FOCUS

OUTSIDERS

This year, the Riga International Film Festival 2ANNAS focus programme topic is OUTSIDERS - individuals, who have chosen or are forced to live differently from the general society. The selected films allow the viewers to have a glimpse of alternative lifestyle forms and the stories connected with those who live outside the law, system or society. The festival contains such thematic programmes as “Natives”, “Untold”, “Latvian Outsiders” and others.

 

FEAR OF OTHERS Curator: Alexandra Nakelski

Usually when I program a group of shorts, there is an obvious theme. But when I was invited to curate this particular group of shorts, I asked myself, "What is the greatest statement I can make in the small amount of films I am going to present?" I believe in the development of globalization, there has been an underlying sense of guilt felt by first world countries toward lesser-developed countries. If you notice, there are no films here from Latin America, Africa, etc. I think being the white suburbanite who grew up in the 1980s, America, affected my choices. I felt like an outsider most of my life, partly from choice and partly from circumstance. I had everything a human could want: food, a stable upbringing, etc...so why did I feel the way I do? The saying goes for writers..."Write what you know." For my current PhD research I examine the effect of globalization on America and Europe. I believe my program here exemplifies many different facets of an underlying anxiety felt by the masses as we head through an undoubatably transitional stage in our cultures. The bottom line is fear. Fear that the other will fundamentally change who we are at our core, both individually and collectively… Fear of change in a techno-oriented digital present…. Fear that globalization is taking us all down a road we are not prepared for, at a speed we cannot yet comprehend. I welcome you to investigate these films for yourself and examine how the “other” may be the outsider….or perhaps the “status quo” person has now become the outsider. In a dizzying state of globalization, the outsider is not so clearly defined. 

 

NATIVES Curator: Laima Graždanoviča

"The nation will keep itself alive as long as there are links with the land on which it lives" says the narrative voice of the 1987 director Andra Slapina in the documentary "Chukotka. The Memorial Bank," which has been left forgotten for almost 30 years in the archived shelter, telling about the disappearing traditions of Chukchi and their forced economic migration. The "Indigenous People" programme is a study of nations who over time, have become strangers in their own country, whether they are Canadian Indians in the film "She Dances for People" (2015), the historical aspect of slavery the "Crying Sea Shell" (2017) or extinct Sikh warrior traditions in India – the fantasy documentary "Immortal" (2017). This post-colonial kaleidoscope allows us to have a look at the phenomenon of indigenous peoples from a modern perspective and strives to promote a wider understanding of the historically colonial outsiderism in places that the residents themselves once called home.

 

LOCKED IN THIS BODY Curator: Astra Zoldnere

"We monsters eat the same food as humans, like pica, burgers. My favourite food is japaniese food." A compact animation ‘Welcome to My Life’ can be seen as a metaphor for what it means to be physically or mentally different from most of the community. Walking, having sex, choosing your place of residence, finding a job and taking care of children's safety. Many of these seemingly understandable things do not seem easy if you are too old, physically helpless, mentally disturbed, or quite simply the monster. The body is forced short film actors to become outsiders, and dictates many of their most basic needs, while the camera's eye fixes these challenges with uncomfortably close precision, allowing them to understand both what is happening in heroes heads and in the bedrooms. The programme "Locked in This Body" invites the viewer to look for the answer to the question: "Are we able to help and improve not only the life of separate individuals, but also to create a more satisfying society in general, knowing the limitations of the people we are adjacent to?"

 

QUEER - THE RAINBOW OF DESIRES Curator: Astra Zoldnere

Renata Litvinova, Boy George, Jodie Foster, Pedro Almodovar, Edgar Rinkevich - this list could be supplemented by hundreds and thousands of reputable homosexual, bisexual and transgender people who, in today's world, are not only the minority, but also are discriminated against as the outsiders - in most countries they have fewer rights than heterosexuals. For some reason, the private and public life of LGBT community members sometimes disturbs and even drives into a rage the minds of many heterosexual people, for example, in Latvia rarely does an event, like the Europride, bring out such saturated and contrasting emotions. Do representatives of sexual minorities mirror the hidden fears, insecurities and sometimes even tendencies of all the rest? Short film programme QUEER The Rainbow of Desires consists of three stories about lesbian, transsexual and gay longings to express oneself, to love, to enjoy and to be. I think that in a programme devoted to sexual diversity, everyone will find something to relate, a human desire or longing that hits close to home.
 

 

CHINA - THE GREAT WALL WITHIN Curator: Inita Jansone

China - The Great Wall Within
In China, once you get inside, you become the outsider. No Google, Facebook or even your beloved Instagram. You are completely separated from the rest of the world. You are on the other side of the Great Firewall. But that is not important, because you have this great opportunity to take a peek behind the curtain. Or do you?
Coming to China is like going down the rabbit hole and discovering that you’re either too big or too small for the room - too foreign. For them too you are the outsider. Nonetheless, slowly and steadily you try to find your way around the food, the language and the people. You hope, that after enough time has passed, you will be accepted, embraced, and your “Nǐ hǎo” will no longer be received with a sense of shock. But the more you look inside, the more you see the outside. It is everywhere.

Over several months of working for the Jinzhen International Short Film Festival in Hancheng, China, two outsiders had a peek into Chinese culture and cinema. And one thing they learned quickly was, that being part of China doesn’t necessarily make you Chinese. Not the right kind anyway. If you are from Macao, Taiwan or Hong Kong, get your Visa ready. If you think a bit too outside the box, get your tea set ready, because the censors are coming. This focus program is an attempt to uncover the Chinese outsider in all its shapes and forms, whether it’s because of one’s origin, beliefs, orientation or physical differences.

 

LATVIAN OUTSIDERS Curator: Kristīne Matīsa

The short film session by Latvian outsiders shows exactly what the 2Anns’ programme of 2017 in general is about - how differently understandable and worthwhile is an outsiderism, how different it can manifest and affect us in "normal ones". It both demonstrates physical or mental differences in the background mass, on the contrary, seemingly converging with normality and only highlighting the nuances of substance for reflection. Just because it is worth the outsider to highlight and discuss something - not because they are better or worse than others, but because they differentiate themselves from the daily flow of frames and lets you imagine what if you yourself once lived it challenging.
In the context of Latvian cinema, this short film screening marks a welcome diversity both genre and thematically - from the most optimistic documentary about the energetic man Alexander, who, in the status of an outsider, has appointed the obvious physical parameter difference, to nearly an exotic in the Latvian cinema landscape - a social fantasy genre, almost horrors about it , how people are just afraid to get in the role of an outsider. And two more short films about the fact that the problem of outsiders can be completely overlooked, in fact, only in the head. There are absolutely no extraneous features, just the marriage ring that has to be hidden, because these outsiders are stamped with the such a convicting word for "offenders". And other outsiders who do not even have such a specific sign, they just do not go in that real life. And soon the person no longer aspires.
The morale is quite simple – it is even fine to be an outsider, if only you yourself can use this status as a springboard and a trampoline instead of a pit where to dig yourself.

 

Films will be screened in the original language with Latvian subtitles.