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Art of the Real: Los Angeles

Dates: January 11-17, 2019

Location: Billy Wilder Theater / Downtown Independent

Address: 10899 Wilshire Blvd. / 251 S. Main St.

Seven nights. Two venues. Sixteen Los Angeles premieres

Co-presented by Acropolis Cinema, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Film Society of Lincoln Center

Founded in 2014 to explore “the most expansive possible view of documentary film,” Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Art of the Real series has sustained its singular legacy as the premiere North American showcase for international non-fiction and hybrid works. Since its inaugural edition, curators Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes have shed light onto otherwise overlooked, boundary-pushing films that blend traditional conceptions of reality with formalistic and avant-garde processes for category-defying results. Observational documentaries and their familiar form always have their place, here alongside essayistic, lyrical tone poems and phenomenological, personal history lessons. Along with UCLA Film & Television Archive, Acropolis Cinema is proud to offer a West Coast home to a curated selection of these spectacular works from the past five years of Art of the Real, all of which are premiering in Los Angeles for the very first time. Screenings will start at the Archive’s home at the Billy Wilder Theater, and will continue at the Downtown Independent into the week. Curated by Jordan Cronk, Paul Malcolm, KJ Relth, and Robert Koehler.

Special thanks to Dennis Lim, Rachael Rakes, and Film Society of Lincoln Center


Funding for this series was generously provided by:

Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities

UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies

Additional funding provided by:

UCLA Confucius Institute

*Note: Tickets to opening weekend screenings at the Billy Wilder Theater can be purchased through the UCLA Film & Television Archive's website.



Friday, January 11 (Opening Night): Billy Wilder Theater, 7:30pm

  • INFINITE FOOTBALL (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2018, 70 min.)

The latest from Romanian New Wave master Porumboiu is a hilarious and politically incisive portrait of a bureaucrat who dreams of radically revising the rules of the world’s most popular sport.​

  • Panel discussion about the evolution of contemporary nonfiction cinema with Art of the Real curators Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes and director Kazuhiro Soda (Inland Sea). Moderated by Robert Koehler.

  • THE SECOND GAME (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2014, 97min.)

Director Corneliu Porumboiu watches a 25-year-old historic soccer match with his father, who was the referee, in this look at the ways in which we relate to the past and, to a certain extent, to our parents.

Saturday, January 12: Billy Wilder Theater, 7:30pm


Conceptualized while researching the Japanese Red Army during a residency in Japan, Eric Baudelaire’s first feature is a probing and often mesmerizing weave of Super-8 footage, television clips, film excerpts, and archival miscellany.

  • INLAND SEA (Kazuhiro Soda, Japan, 2018, 122 min.)

Mrs. Koso, an elderly fishmonger, and Mr. Murata, an 86-year-old fisherman who still takes his boat out daily, are captured in this vérité-inflected black and white documentary. In person: Kazuhiro Soda

Sunday, January 13: Billy Wilder Theater, 7:00pm

  • UNTITLED (Michael Glawogger & Monika Willi, Austria/Germany, 2017, 107 min)

The late Michael Glawogger’s longtime editor combines the remarkable footage from the director’s final, unfinished project with excerpts from his journals for a revealing and moving elegy.

  • STREETSCAPES [DIALOGUE] (Heinz Emigholz, Germany, 2017, 132 min.)

A director speaks at length to a psychoanalyst, confiding his obsessions, fears, ideas about cinema, and psychological blocks. Emigholz’s magnum opus is a playful, moving treatise on trauma and architecture in which foreground and background carry equal weight.

Monday, January 14: Downtown Independent, 8:00pm

  • OPTIMISM (Deborah Stratman, US, 2018, 15 min.)

A multilayered portrait of the residents of Dawson City, Yukon Territory, who live in perpetual winter and hibernal darkness.

  • WHAT MEANS SOMETHING (Ben Rivers, UK, 2016, 67 min.)

Ben Rivers’s latest exploration of solitude is an intimate, real-time portrait of the painter Rose Wylie at work in her home studio in the English countryside, and a film that truly illuminates a singular creative process.

  • LE PARADIS (Alain Cavalier, France, 2014, 70 min.)

Voted one of the 10 best films of 2014 by Cahiers du Cinéma, this series of domestic sketches, shot by the 83-year-old Alain Cavalier (Thérèse, Le Combat dans l’île) in his own home, is a subtle, serene, and deeply touching meditation on how it feels to approach life’s end.

Tuesday, January 15: Downtown Independent, 8:00pm

  • ALL STILL ORBIT (Dane Komljen & James Lattimer, Croatia/Serbia/Germany/Brazil, 2015, 22 min.)

A philosophical-historical investigation of Brasília. Tracing its origins from Saint Don Bosco’s (possibly apocryphal) dream in 1883, the filmmakers use a lyrical voiceover and hyper-tinted digital images of the city and its environs to question the idealism of the city’s international style.

  • IEC LONG (João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata, Portugal, 2014, 31 min.)

Interweaving archival footage, photographs, figurine-based reconstructions, oral testimony, slices of contemporary life, and the nearly omnipresent sound of fireworks exploding in the distance, Rodrigues and Guerra da Mata have crafted another multivalent and eclectic exploration of memory, place, and the politics underlying both. 

  • POET ON A BUSINESS TRIP (Ju Anqi, China, 2015, 103 min.)

A bawdy, absurdist journey across China’s remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that yields 16 funny and astute poems. Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Jeonju International Film Festival. In person: Ju Anqi

Wednesday, January 16: Downtown Independent, 8:00pm

  • METEORS (Gürcan Keltek, Turkey, 2017, 84 min.)

Gürcan Keltek’s poetic, engrossing debut feature captures a critical moment from 2015 in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict via otherworldly black-and-white images, gradually arriving at a political truth that verges on the cosmic.

  • WHITE OUT, BLACK IN (Adirley Queirós, Brazil, 2014, 95 min.)

Two men partially paralyzed by police violence in the 1980s describe living under institutionalized racism against a science-fiction backdrop in Adirley Queiros’s ingenious contemporary take on Afrofuturism.

Thursday, January 17 (Closing Night): Downtown Independent, 8:00pm

  • CASANOVA GENE (Luise Donschen, Germany, 2018. 67 min.)

Donschen’s feature debut is a funny, eclectic, and seductive film about seduction, veering radically from fiction to observational documentary to single-subject interview (including John Malkovich) to landscape and back again.

  • VICTORY DAY (Sergei Losnitza, Germany, 2018, 94 min) 

Loznitsa’s incisive film documents the annual gathering at the Soviet Memorial at Berlin’s Treptower Park to commemorate the Red Army’s defeat of the Nazis, capturing the event in all its patriotic spectacle and ecstatic strangeness.


The films included in [Art of the Real's] diverse lineup all emerge from a more or less violent collision between the filmmaker and reality.

Max Nelson, Film Comment

One of the world’s most essential showcases for game-changing, rule-breaking, genre-busting new cinema.  The kind of thing that makes you want to put quotes around reductive terms like 'documentary' and 'non-fiction.'

David Ehrlich, Indiewire

An admirably ample and wide-ranging series. Each [film], in its own way, arises from—and reenergizes—the historical currents, running from the very start of movies, that fuse what’s seen with what’s imagined, public events with the inner life, the filmmaking process with the world that it has, radically and irrevocably, transformed.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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