18e Festival international Signes de Nuit - Paris - October 1-5 / 22-25, 2020



Maria Luiza

Marcelo Díaz
Brazil / 2019 / 1:20:00


Maria Luiza is the first transgender in Brazilian Armed Forces. After 22 years of work, she retired due to disability. The movie investigates the motivations for her being prohibited to wear the feminine uniform and her trajectory into affirmation as a transgender, military and Catholic woman.


Jury Statement:

We Accord this award to the film for dealing with transgender individuals, a most discriminated human condition that struggles for visibility and respect through the timid and innocent character of Maria Luiza and for being a breath and a reminder in times when prejudices and hate speeches are given even by powerful political leaders.


Watching the Pain of Others

Chloé Galibert-Laîn
France / 2019 / 0:31:30


In this deeply personal video diary, a young researcher tries to make sense of her fascination for the film "The Pain of Others" by Penny Lane. A deep dive into the discomforting world of YouTube and online conspiracies, that challenges traditional notions of what documentary cinema is, or should be.


Jury Statement:

One sentence in the movie is stating ‘Hysteria is gender-bound with femininity’. In this ambiguous film about a woman who makes a movie about a woman who makes a movie about a woman with a strange illness, hysteria and its suppression can be watched from a feminist or a patriarchal viewpoint, from a scientific perspective or in the frame of a conspiracy theory. It seems that watching the pain is the only way that allows us to watch what is beyond the pain. The “politics” of watching the pain of the others lies on another layer.


Shanzhai Sceenes

Paul Heintz
France / 2020 / 0:23:00

Shenzhen at night, copyist painters recount their daily lives and their craft. Their acts shift alternately between an artistic and blue-collar imagery, from new technology to classical techniques. Here, another history of painting is being drawn.


Jury Statement:

For a film that provides us with another cleverly told history of painting, an introspective of the replicating artists, an inside view into their not well known world.


The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising and sensitive way the perturbing aspects of reality

Hi A.I.

Isa Willinger
Germany / 2019 / 1:27:00

The robots are at our doorstep. Scientists as well as tech-visionaries are certain that in a few years robots will be an integral part of our everyday life. But humanoid robots are more than just another gadget. Bearing a resemblance to living creatures in their conduct and looks, they are more like new beings on our planet. We are the Robots, shows robots interacting with humans in everyday-environments already today. What will we gain from this new technology? And what will we lose?


Jury Statement:

This film raises questions about the relationship between humans and robots that are no longer sci-fi. The documentary is based on what actually happens. Answers are not easy to find. Physical equivalence makes it impossible for humans to see robots as objects. Also the fact that robots react makes it impossible for humans to view them just as pets, even knowing the robot’s responses are coming from algorithms. “HI A.I.” points out the inconsistency but inexhaustibility of a human existence, pointing out the desire to create relationships in this melancholic world.



The Night Award for Documentary honours films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions


Leslie Lagier
France / 2019 / 0:48:10

In Canada's Far North, men live in the heart of a wilderness, isolated from the world. They chose this region for its beauty. Yet, by their mining activity, they contribute to destroying it. North tells the ambivalence of the relationship of these men to their territory and to nature.


Jury Statement:

The Night Award in the documentary section goes to North (2019), respectively to Leslie Lagier for her ability to cross genres in filmmaking, mixing experimental fiction with documentary. Her focus is particularly on places and humans giving an intimate but also confronting perspectives upon the destructive relationship with the natural world. This ambivalence of human beings is presented avoiding stereotypes, but rather questioning the in-born aspect of mining and the connection with the land. The shifting point comes later in the film when showing the enormous damage done to land and water. The stunning aerial shots are in perfect harmony with the sound and the music. Not to mention the juxtaposition between empty buildings and archival material used as a document for memory and disappearance.

Director Statement:

I am pleased that the jury felt the ambivalent relationship people who lives in Yukon have with the land and the natural world which is intimate, intense and sometimes destructive.


The Memory Atlas

Domenico Centrone
Belgien / 2019 / 0:10:00

Between 1922 and 1924, the art historian Aby Warburg spent more than two years in the Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. In 2018, a filmmaker finds the real diaries and the medical reports of that experience. Through a surrealistic journey in Warburg’s mind ,"The Memory Atlas" questions the limits between madness and greatness in the process of creation.



Jury Statement:

The Special Jury Award goes to The Memory Atlas for the effectiveness of the photographs presented chaotically on a wall in zoom out, all documented by the art historian Aby Warburg. The selection functions like the archivist’s memory when investigating the significance of astrology in the stylistic evolution of Italian painting. There is a melancholic note to invoke the psychological fears intensified by his physical fevers and childhood memories. Domenico Centrone puts a fantastic magic element on these fragments, extracts from real diaries and medical reports from the Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum of Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.

Director Statement:

I'd like to thank the Jury of 2020's International Festival Signes de Nuit in Paris for awarding my The Memory Atlas. Mentions of appreciation such as this one are extremely encouraging for artists looking for beauty in ravines and hidden corners of human experiences, where the light of reason does not shine: there, only art can make things intelligible. All my gratitude and respect goes to Dieter Wieczorek and all the team behind the festival for putting up such a great selection of films despite the horrible condition we are living nowadays: thank you all for your stubborness, patience and work attitude. This award is shared with the crew that embarked with me on this tiny, crazy adventure: with Luisa Mello, talented DOP and godmother of The Memory Atlas, with Gabriele Marroni and Boris d'Agostino for the outstanding work on the sound, with Hanna Hovitie and Waleed al Madani for the great camera work, with Monica Bustamante, Josè Lozando and Diego Quintere de Carvalho for their contribution in the VFX and Coloring and with all the DN involved in the legendary shooting of the film in the basement of LUCA School of Art.