New Horizons keeps its finger on the pulse - every year we search for the most interesting and groundbreaking phenomena in world filmmaking. For three years, we have been paying special attention to the cinema from Iceland and Norway, where a real cinematic renaissance is taking place. Icelandic and Norwegian filmmakers have been increasingly winning the most important awards at film festivals, and critics treat them as contemporary pioneers staking our new boundaries of cinematic language.
Thanks to the cooperation with the Norwegian and EEA Funds (European Economic Area) from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, this year's New Horizons features five unique films as part of the Oslo/Reykjavik 3 section and a special concert (online) of Jóhann Jóhannsson's music performed by Bartek Wąsik, accompanying the Polish premiere of the film Last and First Men.
The County by Grímur Hákonarson - the latest work by the author of the famous Rams. In his latest film, the director efficiently combines northern European melancholy with inspirations from American genre crime movies or maybe even a western.
Gunda by Victor Kossakovsky - film critic Łukasz Knap notes, "there has never been such a film about animals." Gunda is a portrait of farm animals shot with unprecedented empathy: the titular pig and its young, as well as cows and chickens.
Benjamin Ree's The Painter and the Thief - proof that the best (and often the most improbable) stories are written by life itself. A painting by a Czech painter who lives in Oslo is stolen. The thief is quickly caught and soon becomes... the painter's friend;
Beware of Children by Dag Johan Haugerud - an intimate story about mourning, guilt, parenthood and the search for understanding. It is communication, meaning the foundation of building a community, that becomes one of the main themes of this Norwegian film;
The Last and First Men by Jóhann Jóhannsson - the posthumous directorial debut of the outstanding composer. Spectacular avant-garde science fiction, which evoke Chris Marker's classic, Pillar. This ambitious work is a weave of contradictions: it is both hyperactive and ascetic, contains majestic images, but also depends on the viewers' imaginations.
Jóhannsson (1969-2018) was an Icelandic composer, including of soundtracks to films such as Sicario, The Theory of Everything and Arrival. He combined orchestral and electronic sounds in his music and also had directorial ambitions. His only feature-length project, Last and First Men, screened at the Berlin Film Festival two years after his tragic death. We are introduced to the world of underground science fiction by the voice of Tilda Swinton conjuring visions of an apocalyptic future. In Jóhannsson's film, both majestic and intimate at the same time - just like his music - fatalism collides with an ardent affirmation of what fate brings.
Bartek Wąsik is one of the leading and most versatile Polish pianists and arrangers. He is the co-founder of Kwadrofonik and Lutosławski Piano Duo as well as the laureate of numerous awards. The pianist easily flows between different musical genres. His latest project is the album Astronomia poety. Baczyński, was written with Mela Koteluk during the global pandemic. He is the author of a series of solo concerts entitled Pianokrąg, during which he presented compositions by Philip Glass, his own arrangements of songs by Radiohead or the solo project Pianokrąg (Pianorizon) - for piano, synthesizer and bird voices.
The recording of the concert is available here.