March 25, 2024

Play-Doc prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary

From May 1st to 5th, Play-Doc, the International Film Festival based in Tui, Galicia (Spain), will celebrate a long trajectory that stands out for having presented the first Spanish retrospectives dedicated to acclaimed and cult filmmakers. But also, and especially, for the rediscovery of forgotten, ignored or hitherto unknown filmographies in the history of cinema.

The legendary Albert Maysles, Charles Burnett, Artavazd Pelechian, Bette Gordon and Kidlat Tahimik, among many others, have come to the medieval Galician town to present their films in person to wide, enthusiastic and diverse audiences. This independent festival has also vindicated the work of names such as Danny Lyon, Nicolás Guillén Landrián, Ozualdo R. Candeias, Aravindan Govindan and Luigi Di Gianni. Also noteworthy is the first world presentation of the restored work of filmmakers as particular as António Campos or the international presentation of the first images filmed by celebrated filmmaker Chantal Akerman.

This interest in trying to realign, compensate and expand the history of cinema is combined each year with a curated selection of films that represent new trends in contemporary cinema, with a special emphasis on Galician cinema. In addition, Play-Doc also organises seminars, masterclasses, live music concerts, expanded cinema sessions and art exhibitions every year, and also has industry activities such as the new professional training platform, project development and international co-production forum VENTURA.

In this forthcoming edition, Play-Doc will offer a programme consistent with its unique character and also with its evolution over the years, with an abundance of new presentations and discoveries.

As a preview of the programme that will be unveiled in the coming weeks, Play-Doc announces a retrospective dedicated to William Friedkin (1935-2023), one of the most influential filmmakers of all time and author of some of the most iconic films in contemporary cinema, whose origins as a filmmaker were linked to documentary filmmaking.

William Friedkin: the intersection of fact and fiction

William Friedkin has shown an abiding interest in the power of documentary as a form of cinematic expression. Throughout his career, Friedkin has explored the intersection between reality and fiction, challenging the conventional boundaries of narrative filmmaking. His focus on realism and authenticity is reflected in both his fiction films and his forays into documentary, in films such as The People v. Paul Crump, The Bold Men and Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon, which he directed in the early 1960s.

In these films Friedkin approached the documentary with the same intensity and attention to detail that he would later carry into his work directing fiction features, using this art form to investigate social issues, explore the human condition and challenge the viewer’s perceptions of truth and reality.

The journey through the filmography of Friedkin (who passed away on August 7th, 2023) begins with 1971’s The French Connection, a work that redefined the detective story and established a dry, hard-boiled, realistic tone for the genre in the 1970s. It then continues with 1973’s The Exorcist, a film that transcended the horror genre to become a cultural icon, exploring themes of faith and possession in a way that continues to resonate with audiences to this day.

The retrospective also includes 1977’s Sorcerer, an epic odyssey of survival and redemption that showcases Friedkin’s ability to create visceral tension with purely cinematic elements. In 1980’s Cruising, the director delves into the dark underworld of New York with a controversial film that explores the most disturbing areas of the human psyche.

To Live and Die in L.A. from 1985, meanwhile, continues the journey through the best of his work. It is an uncompromising portrait focused on corruption and obsession. The closing film will be Conversation with Fritz Lang (1975) which offers a fascinating window into the creative world of the legendary German filmmaker as seen through Friedkin’s expert eyes.

As a special event within the retrospective, The Exorcist will be screened in Tui’s historic church. This choice adds an additional layer of atmosphere to the experience and reflects the thematic and spiritual depth of the film, offering viewers an opportunity to immerse themselves in its intensity and mystery in an exceptional setting.

Play-Doc will announce its full schedule in the coming weeks.