Basel, June 20,2021 

Rockwell and Sefa win 

The awards of the 10th Bildrausch – Filmfest Basel were presented on 20 June in a hybrid award ceremony. The main prizes of the international competition went to Coming of Age stories from the USA and Kosovo.: Sweet Thing by Alexandre Rockwell and Në kërkim të Venerës (Looking for Venera) by Norika Sefa. The jury included Austrian director and producer Barbara Albert, Swedish cinematographer Lisabi Fridell and British critic Neil Young. 

The Peter Liechti-Prize 2021 goes to Në kërkim të Venerës (Looking for Venera) by Norika Sefa. The jury motivates its decision as follows:  "In the year of his death, 2014, Peter Liechti said in an interview: "Everybody has parents. Everybody has some problems with parents, which have often to do with conflicts about values, changing values." This sentiment is amply illustrated by this year's winner of the prize which bears Liechti's name – an award designed to encourage audacity, risk-taking and the forging of an individual cinematic path.
This film plunges into and traps us inside (along with its protagonist) a society still emerging from the ravages of war and de-industrialisation, where young people struggle against the suppressive, suffocating constraints of traditionalism and patriarchy. The personal and political subtly but powerfully intertwine in this environment of tactile physicality – sometimes sensual, sometimes violent. Likewise the intimacy of the family unit – sometimes comforting, sometimes constricting – is evoked with the arresting immediacy of a truly lived experience."

 

 

The Bildrausch-Ring of Film Art 2021 goes to Sweet Thing by Alexandre Rockwell. The jury motivates its decision as follows:  «Bildrausch can be translated in English as 'rush of images,' and the winner of this year's Cutting Edge competition positively sparkles with sequences whose euphoric energy indeed provide sensual and emotional 'rush'. The crucial filmmaking crafts of photography and editing, combined with a superb ensemble of performers, are deployed in the service of genuine humanism and empathy.  We note the contributions of editor Alan Wu and cinematographer Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll, the latter deploying hand-held camerawork that isn't so much "free" as unleashed -- the resulting black-and-white images judiciously splashed with interludes of vibrant colour.  For a brisk 91 minutes it's as if we share the ears and eyes of the main characters, across the rollercoaster contours of a consistently surprising and original narrative. It is a story focussed very intently on contemporary youth, told against a finely-observed socio-economic backdrop that is piercingly particular but also universal. The skill of the writer-director and his collaborators places this work within the fine tradition of cinema that addresses political realities through the prism of individual experience: it's a film that, just like Ms Billie Holiday, touchingly "sings the blues."

 

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