Garage Screen Film Festival 2019


Aimed at developing cooperation between regional and international cultural institutions, providing easy access to contemporary culture for all, Garage Screen Film Festival presents a new season organised by Garage in collaboration with cultural institutions in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

This season, the festival will travel to the Center of Contemporary Art in Tashkent, (Uzbekistan), a pop-up space of the Tselinny Centre of Contemporary Culture in Almaty (Kazakhstan), Yarat Centre in Baku (Azerbaijan), and several spaces in Minsk (Belarus).  In Minsk, the festival will be supported by Cinemascope. 

A program of seven films includes festival hits from last year as well as new releases. Four of them are devoted to the lives of influential artists and various art practices. Poor Folk. Kabakovs is a documentary portrait of the key artists of Moscow Conceptualism, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, directed by Anton Zhelnov; Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Sarah Driver transports the audience to the New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s; and Kusama—Infinity by art historian Heather Lentz explores the universe of one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists.

The program also includes three new films about coming of age and the search for identity: animated feature Virus Tropical based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Power Paola; sensual drama Madeline’s Madeline about finding oneself through taking on the role of the other; and Genesis—a tender and subtle exploration of the tragedies and paradoxes of youth.


Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat

The story of Basquiat's youth is also a portrait of New York in the late 1970s and 1980s—a messy and riotous place where empty houses were set on fire to collect insurance money.

Against this background, the young and restless Basquiat looked like any other homeless artist to whom anything could happen. Composed of archival footage and interviews with Basquiat's contemporaries, Sarah Driver's film immerses the audience in the atmosphere of those years: bohemian parties, the first big hip-hop gatherings, and painted graffiti trains in Queens and the Bronx. Jean-Michel—invited to every party, the street artist tagging New York houses with SAMO (Same Old Shit) and the music lover—comes to life through the stories of his friends and the people who were close to him.

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Director Sara Driver
USA, 2018, 78 min 16+

Virus Tropical 

One of the most successful festival films of 2017, Virus Tropical is a coming-of-age story based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Power Paola.

The story of the emancipation of Paola and her sisters born to a priest and a fortuneteller who do not want to see their children become rebels, punks, or feminists. Paola and her elder sisters are growing up in a patriarchal family, whose life revolves around the church and small daily rituals. The fast-changing world comes into conflict with her parent’s worldview. Her father is a catholic priest and her mum has visions and predicts the future in dominoes. As Paola grows older, goes to school, makes friends, and falls in love, she develops a better understanding of herself and her real needs.

Her coming-of-age story is told through a sequence of seemingly trivial episodes: conversations with family, parties with friends, arguments, reproaches, and attempts to understand the other—through which we develop our character as we grow up. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and won an Audience Award at SXSW.

Virus Tropical 
Director Santiago Caicedo
Colombia, Ecuador, 2017, 97 minutes


Art historian Heather Lentz, who has been studying Yayoi Kusama's work for a quarter of a century, made her directorial debut with a documentary about the artist. Kusama—Infinity became the first of many portraits of the famous Japanese artist, which she approved and supported. 

Kusama, who has suffered from hallucinations since childhood, sees the world as a self-repeating weave which is reflected in most of her works composed of dots and other patterns. Kusama perceives herself as a dot in the endless universe and finds her purpose in reflecting personal experience while trying to make society a better place through art. Kusama—Infinity offers a beautiful insight into the connection between the biography of Kusama and the evolution of social consciousness in modern history.

She grew up in patriarchal Japan and had to take her first artistic steps in the predominantly male American art world of the 1960s. Her public actions in support of women's and LGBT-rights earned her the reputation as a rebel, and in the 1980s Kusama almost fell into obscurity. However, after a series of retrospectives and the participation in the Venice Biennale, she gained the status of an internationally acclaimed artist whose works are sold for prices that are record-breaking for a female artist.

Sundance Grand Jury Prize Nominee – 2018
TIFF Official Selection – 2018

Director Heather Lenz. USA, 2018. 78 minutes.

Madeline’s Madeline

One of the hits of Sundance Festival 2018, Madeline’s Madeline is an immersive thriller about a teenage girl, who rebels against her mother and becomes unable to distinguish between reality and imagination while working on a theatre piece.

When the director of her theatre workshop encourages the young Madeline to use her personal experience in creating a character, and Madeline’s complicated and explosive relationship with her mother becomes a source of inspiration for her acting debut.

American indie director Josephine Decker studies the confusions of coming of age through the prism of theatrical play, in which the young protagonist finds her identity and simultaneously loses her path. Like Alice in a Lewis Carroll fairy tale, Madeline falls into the world of theatre, performance, and imagination, lives through a series of metamorphoses, and discovers a parallel reality that she can hardly distinguish from the everyday. 

Madeline’s Madeline
Directed by Josephine Decker
USA, 2018, 93 minutes, 16+

Have You Seen the Listers?

Eddie Martin’s documentary tells the story of street artist Anthony Lister, from pioneering graffiti in his home city of Brisbane to big exhibitions and sales at the world’s major art events.

Sometimes referred to as "Brisbane's Banksy" and described as a “pop-surrealist”, Anthony Lister is known for his ironic and monumental works mixing “high” genres with “low” comics, subcultural art, and street aesthetics.

Since he was young, Lister has been recording events of his family’s life and himself at work on video. Based on the artist’s video archive, Eddie Martin tells the story of Lister’s creative rise and personal fall: his first artistic success, his move to New York, his love for his wife and the birth of their kids, and eventually his family and personal crisis brought on by his passion for his work and fame and the pressures of the art market.

Have You Seen the Listers?
Director: Eddie Martin
Australia, 2017. 86' 18+

Poor Folk. Kabakovs

To mark Ilya Kabakov’s 85th birthday, Garage has produced a documentary on the lives and work of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, the star duo of Russian contemporary art, whose retrospective exhibition was the first show in the Museum’s ten-year history.

In Poor Folk, Ilya Kabakov talks about his sources and influences, including the tragic life of his mother, which had a profound effect on his views and artistic career. Together with his wife and collaborator Emilia he discusses Soviet underground art, the birth of Moscow Conceptualism, the couple’s emigration to the USA, and international acclaim after thirty years of almost no exhibitions (Kabakov did not show his work at state-sanctioned exhibitions in the Soviet Union): today the duo’s works are in the world’s leading museums, including MoMA, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Hamburger Kunsthalle.

The documentary was filmed over 2017 and 2018 at the Kabakovs’ home on Long Island (USA) and in St. Petersburg. It includes previously unpublished photographs and videos from their personal archive and from Garage Archive Collection. The film was directed by Anton Zhelnov, who previously collaborated with Nikolay Kartoziya on the documentaries Brodsky Is Not a Poet and Sasha Sokolov. The Last Russian Writer

Poor Folk. Kabakovs
Directed by Anton Zhelnov
Russia, 2018


A contemporary coming-of-age story, Genesis follows three teenagers falling in love, painfully searching for their identity, and fighting for their ideals, which no longer seem universal.

Guillaume, sixteen, is a student in a boarding school. He reads Salinger at night and artistically mocks his teachers and classmates during lessons. A rebel, he feels lonely whenever he has to follow the group. His best friend Nicolas is the womaniser of the school: spoilt with girls’ attention, he does not distinguish it from an authentic feeling. Guillaume’s sister Charlotte seems to fit in very well but loses herself when her boyfriend offers her an open relationship. 

In his new feature, Philippe Lesage paints a portrait of three millennials exploring their sensibilities, sexuality and vulnerability in the face of the world they are about to become part of. The film premiered at the 71st Locarno Festival.

Director: Philippe Lesage
Canada, 2018. 129' 18+


Film screenings at the Center for Contemporary Art, Tashkent

April 14–May 24