Friday, April 29, 2011

Beware: you are entering the Discovery Zone

I woke up feeling tired, as if I was around of the world not in 80, but just in one day, yesterday. I am sure I didn't --I was in Lux all along--, so I tried to understand where this feeling of exhaustion could be coming from. Then, I noticed a saumon-orange bracelet on my right wrist, and it all came together in a sec. Yesterday, it was my first go at Discovery Zone; without even wearing a protective shield.

It all begun around noon: I started preparing for some kind of adventure, of which the details were still quite unclear. I took a bus to Utopolis, met some fellow travellers with a high sense of danger (looked like they could take good care of me) and we started fiddling with alarming red ribbons amidst a vast, empty hall. Soon, the audience was there, cheerful and ready to discover; easy-going and relaxed people, a mixture of nations and races, that's how it is over here, consistency of the non-consistency of the masses reigns our small community.

And then, the power went down. And then..."Let there be light"; a full moon in the screen was ready to take us on a tour around the world on a single day: the 24th July 2010, the day YouTube convinced some thousands of its viewers to grab a camera of any size and film their lives, their surroundings, occassionally answering 3 questions: what's in your pockets? What do you fear? What do you love?

Life in a Day is indeed dealing with things using a Genesis-ish narrative: Birth, God, Love, Faith and the Unknown are some of its main themes. A documentary for future generations, a democratic one, where 81.000 submissions that total up in 4.500 hours of footage were considered to be given a slot, to be given exposure. Only 250 hours made it to the director, though, cause, yes, there is a director.

Kevin McDonald of The Last King of Scotland fame, scanned through 4 and 5 star material and together with his editor worked on a coherent narrative (I would describe it as a simple, chronological, anthropocentric and ethnographic one, at times). Exquisite editing gave some intense moments, even though I should not keep secret my despair, witnessing people around the world with a strong inexplicable faith in the cycle of life, even if it all looks quite doomed to me.

Overall, Life in a Day is a full-fleshed experience of life itself, therefore a positive or a negative experience, depending on the philosophical background that each viewer is coming from. Still, I would admit that my favorite moment was watching a giraffe being born --harmonious and effortless, guys, believe me.

Regarding Discovery Zone Film Festival itself, as one can already deduct from the above, it is an encouraging and higly-interesting effort from (a usually conservative) City of Luxembourg to revive love for art-house and world cinema in audiences around the country. The program features many coveted titles, such as Oscar-nominated Greek fave Canine (γιατί αν ο παπάς δεν ευλογήσει πρώτα τα γένια του...), Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, Blue Valentine or Bibliothèque Pascal in the Official Selection, then the latest "hot" docs by Werner Herzog, Julien Temple and others, as well as some older films in the retrospective section.

On the second day of the festival, we already know its most successful section so far, is yet the program for young audiences: Programmation Jeune Publique from 6 to 18, offers a selection of creative workshops (already fully booked) and thought-provoking films to bring about the next generation of cinema talent in a country that boasts competent film production structures and more.

In the bottom line, we all have to thank Luxembourg City for its cultural initiatives, and we should thank even more the individuals involved; See you all till the 5th May in Utopolis, Utopia or Cinemathèque and if you are among the cinema fans, don't forget to buy a Discovery Pass (at the mere price of 20€)!

For more info check the Discovery Zone official website (FR, EN, DE).

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