millennium Docs Against Gravity festival, which starts this Friday and will last until May 21, recommended by Justyna Kociszewska, our film program curator.

180 documentaries – it is more than plenty, so it is worth making a selection. Our criterion is of course “photography”. Millennium Docs Against Gravity has had such films about photographers and photography-related themes in its programme for years. This is why we’ve decided to become partner festivals this year and run film shows as a part of our shared initiative. The films we have selected will be shown during Fotofestiwal in June, but if you can’t wait and happen to be in Warsaw, you can enjoy other beautiful and insightful titles from next Friday on.

Let us start with some history of photography:

> All the Beauty and the Bloodshed directed by Laura Poitras.

Oscar-shortlisted, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice, it is a story of a person who changed the photography scene, Nan Goldin. It focuses not only on her art, but also on her contemporary social activity, which is so beautifully linked to this year’s Fotofestiwal theme. No further recommendation required, is it?

> Exposing Muybridge directed by Marc Shaffer.

It is a condensed journey in time, back to the very roots of photography and a film recap by inimitable Gary Oldman, a great fan and collector of Eadweard Muybridge’s art. At the very beginning of the photography era, Muybridge created possibly the most iconic photos in history.

> Infinity. The World of Luigi Ghirri directed by Matteo Parisini.

Contrary to the mantras reiterated by print fanatics, I believe photography is sometimes much more meaningful when displayed in a cinema theatre than in a white cubicle. This film proves it. Moreover, as we explore the world presented to us by Luigi Ghirri, Italian photographer based in Emilia Romana, we have an excellent opportunity to experience the eternal charm of Italian culture.

> And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine directed by Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck.

A photo camera is a fantastic invention, unless harnessed to fuel the multi-billion visual industry. The film is, however, quite lightsome and playful.  Created entirely from found footage, it tracks the modern evolution of the visual culture, which crosses all boundaries and pervades every aspect of our lives. Ironically, this is also a film about the fine art of photo editing – the images which we know all too well, emerge as something new and fresh when they are decontextualised and set up in new combinations. They are obvious, that’s a fact, but shouldn’t we be constantly aware of such obvious things for our own good?

> Soviet Bus Stops directed by Kristoffer Hegnsvad.

Christopher Herwing has been photographing bus stops throughout the former republics of the Soviet Union for 20 years now, doing the onerous work of a documentalist and archivist. The results of his efforts, published by Fuel Publishing, a publishing house that understands the potential of photo series very well, remind us of the power of photography as, essentially, the art of capturing time within a still frame. The film shows us even more: the stories of individual bus stops, interviews with their creators, and the 7-year endeavour of a man entirely devoted to his mission.

> Solaris Mon Amour directed by Kuba Mikurda.

This is a different story, a story from Łódź. The film is really exceptional, as it was entirely created from the fragments of 70 films made in the 1960s in the Educational Film Studio in Łódź. It is also an essayistic adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s Solaris and a personal story on grief.

> Matter Out of Place directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter.

Let this film just symbolise all those images in which motion of the matter seems redundant, as the scene and perspective have already done the job. The latest film by the Austrian film master of storytelling shows us… trash and garbage, and we are awed by its beauty as much as its ubiquity.

Our film programme and the full festival schedule will be available on our website in the first days of June. Stay tuned!