From Mostra to Belgrade - Best Films of the Venice Festival at FEST
The oldest film festival in the world and one of the ‘Big Three’ film festivals among which are Berlinale and Cannes, the legendary Mostra will offer some of its gems to FEST audience this year, and we present to you some of them.
The dynamic and exciting espionage film Saturday Fiction of Chinese director Lou Ye is set in Shanghai under Japanese occupation in 1941, at a time when this city is becoming a mecca of counter-espionage and big political games. Gong Li plays a famous actress who returns to Shanghai to perform in the play Saturday Fiction and perhaps to set her ex-husband free, do another favor for her German stepfather, gather information for Western allies, or just to escape the war with her lover. The film opens up many possibilities for unexpected twists, what makes the story interesting and unpredictable until the very end.
The Guest of Honour is a film that brings the cult Canadian director Atom Egoyan back to his most successful terrain - multi-layered, wisely written film stories about family secrets and memories and family relationships laden with tragic events. Egoyan, twice nominated for the Oscars and six times for Palme d'Or (The Jury Grand Prix for The Sweet Hereafter), tells the story of the relationship between a father (David Thewlis), a sanitary inspector, and a daughter, a music teacher, who is accused of sexually harassing her student. Quite aptly, the honored guests of this year's FEST will be Atom Egoyan and David Thewlis, the famous British actor.
The legendary Swedish film director Roy Anderson, winner of the Golden Lion (2014) for the film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, has joined the 76th Mostra awards race with the 76-minute film About Endlessness. In this existentialist, very personal, humorous and melancholic film about a person's inability to connect with other people, about the loss of faith and hope, Anderson re-examines humanity, this time from heavenly heights in which a couple, as from a Chagall's painting, is hovering over a dystopian, imaginary city. Viewers see what a couple sees: a man with much doubt about the meaning of his own existence. Another very good Anderson film, that will delight all the fans of this outstanding and authentic filmmaker.
A visual masterpiece overflowing with details from the novel of the same name by Jerzy Kosiński - this is how the three-hour black-and-white film The Painted Bird by Czech author Václav Marhoul can be defined. It stars a non-professional actor, the boy Peter Kotlar, Julian Sands, who will visit FEST, Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgård and Udo Kier. Marhoul's impressive film is an adaptation of Kosinski's first (autobiographical) novel, which tells of the terrifying experience of a Jewish boy and his struggle to survive before and during the World War II horror. Marhoul divided the story into a dozen segments full of horror and relentless violence, depicting every step of the bitter experience of a boy named Joska surrounded by an adult world, in which he was helped by some of them and used and abused by many in the worst possible ways.
One of Chile's leading filmmakers, Pablo Larraín, director of Neruda (2016) and Jackie (2016), has created a unique film experience in his new film Emma. It is described by critics as an anarchic, liberating, and infectiously vivid character study, that acts as a mix of Amélie, Oldboy and Gaspar Noé's oeuvre. In the centre of attention is the title character Emma, a reggaeton dancer, with the unusual hobby of burning everything she can get her hands on with a flamethrower. Married to a choreographer (Gael Garcia Bernal), who is infertile, Emma adopts a boy but soon returns him because she is an unfit mother. The film explores the aftermath of this event, that changes Emma for good. The music for this film was created by Chilean-American musician Nicolas Jaar.
You Will Die at Twenty is 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. Faced with looks of sympathy and the family who have already begun to mourn him, young Muzamil must find his place with the help of a cameraman who returns to his village from the big city and opens a window to the world for him.
In the Best Foreign Film category, Corpus Christi, by a promising young Polish filmmaker Jan Komasa, competes for the Oscars. This drama is inspired by a true story and is about a young man with a criminal background who experiences enlightenment in prison. Upon being released from jail, he puts on a mantle, pretending to be a priest, and takes over the parish of a small town. Through this poignant, unsettling, yet at moments humorous drama, a spiritual parable, specifically Polish, yet with universal meaning, is unfolded.