International Competition

Amir Naderi

- [Juror’s Statement]

Documentary cinema is in effect the mother of cinema at large. Perhaps this is why documentary filmmaking today is more honest, pure, and personal. In this respect, narrative cinema is getting increasingly more deplorable. Every once in a while a few glimmers of hope shine brilliantly, but they soon die out under the massive pressure of terrible films, which unfortunately find their way to the screen. The number of good documentaries throughout the world, however, is on the rise. A new wave is already under way.

Today in Yamagata we are about to have a realistic picture of the world in which we live. I am confident that contemporary documentary cinema will have a lasting effect on the future of world cinema.

My experience this year as a juror for documentary films will be much different than the many other times that I have served in such capacities, because this time around I will be exposed to factual evidence of the contemporary world. I cannot wait to see these films.

So, long live the memory of Robert Flaherty, Dziga Vertov, and other true founders of documentary filmmaking! What they planted decades ago has come to fantastic fruition in many societies and cultures. It is thus in memory of Kamei Fumio, the pioneering and principal figure in Japanese news documentaries, that I look forward to the future generations of visionaries who continue to document the world for us.


Amir Naderi

Born in Abadan, Iran in 1945. With Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and others was one of the principle figures who put Iranian cinema in the international spotlight. Began career as a cameraman in Tehran. Works include Deadlock (1973), Harmonica (1974), Requiem (1975) and The Winner (1979). Took part in Kiarostami’s Experience (1974) as a scriptwriter. Both The Runner (1986) and Water, Wind, Dust (1989) won the Grand Prix at the Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes). Moved to the U.S. and continued making films in New York. Manhattan by Numbers (1993) was theatrically released in Japan, and forms the New York Trilogy together with Marathon and A, B, C . . . Manhattan (1997), which was shown at Cannes and the Sundance Film Festival. In 2002 served as juror for TOKYO FILMeX. This year began shooting his next film, Naked Radio.


- USA / 2002 / English / B&W / Video / 74 min

Director, Script, Editing: Amir Naderi
Photography: Michael Simmonds
Sound: Trevor Moore
Executive Producers: Amir Naderi, Reza Namazi
Cast: Sara Paul, Trevor Moore, Rebecca Nelson
Source: Amir Naderi

In New York a woman goes on a solitary “crossword marathon,” trying to solve as many crossword puzzles as possible in twenty-four hours. She devotes herself to puzzles as she travels on subways and buses and through crowds all over the city, and after returning home she plays recorded sounds of the city and keeps trying to solve puzzles. Dialogue is kept to a bare minimum, and the film doggedly follows the woman, generating extraordinary tension as she rushes through the landscape and soundscape of New York.

• International Competition | Basal Banar—Sacred Ritual of Truth | Flashback | Fuente Álamo—The Caress of Time | Gift of Life | Hunting Down an Angel or Four Passions of the Soothsayer Poet | IAG BARI—Brass on Fire | On Hitler’s Highway | Oui Non | Purity | Raymundo | S21, the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine | Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium | Stevie | Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks | The Way to the West • Jurors | Alain Bergala | Christine Choy | Amir Naderi | Anand Patwardhan | Takamine Go