The first confirmations for the D’A 2019 programme include the two latest films by Hong Sang-soo, a regular feature at the annual festival, Grass and Hotel by the River, winner of Best Actor and Best Script awards at the Gijón Film Festival and Best Actor at the Locarno Film Festival. The award-winning directors at the D’A are presenting new movies at this edition: we have Andrés Duque, who won the Talents Prize at D’A 2016 for Oleg y las raras artes, is back at the festival with Carelia: Internacional con monumento, a poetic, spiritual piece set on the borderlands between Finland and Russia. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, director of Happy Hour (winner of the audience prize at D’A 2016), is presenting Asako I & II, an adaptation of the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki, a story of young love that soon gets darker and more and more disturbing.
The D’A 2019 programme also includes some essential movies from the festival season, such as the striking Our Time by Carlos Reygadas, unveiled at Venice 2018, a radical approach to a love triangle and the toxic masculinity that stems from it. The D’A is also showing one of the standout works of the year: An Elephant Sitting Still, the first and last movie by Chinese filmmaker Hu Bo, who died prematurely at just 29 years of age. An impressive portrait that lasts almost four hours presents four crude and non-indulgent inter-linked stories from contemporary China, and has collected awards at the Berlinale, Hong Kong and IndieLisboa. Roberto Minervini returns to the festival with his fifth movie, What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, which like the director’s previous projects is a hybrid of fiction and documentary that portrays the lives of Afro-American characters fighting for justice and survival in the deep south of the United States.
Actress and director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who opened D’A 2014, is presenting her new movie, The Summer House, a sarcastic look at a bourgeoisie family that’s not too unlike her own. Two other films by female directors are among the attractions of the latest edition of the D’A Film Festival: Too Late to Die Young by Dominga Sotomayor, a choral coming-of-age movie set in the Chile of the early nineties that won the Best Director awards at Locarno and Gijón, and Paul Sanchez Is Back! by Patricia Mazuy, one of the most unclassifiable movies of the year, an extravagant comedy starring Laurent Lafitte (Elle).
This advance of D’A 2019, to which new names will be added over the next few weeks to make up a programme of more than a hundred movies from all around the world, is completed by Love me not, the latest release from Lluís Miñarro, co-written with Sergi Belbel and with an all-star cast including the likes of Lola Dueñas, Ingrid García-Johnsson, Francesc Orella and filmmaker Oliver Laxe. Ben Wheatley, the iconoclastic director of Free Fire and Sightseers, returns to the festival with Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, a comic tragedy about a man whose position as the head of a numerous family is in danger. And closing the first advance of D’A 2019, The Mountain by Rick Alverson, the director of such radical movies as The Comedy (2011) and Entertainment (2015) starring Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum and Denis Lavant, an enigmatically magnetic film that muses in a devastatingly brutal manner upon contemporary manipulation and passivity.