Curated by Gian Luca Farinelli

This section devoted to non-fiction films is split into two halves: newly restored documentaries from the past and a selection of the best of recent films made about the cinema.
Documentaries of the past. Here you will find films by celebrated directors who have made documentary history as well as ‘rediscovered’ works by unknown or lesser-known filmmakers who nonetheless deserve a mention in this history. Among the masters we find Stanley Kubrick, with his three early documentaries finally restored, and Wim Wenders, the first European filmmaker to worry about the restoration of his entire oeuvre. We will also celebrate the centenary of the birth of Lionel Rogosin with two powerful film exposés, On the Bowery and Black Fantasy, and two shorts which are among his only fictional endeavours, but which nonetheless adopt an improvisational method.
Among the discoveries and rediscoveries this year is Marin Karmitz whose Coup par coup, a successful experiment in docudrama exposé, demonstrates that he was not only a great producer and distributor, but that in the late 1960s and early 1970s he was also a talented filmmaker. Then there is the anthropologist Luke de Heusch, a disciple of Lévi-Strauss, whose invaluable films shot in the Congo in the early 1950s have now been restored by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique. And Nicolás Guillén Landrián, the first Black documentary filmmaker from Cuba, who was persecuted and long forgotten, but has now been rediscovered thanks to the memories of his widow in the eloquent documentary portrait by Ernesto Daranas Serrano. A special mention goes to The Bus, in which Haskell Wexler – who was destined to have a great future as a director of photography – tells of the journey across the US by a group of citizens who wanted to participate in the Freedom March of August 1963. It is a jewel, which reminds us of what democracy is and how cinema can represent it.
Documentaries on cinema. Perhaps as never before, the films selected this year search out new ways of narrating cinema’s past. Even the classic portraits (of Jacques Demy, Henry Fonda, Powell and Pressburger) offer a real critical contribution to our understanding of a group of complex and artists. Similarly, Falso storico, about the way in which images can mislead, and Onde está o Pessoa?, which reveals the infinite riches of a film shot in Lisbon in 1913, constitute proper essay films. Cinégraphies, les femmes de la tempête, on the other hand, admirably traces the threads of a creative relationship between filmmakers who on the surface appear very different. Burning cinephilia and a passion for collecting are at the heart of very personal works such as Celluloid Dreams and Film Is Dead. Long Live Film!, while the search for new solutions is evident in a series of documentaries made for television: L’Image originelle, which employs a valuable approach in which individual directors recount their film debuts, and Le Siècle de Costa-Gavras, in which the work of the Greek-French filmmaker provides a way to consider the broad themes of the 20th century. Finally, there are four documentaries that permit us to better understand two of the protagonists of this year’s Cinema Ritrovato, both of whom are equally complex and mysterious: Marlene Dietrich and Sergei Parajanov.

Gian Luca Farinelli