A few days before the Armistice in November 1918, Édouard Péricourt saves Albert Maillard’s life. The two have nothing in common but the war. Having ordered a senseless assault, Lieutenant Pradelle destroys their lives and binds them as companions in misfortune. Condemned to live on the ruins of the World War I carnage, the two men struggle to survive. But as they see Pradelle striving to make a fortune on the war victims’ corpses, they come up with a monumental scam with the bereaved families’ commemoration and with a nation’s hero worship.
Because of the fashion and atmosphere but also the style of directing and editing, the film will make you think of A Very Long Engagement by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in which Dupontel also appeared, and not just because it is related to WW1. A major difference is the almost complete lack of positive heroes. Sure, there is one true villain, but other characters are not much better, including Dupontel’s character that can make you dizzy at times.
Carried almost single-handedly by Frances McDormand, the film revolves
around Mildred Hayes, a divorced mother living with her son on the outskirts
of a remote town. She also had a daughter who was raped and killed on a mountain
road not far from home. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation,
Hayes decides to rent three dilapidated billboards, publicly accusing the town’s
revered chief of police of incompetence. When his deputy, an immature mother’s
boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Hayes and Ebbing’s
law enforcement is further exacerbated. While dealing with grief, anger, revenge and
violence, the film is extremely funny, primarily because of Hayes’ stubbornness and
ability to humiliate people by her extremely sharp tongue. She is assisted by the overall
atmosphere of a small town full of colourful characters: a racist cop, a friendly midget,
a smart advertising guy and a local gorgeous who can’t tell the difference between polo and polio.
During escalating Cold War in the early 1960s, a mute and lonely Elisa works
as a cleaning lady at a high-security government laboratory where she discovers
a new specimen, a mysterious marine creature. While Elisa becomes drawn to it,
the facility head Richard Strickland only desires to take the creature apart to gain
a scientific edge over the Soviets with the same dominance he exerts over his wife.
His sickening ways are outweighed by Elisa’s black co-worker, Zelda, and gay
neighbour, Giles, who provide much of the film’s comedic relief through their
embodiment and subversion of the era’s stereotypes. Shot in a rich, stylised palette
of greens and browns, set partly above an old but working cinema and filled with little
visual effects, this other-worldly fable by master story teller Guillermo del Toro is hardly
a fantasy. In essence, it is a film about tolerance, an allegory for all of history’s outcasts
that attempts to shine a light on the conditions from which real monsters are born.
The Garden Store trilogy comprises three independent films that take place
against the backdrop of the most dramatic events of the past century and on
the timeline precede the popular Pelíšky (Cosy Dens, 1999). It speaks of three
families headed by an air radio operator, an owner of a hairdressing salon
and an owner of a gardening store. For 20 years, it follows characters that
had to live the best years of their lives in these turbulent times. The final
part of the trilogy, Suitor takes place at the end of the 1950s. Again, it is the
story of love, this time the lovers’ one, addressing a silent war between parents
and their children scarred by the world war and the communist coup.
Taking a tragicomically dispassionate view, the film paints a sharp division
line between the pre-war and the post-war generation, with the generational
clash ensuing from different life experiences of parents and their children.
While each generation has its own idea of happiness, one thing is for sure:
they must find their own way to it.
Written and designed by Koloman Leššo, this bedtime stories series revolves
around a girl named Terezka who receives a construction kit for Christmas
and decides to put together two cranky puppets that go by the names of
Sticksy and Ballsy. She loves to play with them and they in return take care
of her good humour, health, cleanliness, and even her education and the
environment. Every time Terezka finds herself in a tight spot, the puppets
get down to business and easily solve all problems.
Note: the festival will present seven out of 21 episodes.
1. The Gift
2. Rotten Teeth
3. The Apple
4. A Vegetable Soup
5. A Broken Alarm Clock
6. The Boat
We are looking at the landscape darting behind a
train window and trying to bring near and distant tree
branches into optical order while walking through the
forest. The thrill of the speed and the chaos of the lines
are confusing, leaving behind the sketches of what is
and of what imagination can combine out of fleeting
sensory data. Cracking an electronic whip, Patrick Buhr
pushes hand-drawn lines into the third dimension.
André Eckardt, DOK Leipzig 2017
Valeria is 17 and expecting a child with her boyfriend who is not much older,
living in Puerto Vallarta with her half-sister, Clara. Valeria does not want
her long-absent mother, April, to find out about the pregnancy, but due to
the economic strain and the overwhelming responsibility of having a baby
in the house Clara decides to call their mother. April arrives and strives to
support her daughter and help her with the child. But their family life is far
from ideal and Abril begins to be convinced that Valeria simply is not a good
mother. She opts for a drastic solution and we soon understand why Valeria
wanted her to stay away.
Mexican producer, screenwriter and director Michel Franco has again made
a strong drama teeming with tense relations and characters that all of a
sudden helplessly fall through to the bottom of their existence. A brilliantly
constructed character drama is an incisive probe into what people under
strain are capable of.
A school audition in the 1980s. Steve has been practicing very hard, but singing in front of an audience is not easy. It might be easier to do so behind the curtain. Telling a story of surviving a singing contest in a small town school, this subtly hilarious short film might bring back fond childhood memories of some horrify- ing moments, but it also shows how acts of kindness lead to repayment in kind and how sometimes it is best to do the show behind the curtain.
Almost free of dialogue, the picture tells a powerful story of a young, shy woman who finds an abandoned baby behind a dumpster. She brings the infant home and finds solace and human connection with it – a connection that fails with adults, especially when the prospect of a functioning relationship turns into a nightmare.
A summer solstice eclipsed by sin and superstition. Aino has her eyes set on Perttu but over the course of the nightless night, his true nature dispels her illusions. The Finnish people keep many beliefs and traditions related to the Midsummer Night, which is exactly when this film is taking place set in the Finnish wilderness, exploring these mystical hours of bonfires and love spells through the eyes of Aino who has become infatuated with a young man.
Jussi Hiltunen explores the complicated emotions following a shooting incident in front of a small town disco in Northern Finland. Two witnesses are struggling to cope with the feelings of loss, sorrow and guilt. Hiltunen seems to gravitate toward portraying difficult human feelings as he dealt with the themes of guilt and forgiveness in his debut feature, Law of the Land (2017).
The film’s content may not be suitable for all viewers, not because of the explicit imagery but rather because of its soundtrack that may disturb the audience as it
is based on real-life emergency calls registered by the Finnish emergency response centre administration. The recordings testify to various events, ranging from a sudden birth of twins to a school shooting; however, at the very core of this imaginative documentary is the last call for help transmitted from the “Estonia” ferry which sank in 1994 in the Baltic Sea.
A thousand years ago, Sameland was a target for repeated raids by various plunderers. Being peace-loving people, the Sámi fled every time they realised that they were on the losing side. Then came a day when one of the Sámi begun to fight back against the oppressors to protect his family. Based on Sámi mythology, this anime-style film is the first Sámi-spoken animated film ever made by a Sámi director.
We prepared also this year’s programme for the youngest viewers (and their parents) in cooperation with the Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS). TV bedtime stories are an iconic TV format and have served as a gateway to the world of the television medium for a number of generations. The Radio and Television of Slovakia has been fostering this tradition and continues to support original animated production for children even today.
It is 2003 and a young couple from Ukraine, Martin and Denisija, are trying to get to Germany.
Living an ordinary life in the company of annoying hallucination can be really difficult…
While the parents struggle to earn a living, their daughters practically take care of each other. Their trouble begins to lean heavy on the elder sister. But thanks to their mutual bond, she realises she has what she cares about the most.
Miša is a former swimmer whose professional career abruptly en- ded due to a car accident. She has since severed ties with almost everyone around, seeking comfort and piece in solitude. One day a doorbell rings and the past comes knocking. Will Miša open?
We invite you to spend New Year’s Eve in the local community centre with your relatives and friends. You can look forward to an ample programme, singing performances and best jokes of the last year. Who will win the raffle’s main prize?
Capturing of a love story solely through symbols and colour simultaneously stands as a warning of a relationship in which one only takes and the other only gives.
A documentary essay about an adolescent girl depicts the world as seen through the eyes of a young, intelligent person, who unwillingly decided to withdraw from society. This film is about distance between people and about the fear it causes.
With the narrative propelled by the score, the film tells a story of a young woman who just lost her man. Thanks to a virtual reality, she discovers an alternative way to be with him again. However, the new virtual world becomes both a pleasure and a prison for her.
This graduation documentary revolves around Majko and Gabika who are taking part in a project called “Autistic People at Work”. Although finding a stable job far from easy even for healthy peo- ple, Majko and Gabika are struggling against the odds of destiny. In their case, autism turns from an obstacle into a work tool.
The film peeks into the lives of youtubers and maps their influence on young people. Uncovering the privacy of modern entertainers through three youtube channels, the picture is intended primarily for adolescents’ parents who can see whom their children follow on the Internet and whom they view as role models.
Focusing on the theme of bygone fame, the film lets the viewer in on the life story of Mária Zagatová, a former dance teacher who longs to rewind the clock and bring back her best days again.
Exploring the issue of womanhood from the unconventional viewpoint of transgender DJ Matia and mapping her ordinary life that is full of joyful as well as unpleasant situations, the picture encourages the viewers to ponder their opinions regarding differences between women and men.
Veronika Suchá is in the fifth year of her translating and interpreting
studies in two separate programmes – English Language and Culture
and Spanish Language and Culture – at the Faculty of Arts of Comenius
University in Bratislava. In her thesis that is currently in the making, she
examines film festivals in Slovakia as well as Spanish cinema. She is also
interested in short animated films and as a volunteer she translates films
for Fest Anča, Slovakia’s largest international festival of animated films.
Barbora Nemčeková comes from the town of Nitra and she already has
one year of Film and Screen Studies at the University of Brighton under
her belt. At the moment, she is in the second year of her studies at the
Department of Audio-Visual Studies of the Faculty of Film and Television
at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She is particularly keen
on watching films by Jean-Luc Godard and writing (not only) about them.
Michaela Kostková currently studies photography at the Academy of Fine
Arts and Design in Bratislava. She loves wandering through the streets
of the capital and taking pictures of it in the process. Besides Bratislava,
she also likes movies, sometimes so much that she appears in front of the
Born in 1973 in St. Petersburg but based in Moscow, Evgeny Mayzel is
Russian writer, film critic, chief-editor of kinoart.ru, the online version
of “Iskusstvo Kino” (Film Art), which is the sole academic independent
monthly magazine in the country. Working on the side as a teacher
and lecturer at cinema schools and a curator of film programs for some
Russian film festivals, Mayzel is a member of the Russian Guild of Film
Critics and a member of FIPRESCI.
A Norwegian film and television critic who reviews theatrical films for
the national tabloid Dagbladet and covers film and television issues
for the weekly newspaper Morgenbladet. For the past ten years he has
served as the catalogue editor and associated programmer for the
Bergen International Film Festival. He lives in Oslo.
Martin Černický was born in 1983 in Poprad where he graduated from
the Dominik Tatarka Secondary Grammar School and later from the
Martin Černický was born in 1983 in Poprad where he graduated from
the Dominik Tatarka Secondary Grammar School and later from the
Pedagogical Faculty of the Catholic University, majoring in management.
He drifted towards journalism during his university studies as he
worked as associate editor of the PC Revue magazine between 2006 and
2009. Later he began to freelance for other news portals and in 2014
he became a full-time editor of the online portal Filmpress.sk – Revue
of Slovak Film Journalists, where he currently works as one of the
administrators. In 2015 he began to freelance for another film portal,
moviemania.sk. Last year, he became a member of the Club of Film
Journalists. He is still based in Poprad.
András Cséfalvay was born in 1986 in Bratislava. In 2008, he studied Fine
Arts at Newcastle University. In 2011 he graduated from the Academy of
Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava where he began to work as pedagogue
in 2014 and earned his Doctor’s degree in 2015. He has held solo
exhibitions in Bratislava, Prague, Budapest, Rome and New York and
has been part of group exhibitions in Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Milan,
Dresden, Athens, Copenhagen, Munich, etc. His films have been screened
at film festivals Early Melons in Bratislava, Cinematik in Piešťany, PAF13
in Olomouc and others. His works form part of collections of the Slovak
National Gallery and Malmö Konstmuseum.
A film critic and journalist writing for the KINO monthly and Film&TV
Kamera magazine in Poland, she also collaborates with Cinema Scope in
Canada during the largest film festivals in Europe such as Berlinale or the
Venice Film Festival. Dąbrowska works at the University of Łódź where
she teaches Italian film history and Italian language. She is currently
completing her PhD about the construction of Italian identity (so-called
italianness) by the media during the economic boom of the 1960s (mainly
through the works by Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino
Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Dino Risi, Pietro Germi and others).
Dąbrowska also works as a coordinator for Cinergia Forum of European
Cinema in Łódź.
Alexei Dmitriev is a Russian experimental filmmaker and curator based in
St. Petersburg. His motion pictures have been screened at international
film festivals such as Tribeca, Tampere or L’alternativa in Barcelona. As
a curator, he has collaborated with Vienna Independent Shorts film festival
or with Directors Lounge in Berlin. He was a member of the selection
committee of the Punto de Vista film festival in Pamplona, Spain.
Upon completing a degree in Art History, he entered La Fémis in Paris
and later sojourned in Rome and New York on a Villa Médicis grant in
1989. He directed his first film, Desolate Rome (Rome désolée, 1994),
while writing and lecturing at the Fémis and in art schools. His films,
which have garnered numerous awards, are equally documentary and
autobiographical; filled with music, paintings and his personal life, they
constantly explore the borders between cinema and contemporary art,
between theatrical screening and installation and radio creation. Nine
of his films were screened at this year’s Istanbul IFF in a retrospective,
including Desolate Rome, Tenebrae Lessons (Leçons de tenebre, Jury
Award at FID Marseille, 2000), Bonne Nouvelle (Jury Special Mention
at Locarno, 2001), My Winter Journey (Mon voyage d’hiver, 2003) and
Ondrej Starinský graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in
2005, majoring in Film Studies . He has worked for several film festivals
in Slovakia as PR manager (MFF Bratislava 2010, Festival International
du Film Francophone 2010) and copy shipping coordinator (Art Film
Fest 2008 – 2013). He provided domestic and international PR for
the film Visible World (Viditeľný svet, 2011) and managed the film’s
circulation at film festivals (2011 – 2012). For nine years he worked with
the Open Society Foundation, first as coordinator of the “Journalism
Award” contest and later as manager of its media programme. Between
May and December 2014, he was a fundraiser at the Petit Academy
foundation, a non-profit organisation of the Petit Press publishing
house. Since 2006 he has been co-organiser of the 4 Elements film
seminar in Banská Štiavnica and in 2015 he became its executive
director. Currently he works as chief script editor of the Documentary
and Educational Department at the Slovak Radio and Television.
Petra Seliškar is a director, producer, writer and archive researcher.
She has the ability to clearly see importance in hidden details and,
through them, the essence in art, culture, nature, and all other aspects
of life. That is why she dedicated her time on this planet to life’s simple
pleasures, and of course, to cinema. Her creative strength can be seen
in her documentary, The Grandmothers of Revolution (Babice revolucije)
that was selected for the IDFA’s Joris Evens competition in 2006 and
went on to collecting many awards at film festivals around the world.
In 2010, Petra Seliškar was appointed Artistic Director and programmer
of the Makedox Creative Documentary Film Festival in Macedonia.
Her company, Petra Pan Film, has produced and co-produced over 20
feature-length documentaries and documentary series. They all have
received international awards.
Born in Belgrade, Bojan Vuletić earned the MA degree in film and TV
directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. As a co-writer,
he collaborated with Stefan Arsenijević on an omnibus film, Lost and
Found (2005), and a feature film, Love and Other Crimes (2008), which
premiered at the Berlinale and won two Best Script awards at national
His first feature-length film, Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing
and Crying (2011), premiered at the Karlovy Vary IFF in the East of the
West competition and won several national and international awards,
including the FEDEORA Critic Award at the Pula IFF and the FIPRESCI
Award at the Cinema City Film Festival.
His latest fiction feature, Requiem for Mrs. J., had the world premiere
at the Panorama Special section of the 2017 Berlinale and will also be
screened at the Bratislava IFF as part of the Cinema Now section.
Katarína worked on a short film by Mátyás Prikler, Fine, Thanks (2009),
that premiered at Cinéfondation at the Cannes IFF, Prikler’s feature
follow-up of the same name that premiered at the Rotterdam IFF in
2013, and on Slovakia 2.0 (2014).
She also worked on Mira Fornay’s My Dog Killer that won the Tiger
award at the Rotterdam IFF and went on to becoming Slovakia’s
national Oscar nomination. Katarína was a delegate producer of Little
Harbour, the latest film by Iveta Grófová that won the Crystal Bear at
Her production company Silverart is currently developing two feature
films and a TV miniseries; all these projects are international co-productions.
She is a voting member of the European Film Academy and
the Slovak Film and Television Academy.
Jean-Marc Barr studied philosophy at the University of California in
Los Angeles, the Paris Conservatoire and the Sorbonne. Then he moved
to London to pursue an education in drama at the Guildhall School of
Music and Drama.
He gained international recognition in the role of French diver Jacques
Mayol in Luc Besson’s, The Big Blue (1988). Barr has appeared in many
Lars von Trier’s films such as Europa (1991), Breaking the Waves (1996),
Dancer in the Dark (2000), Dogville (2004), Manderlay (2005), The Boss of
It All (2006) and Nymphomaniac (2013).
In 1999, Barr debuted as a director with Lovers, which was followed by
Too Much Flesh (2000) and Being Light (2001) that were both co-directed
with Pascal Arnold. Their Sexual Chronicles of a French Family screened
at the Bratislava IFF in 2012. His most recent film is Cellar, a Slovak-
-Czech-Russian co-production directed by Igor Voloshin.
During the football world championship in Brasil, 11-year-old Boyko will do anything to obtain the so-called Brazuca, the official World Cup ball, to stop his football friends from using him only as a goalkee- per. Starring a charismatic lead actor, the film paints a beautiful, naturalistic sketch of summer, Greek street football, and boyhood rivalry.
At a maternity ward, a Romani couple learns their underage daughter has just given birth to a baby girl but the 50-year-old father, Pardică, doesn’t seem to rejoice the early motherhood for which he blames his wife. Things become thicker when a hospital employee asks them to sign the baby’s birth certificate. The imminent danger of state authorities separating him from his daughter spurs Pardică to action.
In Strim we join Sigrid in search of her missing cat, Liv. During the search, her inner monologue turns outwards, both in terms of movement and action. She collides and progresses from interactions with the society that surrounds her. Will she ever find her cat?
Another night, another naked body in her bed. She feels no love, just passion. a sharp lancet in her hand and a hidden box with her secrets. Only she knows how it all will end and who will be her next victim.
While examining spaces between military, custody and ‘civilian’ life through the notion of work, The Separate System communicates what we do not understand about the unique set of relationships shared by individuals inhabiting these spaces.
For many years Werner Schönwald, a heart-and-soul forester, has taken care of the oldest nature preserve in Belgium. When a large-scale search is carried out by the police, the peace and quiet in the forest is severely disrupted and Werner feels hunted down on his home turf. The main character is beautifully rendered by one of Belgium’s leading stage and film actors, Wim Opbrouck.
Frigo gets married and as a wedding gift the newlyweds
receive a prefabricated house, which they must
put together by themselves. The film is a good example
of how Keaton makes gags. Frigo’s character is usually
passive as he reacts to the comic situations rather than
creating them himself. The hilarity stems exactly from
his reactions and legendary deadpan face. In his films,
Keaton the director seems to be toying with Keaton the
In this comedy, the Tramp visits
a department store as a penniless customer but
due to physical likeness he is soon mistaken for an
embezzling floorwalker and, as it is so often the case
with him, begins to create havoc. The film is the case
in point of how Chaplin acts (and directs). As a character,
he is always active, creates comic situations, and
uses props. He is the one to push the envelope and –
unlike Buster Keaton – makes gags actively.
While Maryam’s husband is weightlifting at home, the weight suddenly falls on his throat and puts him on the verge of death. Maryam first tries to help him but then she decides to stand by and watch him die. Then she packs her stuff and leaves with her child, pretending her husband has disappeared and she has no news on his whereabouts.
In 1974, regional TV station news reporter Christine Chubbuck committed
suicide during a live television broadcast. The incident is considered the
first televised suicide in history and although it inspired Sydney Lumet’s
Network, the story and its background remain mostly unknown. Some four
decades later, actress Kate Lyn Sheil is cast in a stylised version of the story,
and to prepare for the role, she investigates the mysteries and meanings
behind Christine’s tragic demise. Committed to doing justice to Christine’s
life, Kate candidly pulls back the curtain on her acting process. As a filmmaker,
Robert Greene systematically explores the concepts of fact and
fiction, performance and make-believe in different forms and contexts. In
one of his previous projects, he delved into the world of American wrestling,
only to turn his attention to the acting profession next. Kate Plays Christine
is a study of consummate physical and psychological metamorphosis in
which the actress blends with her character while the film itself remains
primarily a game.
This short documentary revolves around Jim who tames wild horses as a way to come to terms with losing his wife and daughter. An insight into how one man views his existence and how it relates to the existence of others, the film explores the infinite momentum of life via energy never destroyed only transformed. Inhale is part of Bridging the Gap, a documentary new talent initiative that offers training and opportunities to aspiring filmmakers.
While placed in the category of fiction, its main protagonists, members
of the Ravinger family, play themselves. They live at their own home and
nothing about their lives is stylised. It is an “ordinary” family living its
everyday life that is not special in any way. It is a life without much drama,
although every member of the family must cope with their own problems.
A film on everydayness, Our Daily Life is an almost sociological probe into an
ordinary family living in Czechoslovakia at the end of the 1960s. We follow
the family dynamics including mutual relations, hierarchy and “conflict”
between the rational and the emotional. We see the growing up of children
and the related pressure from their coevals, the fear of exclusion, the first
date with love, but also financial problems and dilemmas of what a family
can and cannot afford.
An adaptation of a classic play by Tennessee Williams tells the story of
a woman who is in the process of losing everything, particularly her mental
health. Blanche seeks temporary refuge with her sister Stella and her
husband Stanley, but the initial conflict with Stanley escalates while Blanche
slumps deeper and deeper in her issues.
The role of Stanley Kowalski was the first big role for Marlon Brando who
introduced the so-called method acting to the big screen. Compared to
Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden who unlike him won Academy
Awards for their performances, Brando is much more subtle in experiencing
emotions while retaining a strong physical presence. He became the first
star of the Actors Studio and a role model for future generations of actors.
Along with Elia Kazan, Lee Strasberg and others, he launched a revolution in
The characters in this film wander through the maze of eroticism and love, with desire being their only guide. “I really wanted it to be a ‘sentimental crowd’; even the monster is sentimental,” said director Yann Gonzalez. “I wanted it to be a dream which is affectionate as well as erotic … i wanted to stage fantasies in a dark, sometimes even a little cliché manner, and add a layer of feelings … Suddenly, an ultra-lyrical love dialogue is added to all this, while being a priori very raw.”
Restorer Eva Kamenická (rendered beautifully by Božidara Turzonovová)
arrives to an unidentified village where she has been summoned to restore
the dilapidated wall painting of Ulysses’ wife Penelope in the hall of the
local castle. The local community accepts her rather cautiously and although
Eva’s appearance and temperament sticks out of the local colour, the
unknown place gradually opens up to her and reveals its tragic secrets. Thus
Eva meets a good-natured, limping Viktor (Michal Dočolomanský) who is
not the sole victim of the abandoned quarry by the village, his embittered
and silent father (Gustáv Valach) and a woman (Eva Kristínová) who is
called Wallflower of Change by the locals because she has been waiting for
40 years for her husband and son to return from America where they went
to seek jobs. The main character fulfils her determination to start anew in
this improbable place while the main protagonist manages to lend her role
a touch of believability and inevitability.
His first feature since Honey, which won Berlin Golden Bear in 2010, this is
a bold departure from the intimate tales of contemporary Turkey for which
director Semih Kaplanoğlu’s is best known.
In an undefined near future, Professor Erol Erin lives in a community protected
from multi-ethnic immigrants by magnetic walls. For unknown reasons,
the community’s farms have been devastated by a genetic crisis. Erol learns
about Cemil Akman, a fellow geneticist who wrote a thesis about the looming
crisis affecting genetically modified seeds, and sets out on a journey beyond
the wall to find him, a journey that will change everything Erol knew.
Inspired by a chapter from the Quran and shot in the United States,
Germany and Turkey, this philosophical sci-fi tells a post-apocalyptic story
set in a world where those that survived are divided between the remnants
of cities ruled by corporations and populated by elites and the areas called
Dead Lands where genetically incompatible immigrants suffer from drought
It is easy to ridicule bodybuilders and picture them as brute barbarians
whose sole concern is the size and symmetry of their musculature. But
Denis Côté in his latest motion picture chose to portray them rather as
gentle creatures each of whom must have been brought to their hobby by
something, although we may never discover what it was. Côté follows six
bodybuilders and, as one would expect, he depicts them as if everything
revolved around the carnal desire for the perfection of their flesh, as if
they lacked any other purpose in life. We don’t know what they have been
through or what they do for a living, and we realise that there is more to
their stories that remains unaddressed – for instance when we see one of
them weeping. Nevertheless, Côté’s portrayal brings a civil dimension to his
A take on the human perspective of animals, the picture follows art students
who watchfully observe an animal model, a meticulous work of a taxidermist
but especially animals themselves in a Québec safari park. It offers pure
observation as it even avoids any language at all. The shots are long and the
composition is usually untraditional; they are like tableaux without context,
forcing the viewer to think about what remains unseen.
A film essay in the best sense of the word, Bestiaire is subjective yet open to
countless interpretations. It may criticise people’s habit to keep animals in
unnatural habitats just as it may celebrate their fascination with animals. It
is very much about the viewers taking their own point of view.
The main protagonists of this stark and severe film taking place in the
Canadian tundra near snow-covered Montreal are father and his 12-year-old
daughter (played by actual father and daughter) who live without much
social contact, particularly the daughter who does not even attend school at
the wish of her father who seems to protect her zealously against something
we don’t quite see but it is clear he is obsessed with it. Instead of explaining
some of the mysteries, the film adds more of the same, like a pile of frozen
human bodies in a nearby forest where the daughter goes to play.
Curling is a film about living on the edge of society, both voluntarily and
involuntarily. It revolves around two people who live with a secret and share
it with each other but refuse to speak about it.
Coralie lives on a desolate place with an elderly man who may and may not
be her father. Her mother has just been committed to a mental institution.
Living nearby are three local gangsters who sell drugs and are about to dip
their fingers in pimping as well. When Pierrot is released from prison, it sets
off a cascade of events leading to a bloody end.
But Denis Côté made neither a gangster flick nor a rural gothic horror. All
That She Wants is a story of solitude set against the backdrop of unspoken
past, with Coralie and her desire to break free from a bleak male-dominated
world in the spotlight. This minimalist tale is told through black-and-white
imagery with interesting compositions and great depth.
In the sunset of his life and aware of the inevitable – this is how Marián
Varga, the iconic character of Slovak big beat, is seen and portrayed up
close and personal by an aspiring Slovak directress, Soňa Maletzová who
sketches a portrait of an artist as an old man. “We are here for a moment,
by accident,” says the staunch admirer of Albert Camus while puffing from
his inseparable cigar. For some time, he tried to replace them with electronic
cigarettes but when he learned about his deadly diagnosis and poor
prospects, the doctors didn’t even bother to reprimand him. Ingenuously
editing archive footage, the film condenses various decades of Varga’s life
and career into integral music numbers in which the same composition
echoes through interpretations from various periods. His mortal frame along
perhaps with his style of playing and temperament changes visibly; however,
somewhere beneath Varga remains admirably unchanged, artistically and
Dalibor is a 37-year-old construction worker with a complicated family
background and an obvious fixation on his mother with whom he shares
a flat in a prefabricated building on a Prostějov housing estate. He hates
the Roma, the Jews, refugees, homosexuals, Angela Merkel and he is by no
means alone in his work and family environment. But above all he hates
his purposeless life. Since he has a peculiar kind of creativity, he lets out
his frustration through primitive horror videos and vulgar songs he shares
online. The serene relationship with his mother is suddenly turned upside
down by an alien, namely her new friend Vladimír. Dalibor’s reaction is
his first serious acquaintance that marks an end to his ostentatious lack of
interest in women and sexual life. The film is a documentary visit of those
fellow citizens who miss Adolf Hitler. “I mean, he is good, he only has dumb
ideas,” his mother says about Dalibor. Unfortunately, the views like his seem
to be around more and more often.
Meinhard Neumann is a reclusive construction worker who doesn’t feel at
home anywhere. That is why he doesn’t hesitate at all and accepts an offer
to join a company of German workers who are hired to build a hydroelectric
power plant in a remote part of Bulgaria. It is here in the Bulgarian-Greek
border area where people best understand each other without words that
Meinhard suddenly feels an urge to belong and decides to follow that urge
even at the cost of antagonising his fellow countrymen who view the local
people rather dismissively.
Respected German directress and screenwriter Valeska Grisebach has made
a subtle character study on modern Europe with some western elements
that are used here primarily to play havoc with the viewer’s expectations.
The picture examines important contemporary issues such as cultural
differences within Europe, economic migration and integration and, last but
not least, seeking one’s own identity.
A riveting feature-length directorial debut by a talented Swedish screenwriter
Amanda Kernell, Sami Blood takes an in-depth inside look at the Sámi
ethnic minority’s life in Sweden and almost physically depicts the darkest
parts of the country’s colonialist history.
The main character of the story is Elle Marja, a 14-year-old Sámi girl whose
family lives off breeding reindeers behind the Arctic Circle in the 1930s.
After she is exposed to ubiquitous racism of the era and subjected to
a humiliating examination at her boarding school, she begins to dream of
a new, different life. But in order to attain it, she must become somebody
else, which means severing all bonds with her family and culture. Besides
the poignantly realistic atmosphere, the film’s impact is amplified by the
impressive performance by Lene Cecilia Sparrok, a debuting young actress
who portrayed the heroine.
This French drama takes place in Paris in early 1990s when AIDS had already
claimed thousands of victims. The main character, Nathan, joins the activist
movement ACT UP whose mission is to increase awareness of this disease
and campaign against general public’s indifference, government’s idleness
and pharmaceutical firms’ wheeling and dealing. Here he meets with Sean,
the movement’s leading zealot whose political campaign is simultaneously
a struggle for his own life.
In his latest picture, French screenwriter and director Robin Campillo sensitively
develops a gay story against the background of a political struggle.
The name of the film refers to the average heart rate as the symbol of life
as well as the pulsating house music often played in period dance clubs his
“Carried by faultless performances and a heady house music soundtrack,
120 BPM (Beats per Minute) is a poignant and acute reminder of that generation’s
battle against an indifferent society and their relentless celebration of
life,” wrote the Euronews portal.
Durga is the name of a Hindu warrior goddess combating evils and demonic
forces and simultaneously the main character of the film who is on the run
from her home village along with a man. They must get to the nearest railway
station to catch a train out. In the middle of the night, they stop a car
with two small-time gangsters who offer them a ride. The couple get into
the car but the gangsters soon begin to be troublesome rather than helpful.
So begins a road movie through the Indian countryside that is full of fear
and peculiar characters. This formally polished film has no traditional plot
as it is rather about feelings, the power of words and gestures, and about
violence that never gets graphic. a woman named Durga may be worshipped
as a goddess, but what happens when she is suddenly thrown on the street in
the man’s world? Sexy Durga is a disquieting film that gets under your skin.
Mrs. J. has an awful lot to do this week: pay back some borrowed money,
make up with her pregnant daughter, correct a typing error in her name at
the registry, extract the severance pay from the belly-up factory where she
slaved half of her life away, go to a confession, place an order with the local
tombstone carver, and dig out an old pistol left by her late husband. She is
determined to settle all accounts that must be settled and then commit suicide
in a way worthy of a decent woman, which she undoubtedly is. In order
to manage all this, she must first wring a confirmation of labour history out
of her former employer. Alas, not even the simplest clerical operation, let
alone death, is easy to get done in a country amidst social and economic
transition. This brilliantly developed tragicomedy is a true acting concerto
by the superb Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović who carries virtually every
shot. Her subdued acting and the laconic directing of Bojan Vuletić lay the
groundwork for the moment of liberating catharsis.
Early morning of June 14, 1941, in Stalin-occupied Latvia: Soviet invaders
break into the home of Melanie and Aleksandrs, journalists working for an
independent Latvian newspaper, and force them to leave everything behind.
At the train station, they get shoved into cattle cars destined for Siberia
along with over 15,000 of their fellow citizens.
In the face of frost, famine and ferocity, Melanie seeks strength only through
writing hundreds of letters to Aleksandrs that never get sent, letters teeming
with hope for a free Latvia and a better tomorrow. For the full 16 years,
Melānija keeps a handwritten family chronicle for her son, Andrejs, as she
herself no longer has hopes of returning to Latvia.
Based on the true life story of Melānija Vanaga, the film is a celebration of
the unyielding human spirit and an agonising account of the greatest tragedy
ever to befall the Latvian nation. The motion picture is Latvia’s official
entry for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film.
Ciambra is a ghetto in Southern Italy inhabited by an isolated Romani
community. Its member, 14-year-old Pio, looks up to his older brother who
supports their large family thanks to car thefts and occasional burglaries.
One day he suddenly disappears and Pio tries to fill his shoes, determined
to become a man in an unequal struggle against the local underworld. On
his journey to early maturity he is accompanied by his good friend Ayiva, an
illegal immigrant from Burkina Faso.
Following his feature-length debut, Mediterranea, one of the most talented
contemporary filmmakers Jonas Carpignano made another naturalistic film
in which he again demonstrated his flair for non-actors. Both films form
part of a loose trilogy interconnected through the main characters; the first
follows the story of migrant Ayiva, the second tells the story of his Romani
friend Pio. The director met Pio while making his short film, a Chjána. When
his car with filming equipment got stolen, his friend suggested looking for it
Chloé, a young and fragile woman with proneness to depressions begins
to frequent psychotherapy sessions and soon falls head over heels for her
psychologist, Paul. After the fresh lovers move in together, Chloé begins
to unveil increasing inconsistencies in Paul’s past until one day she quite
by chance discovers the existence of his identical twin brother, Louis. Why
does Paul stow his brother away from the world? What is the age-old secret
that simultaneously connects and divides them? And did Chloé really meet
his twin brother or is it just an elaborate lie that is supposed to help Paul
hide his darker alter ego? Seething with eroticism, the latest thriller by the
award-winning French director François Ozon is a sophisticated cinematic
tribute to legendary motion pictures such as Rosemary’s Baby, Dead Ringers
or Basic Instinct.
“While we watch the ‘cat fail’ of the day in cheerful safety, all that remains invisible in this neoliberal nightmare catches up with us,” said Brenda Lien of her debut film. “The cat’s body is consumed, exploited and controlled. The fear of pain is greater than the will for freedom. Objects are fetishized and subjects are made into things – quantifiable and ready for use. They are the natural commodity for a luxury they are not even aware of.”
Three young men set up an antenna for their ham radio (amateur radio) in an urban chawl of Pune, Maharashtra. They want to connect with the International Space Station (ISS) that orbits the Earth. The astronauts on the ISS thus begin to transmit space weather to all ham radio listeners. A young man with his hand held radio antenna listens to different frequencies wandering through different spaces.
Born in Pedreirados Húngaros, a slum on the outskirts of Lisbon, Karlon is the pioneer of creole rap on the run from the housing project to which he has been relocated. He spends sleepless nights in sweltering tropical heat. Among the sugar canes, a rumour arises but Karlon doesn’t stop singing. The film is a probing and imaginative exploration of Karlon’s memories, the institutional siege, and the submerged stories from dark times.
17 years ago, Homo erectus fossils were found at the archaeological site in Lampang. Nowadays, nobody cares about this scientific discovery anymore, except for some locals who occasionally use it for spiritual activities. But one evening when an outdoor cinema truck screens a film at the site as an offering to an ancient ghost, something unexpected happens. The film was produced by Kick the Machine Films, the studio of acclaimed artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 7 PM. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life. Dwelling on the verge of film essay and poetry, Kalthoum’s latest film is a cinematically impressive and a remarkably personal testimony about the life in exile, confirming his reputation as one of the most original young filmmakers of his region.
Across walls, fences and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separation but make homes in them. Rat Film is a provocative documentary that uses the rat – as well as the humans who love them, live with them, and kill them – to explore the history of Baltimore. “There’s never been a rat problem in Baltimore – it’s always been a people problem,” says one local rat exterminator. Clearly influenced by the cinematic language from the era of Internet videos, director Theo Anthony in his urbanistic essay loosely combines archive materials, maps and urban plans with documentary portraits of excluded communities’ inhabitants in order to point out the history of social and racial segregation whose fruits continue to be identifiable in the divided American society to the present day. His film is a precisely researched study, an accusation and a formally innovative work of art.
They come at night. Everyone steps out of their homes. They light torches and remember those who have walked these streets before them. In the next few hours, the city will be on lockdown as an eclipse appears and meteors start to fall.
Blending documentary filmmaking and political commentary, and connecting the earthly to the cosmos, Meteors is a film about memory and disappearance. Although born from the impulse of concrete events and anchored in the political reality of contemporary Turkey and smouldering civil war with the Kurdish minority, the film manages to exceed this context thanks to bold treatment of the metaphor.
Six formally diverse chapters serve as reconnaissance of the land, animals, people, and finally the sky, which reacts to their actions through fiery signs, all this in contrast black-and-white imagery with acknowledged digital texture – a visual feature of the modern time in an almost timeless film.
„We screwed until we could screw no more, and in the autumn i became pregnant.“ A female voice soberly introduces us to her own experience from an invisible position outside the image’s sharply framed window on Western welfare reality. New technology raises new ethical dilemmas and one them is brought to a head in this formally conscious essay – which even allows itself to do so with an edge of bone-dry irony. What do you do if your foetal scan reveals that your child does not live up to modern society’s expectations of normality? A painful question that more and more people have to ask themselves. The perfectly composed images and the edgy controversion could be signed by Jacques Tati and Harun Farocki, but Thomas Fürhapter is pursuing a different yet highly human mission in his impressive first film.
Separated from his family and caught in the cycle of gambling and debt,
Jim, a working-class Melbourne dad, has less than a day to repay a violent
loan shark. His life is turned upside down when he must look after his young
son. When Jim’s last desperate effort to repay the debt puts his son’s life in
danger, he must make a choice between his past and his future.
On his day-long journey, Jim learns to let go of his own trauma of abandonment
and take a second chance at life: to be a father to his son. He
chooses to love and be loved. “West of Sunshine is a metaphor for Jim’s life.
It’s a place where the sun never sets, the place in your mind where family is,
where love is, where hope and the future reside,” said writer/director Jason
Celebrating the simple but fundamental values of humanity and family
in a disconnected society, the film had its world premiere as part of the
Horizons section at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
For insurance purposes, the dashboards of many Russian cars are equipped with on-board cameras that constantly record the traffic so that they can produce evidence about the culprits of traffic accidents. An unintended by-product of this practice is a great number of randomly recorded bizarreness that entertains and shocks the online population in the form of viral videos and unwittingly affects the image of modern Russia and its people, their habits and temperament. In this particular case, Dmitrii Kalashnikov acts in the capacity of a quaint curator rather than a director. Sticking to the principle of not editing individual recordings, he creates a conceptual mosaic of videoed weirdos: a runaway bride, a nutcase drug addict on the hood of a car, a stray parachutist, the site of murder of Boris Nemtsov near the Kremlin… and tons of crushed coachworks. An ample dose of black-and-black humour and absurdity mixed with stunning images of destruction you will not be able to take your eyes from. Somebody call an ambulance!
After his mother’s death, Nahuel lives with his stepfather in Buenos Aires.
a violent brawl during a rugby practice gets him expelled from his school
and now, for the first time, he is sent to live with his estranged biological
father, Ernesto, who is a hunting guide in Patagonia. The two of them never
had any actual relationship as it has been more than a decade since they
last saw each other. Nahuel’s rebelliousness and Ernesto’s harshness will
combine to cement a new father-son bond during the hunting season.
At first, their relationship is so fragile that any kind of mishandling could
destroy it. Against the backdrop of the harsh and cold wilderness, Nahuel
and Ernesto must incubate their budding feelings for one another while
struggling to remain emotionally invulnerable and burying their fears of
losing each other. Hunting might just work as an excellent excuse to bring
them together and become the common ritual of mutual maturation.
On a cold winter’s night in modern Tehran, two young lovers get into
a serious problem and they have just a few hours to fix it. They run around
from one hospital to the next in search for help, but none of the doctors
will admit the young woman and provide her with the medical attention she
so desperately needs. While the couple is trying hard to find a solution to
the problem, they must simultaneously hide their love from their parents.
As a result, their relationship is facing a crisis and threatens to suffer dire
consequences of their youthful naivety.
Caught between conservative traditions and modern desires, the couple
must face their uncertain future. The longest night of their lives will put
their relationship to the test and see them forever changed by the sobering
light of sunrise.
Disappearance explores the issues of young love and loss of innocence
within the confines of Iranian society.
The lengthy military conflict of the 1990s in former Yugoslavia left deep
scars in the memory of each belligerent nation. In this intense drama set
two decades after the series of civil wars ended, a group of middle-aged war
veterans from different backgrounds get together in an off-season hotel in
Bosnian mountains for an extended group therapy session, a “reconciliation
course” of sorts that is conducted by a Slovenian psychiatrist, Ivan.
Exploring the ability to forgive others only once we have forgiven ourselves,
the film brings together the crème de la crème of Balkan male actors. While
both acting and cinematography are almost documentary-like for the most
part of the running time, director Alen Drljević chose to work with some of
the region’s best talent rather than non-actors, which really paid off.
Men Don’t Cry won Special Jury Prize at the most recent edition of the
Karlovy Vary IFF.
Broke, with nothing but her cat and doors closing in her face, Paula is back
in Paris after some time away. As she meets different people along the way,
there is one thing she knows for sure: she is determined to jumpstart her life
and she will do so with style and panache.
Estranged from her mother and ignored by most of her former friends, Paula
just got a boot from her long-term boyfriend. As irresponsible as she is resourceful,
Paula slowly moves up the social ladder, moving from a temporary
crash pad to a cheap hotel to a modest but acceptable lodging. She has one
blue eye and one brown eye, a trait that makes her involved in one of many
intriguing episodes as she manages to turn a case of mistaken identity into
a job offer.
Set in the Parisian neighborhood of Montparnasse on the Seine’s left bank,
the film was made with a modest budget and an almost entirely female crew.
The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico is a site of festivity unlike any other in the world. In celebration of San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers, con agrant revelry engulfs the town for ten days. Artisans show off their technical virtuosity, up-and-comers create their own rowdy, lo-fi combustibles, and dozens of teams build larger-than-life paper mache bulls to parade into the town square, adorned with fireworks that blow up in all directions. More than three quarters of Tultepec’s residents work in pyrotechnics, making the festival more than revelry for revelry’s sake. Plunging headlong into the fire, this film honors the spirit of Tultepec’s community and celebrates celebration itself. Jakovleski’s ambitious debut is based on the principles of sensory ethnography, preferring sense data exhilaration to laborious explanation. Flickering flares, head-spinning haze, deafening detonations and thundering music – a film experience seldom gets this physical.
Three siblings born in Iraqi Kurdistan but raised in Germany return to their
homeland for their mother’s funeral. Her last wish is to be buried next to
their father in their native village but their uncle refuses to grant his sister’s
wish. The siblings therefore decide to steal their mother’s coffin and flee in
a pickup truck through the desolate landscape. During their odyssey, they
are not only confronted with their vast Kurdish family but also with one
another in a drama on severed family relations and the process of rediscovering
one’s own history.
Directress Soleen Yusef, herself a German citizen with roots in the depicted
area, chips in a Kurdish version of infamous historical events as the film
reflects on the massacres of Kurds in Northern Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s
regime in the 1980s. However, as the siblings gradually come to terms with
the past, news reports of ISIS advance and the siege of Mosul point out the
contemporary reality and violence in this politically unstable region.
Bobbi Jene Smith dedicated ten years of her life to Batsheva, a world-famous Israeli dance troupe, during which she became one of its stars. Now she is thirty and feels like treading her own path for a while and perhaps making it big in the United States where she was born. She leaves behind not only Ohad Naharin, her mentor, genius choreographer and author of the “gaga” movement language, but also her dance and love partner who is ten years younger and not quite ready to leave his homeland. We become witnesses to a fascinating artistic struggle that requires the strength and courage to cross the borders of one’s own safe zone and eventually the boundaries of dance. “I want to get to that place where i have no strength to hide anything,” says the main protagonist. The power of this stunning lm that seamlessly blends a dance documentary with a love story lies in skilful narration and formal simplicity that brings out the heroine’s talent and openness.
Sherry, a self-destructive makeup saleswoman, lives by her own set of rules,
spending her days confidently touting for makeup products and her nights
picking up men at bars. She refers to self-help books for inspiration and
likes to watch old black-and-white movies on a small TV set before heading
out to the nearest bar to escape her suburban milieu. Once there, she
chain-smokes, drinks far too much and picks up just any man for a night
of anonymous sex.
We soon learn that Sherry is estranged from her family. She occasionally
visits her young daughter, Alice, whom she has largely left to the care of her
sister, Abby, a quietly disappointed and angry woman who now demands
that Sherry step up to the plate, financially if not emotionally. Meanwhile,
no one talks about the child’s father.
After the ultimatum, Sherry tries to open up a beauty salon with her best
friend, Danny. But as Sherry’s love and business plans begin to unravel, she
takes control of her life in a dramatic turn of events.
Dr. Kaveh Nariman, a principled and virtuous man who works as forensic
pathologist at the medical examiner’s office, becomes involved in an
accident with a motorcyclist (Navid Mohammadzadeh) in which he injures
his 8-year-old son. He pays compensation to the father and offers to take his
child to a nearby clinic. The next morning, he finds out that the same little
boy has been brought in for an autopsy. Dr. Nariman faces a dilemma: did
the child die as a result of the accident or due to food poisoning according to
a fellow doctor’s diagnosis?
Exploring the issues of culpability and responsibility in a society that dwells
on the edge of the rule of law, the film has won Best Director Award for
Vahid Jalilvand and Best Actor Award for Navid Mohammadzadeh at the
Venice Horizons section of the 74th Venice IFF.
Jalilvand’s feature debut, Wednesday, May 9, was screened in the fiction
competition of the Bratislava IFF two years ago.
At an unspecified port, we are lead into a crowd of refugees through a trail of discarded lifejackets. Walking along a Greek highway, a little girl stands out from the crowd. Three-year-old Lean is brimming with curiosity and childlike energy. Without any background information on the child and her family, we follow them on their arduous journey across Europe. Filmed from one meter above the ground, the camera captures the story from the viewpoint of the child. We are with her and her little “Frozen” backpack amongst the legs and bags belonging to the adults around her. Throughout the tough journey she holds onto her childlike ability to normalize her days. She sings, plays and sleeps in the arms of her parents when she gets tired. The landscape changes continuously as national borders are crossed. The urgency of Larsen’s directorial debut lies in his ability to transport us in time and space. For several dozens of minutes, he makes the viewer feel as part of a throng of people wandering through the unknown terrain and seeking the promised land.