In a village deep in the Ardennes forest live Thomas, a reclusive teenager, and Alice, a dairy farmer’s daughter. He playfully lures her to a quarry where they taste their first moments of desire. An itinerant beekeeper, Pol, and his disabled son, Octave, have parked their caravan next to the village cafe´. They join the villagers for the annual bonfire celebrating the end of winter. Spirits are high but the festivities come to a halt when the bonfire fails to burn.
The film imagines a world in which the seasonal cycle seems to stop. Spring doesn’t come: the seeds don’t grow, the bees vanish, and the cows refuse to give milk. By autumn, panic mounts, the bonds between neighbours start to break, and the stillness in the town erupts into brutality.
In The Fifth Season nature takes the upper hand by protesting against mankind, resulting in the implosion of a community that turns on itself. The film was shot entirely in the dead of winter, and the results are breathtaking. As a fable, The Fifth Season is a telling tale of the arrogance of man and the power of the natural world. As a film, it is cinematically arresting, with visuals that at once haunt and enchant.
“The Fifth Season is one of those films that borrows from everyone – there are shades of Bergman, Tarkovsky, von Trier, and a generous sprinkling of The Wicker Man – but retains a clear style of its own.”
– Jamie Dunn, The Skinny
Peter Brosens, born 1962 in Leuven, Belgium, and Jessica Woodworth, born 1971, in Washington DC, USA, won the Lion of the Future at the 2006 Venice Film Festival with Khadak. Their second feature, Altiplano, was launched in Cannes in 2009 and won the Golden Kinnaree at the Bangkok International Film Festival. Peter has produced and directed creative documentaries such as Mongolia Trilogy: City of the Steppes (1993), State of Dogs (1998) and Poets of Mongolia (1999). Jessica directed the documentary The Virgin Diaries in 2001, and was the president of the jury at the 2011 Ghent International Film Festival.
Clutching at Straws
Louise Scollay | UK | 2012 | 5min
An old Shetland custom is revived through new eyes and revisited through old voices. A photographer re- imagining the Shetland tradition of straw guizers – a variant of a Scandinavian custom – is juxtaposed with archive recordings of living memory of the practice. Traditions, folklore and supernatural elements are married with Gemma Ovens’ photography and the memories of the late Brucie Henderson.
Sponsored by Yellow Book
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