Cinematic Investigations may have appeared a little quiet in the last months of the year, but elsewhere this writer has been toiling for other outlets, viewing a Scottish showcase of African film, Pabst and Brooks, queer documentary and shorts galore.
First up I took in seventeen films at Africa in Motion Film Festival in Edinburgh (24 October – 9 November), where the theme ‘Looking Back, Reaching Forward’ provided the opportunity for screenings of little seen older titles The Blue Eyes of Yonta and Come Back Africa. Post-apartheid South Africa was also a notable focus in three documentaries, which you can read about in my report for Sight & Sound, here.
Within the same month, I also visited York for Aesthetica Short Film Festival (6 – 9 November), which showcased the city’s fascinating historical and contemporary venues as well as some outstanding examples of short film. Amongst the eighty-three films I saw, my highlight’s were Sasha Litvintseva’s Alluvion and Sam Firth’s Stay the Same, which you can read about, amongst other fine cinematic works, in my report for Sight & Sound, here.
For CineVue, reviewing G.W. Pabst’s 1929 Diary of a Lost Girl was a delight, albeit a creepy one, and more satisfying still was the opportunity to view the work of Travis Mathews, perhaps best known for teaming up with James Franco for a reimagining of the lost 40 minutes of footage from William Friedkin’s Cruising (1980), titled Interior. Leather Bar. That project aside, it turns out Mathews is a very sensitive filmmaker, determined to bring the lives of gay men to the screen through his ongoing project, In Their Room.
Coming very soon will be my own annual review (avid readers will notice this was absent in 2013!) where I will select my highlights from 2014, including shorts and features, new releases, restorations and retrospectives. In the meantime, you can read my contribution to CineVue’s Top 20, which, tallying contributions from all their writers, reveals the best films receiving a UK premiere this year. Published in two parts, the second will come out on Monday 22 December but first up, you can read about one of my pick’s, Concerning Violence, which gets in at no. 20.