From 9-20 November, Amsterdam once again becomes the documentary capital of the world! The International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) honours its 35th edition with variety and centering social involvement; Intimate portraits, harrowing histories and inspiring voices… You can find it all in IDFA’s programming. Scroll down to read about our recommendations!
Still from All You See, 2022.
When buying tickets for IDFA, you might want to keep these documentaries in mind:
dir. by Sara Newens, Mina T. Son
Can a tree be racist? A few years ago, debate on this issue reached as far as Fox News. The focus was a row of tamarisk trees along a golf course in Palm Springs, close to Crossley Tract. This is a historically Black neighbourhood, named after its founder Lawrence Crossley. Crossley was one of the first Black residents to settle in the largely white tourist paradise, established on indigenous land. According to Crossley Tract’s residents, the trees were instrumental in a policy of segregation.
In Racist Trees, the equally bizarre and complex history of the tree dispute is peeled away. Flipping through dark chapters of local history easily disproves the notion that there is no institutional racism in Palm Springs.
Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot
dir. by William Kentridge
Still from Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot, 2022.
The celebrated South African artist William Kentridge opens the doors of his studio! He treats us to his playful philosophical thoughts on the impossibility of knowing oneself. Through animation, performance, collage and charcoal drawings he creates a witty and imaginative self-portrait.
In the film, Kentridge interviews Kentridge, both in shot at the same time; As in his studio, the impossible becomes possible. Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot also pays tribute to the inventiveness of early film and the special effects of Georges Méliès. The result is a brilliant experiment with form and ideas, in which the coffee pot plays a central role.
All You See
dir. by Niki Padidar
What if from one day to the next, you’re no longer seen, but instead are stared at? The leading characters in this film find themselves in a new world where nothing seems to align. In their new lives in the Netherlands, they unintentionally provoke reactions on a daily basis. Even after many years, they still hear the same questions: “Where are you from?” ‘Do you speak Dutch?” “Do you tan in the sun?”
This experience is all too familiar to director Niki Padidar, who left Iran when she was 7. In All You See, she enters into painful and humorous conversation with three others who are immigrants. In Padidar’s carefully designed film, these conversations combine with her visual exploration of what it means to be subjected to the projections of others. Moreover, the alienation it evokes.
Check out the full programme here. All (edited) synopses and images are from the website of IDFA.