FNE at KVIFF: East of the West Competition

By Cathy Meils

    PRAGUE: Speaking at a press conference on 15 June 2011, incoming Karlovy Vary IFF (www.kviff.com) artistic director Karel Och reconfirmed the festival's importance as a gateway to films from Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the East of the West section. The 46th KVIFF has selected 12 films for this section, ranging from satirical animation to musical documentary, to more traditional drama, and crossing the region from Poland to Croatia, and from the Czech Republic to Kazakhstan. Five of the films are world premieres and three are international premieres. FNE continues its partnership with KVIFF by highlighting films from the East of the West competition, with full profiles of all films to be published in the coming weeks.

    The East of the West jury includes: Bulgarian producer Rossitsa Valkanova producer (jury chair), Russian festival organizer Sitora Alieva, Serbian director Stefan Arsenijević, French film critic and festival programmer Matthieu Darras, and Polish producer Lukasz Dzieciol.

    The festival runs 1-9 July 2011.

    East of the West - Films in Competition:

    Belvedere / Belvedere / Belvedere
    Director: Ahmed Imamović
    Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2010, 90 min, European premiere
    A magical drama about the lives of those who survived the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. War widow Ruvejda is living at the Belvedere refugee camp on the edge of town. She patiently waits to find the remains of her family in the mass graves they have unearthed. Combining realism and elements of stylization, the film offers a compelling indictment of events of the recent past.

    Generation P / Generation P / Generation P
    Director: Victor Ginzburg
    Russia, USA, 2011, 112 min, International premiere
    An open-handed adaptation of the apparently unfilmable novel by Victor Pelevin about the Pepsi generation, one of whom is Babylen Tatarsky, a tobacconist turned successful PR man who, in Russia's wild 1990s, lives his dream of the Sumerian goddess Ishtar.

    I ně bylo lučše brata / There Was Never a Better Brother / A nebylo lepšího bratra
    Director: Murad Ibragimbekov
    Azerbaijan, Russia, Bulgaria, 2010, 93 min, World premiere
    A story of two, temperamentally different brothers that takes place in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku in the 1970s. While the elder Jalil is more settled, younger Simurg has an adventurous nature. This visually captivating narrative with universal overtones is based on the novel of the same name by the director's father, Maksud Ibragimbekov.

    Jeż Jerzy / George the Hedgehog / Ježek Jiří
    Director: Wojtek Wawszczyk, Jakub Tarkowski, Tomasz Leśniak
    Poland, 2011, 80 min, European premiere
    George the hedgehog, the hero of this satirical animated film, has to do battle with a mad scientist who wants to clone him, and must also contend with the latter's two pea-brained, skinhead henchmen, who are hot on his heels. As in the cartoon series on which the film is based, the authors use their refreshing and often considerably black sense of humour to take pot shots at the various ills of Polish society.

    Kecove / Sneakers / Tenisky
    Director: Ivan Vladimirov, Valeri Yordanov
    Bulgaria, 2011, 110 min
    The lives of six young people intersect during the course of a summer spent on a wild beach on the Black Sea coast. They have all abandoned the city and left their worries behind them. Here in the virginal natural surroundings, they find a temporary paradise and longed-for freedom. This feature-length debut by two young Bulgarian directors is a testimony infused with contagious energy reflecting the authentic statement of a generation.

    Marijine / Marija's Own / Marijiny
    Director: Željka Suková
    Croatia, 2011, 61 min, European premiere
    This documentary musical comedy with elements of kitchen-sink realist drama captures a private party put together by three girls to honour the memory of their deceased Croatian grandmother. Along with friends and neighbours, guests also include an unknown music band (portrayed in the film by the Czech band Midi Lidi).

    Marilivit tetri / Salt White / Bílé jako sůl
    Director: Ketevan Machavariani
    Georgia, 2011, 80 min, World premiere
    In a story that unfolds on Georgia's Black Sea coast, three characters try to change their current lives. Waitress Nana, policeman Niko, and a homeless girl named Sopo are the main characters of a story whose spare camera and dialogue generate unusual tension.

    Nic proti ničemu / Nothing Against Nothing / Nic proti ničemu
    Director: Petr Marek
    Czech Republic, 2011, 98 min, World premiere
    Young married couple Radek and Johana are considering adoption. In order to weigh up the possible risks, they gatecrash a meeting of their contemporaries who grew up in adoptive families and contacted each other via internet chat rooms. Where does pretentious tolerance end and buck-passing indifference begin? And what has decent morality got in common with xenophobia? As an ironic reflection that questions how prepared we should be to help each other out, the film offers a sophisticated and poetic take on the grimly authentic style of the Dogme 95 Manifesto.

    Pankot ne e mrtov / Punk's Not Dead / Punk's Not Dead
    Director: Vladimir Blaževski
    Macedonia, Serbia, 2011, 104 min, International premiere
    Forty-year-old Mirsa has a difficult task ahead of him: to reform his once popular punk band 17 years after they broke up, and appear in concert with them in the Albanian part of Macedonia. A punchy independent road movie by director and screenwriter Vladimir Blaževski about people for whom punk isn't just music, it's their whole life.

    Raj dlja mamy / Mother's Paradise / Ráj pro mámu
    Director: Aktan Arym Kubat
    Kazakhstan, 2010, 76 min, World premiere
    The tale of two Kazakh schoolboys whose father left for Russia in search of work and never came back. On her own, their mother is hardly able to cope with her responsibilities as head of the family. Their grandparents provide a certain amount of support, although the relationships aren't perfect. A social drama which betrays raw poeticism and strong emotion.

    Serdca bumerang / Heart's Boomerang / Srdce jako bumerang
    Director: Nikolay Khomeriki
    Russia, 2011, 97 min, International premiere
    Twenty-three-year-old Kostya works for the Moscow subway as a train driver's assistant. He goes for a check-up at the doctor's and is told he has a serious heart condition. Filmed with an emphasis on introspection, this is an intimate portrait of a man who has yet to define his life values.

    Viditeľný svet / Visible World / Viditelný svět
    Director: Peter Krištúfek
    Slovak Republic, 2011, 104 min, World premiere
    The film's lonely protagonist Oliver works as an air traffic controller at Bratislava airport. He lives in the obscurity of a housing estate where he has a view onto his neighbours' windows. For him the young family opposite represents an ideal of happiness he determines to become a part of. Ivan Trojan takes the lead in this intimate psychological drama