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The movies presented in the CITY IMAGE programme have the representation of protest space in common – either a collective or individual political struggle for one’s rights, a community’s demand to be heard, or an urge to preserve the memory of the city. About three special views on the city in this programme tells Daryna Nikolenko, the festival's press secretary.
It is no exaggeration to say that public space has a huge influence on our everyday practices and rituals. We choose specific paths for our travels; we come out to the streets and squares to protest; for some of us, the city is full of barriers, and for most of us, it is filled with memories and personal stories. Public spaces are a medium of identity, through which the inhabitants of the city recognise their belonging to a particular community, to a city. More important are the questions of the formation of the urban environment and our influence on it, of how it is used, and of our control over it.
Audience Emancipated: The Struggle for the Emek Movie Theater is not only a story about the protests against the demolition of a historical cinema building in Istanbul, which has been a legendary location for many filmmakers as well as for the inhabitants of the Beyoğlu district. It is also a struggle against the commercialisation of public space and its appropriation by big capital. As we remember, the desire of the citizens to assume their rights to the city (according to Lefebvre) on Taksim Square was the beginning of a wave of protests all around Turkey in 2013. Like the cinema, this place of memory for the Romanian town of Petrila is embodied in a local mine, the oldest in the country. Planeta Petrila tells about a former miner, Ion Barbu, who mobilises the community to take a stand against a government decision to demolish the mine. Instead, he wants to turn it into a cultural site, to revitalise the place, so that it can become the core of the town once again.
In Eastern Poland, there is a dialect word ‘karczeby’, which means people who are immensely attached to the land where they were born and grew up. This word also means the part of a tree which remains in the ground after the tree itself has been cut down. Farmer Naoto, the protagonist of Half-Life in Fukushima, is a ‘rooted’ man who, after the accident at the nuclear power plant, remained in his house in the exclusion zone. He is the only driver on the empty streets, where the traffic lights are still functioning and where a gentle voice recites the rules for sorting waste through loudspeakers. We see dilapidated stores and hear the sounds of street trade, which suggests that once these streets were abundant with life. Now, it looks like the city belongs to its only inhabitant. And staying in the place that is native to him is his private protest.
CITY IMAGE programme is supported by the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine
On the photo - film "Half-Life in Fukushima" by Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa