Think of cinema as a planet like our own. Fiction is the land: stable and familiar. Non-fiction is the ocean, with its unpredictability, mystery, and apparently endless possibilities. Where then, do the ocean and the land meet? What strange creatures can be found there?


These are the hybrids. Like amphibians at the mouth of a river or crustaceans that gather at the coastline, this unique species of cinematic cross-breed has adapted to the needs of both kinds of cinema. As a movement in film, we can call this the art of the hybrid. Some of the most vital work being produced in the cinematic landscape today can be found in the distant rock-pools and shorelines of hybrid cinema, where a creative rewriting of the rules is the name of the game.

In some of the films in our special selection of this kind of filmmaking, non-fiction elements breathe life to fictional creations. In The Blue Flower of Novalis, 19th century texts and messages from social media apps intermingle freely with all the other elements of the film: the act of living and the act of reading and communicating and having sex are all part of a continuous flow of life. Fiction and reality cannot be separated; reality gives narrative a much-needed shot in the arm. In others, like Nicolás Pereda's Summer of Goliath, documentaries dealing mainly with knotty concepts and bold abstractions are able to ground these ideas in the emotional logic of fiction.

Evangelia Kranioti's Exotica, Erotica, etc. traces the relationships that form along a trade route, namely those between sailors and sex workers. These are often tender, even familiar interactions, expressed filmically through a poetic blend of voice, sound, and image. The interior monologue of a diary, a quasi-fictional creation, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with sounds and images of plain documentary reality. Sometimes the line is even more mysterious. In Jorge Thielen Armand's utterly spellbinding La Soledad, the setting is a decaying mansion in Caracas, Venezuela. The characters in the film are its real inhabitants. Yet this is pure magic realism: the film unfolds just as a novel or fiction would, imbuing this floating world, set against the backdrop of Venezuela's ongoing economic and political catastrophe, with a metaphorical weight.

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Films in Spotlight is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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