A series of powerful and innovative films in the classic films section at the Film O'Clock International Festival 2022

    Film O’Clock International Festival honors the international cinematographic heritage, through a dedicated industry event and through the 6 productions selected in the classic films section. The great Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris is a special guest of the second edition of Film O’Clock. Festival tickets and passes are now up for sale.

    One of the missions that the Festival has undertaken is to present classic films from the six participating countries: Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt and South Africa, valuable productions that have stood the test of time. The festival thus offers moviegoers the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons, considering this an excellent way to take a look at another era and how society has changed in terms of style, themes and even general cultural values.

    Tickets and festival passes for the second edition of the Film O'Clock International Festival, that will take place between March 1st and 6th, at the Cinema Muzeul Ţăranului in Bucharest, are available on the Eventbook platform.

    The six classics in this year's Film O’Clock International Festival are powerful and innovative films that caught the eye or even shocked in their day, and which, for that reason, were either viewed with skepticism or even banned at first:

    - Devil's Bride, directed by Arūnas Žebriūnas, Lithuania, 1976

    - Water like a black buffalo, directed by Dan Piţa, Mircea Veroiu, Youssouff Aidaby, Petre Bokor, Andrei Cătălin Băleanu, Romania, 1970

    - The Tied-Up Balloon, directed by Binka Zhelyazkova, Bulgaria, 1967

    - Anna's Engagement, directed by Pantelis Voulgaris, Greece, 1972

    - Four Women in Egypt, directed by Tahani Rached, Canada / Egypt, 1997

    - Come back, Africa, directed by Lionel Rogosin, USA / South Africa, 1959

    The selection of the films was made by the festival board consisting of Mirona Radu (director, producer, Romania), Andrew Mohsen (film critic, director of the artistic office of the Cairo Film Festival) and Dian Weys (director, screenwriter, South Africa).

    Devil's Bride, directed by Arūnas Žebriūnas, is one of the most successful Lithuanian films. Choosing the form of a musical, a rock opera, the author stayed very close to the book from which the film was inspired - "Whitehorn Mill" by Kazis Boruta, but at the same time created an original cinematographic opera. A film full of expressiveness, but also modern, with an action that follows the melodic line created by Viaceslav Ganelin in a funny and relaxed way.

    The film follows the story of a devil - Pinciukas - who arrives on earth near the Baltaragis mill. Pinciukas and Baltaragis make a pact: the devil will help the owner of the mill to marry a very beautiful woman, Marcele. Instead, the miller will give the devil as a wife the girl he and his wife will have. After the baby is born, Marcele dies. Her daughter, Jurga (a role played by the actress who also played the role of the mother) will become a very beautiful woman and the young Girdvainis falls in love with her. The devil makes all sorts of maneuvers to separate Jurga and Girdvainis, and Jurga's father, the miller, ends up regretting the pact with the devil and wants to persuade him to marry his sister, Ursule, who is much uglier.

    Often compared to "Jesus Christ Superstar", the film is probably the most original musical in the Baltic States and the most successful film of Lithuanian cinema during the Soviet period.

    In 2018, the original copy of the film was restored. Thanks to the kindness of the National Center of Cinematography in Lithuania, Film O'Clock International Festival is happy to present this copy to the public in Romania, but also from the other countries participating in the Festival.

    The classic Romanian film of this edition is a documentary, "Water like a black buffalo", that describes the catastrophe of the devastating floods in the spring of 1970 and which is known as a film-manifesto, bringing an aesthetic and an ethical attitude associated with a new generation of filmmakers, called the '70s generation.

    Dan Piţa confessed that: "... we didn't have any initial script. We only had the event. We filmed first in Brăila, then we went to Transylvania, to Sighişoara. The talented operators Demian, Tănase, Mărgineanu, Marinescu were filming at our command, sometimes "blindly", without aiming, based on what we told them. That's how we filmed the beginning and the recovery of the drowned soldier, and other things too. We were inventing a cinema we had never done before".

    The film can be considered a manifesto because it was born from the need of its creators to testify, through the specific means of the film, in connection with a devastating event. "Water like a black buffalo" has also recently been remastered.

    On March 3rd, also celebrating Bulgaria's National Day, the Film O'Clock International Festival presents to the filmgoers one of the movies created by Bulgaria's first female filmmakers to that created fictional films - Binka Zhelyazkova - a 1967 production of "The Tied-Up Balloon", made after a screenplay inspired by a short story of the same name. Blinka Jeliazkova made this film after a five-year absence from the Bulgarian cinema because she had been banned by the bureaucratic apparatus because of her first films.

    "The Tied-Up Balloon" is a movie based on a real story. A military balloon from World War II reached the skies of a Bulgarian village. The villagers decided to take it down to make clothes from the silky material of the balloon. The pursuit of the balloon gives rise to tragicomic situations. Gradually, the villagers forget about the initial intention to chase the balloon, they also forget about the quarrel with the people from the neighboring village who also wanted the balloon and evolve in this chase after the balloon. Eventually, the balloon falls to the ground, the soldiers come to retrieve it and then the villagers, in order to save the balloon, raise it again. But instead of leaving, the balloon turns and attacks the soldiers.

    "The Tied-Up Balloon" is a modern film, a complex mixture of comic and tragic, full of colorful characters and situations that emphasize the character of the Bulgarians. The film is a rebellion against the standards of socialist art, a creation full of metaphors, with a magical realistic ending.

    Despite its success, the Bulgarian cinema of those years did not allow the film to participate in the Venice Film Festival, where it had been invited, allowed the film to run in cinemas for only a few days, and then it was banned for over 20 for years. It was not until 1989 that the film was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.

    The festival brings to the public the debut film of the most respected Greek director in his country - Pantelis Voulgaris, a director who has a reputation as a fine observer of psychological changes in everyday life, "Anna's Engagement". Much of the film's action takes place in the courtyard of a bourgeois family in a suburb of Athens, where the family gathers for Miss Anna's first meeting with her suitor. Gradually, their posture and pretensions give way to hypocrisy and condescension beyond the altruistic mask. By contrast, Anna is the poor girl from the village who was "adopted" by her family's grandmother and who is presented as an pillar of seriousness and modest strength. The atmosphere of the film becomes dark after Anna and the future groom spend a night in the city, and the family suspects the worst and asks her to remain an old-maid in the house. Voulgaris shows Anna's anxiety, as she has to choose between her happiness and the needs of the two families. Anna's choice is an accusation against the social system where a simple girl is like a sacrificial lamb.

    The director of the film, Pantelis Voulgaris, will participate in an online discussion moderated by the film critic Cristi Mărculescu, together with the festival board, on March 4th, after the screening of the film, broadcast on the official channels of the festival, but also in the screening rooms of the six countries.

    "Four Women from Egypt" is a 1997 Canadian-Egyptian documentary film directed by Tahani Rached. The film revolves around four Egyptian friends with opposing religious, social, and political views.

    Wedad Mitry has been a journalist all her life. An activist ever since she was a student, she was the only woman elected in 1951 to the Student Union at Cairo University. In the same year, she joined the Women's Popular Resistance Committee. Safinaz Kazem, a journalist, theater critic and writer, is the author of numerous books. In the 1960's she was a student in the United States - in Kansas, Chicago and New York. Shahenda Maklad has distinguished herself in student and nationalist movements, running in parliamentary campaigns. She continues the relentless struggle for peasant rights and other populist causes. Amina Rachid is a convinced leftist; she was born in the old upper class. She completed her studies in Paris, where he worked for the Association of Arab Students in France and worked for several years at the French National Center for Scientific Research. Her political commitment brought her back to Egypt, where she teaches French literature at Cairo University.

    "Four Women from Egypt" is more than a movie. The four women talk animatedly about the nation, politics, culture and Islam. They make connections between past and present politics and ideologies and their own experience. Women saturate their conversations with humor and irony, speaking with invigorating candor and harsh honesty, while analyzing the past and living the present.

    From South Africa, the Film O’Clock International Festival features a 1959 film written, produced and directed by Lionel Rogosin. The film has had a profound effect on the African cinema and is considered a living document of the heritage of South African cities in the 1950s. The film is a reportage, a documentary, a historical film, and a political film, because the people and events presented are real.

    "Come Back, Africa" is a story about the experiences of black South Africans. Rogosin's goal was to expose the harshness and injustice of apartheid. Desperate to support his family, Zachariah, a young Zulu man, leaves his starving village and goes to Johannesburg to work in the gold mines. He settles in a city dominated by apartheid and is hit by numerous bans that restrict any movement. Zachariah cannot be hired without a permit, but he cannot get a permit if he is not hired. He does all sorts of work, is ridiculed, insulted, ostracized, and eventually arrested. All of Zachariah's feelings are intended to rekindle the anger of the indigenous South Africans who had no rights and were forced to survive by obeying unwritten racial rules while their families disintegrated.

    Whether it's documentaries, humorous musicals, or fictional films inspired by a harsh reality, this year's Film O'Clock International Festival screenings offer an in-depth analysis of society and the problems it had and maybe still has.

    In addition, the festival organizes on Wednesday, March 2, from 17:00 to 18:30, online, a debate about the possibilities of collaboration and mutual support in the presentation of classic films, about the opportunities and difficulties faced by those who try to draw the audience to the classic movie. Participation is free, by booking at this link: https://bit.ly/3oyEi8u

    The festival is an annual, competitive and non-specialized event, and the second edition of the festival is organized and produced by Creatrix Fama and the ABI Foundation.

    The event is supported by DACIN SARA and UCIN.

    Parteners: Lithuanian Film Centre, Greek Film Centre, Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român, Cinema Muzeul Țăranului, Skalvija Cinema, Dom na kinoto, Labia Theatre, Cineuropa

    Media Parteners: Radio Guerrilla, Hotnews, Agerpres, Zile și Nopți, Cinemap, Cărturești, Iqads, Films in Frame, Cinemagia, life.ro, Observatorul Cultural, Spotmedia, Romania Journal, Suplimentul de Cultură, Liternet, b365.ro, Film Menu, Aarc – All about Romanian Cinema, filme-carti.ro, MovieNews, PRwave, The Institute, Modern Times Review