After 13. edition

Adele: Chapters 1 & 2Adele: Chapters 1 & 2
Festival Spotlight
18 July 2013
Festival Spotlight - Adele: Chapters 1 & 2.

The 13th edition of New Horizons Film Festival once again offers a rich line-up of new films, retrospectives and events for both the public and industry. There are also the nightly music slots at Arsenal.

The festival opens with the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year, Adele: Chapters 1 & 2. A frank yet tender account of a lesbian relationship, it features remarkable performances by Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. Director Abdellatif Kechiche never shies away from the explicitness of the charged sexual relationship as he focuses on the unbridled power of human emotions.

Two new Polish films also focus on LGBT issues (Floating Skyscrapers and In the Name of). They are part of a strong line-up of domestic features and shorts, which also includes an outdoor screening of Ryszard Ordyński's 1928 classic Pan Tadeusz and a retrospective of the taboo-breaking experimental filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk. Alongside these films is Polish Days, the festival's impressive platform for screenings of new domestic films, which is now in its second edition and attracts European-wide industry delegates.

Festival favourite James Benning returns with another segment from his 'Two Cabins' project. Audiences last year had the chance to see Nightfall, a single-shot record of day-becoming-night in a forest, whose pastoral theme draws heavily from the ideologies of Henry David Thoreau and the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. In Stemple Pass, a replica of Kaczynski's cabin and his writings are integral to the film. As a cinematic commentary on contemporary society's relationship to landscape, it is a fascinating counterpoint to the remarkable Leviathan. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel's unique documentary records life on a fishing vessel off the American coast. Employing small, shallow focus cameras and creative sound design, the directors plunge us into this world, both of the carnage that unfolds aboard the ship and the wealth of life that is sourced from beneath it.

For any weary filmgoer, the festival club at Arsenal ends each night with a showcase of international talent. Highlights this year include British drum'n'bass legend Roni Size performing with MC Dynamite, a collaboration between L.U.C. and Motion Trio, ex-Faith No More lead singer Mike Patton and Tomahawk, and a must-see appearance by iconic composer and vocalist Diamanda Galás.

Ian Haydn Smith

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