Play-Doc, which will hold its 19th edition from 26th April to 1st May in the city of Tui, will present the international premiere of four short films that the renowned Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) filmed in the summer of 1967, as part of the entrance exams to INSAS (Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle) where she was admitted and where she stayed only a few months before deciding to abandon her studies.
She filmed La Foire de Midi and a short fiction, in two parts, starring her mother Natalia Akerman and her childhood friend Marilyn Watelet, with whom she later founded the production company Paradise Films. Marilyn Watelet herself, together with Céline Brouwez — responsible for the Fondation Chantal Akerman — will be in Tui to present them, as part of a wider retrospective that includes work from her earlier period (1967-1976), and where some of her most emblematic films will be shown, such as News from Home (1976), and Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) — an iconic work of feminist cinema, considered the ‘greatest’ film of all time in the latest survey by the prestigious magazine Sight & Sound — as well as other very rarely seen films, such as the unfinished Hanging Out Yonkers (1973).
Play-Doc brings the work of forgotten filmmakers to the forefront of cinema history
The festival will also show for the first time in Spain the recently recovered work of Indian filmmaker Aravindan Govindan (1935-1991), which, thanks to the exceptional restoration work carried out by the World Cinema Project — an organisation founded by Martin Scorsese — and the Film Heritage Foundation, can now be admired in all its splendour. Govindan’s personal language, far from the universal cinematographic canons, makes him a new master of cinema to be discovered. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder of the Film Heritage Foundation and responsible for the preservation of Aravindan Govindan’s fascinating work, will come to Tui from Mumbai to present it.
The work of Iranian filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless will also be highlighted, with the presentation of a small masterpiece in a Spanish premiere. As with that of Govindan, Saless’ work is accessible today thanks to the preservation efforts of archivists and historians, such as those of the Vivien Buchhold from Germany, responsible for Shahid Saless’s film legacy, who will come to the festival to accompany it.
Play-Doc will also bring us closer to a classic of Finnish cinema: Eight Deadly Shots by Mikko Niskanen (1929-1990). This 1972 film, conceived as a mini-series for television, immediately became a national event, considered the best film in the history of Finnish cinema and a cult work by filmmakers and historians such as Aki Kaurismaki and Peter von Bagh, at whose request it was restored thanks to The Film Foundation (World Cinema Project) in 2022.
Two other recent restorations will be shown at the festival, this time by the Cinemateca Portuguesa, Museu do Cinema, which has recovered two key works of Portuguese documentary, the emblematic Belarmino (1964) by Fernando Lopes, and Mascaras (1976) by Noémia Delgado.
Finally, Play-Doc will present the first Spanish retrospective dedicated to the master of Italian ethnographic cinema Luigi Di Gianni (1926-2019), an obscure, mysterious and completely isolated object in the history of world cinema.
With this edition, Play-Doc continues a trajectory that champions the presentation in our country of the work of many legendary filmmakers, and a particular interest in the rediscovery and vindication of forgotten, ignored or hitherto unknown filmographies in the history of world cinema.
Cuttlas Microfilms: A tribute to the incomparable genius of Calpurnio
In this edition Play-Doc will pay tribute to Calpurnio Pisón (1959-2022) by presenting Cuttlas Microfilms, the animated series based on the adventures of the legendary comic character El bueno de Cuttlas (The Good Cuttlas). Awarded a special mention at FIPA, the Cannes Film Festival market, Cuttlas Microfilms was one of the most interesting animated proposals, and one of the first animations for adults to emerge in Spain in the early 1990s. Calpurnio has been responsible for the image of Play-Doc throughout its nineteen editions, an image inseparable from the spirit of this event.