CONTENTS Page 3 Editorial 4-7 Varda by Agnes Agnes Varda, photographer, installation Artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague, is an institution of French Cinema, taking a seat on a theatre stage, she uses photos and film clips to provide an insight into her unorthodox oeuvre.
8-11 Gloria Bell A free-spirited woman in her 50s seeks out love at L.A. dance clubs.
12-15 The Souvenir A young film student in the early 80s becomes romantically involved with a a complicated and untrustworthy man.
16-19 The Flood A hardened immigration officer decides the fate of a dangerous asylum seeker.
20-23 Photograph A struggling street photographer in Mumbai, pressured to marry by his grandmother, convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancĂŠe. The pair develop a connection that transforms them in ways they could not expect.
24-30 FilmFest Follower The screening programme of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
31 DVD of the Month 4 by Agnes
32 Poster: Varda by Agnes
PHOTO CREDITS: BFI: 1,4,6,7,32. CURZON ARTIFICIAL EYE: 8,10,11,12,14,15,16,18,19,20,22,23. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We would like to thank the following: Jill Reading, Elizabeth Dunk of the BFI. Jake Garriock at Curzon Artificial Eye. Tyra Cooper at Panther.
EDITORIAL This issue of MbM is dedicated to Agnes Varda and it is the last film that she made that is our cover feature review: “Varda By Agnes”. She was one of a group of French filmmakers who during the late 1950s and 60s who reacted against established French cinema and make more individualistic and innovative films. AGNES VARDA Varda’s first feature “La Pointe Courte (1956), was edited by Alain Resnais, and the resulting mix of documentary material with fictive characters and situations would become a hallmark of her subsequent work. “Cleo from 5 to 7”, demonstrated in its audacious mixture of colour and black & white, a stylistic adventurousness by her New Wave colleagues. Her next feature, “Le Bonheur (1965), is a departure for Varda. Shot in a pop art style of colourful excess, reminiscent of the style she found artificial in the films of her husband, Jacques Demy, it tells the tale of a young woman happily married with two children, until her husband takes a mistress. Confronted with her husband’s infidelity, she drowns herself. Besides the aforementioned films, other films reviewed in this issue are: “Gloria Bell”, “The Souvenir”, “The Flood”, and “Photograph”. Our regular feature FilmFest Follower looks at the films to be screened at Karlovy Vary. While DVD OF THE MONTH is 4 by Agnes: Le Pointe Courte, Cleo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, Vagabond.
Enjoy the Read
Brian Mills Magazine Editor
Paul Ridler Magazine Designer
VARDA BY AGNES Directed by Agnes Varda Starring: Agnes Varda, Sandrine Bonnaire, Herve Chandes Inspiration, creation and sharing. Ah, Varda! Agnes Varda! Photographer, installation artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague, an institution of French Cinema. In this her final film, legendary Agnes Varda takes to the stage to give a masterclass on her remarkable life and career as a filmmaker extraordinaire, illuminating her lecture on what she terms cine-writing’. As with her films, you feel privileged to be in her presence as she journeys in time through the cinematic corridors of her life. Come, join us, and experience this charming documentary as she speaks about her films and the magical memories, she has had of making them. Varda has always been fascinated by documentary and its realism: some of the greatest moments of her early masterpiece Cleo 5-7, about her approach to this realism is governed by a need are simply filming real people of Paris reacting to imaginary character walking through the streets. But Varda likes to talk about a need to juxtapose the image with the reality. She loves to photograph and interview people, showing results of these types of portraiture and then record their reactions. She uses editing techniques to illustrate some of her points but there are also asides, such as when we her chatting with children about a film that shows the construction of a tomb to her cat. She also mentions her late husband, Jacques Demy, and how they were both courted by Hollywood after his success with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. She speaks also, with great modesty, about her extraordinary film about him, Jacquot de Nantes with its stunningly good dramatizations of Demy’s childhood. Her emotions about these times are evident in her work. Her films are her signature. She rediscovered her passion for still photography – and her own still photographs, selecting from a remarkable personal archive,
built up over many years. Once again, she superimposes, juxtaposes, collages, to create a beautiful and mysterious tableau. The wonder of watching Varda By Agnes is that one wants to revisit her films again, while seeking others that you havenâ€™t yet seen. Among the film clips:
THE BEACHES OF AGNES Weaving present day sequences with photography, scenes from her own films and portraits of her friends and family, Agnes Varda takes us on a memorable voyage through her life, during which she confronts the joys of creation and artistic success and the pain of personal loss and ageing. Idiosyncratic, engaging and deeply moving. Winner of Best Documentary Cesar Award 2009.
FACES PLACES Agnes Varda teams up with acclaimed French photographer and muralist, JR, to co-direct this enchanting documentary/road movie. Kindred spirits, Varda and JR share a lifelong passion for images and how they are created, displayed and shared. Together they travel around villages of France in JRâ€™s photo truck meeting locals, learning their stories, and producing epic -size portraits of them. The photos are prominently displayed on houses, barns, storefronts, and trains revealing the humanity in their subjects and themselves. Faces Places documents these heart-warming encounters, as well as the unlikely tender friendship they formed along the way.
VARDA BY AGNES IS A MAGICAL DELIGHT AND SHOULD BE SEEN BY EVERYONE WHO CLAIMS TO LOVE FILMS.
VARDA BY AGNES WILL BE THEATRICALLY RELEASED ON
Agnes Varda in Varda by Agnes.
Agnes Varda in Varda by Agnes. 6
Agnes Varda in Varda by Agnes.
Agnes Varda in Varda by Agnes.
GLORIA BELL Directed by Sebastian Lelio Starring: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Caren Pistorius Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited divorcee who spends her days at strait-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. After meeting Arnold (John Turturro) on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family. This sophisticated romantic comedy shows love can strike at any time, relationships are never simple, and nothing can get you down as long as you keep dancing. Julianne Moore is outstanding as Gloria Bell and really makes the role her own. She brings to the part her expertise as an actress in taking on challenging characters and Gloria Bell is no exception. An Academy Award winning actress and Emmy winner as well and the honour of being the first woman to win top acting prizes at the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice film festivals. She is also a New York Times-bestselling author, for her Children’s book series “Freckleface Strawberry”. John Turturro in one of his best screen performances in his very successful career; won Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for the lead role in the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink. What may seem very unusual about Gloria Bell is that it is a remake of the director’s own film which was simply called Gloria. Sebastian Lelio is the writer, producer and director of Gloria Bell. He is a Chilean filmmaker and the original version of Gloria premiered at Berlin and went on to become a critical and popular success. It went on to win the Ecumenical Jury and the Gilde Award and earned a Silver Bear for Best Actress Paulina Garcia. The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and at London’s Critic’s Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film, it was also Chile’s entry for the 2014 Academy Awards. So, let us hear Sebastian Lelio’s take on Gloria Bell: I am often asked “Why a re-imagining of your own film?” I could talk for hours as to why, but there’s one very simple answer: Because of my admiration for Julianne Moore. 8
I met Julianne on a summer day in Paris in 2015. I had been told that she loved Gloria, but I hadn’t thought she would want to remake it. I was close to starting two new movies, and the film was somewhat farther from my thoughts. But the conversation with Julianne was magical. I was touched by her strong passion for Gloria’s character and story. At the end of our meeting, she said, “I would only do this if you would direct it,” and I immediately replied, “And I would only direct it if you are in it.” Having the chance to revisit my own materials, to find a new vehicle to examine what is universal about the original story and to see it reborn with a supreme artist like Julianne Moore was too tempting, too exciting. Having the chance to work with Julianne, John Turturro and the other amazing actors was revitalizing and inspiring.
Gloria Bell, is like the cover of a melody that we created, played again in a new moment, in a new context, and by a new band. We tried to honour the discoveries and DNA of the original film, at the same time, we were searching for new tones, new vibrations, ne sparkles. We did it for the joy of making a film, for the excitement of the risk, and for the artistic challenge. It was an act of freedom. I made two films after the original Gloria – A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience – so I was somewhere else as a person and as a filmmaker when we started shooting Gloria Bell. I suppose that new place from where I was operating made its way into the fabric of the film; in terms of the style, colours, camera language, the way of using score. There is a new energy that lives in the film. And Julianne More’s take on Gloria: I admire the fact that she is someone who keeps on going no matter what. I love Sebastian’s work. I love that he observes Gloria in all aspects of her life; her romantic life, her domestic life, her family life. The film is very autobiographical and is obviously why Sebastian Lelio is so good at writing parts for women as he grew up with his grandmother, mother and his two sisters, Once again, experience gives the film that emotional touch and transfers it to the audience.
GLORIA BELL IS ON THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE UK
Gloria (Julianne Moore) & Arnold (John Turturro) in Gloria Bell .
Gloria (Julianne Moore) in Gloria Bell. 10
Gloria (Julianne Moore) and Players in Gloria Bell.
Gloria (Julianne Moore) & Arnold (John Turturro) in Gloria Bell.
THE SOUVENIR Directed by Joanna Hogg Starring: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton We can all be sincere, but what’s it all for? - Anthony Joanna Hogg wrote the script based on her own real life experiences while attending film school in London in the early 80’s. Tilda Swinton and Hogg have been friends since they were ten years old, and Swinton witnessed Hogg’s relationship at the time. All the actors read the script except for Honor Swinton Byrne. Director Joanna Hogg gave her instead her diaries from the early 80’s, notes, photographs, old scripts and films she wrote and made at that time. She was told to improvise every scene, while the rest of the cast had scripts but were still told to react to her as well as they could. Tom Burke was also given old letters, recordings and drawings from the man his character is based on. Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is an aspiring film student who wants to tell stories beyond her privileged background. Fate offers a hand when she meets Anthony (Tom Burke) at a party. She is attracted by his mysterious persona, introducing himself as working at the Foreign Office, but seems more interested in what she does and challenging her ideas, yet winning her over with his humour and his enthusiastic knowledge of the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, particularly “A Matter of Life and Death”, a fantasy about a World War 2 pilot who falls in love with the voice of an American radio operator just as he is about to fall from his burning airplane to certain death. There is a shadowy similarity with “The Souvenir” and its narrative, as undoubtedly Julie will be taking her life into her hands when she falls for Anthony whose life, unbeknown to her, is nose-diving into crashing unless Julie unravels his ways as an habitual liar and thief and consequently a totally unreliable friend or lover. It is at this stage in the story that the audience becomes as bemused as Julie and begins to wonder why she was so gullible to fall for him in the first place. 12
The story is not worth the effort of following and like it’s protagonist, is going nowhere….and what is the meaning behind its supposedly clever title…you may well puzzle over this for quite a while…but I assure you it will not be worth the cerebral effort. However, there is one redeeming factor if we look a little deeper at Julie’s vulnerability and how the story touches on how important it makes her feel helping the person she loves, her realization that Anthony is out of his depth with his mounting and seemingly endless problems. Anthony is constantly asking her for money, his behaviour becomes even more erratic and his absences longer. One of his friends eventually asks Julie what’s she’s doing dating a heroin addict. Their romance begins to crack. She still loves him, and stays be his side when he goes through withdrawal periods and waits for him through the night until he wanders back to her. In a way the film is one of missed opportunities both for the leading characters and the scenario. One soon forgets that Julie is actually at film school, yet besides a few sequences showing Julie directing a shoot, she shows little expertise and passion in making a film. Most of her time seems to be spent talking and there is a theatricality about her presence rather than a cinematic one. If this, was Joanna Hogg’s experience of film school then to chronicle it like this suggests that she regrets not making greater use of it and examines that time as a missed opportunity and a warning to aspiring filmmakers not to make the same mistake. One desperately tries to find a few memorable moments, but the film is never strong enough to suggest a reviewing. At Sundance, where it premiered, there were comments about its main character, Julie, and the frustrations they felt with her decision to stay in a clearly toxic relationship with Anthony. Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” is her semi-autobiographical film and her 4th feature. Her recurring themes are ‘unhappy relationships’. She is currently making “The Souvenir Part 2”. It will undoubtedly follow Julie’s character as she hopefully progresses in life…but one cannot….be sure.
Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) & Anthony (Tom Burke) in The Souvenir.
Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) in The Souvenir. 14
Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne)& Anthony (Tom Burke) in The Souvenir.
Anthony (Tom Burke) & Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) in The Souvenir.
THE FLOOD Directed by Anthony Woodley Starring: Lena Headey, Ian Glen, Arsher Ali, Ivanno Jeremiah Have you ever been arrested, convicted or charged with a crime in any country? - Wendy Ask again, Wendy. I don’t think he heard the question. - Philip Do you think I’m a terrorist? Is that why…? (holds up handcuffs) - Haile
That is standard procedure. - Wendy
Wendy (Lena Headey), a hardened immigration officer is offered a high-profile asylum case, judged on her ability to quickly and clinically reject applicants. Through her interrogation, she must uncover whether Haile (Ivanno Jeremiah) is lying and has a more sinister reason for seeking asylum. We follow Haile on his perilous 5000-kilometre journey – over oceans, across borders and amidst the flurry of the Calais Jungle – to find solace and safety in the UK. But now he must cross the final hurdle. Based on multiple true stories, The Flood is a thoughtful and timely reflection on the humanity within the refugee crisis. Set in France and the UK at a time when politics are more divisive than ever, the lines between refugees and terrorists are intentionally blurred by politicians, the filmmakers wanted to highlight the difference between the extraordinary and perilous journey people are making with the slow, clinical, and bureaucratic response around the world. The filmmakers researched heavily, basing the script on actual stories, including interviews with ex Home Office officials, for a measured and objective look at issues that permeate the news regularly. The filmmakers spent time volunteering in the Calais Jungle and felt compelled to make a film that was truthful to the refugee experience. The result is a poignant, measured piece of filmmaking, 16
setting itself apart as one of the few feature narrative films that explores what’s happening every day at our borders. The filmmakers wanted to be truthful to the refugee experience and avoided any cinematic bells and whistles. The Flood is therefore intentionally understated, unembellished, and has a measured pace.
The Flood is well made and extremely topical. It makes a political statement and therefore may not appeal to the average cinemagoer, but it does deserve a viewing. LENA HEADEY Lena first became noticed at 17 years of age by a casting director at a Theatre Competition in London. He described her as a fresh country girl, and subsequently cast her in her first feature film,” Wonderland”. She has risen quickly through film and TV parts. She has a trusted filmography but truly became noticed when she appeared in The Remains of the Day, which starred Anthony Hopkins. She played the love-struck maid Lizzie: “We have each other, that’s all one can ever need.”
The movie was released four years after the novel was published. The film was directed by James Ivory. Lena is mainly known for her role in the successful TV series Game of Thrones, in which she plays the role of Cersei Lannister. Whatever or wherever she may go, Lena Headey is a force to be reckoned with, or as her character says in “Game of Thrones” - “Power is power” When you watch her in The Flood, you will see exactly what she means.
THE FLOOD IS CURRENTLY ON RELEASE IN THE UK
Wendy (Lena Headey) in The Flood.
Philip (Iain Glen) in The Flood.
Wendy (Lena Headey) & Philip (Iain Glen) in The Flood.
Haile (Ivanno Jeremiah) in The Flood.
PHOTOGRAPH Directed by Ritesh Batra Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Sachin Khedekar When I saw the photograph, he took of me, I didn’t see myself. I saw someone who looked happier than me. - Miloni
A struggling street photographer in Mumbai, pressured to marry by his grandmother, convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée. The pair develop a connection that transforms them in ways they could not expect. What starts out as a story based on the theme of a ‘still photograph’ becomes a ‘moving one’ in the hands of director Ritesh Batra and leading actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra. This is a delicately conceived romantic comedy about a man who makes a living roaming the streets of Mumbai taking pictures of tourists and selling them to them with a perfect sales pitch: Years from now when you look at this photograph, you’ll feel the sun on your face. Here’s today in a photograph. One day, Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), takes a photo of a shy student, Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) which will win his heart as she meets him again to aak if he would take another picture of her. As Rafi is under pressure from his grandmother to marry, he asks Miloni if she would pose as his potential bride when his grandmother arrives and their date gradually becomes a lasting connection that sees them meeting every day while the old lady stays in Rafi’s modern accommodation which he shares with a group of unmarried men. The film is leisurely paced, amplifying the ambiance of its setting and the photography caresses the visual splendour of the sun-kissed streets. Beyond this there is the inner depth of a story that is enjoyable to watch, as was Batra’s “The Lunchbox” which Siddiqui and told a romantic fantasy wrapped around the mistaken identity in Mumbai’s lunchbox delivery service
engagingly again starred idea of connecting a
young housewife to an older man in the dusk of his life as they create a fantasy together through notes left in the lunchbox. Like that film, Batra has concocted an original idea about a romantic relationship which is charming. How did Batra go about making the film and casting his actors and particularly the charismatic Sanya Malhotra, what was her take on the role of Miloni? I am a huge fan of “The Lunchbox” and I got a call from Ritesh after seeing my debut film and after a few days, he said there is a script and he would like me to read it. I was very excited and called my mother.
I read the script and was hooked on it. I could relate to the character. She is a very shy introvert kind of person, doesn’t like to talk a lot. And if given the chance, I could sit at my home and do nothing and talk to no one. She is a very complexed character and Ramesh helped me to know her better. Miloni overthinks a lot. Though she doesn’t talk. She’s very reticent. She doesn’t let anybody know what she’s thinking about. I had so much fun playing this character. It actually took me a lot of time getting it out of system. I was enjoying her own world while shooting and also while the shoot was over.
What this film is at its heart is an old-fashioned romance like Hollywood used to make. Rafi is told by his grandmother that he has found the right one and he must not let her go. And when he finally realizes that she is right he finds a way to give her something that she once loved that is no longer made….and how he goes about this is just magical to watch – what one does to prove you really love someone. Ah, that is the magic of true love…and the magic of cinema. Thank you, Ritesh, for creating this memorable movie that years from now we may look on this moving picture and feel the sunshine in our hearts.
Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) in Photograph.
Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) & Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) in Photograph. 22
Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui)& Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) in Photograph.
Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), Grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar) in Photograph.
KARLOVY VARY 2019 OFFICIAL SELECTION COMPETITION THE AUGUST VIRGIN
Directed by Jonais Trueba
Directed by Jan-Ole Gerster
In the hot summer months, when Madrilerious leave their homes in droves to escape the insufferable heat, the centre of Madrid is left abandoned. That is, except for the tourists and a handful of undaunted locals – and those who can’t see the way forward, like Eva, a charming thirty-something. Told with appealing finesse, the story unfolds during the city’s August festivals, when a person’s inner turmoil can be soothed by fleeting encounters and unexpected adventures.
Lara has just turned sixty. It’s a very special day that will culminate in a career-defining piano concerto given by her son. Viktor remains elusive, however, his mother’s repeated attempts to get through to him come to nothing. German acting legend Corinna Harfouch stars in this precisely crafted psychological study by one of the most successful German filmmakers of his generation, Jan-Ole Gerster, who here takes up the thread of his critically acclaimed debut On Boy.
THE FATHER Directed by Kristina Grozeva & Peter Valchanov After losing his wife Ivanka, Vasil believes that she is using his phone to reach him from beyond the grave, so he enlists the services of a psychic to try to contact with her. His son Pavel tries to bring him to his senses, but Vasil stubbornly insists on doing things his own way. This small-scale family drama about the difficulties of connecting with close to us, includes many of the carefully arranged absurd or comic situations typical for the Bulgarian filmmaking duo.
HALF-SISTER Directed by Damjan Kozole Half-sisters who were never that close are forced by circumstance to share a flat in Ljubjana. The leading Slovene director returns to Karlovy Vary with a remarkably precise study of alienation and the inability to communicate, in a film characterised by polished dialogue, plentiful black humour and entirely natural performances.
LA BELLE INDIFFERENCE
LET THERE BE LIGHT Directed by Marko Skop A Slovak village is getting ready for Christmas. Forty-year-old Milan travels from Germany where he works to be home with his family. However, the serene and festive atmosphere is unsettled by the suspicion that his son, a member of a paramilitary youth organisation, might be involved in a harrowing event that stunned the local community. This compelling drama, about the strength and fragility of family ties, examines our sense of moral responsibility in a world where xenophobia takes precedence over compassion for those closest to us.
THE MAN OF THE FUTURE Directed by Felipe Rios Michelsen, an elderly truck driver, sets out on his last trip driving freight to the southern tip of Chilean Patagonia. The long and arduous drive through the magnificent, luxuriant natural landscapes, past lakes and extensive glaciers, ultimately becomes a recapitulation of his life when he unexpectedly happens upon his adult daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since her childhood.
Directed by Kivanc Sezer Onur is sacked from his job as manager of a pharmaceutical company. He’s not bothered about being unemployed, but the same cannot be said of his wife Bahar. Onur doesn’t listen to her and becomes indifferent not only to her anxieties but also to the world around him. He would rather be surrounded by more zebras. A drama with dashes of absurd comedy about events that are no laughing matter: a personal crisis that impacts their marriage.
MONSOON Directed by Hong Khaou Kit can’t remember much of his native Vietnam. When he returns to the land of the Golden Star for the first time in over thirty years, he takes in the local surroundings as any Western tourist would; everything seems remote and alien. A subtle film which records one man’s journey back to his roots as it evocatively mediates the rediscovery of his identity.
Directed by Zhai Yxiang
Directed by Tim Mielants
A diaphanously hypnotic story conveyed more through contemplative silence than words, in which a pregnant 14-year-old makes a surprising revelation when asked to name the father of her child. The young Chinese director follows in the footsteps of the Sixth-Generation filmmakers, taking fragments of impressions and moods to craft an unsettling image of the injured heroine, who remains proud and strong. Yet despite this – or perhaps for this reason – she finds herself mired in a deep chasm of alienation.
Patrick is in charge of maintenance at a naturist campsite owned by his father. His workshop is as well-ordered as his life, but nothing lasts forever. The loss of Patrick’s favourite hammer has a profound effect on him and sets off a chain of events from which the pensive lad emerges as a new man. A tragicomedy about the importance of keeping an eyes on your tools, about existential nudity, among other things, and about people for whom a trailer is their whole world.
ODE TO NOTHING Directed by Dwein Baltazar It seems as if nothing can upset Sonja’s routine. No-one cares about the ageing funeral shop owner anymore, except when she provides discounts on flowers and coffins. One day a body belonging apparently to no-one finds its way to her shop, and Sonja develops a highly unusual relationship with it. An inscrutable, tender and bitterly comic film about the desire for companionship.
TO THE STARS Directed by Martha Stephens Bullied by her classmates, reclusive Iris finds small-town life pure torment, for self-assured Maggie, however, moving to the provinces provides an opportunity to stand out from the rest. A film excelling in finely wrought detail that takes us back to the 1960s, a time when society, bound by gender prejudice, detested the idea of individuality in women.
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OFFICIAL SELECTION OUT OF COMPETITION MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE Directed by Richard Lowenstein A documentary journey into the complicated inner word of Michael Hutchence, the charismatic frontman of the Australian band INXS, whose popularity peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Director Richard Lowenstein elegantly combines home movies and news reports with concert footage and interviews with friends, colleagues, and former girlfriends – the only ones to whom the famous singer revealed his true self.
OLD-TIMERS Directed by Martin Dusiek & Ondfej Provaznik Vasta and Tonda don’t have much longer to live but they do have one important task ahead of them – to find and kill the communist prosecutor who sent them to prison in the 1950s. An unusual road movie about two former political prisoners who fight for justice despite every obstacle.
ARREST Directed by Andrei Cohn August 1983, somewhere in Romania. The bright summer’s day that Dinu is spending with his family on the beach is darkened by the arrival of the police and his unexplained arrest. He finds himself sharing a cell with small-time crook Vali, who soon proves to be quite a sinister fellow inmate. A formally inventive drama about the chilling absurdity of totalitarian regimes.
THE BULL Directed by Boris Akopov Gang leader Anton Bykov, known as the Bull, ends up at the police station after a scuffle with a rival criminal group. He only manages to avoid prison thanks to the intervention of a feared mafia boss, who nevertheless asks him to pull off a risky job in return. A taut feature debut from one-time ballet dancer Boris Akopov, surprising for its maturity and compulsive dynamism.
A CERTAIN KIND OF SILENCE
Directed by Lendita Zeqiraj
Directed by Michel Hogenauer
A diverse group of women live in a remote mountain location. The only male element in the house is nine-year-old Aga, the son of one of the women. Opening the East of the West Competition, Lendita Zeqiraj’s debut authentically re-creates the vibrant world of her energetic female protagonists, in which the flow of stories, the sound of singing, and course humour cannot mask the dark undertone of the country’s wartime past and its enduring ethnic tensions.
Mia goes to live with a family as their au pair. As soon as she arrives, however, she discovers that they have strict household rules: breaking any of them will lead to her immediate dismissal. The young woman has to decide whether to preserve her integrity or conform to a lifestyle that is utterly alien to her.
THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY Directed by Martin Krejci Paul, the protagonist of Martin Krejc9’s eagerly anticipated feature debut, is growing up with his father. Making friends is practically impossible because he looks drastically different from his peers: he has the condition known as congenital hypertrichosis, meaning that he suffers from an abnormal amount of hair growth all over his face and body. On his thirteenth birthday, Paul decides to seek out his mother in order to get answers to unasked questions.
EAST OF THE WEST COMPETITION LAST VISIT
Directed by Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan
Directed by Karolis Kaupinis
On the way to a wedding Nasser finds out that his father is dying. He changes plans and heads straight off with adolescent son Waleed to his dad’s small town. However, the strictly upheld customs they encounter in this environment start to affect Waleed and Nasser’s relationship. Using the story of a family encounter as its backdrop, the film adapts a realistic approach to discussing Islamic traditions while it examines the pure nature of paternal love.
1938. Anew war looms on the horizon. Geographer Gruodis comes up with a novel solution to the situation. He proposes creating a “backup Lituania” overseas, a place where the country’s inhabitants could move in case of danger…Working with carefully composed black and white shots, debuting director Karolis Kaupinis has recast this original idea into the gripping drama of a man trying to save hishomeland while facing the collapse of his marriage.
PASSED BY CENSOR Directed by Serhat Karaasian
MAMONGA Directed by Stefan Maiesevic Jovana works behind the counter at a bakery in the small town where she lives with her father. Her somewhat shy peer Marko is supposed to follow in his own father’s footsteps and become a truck driver. But the events of one-night change both their lives. Serbian director Stefan Maisevic debuts with a formally distinctive triptych whose loose narrative structure challenges the viewer to actively participate in putting together the pieces of the mosaic.
MY THOUGHTS ARE SILENT Directed by Antonio Lukich Twenty-five-year-old Vadym works as a sound recordist. When a generous job offer comes along which could help him fulfil his dream to move to Canada, he doesn’t think twice and sets out to record the sound of animals in the Carpathians. In his visually inspired road movie, subtly enhanced by its synthesized score, debuting director Antonio Lukich demonstrates a highly unusual talent in constructing tragicomic situations.
Zakir works in a prison as a censor. Each day he reads dozens of letters, carefully blacking out everything not meant for the eyes of those serving time. A photograph inserted into one of the envelopes disrupts his regular routine, and his interest in the unknown woman in the picture grows into an obsession. A psychological study of an individual who gradually loses his personal and professional integrity while becoming trapped in his own fantasy world.
SCANDINAVIAN SILENCE Directed by Martii Helde A brother and sister set out across a silent winter landscape, but after years apart they have difficulty communicating. This minimalist study of a difficult sibling relationship presents three versions of the same story, asking whether time can heal the wounds of the past.
SILENT DAYS Directed by Pavol Pekarcik The heroes of the four stories told in Silent Days all have their dreams and desires. But they also have something else in common: they live on the fridges of society in a private world closed off from the outside – even more so since they cannot hear…In a film partaking of both fiction and documentary, hearing-
impaired Romany children move about in their own environment as director Pavol Pekarcik defly textures little stories reflecting their inner lives.
ZIZOTEK Directed by Vardis Maarinakis After nine-year-old Jason is abandoned by his mother at a folk festival, he takes refuge in a cabin in the middle of the forest belonging to a mute loner named Minas. Although at first the man won’t take him in, a series of circumstances eventually leads them to form a family – something both of them have lacked for a long time. A touching tale of harmony and the yearning for intimacy that will captivate audiences with its dreamlike atmosphere.
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SPECIAL EVENTS THE DOWNFALL OF THE SECLUDED BERHOF
JIRI SUCHY – TRACKING LIFE WITH EASE
Directed by Jiri Svoboda
Directed by Olga Sommerrova
The war is finally over but the atmosphere is still tense. Ulrika lives in a secluded spot in the mountains near the German border, condemned to coexist with her boorish father after her mother’s death. Ond day a German nun bursts into the house accompanied by three young Wehmacht soldiers, she has to get them back home whatever the cost. The drama, which draws together characters variously deformed by circumstance, is compelling for its deliberately restrained direction, masterfully passed suspense, and its evocative depiction of an utterly bleak environment.
Theatre personality, musician, poet, writer, graphic artist, collector, citizen. One of the key figures of the domestic cultural scene over the last six decades and a tireless campaigner for the enrichment of the Czech language. Olga Sommerrova’s documentary presents a portrait of an artist and a man – a portrait of our times.
FORMAN VS FORMAN Directed by Helena Trestokova & Jakub Hejna A comprehensive portrait of the Oscarwinning Czech director. The movie is unique for its ingenious complilation of images drawing on existing footage and also on hitherto unknown shots discovered in the collections of friends and colleagues. On set and in interviews the filmmaker contemplates the notion of freedom and its limitations.
THE SLEEPERS Directed by Ivan Zacharias October 1989. Violinist Marie and her politically engaged husband set out for Prague after twelve years of exile in London. But was their decision to dive into the pre-revolutionary chaos perhaps a bit too hasty? The communists are still in power, and the couple’s dissident past can still lead to unpleasant consequences. The first two parts of the HBO Europes’s spy miniseries are being presented at KVFF as an exclusive prepremiere.
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DOCUMENTARY FILMS COMPETITION APOLLO 11 Directed by Todd Douglas Miller Fifty years after the first lunar landing, NASA has opened up its extensive archives and released previously unseen material of amazing audio-visual quality, including a 70mm film of the launch from Cape Canaveral and intimate footage of the otherworldly calm that prevailed in the lunar module. The nine-day mission becomes more than just Armstrong’s iconic ‘giant leap for mankind,’ growing instead into a fascinating space odyssey.
CONFUCIAN DREAM Directed by Mijie Li In rapidly developing China, the educational system is geared toward producing competitive and productive workers, but not all parents want to teach their children to devote their life to work. Confucian Dream is the story of a mother looking for the right kind of alternative education that will take into account her son’s moral development.
THE FADING VILLAGE
OVER THE HILLS
Directed by Liu Feifang
Directed by Martin Marecek
Unlike the other people in their forlorn mountain village, Hou Junll has remained with his family instead of leaving for the city. The dilapidated houses continue to resist the snow and rain, but how long will this place exist if there is nobody left to carry on local work and traditions? A long-term observational documentary about a difficult life and the love of one’s native soil.
IMMORTAL Directed by Ksenia Okhapkina How do the mechanisms of political power directly influence the lives of a country’s inhabitants? In seeking an answer to this difficult question, this cinematic essay looks at everyday life in a small Russian industrial city, uncovering along the way how dangerous and furtive an all-permeating ideology can be.
IN THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS Directed by Marc Schmidt What happens behind closed eyes when we lose consciousness and give ourselves over to dreams? How is our perception of reality changed when the line between waking and sleeping is blurred? Let yourself be taken to a place where the rational laws of daily life do not apply.
THE LAST AUTUMN Directed by Yrsa Roca Fannberg If the world has an edge, then it is almost certainly visible from Iceland. On the outermost cape, beyond which there is only the inhospitable Arctic Ocean, lies a farm belonging to Ulfar and his wife. This autumn will be the last time their grandchildren come from the city to drive the sheep back down from the hills. An almost tangible cinematic fabric that weaves a tale of an abandoned place where the mist clings to the steel-blue surface of the sea and where the occasional human visitor is sometimes welcome.
Father and son Vit and Grisha travel to Russia to visit the boy’s mother and sister. Why did their previously harmonious family split in two? A documentary road movie about the distance between two Slavic countries, the difficulties of fatherhood and puberty, and the alienation between people who should, in theory, be the closest of all.
PROJECTIONIST Directed by Yuriy Shylov Valentin is over sixty and has spent more than forty years at Kyliv’s oldest cinema. You don’t have to twist his arm to go out drinking and dancing – the eccentric man simply ignores his age. But as with everyone else, life puts up new obstacles that he must overcome.
SPOON Directed by Laila Pakalnina The plastic spoon was able to feign harmless unimportance until the moment Laila Pakalnina, a distinctive international documentary filmmaker, cast her piercing glance its way. Her wordless film, whose humour arises from the surprising possibilities cinema has to offer, sings a dirge for this ornament of our bloated civilization: a piece of cheap plastic that will likely soon fade into history.
UP TO DOWN Directed by Nazareno Manuel Nicoletti Naples. Home of the unbowed, of madmen and paupers. A city that refuses to lick anyone’s boots, let alone stoop to pretence. This documentary bad trip takes us on a tour of the city’s dismal suburbs and into the homes of the marginalized and rejected: a man, a girl, and a masked boxer – three protagonists yearning for something else, although they’re not quite sure what.
17 BLOCKS Directed by Davy Rothbart The moment nine-year-old Emmanuel received his first video camera in 1999, he began to shoot a chronicle of the Sanford family, warts and all. Ten years later, filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart uses his material to complete this disarming tale from Washington, D.C, where the streets are ruled by poverty and violence just seventeen blocks from the Capitol.
FUTURE FRAMES: GENERATION NEXT OF EUROPEAN CINEMA BEYOND THE NORTH WINDS: A POST NUCLEAR REVERIE
THE JARARIJU SISTERS
Directed by Natalie Cubides-Brady
Vivien and Yandris are growing up in the ritual-filled environment of the Wayuu tribe, the last outpost of the ancient ways in northern California, where the landscape is slowly being ravaged by the mining industry. After their father’s death they have nothing to tie them to their home anymore, so they decide to run away. An ethnographically precise yet poetically tender story about the courage to start a new life.
The transformation of the landscape over time, the impact of technology on nature, and the contrast between modern industry and the myths that have, since time immemorial been associated with unspoiled nature. All these topics come together in this hybrid documentary about the search for a man who mysteriously disappeared while investigating a Scottish nuclear reactor.
GET READY WITH ME Directed by Jonatan Etzler When Lukas asks his students to shoot a short film about their lives, he has no idea what might happen. Indeed, timid Vendela’s movie launches a chain of ridicule, bullying, and accusations that even the teacher can’t escape. Get Ready With Me exposes the cruel nature of the present day, where a cellphone can be a weapon and likes mean everything.
Directed by Jorge Cadena
KID Directed by Gregor Valentovic Hana is getting married, Maja is moving in with her boyfriend, Bazo is off to Canada, but there are no radical changes in David’s life. His friends grow distant, and now he must face the problem of dealing with his newfound loneliness. A congenially energetic film about the void that often grows between the world of carefree parting and the settled life of adulthood.
HE WAS CALLED CHAOS BERZINS Directed by Signe Birkova After being kidnapped by aliens, copy shop employee Harijs Berzins doesn’t quite feel at home in his skin, and even ufologist Vilma doesn’t exactly elicit his trust. On top of that, he has no idea that the grey alien mother is giving birth to his son right now. The movie’s playful experimentation with form cleverly turns the clichés of the classic sci-fi genre on their head.
TRIBUTE TO YOUSSEF CHAHINE Egyptian-born director, who was independent and often controversial.
THE BLAZING SON
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Winner of a Silver Bear at the Berlinale, this is one of Chahine’s most popular movies abroad: a grand autobiographical ode to pre-WW2 cosmopolitan Alexandria centring on a young actor wsho dreams of studying acting in the United States. Whimsical, multi-layered and utterly invigorating, this loving crowd-pleasing panorama of Chahine’s birthplace meticulously reconstructs an Alexandria known by few outside Egypt.
A melodrama about a young agricultural engineer who falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Chahine’s first socially conscious work, one that openly discussed the growing rift between the decaying aristocracy and the young working class. It also features the screen debut of Egyptian film icon Omar Sharif.
DAWN OF A NEW DAY
MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Directed by Youssef Chahine
A Douglas Sirk-like melodrama centring on a middle-class woman who falls for a working-class college student. Both a heartfelt romance and a piercing piece of social realism. Chahine’s oft-neglected gem also ranks among the most revealing visual documents of 1960’s Egypt.
CAIRO STATION Directed by Youssef Chahine Chahine’s masterpiece, and possibly the most influential, most well-known of all Arab movies. A psychological drama about a man with disabilities who grows fixated on a sexually liberated soda seller at the central Cairo train station, Chahine’s Berlinale competition nominee was one of only two films where he directed himself in the leading role. The naturalistic dialogue, real settings and focus on the marginalized class have propelled various critics to like it to Italian neorealism.
DADDY AMIN Directed by Youssef Chahine Chahine’s directional debut feature is a prime example of the Egyptian studio films of the time: a fantastical comedy about the head of a family who passes on and starts observing the transformation of his wife and daughter in the wake of his death. An atypical debut by a skilful craftsman attempting to strike a balance between his American film education and Egyptian film traditions.
THE DEVIL OF THE DESERT Directed by Youssef Chahine A sword-and-scandal adventure set in an ancient tribal society about a Zorro-like figure who decides to rebel against the tyrannical ruler of his village. Chahine’s first actioner, featuring another early performance by a young Omar Sharif.
FAREWELL MY LOVE Directed by Youssef Chahine In his first musical, Chahine directs another hybrid production set against the backdrop of a terminally ill marine sergeant who falls in love with his nurse. This largely forgotten musical melodrama is another demonstration of Chahine’s versatility and his disregard for genre rules.
One of the funniest and most beloved of all Egyptian film musicals, this is Chahine at his lightest and most entertaining. A satire of sorts about a man and woman forced into a marriage of convenience who gradually fall in love with each other. The film is the work of a supreme entertainer, a key characteristic of Chahine’s filmmaking persona most scholars and critics have overlooked.
THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON Directed by Youssef Chahine Chahine’s most allegorical film, featuring the bloodiest of endings. The story of a family waiting for the return of the long-absent younger brother to save them from the tyranny of their elder sibling, this bold family saga is Chahine’s first great political picture. It is also a work of great physicality that shows the human body in an imposing fashion previously unseen and unexplored in Egyptian cinema.
SALADIN Directed by Youssef Chahine The Braveheart of its time, this is a fictional retelling of the Crusades that doubles as an allegory for Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Chahine’s only movie with a fusha dialogue, this would become Chahine’s biggest, most elaborate action film, a rousing historical epic that remains unsurpassed in both its scope and ambitiously mad vision.
THE SIXTH DAY Directed by Youssef Chahine A film about a young grandmother attempting to msave her ailing grandson during the cholera outbreak of the late 1940s. Featuring the last screen performance of mega French pop star Dalida. The Sixth Day is one of Chahine’s most elusive, most philosophical treatises. It combines realism, melodrama, musical elements and fantasy.
EXTRAS DVD OF THE MONTH
4 BY AGNES VARDA La Pointe Courte/Cleo from 5 to 7/ Le Bonheur/Vagabond) The Criterion Collection French with English Subtitles SPECIAL EDITION 4-DISC SET • New restored digital transfers, supervised and approved by Agnes Varda • Three short films by Varda: • L’ Opera Mouffe(1958) • Du cote dela cote(1958) • Les fiances du Pont Macdonald(1961)
• On La Pointe Courte: new video interview with Varda • On Cleo from 5 to 7: A 2005 Documentary on the making of the film; a short film from 2005 in which Varda retraces Cleo’s steps through Paris; Varda speaking with Madonna about the film in 1993 • On Le Bonheur: new interviews with the three actors from the film; a 2006 discussion with four scholars about the film; footage of Varda on-set, 1998 interview with Varda; 2003 interviews on the concept of happiness • On Vagabond: a 2003 documentary on the making of the film; a 2003 interview with composer Joanna Bruzdowicz: a 1986 radio interview with writer Natalie Saraute; interview with actress Marthe Jamias • Theatrical trailers • New and improved English subtitle translations • PLUS: New essays by Chris Darke, Adrian Martin, Amy Taubin andGinette Vincendeau, plus, a foreword on each film by Varda herself
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A Magazine for Discerning Cinemagoers and Filmmakers. In this Months edition: Reviews of: Varda by Agnes, Gloria Bell, The Souvenir, The Flo...
Published on Jul 7, 2019
A Magazine for Discerning Cinemagoers and Filmmakers. In this Months edition: Reviews of: Varda by Agnes, Gloria Bell, The Souvenir, The Flo...