Films, that Scanorama has brought from Berlin, Toronto and Karlovy Vary festivals
The 16th European Film Forum Scanorama will introduce most memorable films from many film festivals across the world as tribute to both the winners and the underrated film makers.
“Every year Scanorama begins its journey to international film festivals,” said Scanorama founder and artistic director Gražina Arlickaitė.
“While some of them represent contemporary cinema highlights and shape the tendencies of the European films, others unravel the cultural identity of certain regions,” he said.
“Different festivals help forming diverse and strong programme of Scanorama, that opens new ways of seeing contemporary cinema.”
It is not the first time the Berlin Film Festival has been criticised for its strong political connotations; this year, however, it provoked a storm of controversial discussions. The opinions of an extravagant jury and those of the professional film critics were severely divided.
The decision of awarding the Golden Bear to Romanian director Adina Pintilie and her film Touch Me Not, that openly explored the theme of a human flesh, has received mixed opinions. Jury verdict was perceived by many as an upright reaction to infamous sexual harassment scandals in cinema industry. According to sceptics, the works of cinema masters introduced in the main programme were therefore left aside.
One of the main candidate for the Golden Bear was German film Transit by Christian Petzold. It was chosen as an opening film for the Scanorama festival. Petzold is known for his previous work Phoenix (2014),one of the most powerful and subtle stories on the Holocaust. The same topic is originally interpreted in the most recent film, too. By moving WWII to Marseille of today, the director created an allegory to contemporary Europe. Petzold is combining the features of genre and auteur film, taking the audience to the mysterious film noir type of story.
Prospective German actor Franz Rogowski, who played the lead role in Transit, appears together with the star of My Father, Toni Erdman (2016) Sandra Hüller in In the Aisles. The film by German director Thomas Stauber was awarded the Prize of Ecumenical Jury. The film is an ode to humanism, that reflects a tedious life of workers and fills it with sparks of magic and hope.
Scanorama’s programme also includes many other films introduced in various sections of the Berlin festival, such as An Elephant Sitting Still by Hu Bo, Victory Day by Sergei Loznica, Genesis by Árpád Bogdán, Aga by Milko Lazarov, Lemonade by Ioana Uricaru, Los Bando by Christian Lo, Fortuna by Germinal Roaux, Boys Cry by Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzos and Cobain by Nanouk Leopold.
The triumph of debuts
Toronto Film Festival was successful for Norwegian director Camilla Strøm Henriksen and her film Phoenix, as it was recognized as best debut. Combining stark realism and the magic of imagination, Henriksen reveals what it means to live together with a psychologically disabled relative and take upon the heavy responsibilities in an early age. The viewers will have an opportunity to meet producer Gudny Hummelvoll and actress Ylva Thedin Bjørkaas, who will present their film and organize a masterclass concerning the creative challenges of cinema newcomers.
Another Norwegian debutant, Tuva Novotny was also met with success for her film The Blind Spot. Actress Pia Tjelta received an award for the Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival.The film shines with brilliant, intense and shocking acting.
The same festival awarded another debutant, Milado Alami and his film The Charmer, that tells a story of a handsome Iranian Esmail, trying to find a wife in Copenhagen’s bars, and his dark secrets.
Qiu Sheng’s Suburban Birds, presented in Locarno Film Festival, elegantly reveals the puzzle of childhood’s joys and the melancholy of coming of age. The Best Film of Roterdam Film Festival, Cai Chengjie’s The Widowed Witch reflects the starkness of alienation of contemporary society. Both films are part of Scanorama’s Special Screenings. China: The New Generation section.
The East of the West in Karlovy Vary
Famous for the Eastern and Central European cinema, this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival paid special attention to Lithuanian film directors. Bridges of Time by Lithuanian documentary creator Audrius Stonys and Latvian director Kristine Briede is a meditative cinematographic poem about the passing time, cinema poetry and poets in cinema. The closing film of Scanorama reveals the development of a silent, but persistent and powerful creative battle against the regime.
A collaboration of Russian, Lithuanian, Irish and French professionals, Jumpman by Ivan I. Tverdovsky, that received a special recognition in Karlovy Vary, explores the limits of human cruelty and a deceptive promise of a careless life.
History of Love, a magical story by a Slovenian director Sonja Prosenc, reflects a young person’s efforts to accept the loss. Hungarian director László Csuja is also walking on the edge of the experiences of youth in his drama Blossom Valley, which sparks with a brilliant performance of a duo of young amateur actors. The film was awarded Special Prize of the Jury.
European Film Forum Scanorama is taking place November 8 - 25 in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai.