Open City Documentary Festival - Picturehouse Spotlight

Open City Documentary Festival

Kirsty Jones, Marketing Manager at Hackney Picturehouse takes a look at a selection of films playing in this year's Open City Documentary Festival, taking place at Picturehouse Central, Hackney Picturehouse and Crouch End Picturehouse.

We’ve a wealth of film festivals to dip into all year round; some people indulge in Berlinale, others lose it for LFF. But me? I’m an Open City Docs girl and as we’re on the eve of this year’s festival, I’ve taken a sneak peek at what’s on offer at Picturehouse cinemas.

Open City Documentary Festival

95 And 6 To Go
Thursday 6 September, 18:20 at Picturehouse Central

Kimi Takesue presents an intimate portrait of her Grandpa Tom, a man who has lived a colourful life and isn’t ready to slow down. There’s a sense of patience on the part of the filmmaker, she’s taking time to enjoy the uneventful everyday with her Grandpa. As result Kimi captures some truly heart-warming and often hilarious moments that would impossible to uncover as an objective filmmaker. A big part of the exchanges we see relate to Kimi’s yet-to-be made film, after taking an interest in her project, Grandpa Tom is on hand to offer his unabashed but thoughtful advice on how Kimi should change and proceed. I could go on to talk about what we learn about the wonderful Grandpa Tom, his love for his recently deceased wife and how they used to dance together; however the true value of Kimi’s film is how evocative it is of our own memories of family relationships. And what’s more, how incredible that feeling of cross-generational affirmation is, when you sit down with someone who has lived a different life at a different time and still get each other. Whether you have those memories of your own grandparents or not, for 95 mins, Grandpa Tom becomes the perfect surrogate – you’ll wish it was longer.

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Pump + Q&A with director Joseph David
Saturday 9 September, 20:30 at Hackney Picturehouse

Joseph David decides to pick up his camera and heads to a vast expanse of disused monorail track. His aim, to get on board and see Northern France from the vantage point of Albertine; a homemade pump trolley. We follow David on his journey for seven days, but he’s not alone. Who better to accompany a seven day voyage across the French countryside, than Gallivant-er and Swan pedalo pilot, Andrew Kötting? Albertine quickly becomes a third character as the sickly and temperamental wagon, all of the challenges she presents add to the slapstick of the journey with comedic moments reminiscent of Jacques Tati. The unusual activity on the monorail track invites out a host of unimaginably poetic characters who offer their encouragement to the pair. The adventure is sound tracked with a meditative stillness, interrupted by mutterings in French and Kötting’s intermittent musical outbursts. But this film is more than a care-free romp; David appears at one point to be exorcising some demons. And with some sombre moments of archive footage with an air of foreboding act as a dreamy reset in-between each day, the film boasts a curious gravitas.

This featured is paired perfectly with Joe Spray’s short film, Trough No. 42, documenting a day in the life of a disused agricultural object 24.3m north of the M4 motorway.

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Craiglist Allstars
Saturday 9 September, 8:30 at Picturehouse Central

The internet is bursting full of weird and wonderful people. Ever wondered who was on the other side of the screen? Filmmaker Samira Elagoz breaks through the fourth wall in an attempt to answer that question. After putting out an ad on Craigslist, Elagoz gets invited to spend time getting to know an eclectic bunch of individuals. Her hosts for the most part are open but anonymous, there’s an unspoken question of authorship, who is really in charge? The subject has to relinquish control to the filmmaker, whereas Elagoz has to be prepared to face whatever the subject presents. There’s promise at the beginning of unpicking stereotypes and discovering the taboos within taboos. However as the film progresses Elagoz becomes her own subject and the documentation shifts from the objective to the objectified. The film is ultimately a fascinating study of characters interacting within implied boundaries and leaves us wondering who do these encounters gratify the most. This is a film for those sensible enough to not meet strangers from the internet but are curious of what you might be missing out on.

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Full list of Open City Documentary screenings at Picturehouse Cinemas

Opening night: Taste of Cement
Picturehouse Central: Tuesday 5 September, 6:30 Book now

Shorts: Lost in Time
Picturehouse Central: Wednesday 6 September 6:15 Book now

Memory Exercises
Picturehouse Central: Wednesday 6 September, 8:30 Book now

95 And 6 To Go
Picturehouse Central: Thursday 7 September, 6.20 Book now

Rebel of the Key
Crouch End Picturehouse: Thursday 7 September, 8:30 Book now

Shorts: Small Hours
Hackney Picturehouse: Thursday 7 September, 8:30 Book now

Lost Land
Picturehouse Central: Thursday 7 September, 8:30 Book now

Picturehouse Central: Friday 8 September, 6:30 Book now

Shorts: Fragments of the Infinite
Hackney Picturehouse: Friday 8 September: 8:30 Book now

Picturehouse Central: Friday 8 September, 8:30 Book now

For the Lost
Picturehouse Central: Saturday 9 September, 6.15 Book now

Hackney Picturehouse: Saturday 9 September, 8:30 Book now

Craiglist Allstars
Picturehouse Central: Saturday 9 September, 8:30 Book now

Shorts: A Place To Be
Picturehouse Central: Sunday 10 September, 1:00 Book now

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