OFFICIAL SELECTION 2018
The Long Season
DIRECTOR : Leonard Retel Helmrich
COUNTRY : The Netherlands
YEAR : 2017
TIME : 115 min
Nu Metro 4, 12 Oct @ 2.30pm | 17 Oct @ 12.30pm
Nine million Syrians have left their homeland since the breakout of the war. Most of them have ended up in camps like Madjal Anjar in the Beqaa Valley, just over the border in Lebanon. This camp was set up by seasonal workers from Raqqa who were unable to return when their city was taken over by IS. Some of the camp’s inhabitants rent land to cultivate crops, while others earn a little toiling in the fields of a local farmer who treats them with contempt. The rest of the time they spend waiting for the bus that brings goods and news from Raqqa. In conditions such as these, frustration rapidly turns to conflict, traumatized children become aggressive and women’s freedom of movement is very restricted. Multi-award-winning director Leonard Retel Helmrich uses his hallmark single-shot cinema verité style to probe deep into life in the camp. The fluid motion of the camera—sometimes high in the air, sometimes gliding just above ground level—allows him to get extremely close to the camp’s inhabitants, bringing home the human drama behind the abstract number of nine million.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
After Indonesian independence the Helmrich family repatriated to the Netherlands during the Indo diaspora. Leonard Retel Helmrich is a Dutch cinematographer and film director. He was born the 16th of August 1959 in Tilburg, Netherlands and has lived in Amsterdam since 1982. He received highest honours for international documentaries at the Sundance Festival and was the first two-time International Documentary winner at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA).. In June 5, 2018 he was rewarded by the Dutch King Willem-Alexander with the title Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, a very high distinction.
Helmrich is famous for perfecting the ‘Single Shot Cinema’ filming method and his related technical camera innovations. “…you can move inside an event and go with your camera to the right spot, at the right moment,… That’s what the whole single-shot cinema is about: trying to think of the world as a kind of clockwork, a machinery, with everything interrelated. The bigger and smaller things are just as important. In a clockworks you can’t pull out a little gear because the whole thing jams. The solution is to become one of the clockworks.”