“Best of Doc#5”, to find in theaters works that too quickly disappeared from the poster


The documentary is on the rise, as evidenced by two Golden Bears at the Berlinale successively awarded to Sur l’Adamant , by Nicolas Philibert, in 2023, then to Dahomey , by Mati Diop, at the end of the last edition ( from February 15 to 25). All the more reason to rediscover creative works – which do not simply deal with a subject – and remain in theaters for too short a time: around ten feature films (as well as a few shorts) released in 2023 are thus rescheduled in around sixty cinemas, in France, as part of the fifth edition of “Best of doc” (until March 19). Also on the program, new films and some previews, Averroés & Rosa Parks by the same Philibert (released March 20), Apolonia Apolonia by Lea Glob (March 27), and My Worst Enemy by Mehdan Tamadon (May 8).

The panorama is rich, and the complete list can be found on the bestofdoc.fr website. Let’s start with the unforgettable La Rivière , by Dominique Marchais, in which the former film critic continues his mapping of landscapes under perfusion, here the sublime Gaves of Béarn, endangered by human activities and global warming, while so much alternatives are just waiting to emerge. The triptych Zorn I, II, III by Mathieu Amalric is not lacking in bursts: lovers of improvised music will witness the behind-the-scenes creation in the presence of the tireless New York saxophonist and composer, John Zorn, who, in the third component, leads a spirited collaboration with Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan.

“No future” by a Russian youth

Some logbooks remain in the memory: one of them, Le Poireau perpetuel , by Zoé Chantre, recounts in the style of Alain Cavalier the daily life of a young woman from a certain date, March 5 , where she learns that her mother has cancer. Another, How To Save a Dead Friend , by Russian director Marusya Syroechkovskaya, delves into the no future of a Russian youth in the suburbs of Moscow: the tragic story of a young man who dies before having lived, his friend remaking the film of a relationship that lasted twelve years, a crazy love on the edge of the abyss.

“The Perpetual Leek” (2021), by Zoé Chantre.

In a style proven by Iranian cinema, with a camera embedded in the vehicle, here a mini-van, Pierre Feuille Ciseaux, by Maciek Hamela, captures, during a journey, portraits of Ukrainian families who have fled their homes, since the invasion of their country by Russia in 2022. Elsewhere, in Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho revisits his neighborhood of Recife in Ghost Portraits , the film sliding from intimate space to the city, with a touch of strangeness and surrealism , in search of lost cinemas (some having been replaced by evangelical churches) and anonymous people who turned the projectors.

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