For the Belgrade Victor and other awards, twenty films from Serbia and the world compete in the Main Programme this year. In cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, FEST will present the Audience Award for the best European film from the Main Competition Programme. Seventeen films produced in European production or co-production are in competition, and voting will be done after screenings by completing ballots. Keep an eye out for our volunteers who will be waiting for you in front of the halls with ballots and ballot boxes!
There are three directors in the competition for the Audience Award for Best European Film film. Queen of Hearts, a Danish erotic drama directed by May el-Thouky, premiered at Sundance, where she won the Audience Award for Best International Drama. Famous Danish actress Trine Dyrholm interprets the lead character, who embarks on a dangerous affair with her 17-year-old stepson. Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female director in Saudi Arabia and the author of the first feature film produced in that country (Wadjda, 2012), in the new film The Perfect Candidate, continues to grapple with the position of women in a conservative society. The debut film of the Italian director Ginevra Elkann - If Only (Magari) opened the last year's festival in Locarno. Critics call it a true crowd-pleaser film - an unexpectedly entertaining, easy, and sentimental divorce story told through the perspective of a six-year-old girl.
One domestic film, Vienna Hallways of Mladen Djordjevic, is competing for the award, as well as five films from the region. The Voice, directed by Ognjen Svilicic, puts under the magnifying glass the influence of the Catholic Church on Croatian society. Matriarch, Jure Pavlovic's debut film, proves that there is still new ground that can be covered in psychological drama about mother-daughter relationships. Milcho Manchevski returns to FEST with the new film Willow, a triptych that depicts women's struggle to become pregnant. Three bittersweet stories, one medieval and two contemporary, examine themes of love, trust, and motherhood. Half-Sister (Polsestra), a new creation behind the award-winning Slovenian director, Damjan Kozole, is featured in the competition programme of the Karlovy Vary festival, and tells the story of two half-sisters forced to share an apartment, as well as decades of unresolved family issues. In the film Rounds, director Stephan Komandarev explores the challenges of Bulgarian society 30 years after the fall of communism through the perspective of six police officers during one night.
The Greek comedy Defunct (Apostratos) talks about a thirty-year-old with an identity crisis, who decides to turn the page under the influence and memories of his long-deceased grandfather, whom he regards as a hero. Two of Us (Deux), the debut of Italian director Filippo Meneghetti, which premiered in Toronto, is a moving story about the love of two retired women.
In competition are also several award-winning films screened at the most prestigious European festivals. The most successful Colombian film from last year, Monos, is described by critics as a psychedelic thriller combining Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies. It was shown in Berlin and at Sundance, where it won a special jury award. The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível), last year's winner of the Cannes Un Certain Regard selection, was announced as a ‘tropical melodrama’. Karim Aïnouz's mesmerizing saga, set in the Rio de Janeiro era of the 1950s, tells of two forcibly separated sisters who have lived in the same city for years, believing that the other actually lives on the other side of the world.
Veteran French director Robert Guédiguian enters the run for the Venetian Golden Lion with his family drama Gloria mundi. Václav Marhoul's epic film, The Painted Bird, is based on the controversial novel by Jerzy Kosiński, and tells of the horrors of growing up of a Jewish boy in a Polish village during World War II. The film was screened in Venice, and is not for the faint-hearted, at least judging by the audience's reactions to the screenings so far. Another film coming from Venice is You Will Die at 20 - a brave debut film by Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala, and only the eighth feature film in the history of Sudanese cinema! Based on an interesting premise, the film is about a boy whom the prophet predicted he would die at the age of twenty.
Father directed by Srdan Golubović is a story of a man who gets his children taken away from him because of his poverty. It’s a story about a loser, a cast out and humiliated man who, through his journey, walking from his village in the south of Serbia to the capital, from one end of the country to the other, out of protest, dignity and his wish to make a point to himself and others, out of desperation - becomes a hero.