WOW Film Festival’s Voices of Resistance call for a better world
WOW Wales One World Film Festival takes festival-goers on a trip around the world to Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mali, Palestine, Thailand and Nepal, bringing the very best of world cinema to Wales in an eclectic celebration of global filmmaking’s wonderful diversity, and the human stories that unite us all.
Among the festival’s excellent programme of dramas, comedies, documentaries and thrillers, are thought provoking films that hope to inspire us to take action and change the world for the better. These form WOW’s Voices of Resistance season, which, with poetry readings, songs, discussions and workshops running alongside the film programme, is a chance for anyone who cares about the state of the world to join in and speak up on what matters most to them.
Chilean director Pablo Larraín (Jackie, No) turns his sights on Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda in Neruda, a playful, stunningly inventive detective thriller that fuses history, legend and fiction to ask ‘How does a man create his own myth?’ Self-styled hero of the people Neruda is on the run from a government crack down with a dogged detective on his tail. Beautifully made with a razor sharp script, this is a lot of fun.
Tomorrow (Demain).is an inspiring, feel-good movie about how to reinvent agriculture, energy, the economy, democracy and education and solve our ecological crisis. Shedding light on initiatives that are already working and solutions that are accessible to everyone, Tomorrow puts power firmly in the hands of the world’s citizens. If we rise to its call to action, this could seed the emergence of a brighter tomorrow.
Shadow World is a smart, hard-hitting look at the global arms trade, the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives. Masterfully edited, WOW has selected this film in the hope that raising awareness of how the arms trade operates, both globally and here in Wales, we can act to bring about a more peaceful future. The author Andrew Feinstein and members of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade will be touring Wales with the film.
The programme includes three documentaries that present extraordinary raw, first person accounts of stories that dominate the news – migration, Syria and Palestine. Unfolding during the last war in Gaza, Ambulance begins with filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly picking up his camera and joining an ambulance crew. As they speed to the aftermath of each attack, this vividly conveys the anger, grief and resilience of people trapped in a situation over which they have no control.
Filmed between 2011 and 2013, The War Show charts Syria’s spiral from peaceful protest to brutal civil war through an intimate portrait of a group of optimistic young friends hungry for change. Essential viewing, this explores how our views are shaped by media coverage of events staged for the benefit of the camera, be that street protests, or the fighting itself - performance as propaganda, ‘a war show’ indeed.
A compelling, authentic first-hand account of the plight of refugees told from their own perspective Those Who Jump gives us the inside story on those trying to jump the fence separating Morocco from the Spanish port Melilla to reach their European El Dorado. In a riveting form of home movie Abou Bakar Sidibé reveals the camaraderie between migrants from all over Africa in their daily struggle to survive - their hopes, dreams and stoical humour.
David Gillam, WOW Film Festival Director, explains the festival’s motivation for programming the Voices of Resistance season: “For sixteen years WOW has brought stories from all across the world for Welsh audiences to enjoy. These stories often stress our common humanity, the rewards of diversity, and promote mutual understanding and tolerance. In a world that increasingly seems to threaten these values, which we hold dear, we have decided this year to focus more closely on those speaking out and acting to create a better world for themselves, their communities and their countries.”
Two films balance the innocent joys of childhood with the realities of living in the shadow of civil war. The Colours of the Mountain from Colombia is a charming, gentle tale about a group of village boys whose precious football has landed in a minefield, whilst The Black Hen is a rare chance to see a delightful Nepali film set in the awesome Himalayas about two boys whose friendship is put to the test as they set out to rescue their prized chicken.
Two thrilling films from Africa depict lives in the midst of revolutionary change. The highly acclaimed Clash paints a fascinating portrait of contemporary Egypt in the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’, a society torn apart by its differences. Set entirely in the back of a police truck as riots explode all around, this builds powerfully to a breathless finale. Like a Malian riff on Scarface, Wulu shows a rather different picture of Mali than usual, in a telling tale of modern Africa where drugs are traded for weapons that fuel civil wars across the continent.
By way of contrast Finland’s Cannes Festival award winner The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki is a sweet romantic tale of a modest underdog preparing for his big fight. With its warm, gently funny script, charming central performance and gorgeous black and white period look, this is sure to send you home with a smile on your face.
The WOW Film Festival is supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales and the BFI’s Festivals Fund which provides National Lottery funding to film festivals which give audiences the chance to see and engage with UK and international films and filmmakers that otherwise they may not have the opportunity to do so and boost audiences for film across the UK.
WOW Film Festival opens at Chapter cinema in Cardiff on Friday 17 March before heading to Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Small World Theatre Cardigan, Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea, and Theatr Clwyd in Mold. See www.wowfilmfestival.com for full details.