DOCU/ART: It was called – Illusion

22 March 2016

This year’s topic of the program is ‘Illusions of Genre’. These films not only tell the stories of artistic people, but they are also experiments in the realm of nonfictional cinema. The mirror screenings and the discussion will take place in PinchukArtCentre. Olha Birzul, the curator of DOCU/ART, tells aboot program.


Bob Dylan once confessed that when he first heard Elvis Presley’s music, he felt like he had broken out of prison. A couple of years ago, experimental documentaries became a similarly unexpected territory of freedom for me. More and more often, I caught myself feeling a kind of aching excitement about the fact that I not only see, but also feel how, by using moving pictures and sound, directors stretch time, squeeze space, drill holes in my mind and shamelessly deceive my tender heart.


It is no secret that in discussions about documentary film theorists have long been offering to use the wider term of nonfeature cinema. And it broadens horizons for all of us. Like a fresh air getting through the open window different experiments with the form, language and variety of media is entering the documentary space. Thus, the DOCU/ART program will fit the central concept of the festival, and will be dedicated to the topic of ‘The Illusion of Genre.’


We will be shaking the established notions about documentary films at the traditional venues of Kyiv Cinema and PinchukArtCentre. All three films presented in the program are the stories about artists and at the same time the experiments with the form of the narrative.



For example, Olmo and the Seagull, by Petra Costa and Lea Glob, is a hybrid film created at the intersection of reality and fiction, in which a spectator, together with the film’s characters, drowns in the ambiguous reality of theatrical actors, where life mixes with acting, and Chekhov’s protagonists seep into a reality of a pregnant woman. Sam Klemke’s Time Machine, an ironic piece by Matthew Bate, depicts over thirty years of the life of an American video blogger, in which a seemingly meaningless chronicle of failures, total joy and uncovered truth transforms into a philosophical essay that literally blows the story up to the universal scale. Probably the most elegant of the three is The Show of Shows by Benedikt Erlingsson, which would please cinephiles. Accompanied by the musicians of Sigur Ros the rarities and never-before seen footage about cabaret, attractions, and circuses reveals the nature of the eternal human drive towards the spectacle and the illusion. However it’s still about cinema. At the dawn of its existence it was called differently – Illusion.


Free tickets at festival book offices and on

April 2021