International Competition

Thom Andersen  The Thoughts that Once We Had
Nicolás Echevarría  Echo of The Mountain
Feng Yan  A Day in Tianjin
Gustavo Fontán  The Face
Makino Takashi  2012 | cinéma concret

Disturbances of the Image

From the time the call for entries for the International Competition first opened in September last year until it closed in April this year, we received almost 1200 submissions. This is the largest number we have ever received in this category, which has existed since the first festival in 1989. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all the producers who submitted films. As in past years, we have not left the choice of works screened in the competition to the festival director’s discretion. Rather, the fifteen films selected this year were a result of rigorous deliberation by a ten-person panel that included citizens of Yamagata. Many that did not make it into the competition were brimming with fresh insights and gave diverse points of view on today’s world. As in previous years, this made the selection extremely difficult.

The fifteen films chosen through this arduous process all display a marked individuality and wealth of creativity. We have lined up a varied mix of work from both old and new directors, including well-known veterans of the festival, such as Kim Longinotto, Maria Augusta Ramos, Pedro Costa and German Kral, as well as filmmakers making their debut at Yamagata this year who will charm us with their unique sensibility and aesthetics. These films encompass a variety of subjects and approaches. Some have been put together with a strong desire to record, preserve and display current events in places such as Syria, Okinawa and Brazil, where the political and social situation is changing moment to moment. Others investigate the essence of the moving image and stimulate viewers’ minds and senses. There are a number of films showing us what it is to be a woman, the things women have to live through, their struggles, their sufferings and their joys, a thorough picture of the common experience of their daily lives. Then there are those works that use the film medium to reconsider the past, looking at historical events or personal memories.

Regardless of theme or style, all of these films reflect the now in which we live. Moreover, these works question not only the times, but also those who view the films and their experience of the present. How do we, as viewers in 2015, perceive—and are we in fact equipped to talk about—the modern histories of Chile, Peru and East Asia; or more recent events such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq? All of the films shown here pose a challenge to our everyday lives and urge us towards change. This involves a complex process of negotiating with memories, in the space between the present and the past, the artist and the audience. As coordinator of the competition, I would be overjoyed if everyone who comes to Yamagata, whether they have been here before or not, can share in the disturbances of perception, memory, experience, creativity and image, through their encounters with these fifteen rare and timely films.

To all of the artists and distributors who allowed us to show these films, to the panel of international jurors who will have the difficult task of watching and judging all fifteen films over five days, to everyone who has worked hard to screen the films and run the screening venues and to everyone who has given their support to this program, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Hata Ayumi
Program Coordinator