"This film was able to see the light of day because we met Adèle Haenel. When we saw her there we talked a little but then we were separated. We thought, here is a young actress whose face could serve as a motor for our project, which we were having difficulty developing and writing."
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 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 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 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.