Only a few days are left before the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival starts in full swing. Today, the festival’s website mdag.pl published the full program in all festival cities and started the sale of tickets for individual screenings. The festival will take place in Warsaw, Wrocław, Katowice, Poznań, Lublin and Bydgoszcz between September 4th and 13th and in Gdynia between September 9th and 18th.
This year, the program is full of the highest quality documentaries about environmentalism, society, fashion, and politics, as well as exceptional artists.
Margaret Atwood and Bruce Chatwin – the giants of literature
Highly successful, nominated for a Nobel Prize, with impressive literary achievements, and books successfully published in 35 countries – Margaret Atwood – Canadian author, poet, and literary critic is also a socio-ecological activist. Her works have never been more relevant than today, in the age of rising authoritarian tendencies, new technological advances, and further irreversible climate change. Her life is the subject of “Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word Is Power”, directed by Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang. Searching for a different story, one of history’s most influential directors, Werner Herzog, went on a journey in the footsteps of his equally prominent friend in the movie “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin.” When the British writer and traveler was dying of AIDS, he gave his friend a backpack that he had carried all around the world. 30 years later, Herzog, wearing the same backpack, travels in his friend’s footsteps, talking about the inspiration he got from the journeys and writings of the father of modern travel literature.
Helmut Newton and Jan Grarup – icons of photography
He witnessed the genocide in Rwanda and photographed warzones. His most famous photographs picture ruins and debris, a child planning an attack in Mosul, a woman looking at the sea from a bombed hotel in Mogadishu, a barber shaving a client in Kashmir. Dutch photographer Jan Grarup is the master of modern war photography and the winner of many prestigious awards, such as the W. Eugene Smith Grant, four-time World Press Photo, UNICEF, and Visa D’Or for Darfur. Grarup is the subject of “Photographer of War” by Boris Benjamin Bertram and will be the official guest of this year’s festival, where he’ll meet with the audience after the screening and deliver a masterclass (September 5th in the Palace of Culture and Science after the screening – free for ticket holders). There will also be a special gallery of his photos during Millennium Docs Against Gravity titled “Our Everyday Genocide” (foyer of the Iluzjon Movie Theatre between September 4th and 13th). The other photographer whose story the festival audience will get to experience was one of the greatest masters of modern fashion photography. Funny, inventive, provocative, and intriguing, his inspiration came from a childhood spent in Berlin during the 1920s. As Karl Lagerfeld once said: „Berlin was him, and he was Berlin”, but Newton was also very cosmopolitan, living in exile between the USA, Australia and Europe. His story is told in Gero von Boehm’s movie “Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful”.
Krystian Lupa and Merce Cunningham – masters of the stage
Is great theatre only as good as the circumstances on the day – what the actors and the audience bring with them? Does the work leading up to a premiere reflect on the final show? These are the questions that Dorota Wardęszkiewicz and Piotr Stasik are answering in the movie “Let's Try to Jump Into The Well”. The audience will witness the rehearsals for “The Trial”, directed by Krystian Lupa, and pass judgement on his creative process. Lupa is a despot, yet he aims to bring out Kafka’s true voice. Another master of the stage, Merce Cunningham, is the subject of “Cunningham” by Alli Kovgan. He is the icon of our time. The legendary American dancer and one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, hailed by The Guardian in 2000 as the best living choreographer in the world, was a revolutionary and visionary on par with Wacław Niżyński.
Quentin Tarantino, Miloš Forman, Stanley Kubrick, and others – iconic directors
This year, the Cinéma, Mon Amour section of the festival will be rich in biographies of renowned artists. The audience will get to see movies about Quentin Tarantino (“QT8: The First Eight”, dir. Tara Wood), Stanley Kubrick (“Kubrick by Kubrick”, dir. Grégory Monro), Miloš Forman (“Forman vs. Forman”, dir. Helena Třeštíková, Jakub Hejna), and Andrey Tarkovsky (“Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer”, dir. Andrey A. Tarkovsky), as well as the behind-the-scenes look at the filming of William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” (“Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist”, dir. Alexandre O. Philippe).