Norwegian documentaries in competition
This year’s program contains a few world premieres, and range several current topics. Some have already had success at international festivals, but BIFF will be the first, the best - and often the only - place in Norway to experience these stories where they belong: on the big screen.
The winner of the competition programme is awarded 25.000 NOK given by NRK. Here are the films competing for the award for Best Norwegian Documentary 2020:
BLUE CODE OF SILENCE
Every year an average of one thousand American police officers are arrested for misconduct or corruption, and the abuse of power is a legacy that stretches back to the dawn of US policing. BLUE CODE OF SILENCE tells the true story about a crooked police officer in 1970s New York who brought down the most corrupt police unit in American history. Who was detective Bob Leuci? A whistleblower who stood up against corruption and an American hero? Or just a rat who betrayed his friends and colleagues to save his own skin?
Featuring the titular pig mother, her band of rowdy piglets, stunning black-and-white photography and a complete lack of humans and dialogue, GUNDA is a remarkably intimate and empathetic depiction of farmlife from the perspective of the animals. Directed by Viktor Kossakovsky, who also made last year’s audience favourite AQUARELA, this delicate and engrossing character study is a documentary quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before – not to mention your new favourite pig movie.
MEET THE CENSORS
Everyone is against censorship – except for those few instances where it’s absolutely necessary. In MEET THE CENSORS filmmaker Håvard Fossum approaches the subject of freedom of speech by letting censors from different parts of the world – Iranian ayatollahs, Indian film censors and a German office tasked with combatting online hate speech – describe their work and their societal function. The result is a witty, thought-provoking and disturbing documentary which casts a refreshingly nuanced look at censorship and freedom of speech.
THE RADIO GUYS
In 2011, the Norwegian parliament voted to turn off the national FM radio grid, and in 2017 all national broadcasts and most commercial local radio were moved to the DAB format. In this charming documentary, we follow the day-to-day operations of the small local station Bygderadio Vest in Volda, as they continue their broadcas over the FM band. THE RADIO GUYS is a warm, comical and very Norwegian film about a group of dedicated older men heroically struggeling against technological innovation.
A FALSE WEIGHT
When a retired architect and former body builder is struck by a rare brain disease that affects his movements and cognitive functions, his world is turned upside-down. This documentary-fiction hybrid is a study of character and movement based on director Daisuke Kosugi’s father, with butoh dancer Toru Iwashita transforming his daily routine and rehabilitation exercises into a physical performance piece. A cross between cinema and video art, A FALSE WEIGHT offers new perspectives on aging and losing control of one’s body.
THE ART OF SIN
Contemporary artist Ahmed Umar came to Norway as a political refugee in 2008. In 2015 he became infamous in the Sudanese community when he came out on Facebook as the first openly homosexual Sudanese man in the world. In this curious and empathetic documentary we follow this remarkable man as he journeys back to his land of birth – at the risk of his own life. THE ART OF SIN is a journey between worlds and cultures which explores questions of art and religion, nationality and belonging, love and sexuality.
TURNING THE TIDE
Norway has long had some of the strictest drug laws in Europe – with an emphasis on punishing rather than helping addicts – but change is on the way. In this humane and insightful documentary we follow three activists who are fighting to change the way politicians and ordinary Norwegians think about how we treat addicts. By presenting us with the perspectives and experiences of people who’ve felt the consequences of our nation’s moralistic drug laws, TURNING THE TIDE shows us why a policy reform is absolutely necessary.
VILLAGERS AND VAGABONDS
What is art? Who defines what qualifies as art? And what is the purpose of art in public places? These are among the questions explored in this thought-provoking and entertaining documentary about a small municipality in the heart of Norway that was gifted a controversial sculpture as part of an art project. The sculpture raised the ire of the locals, who thought it was nothing more than a bunch of junk, and due to popular demand it was removed before it was even finished. Two years later, however, it was put back up …