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Music plays first fiddle in the DocFilmMusic competition

Festivals 2016-04-12
Melody of Noise by Gitta Gsell Melody of Noise by Gitta Gsell

Krakow, 8th April 2016 - The international music documentary film competition, DocFilmMusic, will be held for the fourth time within the frames of Krakow Film Festival, and this year's edition will prove, once again, that music is an inexhaustible source of film topics which are a feast for ears and eyes. The best music documentary films from the entire world will compete in front of the audience in Krakow for the prestigious award: the Golden Heynal.

"In the competition, there is a place both for music discoveries and nostalgic travels in time - from jazz, through rock and hip hop, to ethnic music and Latino rhythms. Once again, it turned out that music documentary films tell the story of something more than just the music itself. The multi-cultural project Yo-Yo Ma ("The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Man and the Silk Road Ensemble"), modern sound as the expression of the new African identity ("Fonko"), discovering music in a factory and on the dumping ground ("Melody of Noise"), original portrait of Mikolaj Trzaska ("The Internal Ear") - are only some of the suggestions showing how different the face of the genre called music documentary film can be," Anita Piotrowska, film critic and co-creator of the documentary film programme at Krakow Film Festival, sums up the results of the selection.

The only one Polish representative in the competition, The Internal Ear" searches for the language which captures the genius of jazz improvisation, and at the same time, music philosophy of one of the most eminent clarinettists and saxophonists in Poland - Mikolaj Trzaska.    

Julien Temple, known to the audience in Krakow from his monumental portraits of London and Rio de Janeiro, this time dedicated his film to a British vocalist and guitarist, who has been diagnosed with the advanced stage of pancreatic cancer. "The Esctasy of Wilko Johnson" is a dynamic, full of references to literature and film, and, most of all, very personal portrait of the musician, who does not want to give up what he was successful in doing for the last 40 years.

Three different biographies, four countries and one common passion make up the film "Steam on the river." The trumpeter Laco Déczi, the bassist Jan Jankeje and the saxophonist Lubomír Tamškovič shared the fates of many other Czechoslovakian artists of their generation, and left the country in 1968 after the Soviet invasion. Over 40 year later, the artists, scattered around the world, decide to meet to finally play together.

The cellist Yo-Yo Ma believes that music is capable of uniting people who belong to very different cultures. Hence his music project in which he brought together artists living in the countries located on the route of the Silk Road, which used to connect China and Europe. "The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Man and the Silk Road Ensemble" is for the director, the Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, also an opportunity to take a look at these countries where wars are waged or where human rights are violated.

The unique documentary film "A Poem Is a Naked Person," presenting the artistic activity of the American musician and arranger Leon Russell, was made in 1974, however, it was not officially distributed until now, when the director's son, Harrod Blank, prepared a new, remastered version of the film.

"Everything that makes a sound can be music," says one of the protagonists of "Melody of Noise," and the film is a rare opportunity to listen to the melodies which come out of the least expected devices and instruments, in the least expected places.

"Fonko" is a colourful story of political and social changes in Africa, told with the use of blaze of music genres and with the participation of the most interesting representatives and personalities of the music on the Black Continent.

The film dedicated to the sounds of the Latin America is "Playing Lecuona," which was made as a tribute to Ernesto Lecuona, one of the greatest pianists and composers. Three wonderfully talented Latin jazz musicians: Chucho Valdes, Michel Camilo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba join forces in this extraordinary musical dedication.

The film "Sex, Maracas & Chihuahuas" is a music story stretched between Barcelona and Cuba, united by music and extremely colourful character of Xavier Cugat, the only Spaniard who has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The list of films qualified for the music documentary competition:

  1. "The Internal Ear," dir. Szymon Uliasz, Magdalena Gubała, Poland 2016, 75 min.
  2. "Steam on the river," dir. Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff, the Czech Republic, Slovakia 2015, 83 min.
  3. "A Poem is a Naked Person," dir. Les Blank, the USA 1974/2015, 90 min.
  4. "The Esctasy of Wilko Johnson," dir. Julien Temple, Great Britain 2015, min. 91 min.
  5. "The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Man and the Silk Road Ensemble," dir. Morgan Neville, the USA 2015, 96 min.
  6. "Fonko," dir. Daniel Jadama, Lars Lovén, Göran Hugo Olsson, Sweden 2016, 88 min.
  7. "Playing Lecuona," dir. Juan Manuel Villar Betancort, Pavel Giroud, Spain, Colombia 2015, 114 min.
  8. "Melody of Noise," dir. Gitta Gsell, Switzerland 2015, 86 min.
  9. "Sex, Maracas & Chihuahuas," dir. Diego Mas Trelles, Spain 2015, 87. min.

The films qualified for the remaining competitions will be systematically published on the website www.krakowfilmfestival.pl.

56th Krakow Film Festival is held from May 29 to June 5, 2016.