The 3rd Kontakt International Documentary Film Festival, named in honor of Larysa Rodnianska, is occupying an increasingly important place in Kyiv’s cultural calendar. This year’s festival is taking place in the congress hall of the President Hotel (Hospitalna Street) and the Zhovten and Kyiv cinemas.
During the week-long festival 81 films shot in 25 countries will be screened. The jury for the international competition is headed by Paul Watson, the patriarch of British cinematography and a living legend whose best films are the subject of a retrospective at this year’s film festival. The head of the national jury is the Georgian filmmaker Alexander Rekhviashvili. Thirty-four films (16 feature-length and 18 short films) will vie for the prize in the international film category, while 20 films (3 full-length films and 17 shorts) will compete in the national competition.
This year there are several exciting additions to the program. Perhaps the most interesting one is a retrospective of the early documentaries by the famous French director Alain Resnais, who is known primarily for his exquisite, aesthetically appealing feature films. His documentary legacy reveals a new and unexpected facet of his film career. Other out-of-competition events include the Norwegian cinema program “Focus on Norway,” a series of film portraits “The Meaning of Life is the Meaning of Art,” and several motion pictures by the Wide film production company. Among the festival’s special events are screenings of Tender’s Heat, Wild, Wild Beach (Russia), Troy (Turkey), and the Ukrainian road movie The Tsar’s Horse or the Stool in Mongolia.
The festival opened with the German film Mr. Pilipenko and His Submarine (Jan Hinrik Drevs and Rene Harder). This is the story of Volodymyr Pylypenko, an eccentric Jack of all trades who lives in the countryside-in the steppes of the Donetsk region-and builds a real submarine. He completes the construction of his miracle machine and sets out to test it in the real Black Sea. A touching moment occurred after the screening when, as large as life, Pylypenko and his wife came on stage and were given an ovation lasting several minutes.
The Contact Festival ends on Friday, April 20.