Anna Asplund, Saana Viinikkala, Finland 2021
The documentary film Shadow is a cinematic portrait of artist Aalto Asplund. In the documentary film, Asplund describes the deep relationship with shame that has overshadowed their whole life. The scenery of an isolated island in autumn colours reflects the landscape of Asplund’s mind. It’s a place where Asplund finally confronts their fears and the shadow, trying to break free.
A dark and disquieting meditation on a nation, and a generation, as seen through the eyes of a group of Medellín twentysomethings, Colombian Theo Montoya’s feature debut Anhell69 is, by its own definition, a trans film — one that does feature trans characters, but which also seeks to transgress filmic barriers. Part documentary, part celebration of outsider lives, and part remembrance, it’s a defiantly hybrid piece that’s cunning, challenging and sometimes confusing, seemingly conceived to play out on the border between life and death itself.
Jonathan Holland, Screen Daily
Anhell69 is certainly a work born out of true, unimaginable suffering. In his hybrid feature, showcased in this year’s Venice International Film Critics’ Week, director Theo Montoya tries to tell the viewers how hard it is to be young and queer in Medellín, one of Colombia’s largest cities but also one of its most dangerous and most conservative places, infamously known for being home to Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. “I didn’t decide to be born. I was never asked. I was thrown into the world,” says Montoya as the opening words of his picture.
Davide Abbatescianni, Cineuropa
Content warning: drug use