This year‘s focus programme at Doclisboa presents films from the Euphrates area. «The idea is to bring back images that disappeared in relation to these territories due to all the recent conflicts,» programme coordinator Miguel Ribeiro, says to Modern Times Review.

Bianca-Olivia Nita
Bianca-Olivia Nita
Bianca is a freelance journalist and documentary critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: October 20, 2018
  1. What is the focus of this year’s edition of Doclisboa?

«This year we have a retrospective of the complete work of Luis Ospina, the Colombian filmmaker. This is an important moment for us. He is an important filmmaker in the Latin American scene, with very strong humour, very critical cinema but also very free. And he is coming to the festival to present all his films and to do Q&As after all the screenings.»

«Besides this, we will have a focus programme about cinema from around the Euphrates. These are films from Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq, and Armenia – all of them covering the period from the beginning of cinema in the region until the early 2000s. The idea is to bring back images that disappeared in relation to these territories due to all the recent conflicts. It is a way of revising these areas and a chance to see the diversity of the filmographies coming from that region – films that are at risk due to the wars and conflicts. It is also a way to propose a different view, an alternative to the images that are seen again and again in the media, which usually are images of conflict and of people fleeing from these territories.»

  1. What else is new this year?

«Besides this retrospective and the focus, we have invited two filmmakers. We will be screening their most recent work in relation to their previous films – not as a retrospective, but more like creating a dialogue within their filmographies. The filmmakers are James Banning and Mike Hoolboom, and they are both coming to the festival. We will screen the restored version of 11×14, James Benning’s first feature film that was inaccessible for a long time due to the bad condition of the material. It was recently restored. He will present this film and also his latest film, L. Cohen, and we will screen five of Mike Hoolboom’s films – four shorts and one feature film. He is bringing a revisited version of his film – House of Pain – to which he has added some new scenes.»

  1. What does the term «movies that matter» mean to you?

«For me, a movie that matters is a film that has a very free approach, a film that is reduced neither by its form nor by its topic or premise, but instead finds the unexpected. I find that beautiful, to fall in love – not with what you can expect, but [to gain] much broader possibilities. That’s what I look for every year – different approaches. What’s memorable is the unexpected. There is no real formula for me. Luis Ospina is a good example, as a director he is incredibly free – not grounded at all. When you see his films you never know what you can expect.»

  1. How did the documentary landscape change in the last decade? 

 «I think that documentaries are now harder to define and that is great. Filmmakers are experimenting, and the more films that are being made, the more they try new ideas and create a broader panorama of possibilities in cinema. They use fiction modes within documentary and make more complex films. I am interested in this and in the erasure of the borders of the genre.»

Miguel Ribeiro is the Programme Coordinator of Doclisboa since 2012. He is also a film producer and a member of the art collective Rabbit Hole.

Modern Times Review