FESTIVALS: European Films Compete at Cyprus Film Days

By FNE Staff

    Nine European films have been selected for the first international competition of the ninth Cyprus Film Days festival, 8-17 April 2011. The festival will take place in both Lemosos and Nicosia.

    Festival organizers noted a large number of submissions for its first international competition, held under the title "Glocal Images." The Festival's Artistic Committee which selected the films are: Adonis Florides (film director/writer), Dr. Costas Constandinides (Lecturer in Film Studies) and Constantinos Sarkas (Film Journalist).

    The selected films are:

    Floating Things (Mircea Daneliuc, Romania)

    Avram notices that the Italians pay good money for trained dogs, and this business makes him a legitimate immigrant. This is his big idea. When he comes back to Romania he starts to breed watch dogs in order to export them to Italy. But his new neighbours are Romanians expelled from Rome. And so the Italian conflict moves to the shores of the Danube. His life becomes more complicated when he involves himself in a romance with his daughter in law...

    Inside America (Barbara Eder, Austria)

    Inside America gives a blunt view into America's soul, found somewhere between plasma TVs and food stamps. The film is a portrait of six High School kids in a small border town in Texas. Cocaine-addicted cheerleaders, patriotic ROTC-students, gang members and Mexican girls in search of a husband, collide in this story. And yet, they have a lot in common. Together they swear on the American flag, dream of white picket fences and fancy cars, but when each school day ends, reality strikes them like an incurable disease.

    Knifer (Yannis Economides, Greece)

    Nick is spending his days lazily in a provincial town, with no present or future. After his father's death, his uncle, Alekos, prompts him to leave his town and come to Athens with him. Alekos offers him food, accommodation and an easy job.Nick accepts only to be suddenly involved in a strange, in-house job. Isolated in a "grey" Athenian suburb, alone with his uncle and aunt, the balance between them starts to shift...

    Mother of Asphalt (Dalibor Matanić, Croatia)

    Mother of Asphalt is a story about the disintegration and restoration of a young family in Zagreb. Their lives entwine with the life of a lonely individual who is a by-product of the modern society: a young man who desperately craves human contact...

    La Nostra Vita (Daniele Luchetti, Italy, France)

    Claudio works on a site in the suburbs of Rome. He is madly in love with his wife who is pregnant with their third child. However, a dramatic event comes to upset this simple and happy life. Enraged with life, Claudio seeks to numb his pain by working hard on a risky construction project that threatens to endanger his family's future.

    Shelter (Dragomir Sholev, Bulgaria)

    While they have been busy switching TV channels, making pickles or discussing politics, the parents of 12-yearold Rado have failed to notice that their son has grown up. They cannot understand why, after disappearing for two days, he isn't sorry for the anguish he has caused them and why he's ready to run away from home with the first group of junkies he meets on the street.

    Tilt (Viktor Chouchkov Jr., Bulgaria)

    In the early 90's, four friends are trying to make money with the dream of opening their own bar, called Tilt. A chance meeting between Stash and Becky leads to a passionate love affair. Suddenly, the friends are caught illegally distributing porn films. Becky's father, a police detective, takes charge of the case and threatens them with prison. The only way to avoid it would be for Stash and Becky to stop seeing each other. The gang decides to run away to a small German village where they find themselves involved in a series of funny and absurd situations.

    Tuesday, After Christmas (Radu Muntean, Romania)

    The easy, playful romance enjoyed by Paul and Raluca seems idyllic, but it faces one major obstacle: Paul is married. A chance encounter between Paul's wife and Raluca ignites suspicions and recriminations, and the incendiary secret is inexorably drawn into the spotlight. Unfolding in exquisitely observed detail, Tuesday, After Christmas continues the tradition of taut, subtle drama that has become the hallmark of contemporary Romanian cinema.

    Zone of Turbulence (Evgenia Tirdativa, Russia)

    The film is a story about three days in the life of an ordinary woman, living and working in today's Moscow, her adult son and her small grandson. Both - father and grandmother - meet the boy for the first time five years after his birth.

    The awards for the "Glocal Images" International Competition Section will be given out by an International 3 member Jury. The Jury members are: Thanassis Karathanos, Germany, producer of among others, the critically acclaimed "Ajami" (Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Language) by Yaron Shani and Scandar Coptim, Cheng Wen-Τang, Taiwan. Director, writer, producer and actor in films including the award-winning "Somewhere Over the Dreamland", "Blue Cha-Cha" and "Tears", and a third jury member to be announced.

    The jury will present the Best Film Award accompanied by €7,000 and the Special Jury Prize accompanied by €3,000.

    The Awards Ceremony will take place on the closing day of the festival, at 10pm on Sunday, 17 April, at the Rialto Theatre in Lemesos.

    Apart from the competition section, the Festival includes the "Viewfinder - A Close Up of Contemporary International Cinema" section. The main aim of this programme is to present films selected at major film festivals. A total of eight films will be hosted under this section, including amongst others: Attenberg, the provocative and controversial film by Greek filmmaker Athena Tsangari, Bal (Honey) by Semih Kaplanoglu, winner of the Golden Bear Best Film Award at the Berlin Festival, Submarino, the latest film by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, where two adult brothers with a delinquent past, abandoned by their parents, are trying to patch up their relationship and Heartbeats, by Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, only 21, which screened successfully at last year's Cannes Film Festival and which critics have hailed as "one of the most beautifully shot films and an unparalleled example of contemporary filmmaking, with a killer soundtrack and bags of style". The thriving Romanian cinema - at least in terms of film festival recognition - is represented in this section with Morgen by Marian Crisan, a multilevel drama on immigration, winner of the Direction, Male Actor and Fipresci Awards at the Thessaloniki Festival. Other screenings include the fun comedy Loose Cannons from Italy by Turkish filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek, October by Diego και Danier Vega from Peru and from Taiwan the latest film of Chen Wen-tang, Tears. The latest film by Cypriot director Marinos Kartikkis, By Miracle, will premiere at the Festival in a special screening.

    As in previous years, the public can take an active part in the Festival by choosing and awarding the prize for Best Film. Spectators will also have the opportunity to discuss this year's films with some of the filmmakers, cast and crew attending the Festival.

    Parallel Screenings:

    Tribute to Jacques Tati

    As part of the Festival's parallel screenings, Cyprus Film Days will also be hosting a tribute to Jacques Tati, one of the best comedic actors and directors of the 20th century. Screenings will include his three most important films, including one of his greatest successes, Mon Oncle (1958), where Mr. Hulot is a good-hearted father-in-law in a family of industrialists. Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953) and Play Time (1867) will also be screened. The Illusionist, an excellent example of traditional animation produced in 2010, based on a script by Tati, also forms part of this tribute. The film is directed by the maker of Les Triplettes de Belleville, Sylvain Chomet. A French illusionist is forced to accept assignments in the north of Great Britain to make a living out of his art. Young Alice is charmed by his tricks and follows him to Edinburgh. This tender, melancholic and gently humorous film is the winner of the European Award for Best Animation and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at both the Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards.

    "Re-Possessed" - Thematic Screenings:

    Curated by Dr. Markos Hadjioannou (film theorist) and Loizos Olympios (visual artist), "Re-Possessed" are thematic film screenings dedicated to the topic of possession in contemporary world cinema. The idea behind the chosen program is to examine the uncommon approaches with which the theme of possession has been examined in film across the globe, and across various film genres.

    Ordinarily, possession refers to the domination or control of a person by a demon or spirit, a matter that links the theme stereotypically to the genre of horror. Indeed, at times this demon or spirit is a metaphor for some cultural, financial, or political anxiety that takes over an individual or a community psychologically. It is here, though, that we see possession to be a form of obsession that is transferred from the self to some external force. In other words, while possession refers to the domination of a person's body, mind, or soul by another agent - thus externalizing the source of the psychological dysfunction - obsession, on the other hand, expresses the preoccupation uninterruptedly, intrusively, and to a troubling extent by one's own thoughts and/or emotions. Possession as obsession, therefore, is a psychological state that shifts the focus of the problem from external and alien worlds to the internal space of the individual's self. "Re-Possessed" turns to these themes in order to look at how filmmakers from various cinema cultures reconfigure the idea of possession within the realm of the personal.

    The program consists of five screenings, each one presenting one short film and one feature length film, which form a study of possession from a specific point of view each time. This tactic unites the short and the feature film, showcasing how the two forms can co-exist and offer similarly powerful emotions and ideas. In turning to the various forms of possession, these screenings examine the theme as it appears across a range of film forms from avant-garde cinema, experimental animation, independent cinema, American underground, and world cinema. Screenings will be held after midnight and in the afternoons. Entrance is free.

    Parallel Events:

    Lemesos - Art Studio 55

    Wednesday 13.4.2011, 16:00 - 18:00

    Workshop: "Costumes in Film" by costume designer Miranda Theodoridou. The workshop shall include period costume presentation. Co-organised with the Screenplay Workshop of Adonis Florides.

    Nicosia - ΑRTos Foundation

    Friday 15.4.2011, 18:00 - 22:00

    Saturday 16.4.2011, 10:00 - 13:30 & 14:30 - 17:00

    Sunday 17.4.10111, 0:00 - 13:30 & 14:30 - 17:00

    Cinematography Seminar: A three day seminar on cinematography by the renowned Greek Director of Photography Giorgos Frentzos. The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Film and Television Directors' Guild of Cyprus.

    All films will be screened in their original language with Greek and English subtitles.