The Winner of the World Cinema Amsterdam festival is the remarkable South African film Necktie Youth from Sibs Shongwe-La Mer. And a Special Mention for Deniz Gmaze Erguven's Mustang. See for more information and the programme the site of World Cinema Amsterdam festival. Below the jury report of this years edition of the festival.
by Patricia Pisters, Carlos M. Quintela & Felix de Rooy
The sixth World Cinema Amsterdam festival has presented a global avalanche of images and sounds that conjure up emotion and insight about the state of humanity through the eyes of talented filmmakers from all over the world. In that sense the value of this festival and of all the films presented in the program cannot be underestimated. The nine films in competition were all very strong, transporting us to different countries and regions; they moved us for many different reasons. We were struck by the political and emancipatory urgency and the empowering forms of resistance in many of the films. Migration between countries and within cultures between urban environments and countryside, as well as all kinds of social injustice are important recurring themes; many films show a younger generation that kicks against the status quo established by previous generations; with varying degrees of success. The jury was also impressed by the quality and variety of the cinematography of all the films in competition. Whether shot in bright colors, strong black and white, poetic light, static framing or fluid camera movements, all films were of remarkable quality and widened our scope of cultural differences and transnational and universal values.
Before announcing the winner, the jury would like to take the opportunity to highlight one of the other films in the competition program, which is a film about the untamable longing for freedom.
The girls in this film all have remarkably long hair that is uncontrollable; even braiding, cutting or covering is not enough for those brown manes that sometimes subversively comprise the entire frame. Especially the youngest girl is a real courageous wild horse. Like a contemporary Jeanne d’Arc she leads the way to escape from imprisonment in traditional roles. The film can be seen as an allegory for contemporary Turkey but it is also a manifesto for women all over the world. The jury would like to pay homage to these women (both in front and behind the camera) who broaden our collective consciousness with their experiences and perspectives by giving a Special Mention to the film MUSTANG by Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
And now turning to the winner…. The jury was particularly struck by a film that undermines filmic conventions and cultural expectations on many levels. The film that will receive the World Cinema Amsterdam 2015 Award is innovative in terms of its inventive script, the strong graphic quality and composition of its images, the interesting use of sounds and different languages, and its address of global modernity. It deals with the topical question of how to create human value if you have everything, if everything is accessible. Without giving an answer but providing multiple perspectives on the same problem, the film is edited and composed like a piece of jazz music, comparable to (but obviously also very different from) Orson Welles’ classic Citizen Kane (1941) or Todd Haynes’ first feature Poison (1991). The director of this film is one of these rare multi-talents with the capacity to conquer the world. Like an answer to Spike Lee, he presents us new images of a country and a generation we thought we knew. Giving us the gripping insights from the black ‘born free’ generation in South Africa we are certain that with this film ‘a star is born’. Therefore we are happy to announce that the jury unanimously decided that the Winner is … NECKTIE YOUTH by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer.