HS Happenings: IDFA

This month, IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) was back in the city for a fortnight. Some of us from HS went to check out one of the many, MANY screenings. These are a few of our recommendations.

Dani, Client Services Director – Much Ado About Dying
Much Ado About Dying is an intimate look at the filmmaker's uncle – an eccentric former actor, David – in the final years of his life. The film, which makes you laugh out loud and shed a tear all within 84 minutes, is a wonderful portrayal of caregivers and the difficult decisions they have to make each and every day. Most of all I enjoyed seeing the love between David and Simon – the mundane, sensible, caring, dedicated kind of love, that keeps David happy, safe and full of joy right up until his final moments.

During the Q&A at the end of the screening, Simon (who won the IDFA award for Best Director with the film) said he might never make a film again. I think this is testament to the fact that this is much more than a film; it is a dedication to his wonderful uncle and to life and death itself, showing that to be with someone in these final, more difficult years, can be both one of life’s great challenges and rewards.

Penny, Comms Co-ordinator – Meet Me in the Bathroom
As someone who spent some of their formative clubbing years bouncing around to bands like the Strokes, Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and – a few years later – wrapped around their friends at festivals singing along to LCD Soundsystem, the Meet Me in the Bathroom documentary was bang up my street. The documentary includes loads of early footage of these iconic bands in their prime, when the hype was just beginning to build. Set against a backdrop of broader cultural events like the Y2K scare, the 9/11 attacks, and Brooklyn gentrification, it offers a window into these bands which, although varying significantly stylistically, were all seminal in their own right.

Iwan, HS intern – Music for Black Pigeons
Filmmakers Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed followed the Danish guitarist and composer Jakob Bro in his musical encounters with heroes of contemporary jazz such as Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell and Midori Takada. The unspoken, but plainly visible joy and admiration they express when greeting each other says everything they can’t put into words. And when the sounds of their instruments fill the room, something magical happens – something the musicians themselves find it difficult to explain. Sweeping you along calmly, the film, like Bro’s compositions, is an invitation to reflect. What is clear throughout is that the love of music is universal, and differences in nationality, gender, color and age are of no concern.