The festival in Clermont Ferrand has enjoyed great esteem of the film community for ages. The selectors choose the best short films for the competitions, invite numerous guests and organise interesting meetings. This year’s 41st edition of the festival is held from the 1st to the 9th of February, 2019, and traditionally delights with its extremely rich programme.
This year, as many as three Polish short films are included in the international competition. The first one is the documentary film “Horse Riders,” directed by Anna Gawlita, which qualify to the Lab Competition. The film tells the story about a village near Opole, where the celebrations of Easter Sunday are going on. People gather in front of the church, but horses also crowd here. This is a traditional element of celebrating the holidays, which consist of prayers, a tour of the nearby buildings on horseback and passionate singing under the influence of alcohol. Enigmatic editing and black and white cinematography capture the solemn atmosphere of the celebration, in which the sacred joins the profane in a weird chase. It is held under the patronage of a small statue of the Resurrected Christ. The ceremony of Krzyżoki, celebrated in this way, is a custom typical of the south of Poland. During the thirty-five-kilometre long route, the inhabitants pray and sing religious songs. During the stops, they rest, eat and drink vodka. Fatigue and alcohol intoxication are mixed with religious rapture.
The other two films are the award-winning animations – “III” by Marta Pajek and “Bless You!” by Paulina Ziółkowska. The film by Pajek is a production by the studio Animoon, telling the story about a middle-aged man and a woman who meet in a waiting room. Slowly, they come closer to each other. He helps her to take off a heavy, black fur which covers her naked body. This is how the game they play together starts: they alternatively seduce and expose each other. Their hands go as far as to the inside of their bodies, the organs of which resemble the forms of plants.
In turn, “Bless You!” is about people waiting at the bus stop. Suddenly, someone sneezes. And then, someone else. And yet another person. An epidemic breaks out. In the chaos of the sneezes, however, it turns out that the worst thing is to get down with is oneself.
One of the most important elements of the festival is the film market, held in parallel with the festival, which brings the representatives of the film industry from all over the world to the city. Just like every year, Polish films will be present there. The stand of the POLISH SHORTS, prepared by the Krakow Film Foundation, will be one of the several dozens of national stalls, presenting their creative output of short films.
You can find more information about the festival here.