International Festival Signs of the Night - Bangkok



18th International Festival Signs of the Night - Bangkok (6th Edition) - July 23-26, 2020
9

 



MAIN AWARD

Electric Swan

Konstantina Kotzamani
France, Greece, Argentina / 2019 / 0:40:00

ASIA PREMIERE


Buildings are not supposed to move. But on Avenida Libertador 2050, a building moves and the ceiling shivers, causing a strange nausea..


 


Jury Declaration:

Enigmatic cinecraft that even defines and decrypts the festival's title, where 'signe(s)' the young girl character, Catalina, describes her dream of her apartment trembling and shaking, which caused her sleepwalking habits in the middle of night ('nuit'). The audience see this Catalina's bizarre, unexplainable yet intrigue experience in childhood slowly becoming a reality in the next eight years. Kotzamani reinterprets Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake into the realm full of imaginative and surrealistic visions, macabre phenomena and culturally-rooted magical realism. Kotzamani highlights his theme of class and social hierarchy via floors and tenants of the building and interweaves them with oppressed sexual desire that drives into a surprising conclusion.






SPECIAL MENTION




The Manila Lover

Johanna Pyykkö
Norway, Philippines / 2019 / 00:26:00

THAILAND PREMIERE


During a trip to the Philippines middle-aged Norwegian Lars has met the Filipina he wants share his life with, but to his surprise she turns him down. Lars now has to face his own prejudices and deal with this uncomfortable situation.


 


 


Jury Declaration:

By perfectly executing a well-written script, the film manages to change our perception of a Western man vs. an Asian woman and other common perceptions. Also with a help of superb acting, the film evokes complex emotions and mixed feelings of funny but sad, surprised but encouraged, and embarrassed but mean.


Director Statement:

I’m very happy "The Manila Lover” was selected at 18h International Festival Signs of the Night in Bangkok. I’m also curious about the thoughts of the audience in Thailand. With the film I wanted to show a side of Southeast Asia, and of female Philippine identity, that I’ve discovered many white Nordic and European men aren't aware of. I’m honored and thankful to the Jury for seeing qualities in the film and for giving us a "Special Ment ion”.
Director and screenwriter, Johanna Pyykkö




SIGNS AWARD

The Signs Award honours films, which treat an important subject in an original and convincing way



Cargo

Christina Tournatzés
Germany, Hungary / 2019 / 0:15:00

ASIA PREMIERE


A gang of smugglers lets 71 people die in transit. As a smuggler convoy transports 71 people through Hungary, the people packed in the truck start screaming to open the doors. Despite their loud screams the driver follows his boss’s order to Keep driving. The true story happened.


 


Jury Declaration:

Regarding human trafficking and immigration, the film declares its own manifesto with immense power. Borrowed from voice recordings of real tragic event resembling what usually happened in Southeast Asian countries, Cargo embodies the protagonist’s dilemma with such effects. Challenged by ethical obligations and fear towards invisible hands of power, his frustration and final decision trigger us to seriously think of how should we thoroughly read this kind of situation.




SPECIAL MENTION FOR THE SIGNS AWARD

The Bite
A Mordida

Pedro Neves Marques
Portugal, Brazil / 2019 / 0:26:10

ASIA PREMIERE


Between a house in the Atlantic forest and a genetically-modified mosquito factory near São Paulo, a polyamorous, non-binary relationship struggles to survive an epidemic spreading across Brazil. While in the factory millions of mosquitos are born daily inside test tubes, the power dynamics between Helmut, Calixto, and Tao only intensifies. The Bite is a film found somewhere between horror, science fiction and a queer drama.


 


Jury Declaration:

It’s quite perplexing to witness the director’s enigmatic combination. The scientific experiment focusing on mosquito eradication is perfectly blended itself with an alluring dynamics surrounded by this persuading mysterious Brazilian forest. The film leaves an unconventional sense upon our taste buds with an almost impenetrable obscurity, through magical selection of gestures, understated dialogues and mythical connections of everything within.



NIGHT AWARD
*
The Night Award honours films, which are able to balance ambiguity and complexity characterised by enigmatic mysteriousness and subtleness, which keeps mind and consideration moving




War of Perception

Bo Choy
Hong Kong / 2020 / 0:19:47

THAILAND PREMIERE

The film follows the journey of a spirit medium through the streets of Hong Kong. In a society where lies and rumours abound, she is on a quest to search for the truth, by collecting messages from the spirits. Weaving through political events that occurred in Hong Kong in 2019/20 with cityscapes, the personal and domestic everyday, War of Perception is a cinematic poetry that reflects on the relationship between the city’s colonial past and present.


 


Jury Declaration

In a highly dramatic and problematic time in Hong Kong when every resident is anxious about their future, an artist decided to create a personal film depicting her inner feelings, in a form of a medium walking through town. The sensitivity of the author is creatively reflected in the film and the result is a deeply touching poetic diary of the turmoil and the city.



Director Statement:

I am very pleased to receive the Night Award. War of Perception is an attempt to navigate complex issues and the emotions that emanated from the recent turmoil in Hong Kong. It was my wish that the film could be affecting to audiences outside of Hong Kong too. I am therefore very happy to know that this feeling is shared.



SPECIAL MENTION FOR THE NIGHT AWARD


Past Perfect

Jorge Jácome
Portugal / 2019 / 0:23:00

THAILAND PREMIERE


The work juxtaposes footage of cultural management against televisual documentary narration. The installation poses questions towards history being a human construct, problematising our authoritarian sense of being here now.


 


Jury Declaration:

A transcendental film that goes beyond our definition in cinematic terms and categorisations, creating its own non-verbal language. The film relies upon the quest as to where human race can and would find a true peace and harmony through selected images from found footage (images suggestive of earthly civilisations, memories of conflicts, tortures, and massacres etc). "Past Perfect" represents a world where histories are written through refuses of reconcilement, non-compromises and intolerances while finding resolutions in violent acts that can be traced back to the dawn of time.



EDWARD SNOWDEN AWARD

The Edward Snowden Award honours films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.

How to Disappear

Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner and Michael Stumpf
Austria / 2019 / 0:21:06

ASIA PREMIERE


Is it possible to desert in a shooter game? Along this question, "How to Disappear" reflects on war and game, discipline and disobedience. For the history of defiance is as old as the history of war - and yet the act of desertion goes beyond the game's space of action. Shot in the martial yet picturesque war landscapes of the online shooter "Battlefield V", the hyperreal graphics become the backdrop for an essay-like narrative. The narrator's voice creates a crack through which physical-real realities penetrate the depoliticized fun stage of the game. Using performances and interventions in the digital battlefield, "How to Disappear" explores the scope and limits of the audiovisual entertainment machine.

 

 


Jury Declaration:

One of the prominent essay films that hits home hard, How to Disappear stirs our thoughts and perception about military and warfare brilliantly via Battlefield, a war-themed multiplayer online game. The film remarkably challenges shooting games’ limits and rules, connects all dots of absurdity between players enjoying virtual war and unenjoyable real-life battlefields, and visualises how such new media could lure us back to the unnecessary primitive military warfare.


Director Statement:

We couldn't be happier about the honoring Edward Snowden Award!!! Thanks a thousand times. We share this news with everybody we know! The award is encouraging especially in its reference and your great festival! You acknowlege hereby the discussion about an entertainment media, which has a huge impact of our future story tellings and the depiction of political imagery as well as the crucial topic of desertion!