Grey Matter

Balthazar is a young African filmmaker on the brink of directing his first project, The Cycle of the Cockroach, a fictional story about a young woman who survived unspeakable atrocities only to find herself committed to the same mental institution as a man driven insane by the crimes he perpetrated during the war. Potential funders for the film insist the themes are too bleak and pessimistic-they encourage Balthazar to make a “message” film that raises awareness about gender-based violence or HIV/AIDS instead. But he refuses to give up. Instead of telling his production team the news, Balthazar continues preparations for the film without financing or equipment. After rehearsing a scene with each of the characters, reality blurs and scenes from the script materialize, provoking the question: Can a film like this exist only in the director’s dreams? Armed with a daring and creative visual language…

Things of the Aimless Wanderer

Kivu Ruhorahoza’s arresting feature reveals a series of cryptic and loosely connected narrative shards. Each depicts an uneasy encounter between an African woman and a male figure of authority or menace, be he a nineteenth century white explorer, a twenty-first century Western journalist, or a Rwandan man performing reconnaissance for a shadowy internal agency. In each story, a female figure is an object of lust, surveillance, fascination or violence, inevitably disappearing from the narrative. Every disappearance becomes a sort of chorus, punctuated by enigmatic images and haunting musical soundscapes. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]