The burdens and blessings of our patrimony, both cultural and personal, are an overriding concern in the debut feature by Kogonada. Columbus lingers on the juxtaposition between the architectural masterpieces that bedeck the region and the pedestrian lives of its residents.
The Girl Without Hands is based on the Grimm fairy tale of the same name about a young girl escaping from the devil after her father sells her for gold. Animated entirely by Laudenbach himself, the film seems to be in motion even on the rare occasion where it is standing completely still.
The film proceeds in an unhurried fashion, from one static shot to the next, with edits more often than not bringing about changes in time and space, rather than additional vantage points on events. Solnicki resists the urge to coalesce his vignettes into a more structured narrative experience.
While the selection includes both fiction and nonfiction films, the slant toward documentaries is pronounced: this year, out of the 15 films presented in the international competition, the vast majority were documentaries or fiction/nonfiction hybrids.
The 1971 version is a slippery object, an art film made by a genre specialist, while the 2017 film feels like the work of an art house director approaching a genre piece; though in assigning these labels, it is worth investigating what they mean.
Tavernier approaches his subject not only as a film lover but also as a film director who knows his way around a set, a man with an inexhaustible appetite for dish about behind-the-scenes goings on and an insatiable curiosity for what makes movies tick.
As the cinematic past increasingly recedes we will probably see a lot more films like Dawson City: Frozen Time, a documentary that attempts to reacquaint viewers with film as film at the same time as it eulogizes the former material basis of the medium.