Festival du film d’europe centrale 2009 films in detail człowiek z marmuru / Man of Marble

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FESTIVAL DU FILM D’EUROPE CENTRALE 2009

FILMS IN DETAIL

Człowiek z marmuru / Man of Marble (Poland 1977)

directed by Andrzej Wajda
drama, 165 min, fr subtitles
web: http://www.wajda.pl/en/filmy/film20.html
In 1976 Agnieszka, a young student of cinematographic school is making her diploma film about Mateusz Birkut – a bricklayer who became a symbol of the proletariat hero in the 50’s. Meeting with people that knew him, she discovers gradually a hidden truth about a man who was not really coping with the system he was living in: he really believed in worker’s revolution and building the housing for all but finds out that these are only empty slogans. Becoming useless and inconveniant for the power in place Birkut was crushed by the implacable logics of the communist apparatus.

The obstacles that Agnieszka encounters with shooting and terminating her fiilm make her realising that those mecanisms are far from pertaining to the past.


The same could have happened to Wajda’s film, but finally the authorities accepted its the release and even its presenting at the Cannes Festival.
Awards:

Cannes Film Festival 1978 (FIPRESCI Prize)

Gdynia Film Festival 1977 (Critics award)

En 1976, Agnieszka, jeune diplômée de l'École cinématographique, veut tourner un film sur Mateusz Birkut – un maçon devenu symbole de l’ouvrier stakhanoviste dans les années 50. Au travers des images d’archives et d’entretiens avec ceux qui l’ont connu, elle découvre progressivement une vérité cachée sur un homme qui ne « collait » pas vraiment avec le système dans lequel il vivait et sur la manière dont il a été broyé par lui. Les obstacles que rencontre Agnieszka pour terminer et projeter son film lui font réaliser que ce système là est loin d’appartenir au passé.

« Agnieszka comprend parfaitement que dans la destruction du Birkut-Stakhanoviste, ne comptent ni les erreurs ou la méchanceté de certains fonctionnaires, ni les quelques restes du culte de l'individu; il est anéanti par une logique intérieure profonde du système politique (...).

Dans L'Homme de marbre, le stalinisme devient une époque claire et lugubre, sûre et dangereuse. Wajda sait parfaitement décrire, par le mouvement de la caméra et par la richesse du style, l'excès de la poésie et de la politique, la difficulté d'introduire la contrainte sociale, présente partout et nulle part en même temps (...) » (Barthelemy Amengual, Positif, 1979)


« Pour Wajda, L'Homme de marbre, s'interrogeant sérieusement sur le rôle du cinéaste dans le domaine de la conviction politique, est une sorte de remise en question et d'autocritique. L'essence du film de Wajda est de créer un mythe ; cet objectif est soutenu par la structure épique de l'image, rappelant de façon flagrante la structure de 'Citizen Kane'. (...) » (David Ansen, Newsweek, 1981)

Przypadek / Blind Chance (Poland 1981)

directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski
drama, 100 min, eng subtitles
links: http://www.aboutfilm.com/movies/b/blindchance.htm

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084549/

Witek, a medicine student in Łódź decides to interrupt his studies when his father dies and leave for Warsaw. He’s coming late at the station and from that point three parallel scenarios open (depending on whether he manages or not to catch the train). In the first one he meets a communist official and becomes an activist in a youth organisation. In the second he is stopped by a railway guard, sentenced to penal labour and joins a clndestine opposition movement. In the last one he decides to terminate his studies, gets married and avoids any implication into politics.

This film, probably the less known in western Europe of Kieslowski’s masterpieces, is a remarkable illustration of the situation in Poland in the early 80’s and of the choices young people were facing then, but it is also an intemporal reflection on chance, fate and the free will.
The film was censored by the communist authorities and was released only in 1987.
Awards:

Gdynia Film Festival 1987 (Silver Lion and Best Actor)


Witek, étudiant en médecine à Łódź, décide d'interrompre ses études après la mort de son père et de partir pour Varsovie. Il arrive en retard à la gare et à partir de là s’ouvrent trois scénarios parallèles (selon qu’il réussit ou non à rattraper le train). Dans le premier, il fait connaissance d’un ancien communiste et devient activiste dans une organisation de jeunesse. Dans le second il est arrêté par un fonctionnaire des chemins de fer, condamné aux travaux forcés et finit par rentrer dans la clandestinité. Enfin dans la troisième variante, il décide de reprendre ses études, il se marie, a un fils et évite toute implication dans la politique.

Ce film, chef d’oeuvre méconnu de Kieslowski, est une illustration remarquable de la situation de la Pologne au début des années 80 et des choix qu’affrontaient les jeunes, mais aussi, et surtout, une réflection intemporelle sur le hasard, le destin et la liberté de l’individu.

« L'originalité de l'idée réside dans le fait que les épisodes ont un caractère variable; le même personnage, doté de la même personnalité vit dans le présent les variantes d'une même existence, se retrouvant successivement 'des deux côtés de la barricade'. En d’autres termes, il prend part au jeu social sous différentes couleurs [dans la troisième variante, il refuse de prendre part au jeu].

La provocation réside dans le fait que si l'on admettait comme probables les trois versions de la vie de Witek, on devrait aussi prendre au sérieux l'idée vers laquelle Kieslowski nous guide. Quelle est cette idée? S'agit-il de répondre à la question: qui faut-il devenir? qui est le plus estimable ou le plus enviable? Rien de tout cela. Witek, dans chacune de ses incarnations, agit avec la même honnêteté. Et à chaque fois, il commet une erreur pour devenir finalement victime d'une accusation insensée. (...) » (Tadeusz Sobolewski, Kino, 1987)


Mała Moskwa / Little Moscow (Poland 2008)

directed by Waldemar Krzystek
drama, 120 min, eng subtitles
web www.malamoskwa.pl

trailer www.malamoskwa.pl , www.youtube.com/watch?v=McMlewD_hAc

teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZgyDy6I9Ko

director http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/os_krzystek_waldemar

One of Polish biggest productions in last years with international cast, Mała Moskwa is a chronicle of a tragic love. The movie tells a story based on Waldemar Krzystek’s memories from his natal city Legnica, headquarters of the Soviet forces stationed in Poland from 1945 until 1990. In late sixties, a Russian commander, Jura, along with his beautiful wife, Wiera, enter Legnica, called a little Moscow. Wiera learns Polish and becomes fascinated with Polish music and poetry. Then Wiera falls for Michał, a Polish officer and musical expert. When Wiera finds out she's pregnant, their love ends in a disaster.

Waldemar Krzystek’s idea to speak about the Russian occupation from a human, and not political angle, is a step towards the new understanding of the history both nations share. A deeply poetic way of showing sentiments, subtle flashbacks in the course of conversation of old Jura, as well as the graceful imagery and inspiring music pave the way for an insightful look into the complicated relationship between two neighbour nations, and show that in the sad times of the Cold War sometimes love was not enough.



Awards:

Gdynia Film Festival 2008 - Grand Prix

Gdynia Film Festival 2008 Best Actress Award for Svetlana Khodchenko

Gdynia Film Festival 2008 - Polish TV Award


33 sceny z życia / 33 Scenes from Life (Poland/DE 2008)

directed by Małgorzata Szumowska
drama, 95 min, eng subtitles
web www.33sceny.pl/start.php

interview http://www.33sceny.pl/start.php

trailer http://www.33sceny.pl/start.php , www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT4pPV8piaQ

director http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/os_szumowska_malgorzata


Szumowska's acclaimed movie, 33 Scenes from Life, is partially based on director’s own life experience. In the movie, Szumowska’s alter ego, Julia is a well established young artist from Kraków, has a loving husband Piotr, devoted friends and enjoys the untroubled life of Cracovian boheme. In just one year, Julia loses everything that has made up her life. One day, out of the blue, her dog dies, then Julka's family faces shocking news about her mother’s cancer. Then come the deaths of the mother and, shortly afterwards, her father. Her husband leaves. While one funeral follows another, Julia's professional career goes through a period of crisis. It seems that the entire world has disintegrated.

Julia has to ask herself, what was true and what was only an infantile illusion? Is it possible to loose one's world and to get back to it after the tragedy is over? Where to find one’s peace and strength and how to begin a new life in the completely changed life circumstances? Szumowska shows that there are no easy solutions to these questions…


Awards:

Gdynia Film Festival 2008 - Best Director, Best Secondary Actress, Images, Music

International Film Festival in Locarno 2008 – Prix de Jury


Ile waży koń trojański / How much does the Trojan Horse Weigh? (Poland 2008)

directed by Juliusz Machulski
drama, 117 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.filmweb.pl/f468065/Ile+wa%C5%BCy+ko%C5%84+troja%C5%84ski,2008

interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spxNEFee4Y

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJIPpohR17U

director http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/os_machulski_juliusz

Juliusz Machulski is a Polish master of comedy (Vabank, Seksmisja). His newest film is based on a "what-if" concept: on the New Year’s Eve in 2000 Zosia, a psychologist in her early 40’s, wishes to undo some mistakes of her youth, and… she is given a chance to do it. She accidentally finds herself back in 1987, 27 years old, in communist Poland, two years before the free elections of 1989 change the system and the Iron Curtain falls. The only difference is, this time Zosia has the knowledge of her future and she would do anything to make people avoid the decisions which led to negative experiences. Will she succeed in changing her own destiny?

In Ile waży koń trojański? - a bit nostalgic, a bit funny – Juliusz Machulski manages to depict the last days of the People Republic of Poland, just before the transition from communism to capitalism.


Wojna polsko-ruska (Snow White and Russian Red) (Poland 2009)

directed by Xawery Żuławski
drama, 108 min, eng subtitles

web www.wojnapolskoruska.pl

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY2RgTkRDlI

trailer2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS-QKX94Onc

director http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xawery_%C5%BBu%C5%82awski

An adaptation of the bestselling novel by Dorota Masłowska (who also appears in the film, Wojna polsko-ruska – the same as the book – divided the Polish critics and public. Seen by some as the Polish version of Trainspotting, Żuławski’s film is clearly different from any other movie proposed by the polish cinema after 1989.

Both hilarious and engrossing, Wojna polsko -ruska tells a story of Silny, a product of the postcommunist era in 21st century.

Silny doesn’t get well with his girlfriend Magda. Their love is a constant fight. When he’s told in a bar, that Magda left him for a local bonzo, Silny, full of anger and sorrow, takes the public on a crazy trip. Together with him we meet extravagant women: Andżela – an sensitive gothic/emo; Natasza – an a barszcz sniffing junkie; Ala – pseudoreligious seducer…and Dorota Masłowska herself in the role of a policewoman.

And of course there is Magda. Always Magda. Can Silny win her back?

The outstanding performance by Borys Szyc, unforgettable Maria Strzelecka, Sonia Bohosiewicz and Roma Gąsiorowska – Wojna polsko-ruska is an absolute must for anyone wishing to learn something real about the Poland AD 2009, even if some of us might disagree with this chaotic, brave and non-conformist picture.


Awards:

Gdynia Film Festival 2009 - nomination for Xawery Żuławski


« Entre deux défonces aux amphétamines, un jeune paumé déambule la nuit, sans but.

Son monde se réduit à des virées dans des discothèques, des amours qui finissent mal et des rêves qui tournent à la crise de rage. Monologue intérieur, Polococktail party est une plongée dans les bas-fonds de la Pologne postcommuniste. Dotée d'une verve folle, l'auteur crée un univers où les psychoses collectives deviennent plus réelles que la réalité. » [www.decitre.fr]

Le livre de Maslowska, paru en 2002, a déclenché une véritable fièvre médiatique qui s'est prolongée durant de nombreuses semaines et qui a propulsé cet ouvrage au sommet des ventes en Pologne.
Xawery Żuławski, l’un des réalisateurs les plus doués de la jeune génération, s’empare de ce livre d’une façon originale, choisit pour le rôle principal un étonnant Borys Szyc et fait jouer Maslowska dans son propre rôle de romancière – un cocktail explosif à ne rater sous aucun prétexte!

Chemia / Chemo (Poland 2009)

directed by Paweł Łoziński
documentary, 58 min, eng subtitles
web: http://www.filmpolski.pl/fp/index.php/4223144
About his awards winning document Chemo, whose action is set in the chemotherapy ward of a hospital, its author, Paweł Łoziński, says:
“This is a film about life. And life looks different from the perspective of a hospital.
The inspiration for the movie came from Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalik, the film’s editor. Katarzyna, ill herself, told me not to show the oncology ward from the medical perspective. In the film there are no doctors, no nurses, no medical equipment – nothing but common people sitting and chatting about everyday life. Nobody would say they are undergoing one of the harshest treatments medicine knows.

During the chemotherapy you brush the death every day. I associate the hospital with a purgatory. The “exit” to life is like paradise, the highest prize a human can get.”

Paweł Łoziński has been known for many years as one of the most talented documentary makers of his generation. Son of the famous director Marcel Łoziński, he collaborated with his father as well as
with Krzysztof Kieślowski (White) and was awarded with many national and international awards for his outstanding work.

Awards:

Kraków Film Festival 2009 (Award for the Director of the Best Documentary Film)




Po-Lin (Poland 2008)

directed by Jolanta Dylewska

documentary, 82 min, German version

web: http://www.pffamerica.com/08_polin.htm

trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReAZir_l3zc


The details are heartbreakingly mundane: a watchmaker talks to his watches like they're sick patients; a teacher carries his shoeless pupils to the cheder; a Jewish midwife assists at the birth of a Polish Catholic child. In "Po-lin: Slivers of Memory," a new documentary written and directed by Jolanta Dyslewska, daily Jewish life in prewar Poland is revealed in all its routine and sameness, painting a stark and novel portrait of all that was lost when the Nazis invaded in 1939.

The documentary (Po-lin means "we shall stop here" in Yiddish) weaves footage shot by American Jews visiting their Polish-Jewish relatives during the 1930s with contemporary interviews of elderly Poles telling their memories of their Jewish neighbours and friends. Reaching far beyond the typical "some-of-my-best-friends-were-Jewish" mentalities often attributed to non-Jews in pre-war Europe, the interviews show aging people grappling with sweet childhood memories that later turned dark as their Jewish friends were deported and gone. And the pre-war home movies, which Dyslewska first found in a Jerusalem archive, are poignant not only for showing the world that would soon be destroyed but also for their shocking intimacy, since the cameramen were the relatives of these doomed Polish Jews.

(Carolyn Slutsky, Jewish Week)

The German version of Po-Lin at Abbaye de Neumünster will be shown in an exclusive premiere in the company of a very special guest of honour, German actress and chanteuse Hanna Schygulla. Before Po-Lin, Mrs. Schygulla will present her own short movie about the Shoah Memorial in Berlin, which constitutes a part of the “Cinema and Memory” collection from New York’s MOMA.

This event is organised by the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Warsaw.


Paper Heads / Papierové hlavy (Slovakia/FR/CZ/DE/CH 1995)

directed by Dušan Hanák
documentary, 100 min, fr subtitles
web http://www.sfd.sfu.sk/main.php?idf=358

director http://www.kviff.com/en/history-years/2008/program/?s=259


Paper Heads, „a meditation upon freedom and lack of freedom“, analyzes totalitarianism in its Czechoslovakian manifestation both from the point of view of individual Czechs and Slovaks, who suffered under it, and from the perspective of mankind’s universal and inalienable right to freedom and liberty. The cinematic structure of Paper Heads rests upon twin pillars: interviews with ordinary Czechs and Slovaks, edited to distil and catalogue the Kafkaesque absurdities that had formed the fabric of their lives since 1945, which are contrasted with archival footage from communist propaganda films to show the official version of life in the workers paradise.
“At times a surreal film about Communism, at others a film about the surreality of Communism. After years of struggling to represent the past and present accurately in his films, Hanák strikes an acceptable balance. His film was only possible after the ultimate relaxation of Communism.”

(Kevin Brochet, University of Pittsburgh)




Awards:

IFF San Francisco 1997 (Golden Spire)

IFF Yamagata 1997 (Run-up Price Award)

IFF Karlovy Vary 1996 (Documentary Jury Special Award)

« Spectacle total, d’une honnêteté absolue, ce documentaire offre, sur la réalité d’hier inspirée par des théories d’avant-hier, un regard de prophète révulsé : sans jamais le moindre mot de commentaire – les archives prouvent à quel point il faut se méfier de ces mots extérieurs, illégitimes. Avec Dušan Hanák, on ne rabâche pas le passé, on découvre que la vérité, toujours bonne à dire, se révèle parfois si belle, poétique ou puissante à entendre et à voir. » (Antoine Perraud, Télérama 1996)

« Des marionnettes affublées de têtes de papier mâché rappellent la vieille ‘nomenklatura’, sautillent parmi la foule et saluent de la main. En Slovaquie règne la démocratie, la liberté, du moins en apparence. Le réalisateur slovaque Dušan Hanák se souvient. Têtes de papier, film documentaire d’une heure et demi, retrace 45 années d’après-guerre en Tchécoslovaquie, qui à ses yeux est une époque de privation de liberté et d’oppression. » (Barbara Nolte, Süddeutsche Zeitung 1996).
« Têtes de papier, une production slovaco-germano-franco-helvétique, est une chronique complète de l’histoire slovaque et tchèque. De plus, le film de Hanák est une oeuvre émotionellement forte qui montre à quel point la pensée et le comportement humains peuvent se transformer dans des régimes totalitaires. Le concept de liberté tel que l’expriment les Slovaques dans le film de Hanák est internationalement transposable: „Je crois que l’homme doit se consacrer à sa profondeur, à son âme. » (Gina Düperthal, Frankfurter Rundschau 1996).
« Mais mon film n’est pas politique », souligne avec insistance le cinéaste, dont trois longs métrages et deux courts métrages ont été interdits dans les années 70.

Blind Loves / Slepé lásky (Slovakia 2008)

directed by Juraj Lehotský
documentary, 77 min, eng subtitles
web www.blindloves.com

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXQQxeipsJ8

director www.blindloves.com, http://www.quinzaine-realisateurs.com/directors/10158/Lehotsky-Juraj.html

Blind Loves is a film about love between blind people. Love can be soft, love can be silly, love can be blind at times... To find one’s place in this world is not an easy thing to do for people with good sight, but how much more difficult it can get for somobedy who is blind? The „view” of blind persons is often pure and essential, and very often witty. It uncovers new dimensions of meaning of happiness. 

Somewhere in between documentary and fiction, the film, director Juraj Lehotský’s full length debut shot in the span of nearly five years, unveils stories of the search for love of Peter, Miro, Elena and Zuzana, all born with no sight. Thanks to the CICAE award (Cannes Film Festival) and many other prizes, Blind Loves is the most successful recent Slovak film.

“It's a film that puts smile in your heart, and you don’t need eyes for it.” (Ray Bennet, The Hollywood Reporter)
Awards:

Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2008 (CICAE Art Cinema Award)

Zurich Film Festival 2008 (Golden Eye for the Best Documentary film)

Festival of European Films in Essonne 2008 (Grand Prix Cinessonne)

Motovun Film Festival 2008 (FIPRESCI Prize)

Songes d'une nuit, Paris 2008 (Best Documentary Film)

IFF Karlovy Vary (first documentary film in the festival's history to receive the Audience Award)

Soul At Peace / Pokoj v duši (Slovakia 2009)

directed by Vladimír Balko
drama, 97 min, eng subtitles
web www.pokojvdusi.sk

trailer (SK) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga-GTuSmVAA

teaser (SK) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upKPRRUwOng

title song video (Jana Kirschner) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOF0BuAxznE


Tono, an ex-convict, returns home after spending five years in prison for stealing lumber. He comes to his village, Čierny Hron, and sees that everything has changed: he is a stranger to his own wife, he hardly knows his 5-year old son, and he cannot find any decent job because no-one wants to hire a thief. Tono’s loyal childhood friends – Marek, a Roman-Catholic priest, and a successful businessman Peter – try to help Tono find his way back to normal life. But they also have to deal with their own sorrows, and problems typical of men in their forties. Tono feels lonely and desperately looks for a way out of his problems.

The feature debut of the documentary director Vladimír Balko is an excellent example of the Central-European cooperation in the field of film production. Slovak director working with a Czech script (Jiří Křižan) and with a Hungarian Slovak (Attila Mokos) and a Polish (Robert Więckiewicz) actor in the leading roles. Domestically, Soul at Peace is the third most successful Slovak film ever.


Ako sa varia dejiny? / Cooking History (Slovakia/AT/CZ 2009)

directed by Peter Kerekeš

documentary, 88 min, eng subtitles

web www.cookinghistory.net

web http://www.lemonde.fr/le-monde-2/article/2008/09/17/les-cuisiners-de-l-armee-de-martin-kollar_1096369_1004868.html

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO42wQ0Qr5U

trailer SK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8u25LXhWTw


The main characters in "Cooking History" are army cooks. Simple men in aprons put on the uniform with their task to look after filling the giant stomach of a big hungry child - the army.
At first sight, their role is less important than that of the tank crews, aircraft unions or landing divisions. However, when a proper filling and emptying of the stomach is secured, it can also provide a fluent occupying and leaving of the army positions. Thus, army cooks can affect the mood and actions of the soldiers and influence the history through their spoons.
However, cooking and fighting have a lot in common: strategizing, judging the correct proportion of ingredients, flavouring. Food preparation becomes a metaphor for the battle.
The film is based on eleven recipes of the cooks since the Second World War till the war in Tchechenia and was shot with cooks in Britain, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Russia and Israel.
Absolute must for all students of history and beginner cooks.
Awards:

HotDocs documentary film festival Toronto (Special Jury Prize - International Feature)


Ženy môjho muža / My Husband’s Women (Slovakia/CZ/HU 2009)


directed by Ivan Vojnár

drama, 85 min., eng subtitles

web http://www.arinafilm.sk/zenymojhomuza

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK16OXNrGzE

The film is a reflection on the contemporary life of a married couple who are unable to give love any more. Ageing media star Vera and her husband Daniel live together, but somewhat apart. For a long time their marriage is like a dead-end street. They have reached a point where one period of their lives ends when a young girl Liana enters. Her appearance affects mainly Vera, as she is an embodiment of what disappeared from Vera’s life, and left her with a great feeling of emptiness. To continue now means to turn in a new direction, to accept that the notion of a perfect marriage is just an illusion.

The new film by Ivan Vojnár, My Husband’s Women, portrays the fate of a couple in the media spotlight whose lives overlap with several other life stories. This snapshot of intertwined fates provides a testimony to life in a major Central European city, where life’s hectic pace deprives people of their humanity and spiritual values.



Rokonok / Relatives (Hungary 2006)

directed by István Szabó

drama, 110 min, eng subtitles

web : http://www.screendaily.com/relatives-rokonok/4026095.article

trailer : http://videa.hu/videok/film-animacio/rokonok-elozetes-film-magyar-mozi-afxn6EQRjh833SXR

A virtuous man discovers just how deep corruption can run, and how easy one can succumb to it, in this satiric comedy-drama from Hungarian filmmaker Istvan Szabo. When a scandal brings down the attorney general of a small but prosperous community near Budapest, Istvan Kopjass (Sandor Csanyi), a man with a clear record and impeccable ethics, is invited to take over the position. While his wife Lina (Ildiko Toth) is wary of the appointment and wants to avoid uprooting their children, Istvan is convinced he can make positive change and he accepts. However, only a few days after taking his new position, Istvan becomes aware of how challenging his job can be when the town's mayor (Oleg Tabakov) persuades him to abandon plans for a new tax schedule that would lower assessments for the poor. Istvan also discovers nearly everyone he meets claims to be some sort of distant relative, and as a consequence wants some sort of special consideration that he often finds difficult to refuse. Istvan's downfall begins when a less than honest banker (Karoly Eperjes) arranges for him to get a special deal on a large house in exchange for some favours, and things get much worse when the banker's attractive wife (Erika Marozsan) uses her charms to lure Istvan into some serious white collar crime. Rokonok (aka Relatives) was adapted from the novel of the same name by Zsigmond Moricz.


Awards:

IFF Flanders 2006 (Grand Prix)

IFF Moscow 2006 (Golden St. George award)

Kontroll / Control (Hungary 2003)

directed by Nimród Antal
drama/mystery, 105 min, eng subtitles

web: http://www.kontrollfilm.hu/eng/

trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJQnWCPMrII
Ghost trains and ghostly characters, figuratively speaking of course, are what run through the perpetual night of this fictitious underground (metro) system. Bulcsú's (Sándor Csányi) former life on the surface, where the real people go home after work, go to the movies or a fine restaurant is now replaced by the dark, cold and solitude arena of his new dwellings. He, and his motley crew of ragtag metro ticket Controllers must patrol the trains that run these City dwellers back and forth and perform one daily ritual, i.e. check that no one dare come down into their world for a free ride. With indifferent passengers, a possible love interest, a regime founded on competition and, to top it all off, a mysterious serial killer at large, Kontroll is a dark and bleak comedy of the world of the ticket inspector, who, in the end must keep this Metro system running. If not, what would be the worst that could happen, if they ever lost control?
The massive labyrinthine netherworld that is the Budapest subway system provides the stunning setting for Kontroll, a stylish, high-speed romantic thriller in which the lives of assorted outcasts, lovers, and dreamers cross and collide. One handsome young hero, one mysterious maiden, and one particularly nasty killer conduct a race against time, trains, and destiny itself in their frantic pursuit of one another.

Awards:

Cannes Film Festival 2004 (Award of the Youth)

European Film Awards 2004 (Best Director Award)

IFF Chicago 2004 (Gold Hugo Award for Best Film)

Cottbus Film Festival of Young East European Cinema 2004 (FIPRESCI Prize)

Philadelphia Film Festival 2005 (Audience Award)


Moszkva tér / Moscow Square (Hungary 2001)

directed by Ferenc Török

drama, 88 min, eng subtitles

web: http://webwork.film.hu/moszkvater/

trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxkWAKhn-js&hl=fr


The release of Ferenc Török's debut, Moscow Square, seemed to announce the arrival of a new sensibility in Hungarian cinema, one that corresponded to a generation that had entirely grown up in the post-communist era. It's April, 1989; Petya, Kiegler, Ságodi and their friends spend their evenings hanging around the clock tower in Moscow Square, while all around them the old regime teeters on the verge of collapse. Everyone feels that something is about to happen: the question is whether they make it happen or just wait for whatever's coming. For some, like Petya and his girlfriend Zsófi, the new world means getting out of Hungary and getting to know the wider world. Few films have more effectively captured that sense of life on the eve a momentous political and social transformation - that unsettling combination of giddy optimism for the future and creeping fear of the unknown. Török cast his film largely with unknowns either from local high schools or the Academy of Drama. It became one of the most important cult films in Hungary following the regime change and was screened at many international film festivals.

Awards:

Hungarian Film Week 2001 (Best Debut Film, Best Supporting Actress, Internet Audience Award)

Le sujet de Place de Moscou est cette place éponyme, qui fut le théâtre, en 1989, de nombreuses manifestations ayant contribué à la chute du gouvernement communiste, et qui aujourd’hui est devenue un lieu où les jeunes traînent leur spleen au quotidien. Ce film n’a ni histoire, ni fil conducteur, tout comme la vie des personnages qui ne s’intéressent qu’au sport, aux voitures, au sexe et à la drogue.

En avril 1989, alors que le régime s’effondre, Petya, Kiegler, Ságodi et d’autres amis passent leurs après-midi autour de l’horloge de la place de Moscou. Le vent du changement est dans l’air. Une question se pose: participer au changement ou attendre que les choses se fassent. Pour Petya et son amie Zsófi, le nouveau monde se situe en dehors de la Hongrie et ils veulent partir à sa découverte.

« Peu de films ont réussi à capter le sens de vie pendant un événement historique –mélange d’optimisme pour un avenir meilleur et peur de l’inconnu. Török a choisi de tourner avec de jeunes amateurs des lycées du quartier et de jeunes acteurs de l’École d'art dramatique. » (New York Film Festival)


Made in Hungaria (Hungary 2009)

directed by Gergely Fonyó

musical comedy, 109 min, eng subtitles

web: http://www.madeinhungaria.hu/

web2: http://www.kviff.com/en/film-detail/2687-made-in-hungaria/

trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY13GebQOoE
Miklós Fenyö's parents returned to Communist Hungary in the mid sixties - when everyone else was fleeing to the West. For young Miki, arriving from America sporting a Hawaiian shirt, a perfect quiff and a rebellious streak, life under a dictatorship was going to be tough. Miki's old friends don't know what to make of his outrageous clothes, flawless American accent and collection of original Buddy Holly 45s. His childhood sweetheart is cold and distant while local tough guy Röné is unmoved by the challenger to his rock 'n' roll crown. But that's not all. When the authorities see the effect Miki's gyrating hips and lewd music have on teenage girls, they just won't stand for it. His father's job is on the line, and, for the first time, Miki must play by the rules. He has no choice but to enter the local talent show - and the rest is rock 'n' roll history.

Music sets you free! So come and dance in the cinema!

Le film raconte l’histoire de Mikos Fenyő - popstar hongroise qui a popularisé la musique rock en Hongrie durant les années 60 - et de ses amis, pour lesquels la musique était la seule arme contre la dictature communiste. Au milieu des années 1960, alors que la plupart des gens tentent de fuir à l’Ouest, les parents de Miki décident de rentrer des États-Unis en Hongrie, sous régime communiste. Miki arrive, arborant une chemise hawaïenne, avec une collection de disques de Buddy Holly et Jerry Lee Lewis.

Une comédie musicale énergique qui présente des chorégraphies irrésistibles, proches de Grease ou de Footloose, à la sauce hongroise.

« Par de nombreux aspects, Made In Hungaria est un peu l’histoire de ma vie. Comme dans le film, j’ai émigré aux Etats-Unis où j’ai commencé au bas de l’échelle avec l’objectif de créer mon propre ‘rêve américain’. Quand les circonstances m’ont contraint à rentrer en Hongrie, j’ai dû encore repartir à zéro. Ce film est un testament pour ma quête de ce rêve. » (Gergely Fonyó, le réalisateur)

A nyomozó / The Investigator (Hungary 2009)

directed by Attila Galambos

crime/drama, 107 min, eng subtitles


web: http://eng.cinemacity.org/view_film.php?id=13

trailer FR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQjAj57hnzU

trailer EN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SHW7dCdt_o

"You act strange," girlfriend wannabe Edit (Judit Rezes) tells 37-year-old coroner Tibor Malkav (Zsolt Anger). And with that pronounced twitch near his left eye and bald pate, at first blush Tibor looks like a ticking time bomb. When he agrees to carry out a murder-for-hire to finance his mother's cancer treatments, he sets in motion a strange set of events that test his unflappable nature. Perhaps unsurprisingly, first-time director Attila Gigor has expressed a fondness for Lawrence Block novels and Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead; cleverly plotted and drolly played, The Investigator has all the intricacies of the former and the gallows humor of the latter. Winner of the international critics' prize at the Warsaw festival and a slew of Hungarian Film Week awards—including best screenplay, actor and editing—The Investigator is one of the most ambitious and accessible of the new crop of Hungarian films. (Eddie Cockrell)


Awards:

Hungarian Film Week 2008 (Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Editing, Moziverzum Prize)

IFF Bratislava 2008 (Best Actor)

IFF Warsaw (FIPRESCI Prize)




René (Czech Republic 2008)

directed by Helena Třeštíková
documentary, 83 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.kviff.com/en/film-archive-detail/20082262-rene/

web (CZ) http://www.aerofilms.cz/filmy/122-Rene/

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm3TxayRCjM

“Why has my shitty life turned out like this? No-one knows. Not even God. God’s on holiday and he’s reading porn” – an excerpt from Diary of the Forgotten, the journal kept by die-hard criminal and imaginative writer René Plášil, the main protagonist in another of Helena Třeštíková’s long-term documentaries. With raw authenticity, the director records the luckless fate of René over a period of twenty years as he yo-yos between prison and freedom. The life of René, who successfully stylises himself in the role of a desperado, unfolds against a backdrop of important political events occurring in the CR and beyond its borders. The Velvet Revolution, the presidential election, 9/11 and the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU. All this is “digested” by René mostly from the confines of various prisons. The film also traces the director’s intriguing relationship with her “subject of study”, who sometimes feels like a prostitute selling his life story for filthy lucre, but for whom the visits from the film crew or his countless letters to Helena Třeštíková are often his only solace. One could say that René is a new classic of documentary cinema, one of those that leave marks, which are talked about again and again.



Awards:

European Film Academy Awards 2008 (Prix Arte - the best European documentary film)

International Film Festival 2008 (Audience Award)
DOK Leipzig 2008 (Golden Dove for the Best International Documentary, MDR Film Award for en Excellent Eastern European Documentary)

IFF Filmmaker Doc 13 Milan 2008 (Best Filmmaker Award)



Skřivánci na niti / Larks on a String (Czech Republic 1969)

directed by Jiří Menzel
tragicomedy, 90 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064994/

trailer ES http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOwvxZ8juuA

trailer CZ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAmlvEakT1g

director http://www.cineclubdecaen.com/realisat/menzel/menzel.htm

Intellectuals, entrepreneurs and the faithful are forced to work together at the Kladno steelworks during the 1950s, a time of unyielding communism. Politically “unreliable” men as well as women and young girls who attempted to flee abroad are forced to serve out their punishment in the scrap yard.

The film is made up of a series of situations, sometimes humorous, at other times touching or absurd, but always graceful and deeply human. The imagery of enormous, faceless pieces of iron in the scrap yard and the fragile human beings who move between them is a metaphor for the relationship between totalitarian power and the individual who, in one way or another, breaks rank. The film is based on one of the best testimonies of the difficult period of the 1950s. It was filmed in 1969 by Jiří Menzel and was based on the stories of Bohumil Hrabal. The film was banned immediately after it was finished and was put away under lock and key, where it waited twenty long years before it could be shown to audiences.



Awards:

Berlin International Film Festival 1990 (Golden Bear)


Au début des années cinquante, à Kladno, immense complexe industriel, quelques personnages nettoient une décharge de ferraille tout en dissertant sur Kant. Ils étaient médecin, philosophe, intellectuel, cuisinier... Ils sont en rééducation intensive pour perdre leurs réflexes bourgeois. Cependant rien ne les atteint et ils continuent dans une joyeuse nonchalance à s'entretenir du monde.

Alouettes, fil à la patte a été réalisé en 1969 par Jiří Menzel - fraîchement couronné par l'Oscar du meilleur film étranger 1968 pour Trains étroitement surveillés - sur les motifs des nouvelles de Bohumil Hrabal. Le film fut interdit dès la fin du tournage et placé dans un coffre-fort, où il est resté vingt longues années avant d'être montré au public. La première a eu lieu en 1990, date à laquelle il a reçu l'Ours d'or au festival international du cinéma à Berlin.


« Bureaucrates stupides et apparatchiks véreux sont mis en boîte, presque tendrement, tels des clowns tristes en habits mal coupés. Humaniste, et non politicien, Menzel respire la gaieté et la compassion. Il éprouve une profonde sympathie à l’égard des oppresseurs comme des opprimés. Alouettes, fil à la patte est un chant aigre-doux, qui est toutefois moins retentissant aujourd’hui que la cage est brisée » (Rita Kempley, The Washington Post).


Knoflíkáři / Buttoners (Czech Republic 1997)

directed by Petr Zelenka
tragicomedy, 102 min, eng subtitles

web http://filmcenter.cz/en/film/detail/570-buttoners

director http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0954500/

This film, which is distantly reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch´s Night on Earth (1991), examines parallels between interconnected events. Petr Zelenka wrote and directed a film which formally combines an American independent movie poetic with Buñuelesque absurdity. Several bizarre stories of minor personal perversions are linked by interweaving plot lines, and unified by the character of an American pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Knoflíkáři shows that our knowledge of the events and narratives in which we take part is always imperfect and partial. It is not within our power to encompass everything; hence our knowledge of the world always remains incomplete. Zelenka likes ironic mystification which he often presents to the viewer by means of mock documentaries. Knoflíkáři consists of six, seemingly independent chapters, but we soon realise that they are all closely interlinked by mutually shared motifs as well as by cause and effect. The result of the protagonists acting without sufficient knowledge about their situation is the main theme of the film. The film is full of restlessness. It seems that this reflects the experience of the Czech Republic in the first years since the fall of communism – everything is destabilised and in chaos. Insecurity is widespread. Everything is in motion. Society is fragmented. Everyone is alone. Relationships, based on love and trust, do not exist. The only couple in the film who sincerely love each other, is killed.


Awards:

Prix Europa Berlin 1997

Czech Lion 1997 (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor in a supporting role)

IFF Rotterdam 1997 (Best Film)

IFF Valladolid 1997 (FIPRESCI Prize)

IFF Thessaloniki 1997 (Special Prize of the Jury, Best Screenplay)

IFF Tallin 1997 (Grand Prix)

Divoké včely / Wild Bees (Czech Republic 2001)

directed by Bohdam Sláma
tragicomedy, 114 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/specialy/divokevcely/english/story.php

director http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0805246/

The simple story takes place over a period of several autumn days in a small village in Northern Moravia. There, the eighteen-year-old Kája lives with his grandmother and philosophizing father (a train dispatcher), and spends his time working in the forest, helping around the house and thinking about Božka, the kiosk saleswoman, with whom he is deeply in love. This unconventional girl goes out with Laďa, the local swinger and a fanatic Michael Jackson fan, and the devoted and bashful fellow, it could be said, doesn’t even stand a chance. Things slowly begin to change when Kája’s older brother comes back from Prague after dropping out from university, to his father’s deep disappointment. He is also, in all likelihood, the father of Jana’s child, Božka’s kiosk colleague. With Petr’s encouragement, Kája manages to win Božka’s affection, when the intelligent Božka, tired with her relationship with the juvenile Laďa, the boring work and sharing a miserable household with her loose mother, feels in the innocent youngster at least a momentary freshness in her fleeting existence. She accepts his invitation to the dance and spends the night with him, while at the same time Jana also gets back together with Petr. In the morning however, each pair separates, fully convinced that their lives will now go back to the same worn track.

Awards:

IFF Rotterdam 2002 (Best Film)

IFF San Francisco 2002 (SKYY Prize for Best New Director)

IFF Arsenals Riga 2002 (Best Film)

IFF Cottbus 2002 (Best Film)

IFF Soci 2002 (Grand Prize)



Kolja / Kolya (Czech Republic 1996)

directed by Jan Svěrák
drama, 108 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116790/

director http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0841232/


Once a renowned cellist in the august Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, middle-aged bachelor Frantisek Louka now plays funerals at the city crematorium. Occupied by the Russians, Prague is on the eve of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Louka has no idea that more than political change abounds. The personal revolution he is about to experience is just as unpredictable as the revolution outside his window. His entire life is interrupted when a friendly grave-digger proposes that Louka marry his distant Russian niece who needs Czech papers. No ties. No obligations. Just a signature in exchange for enough money to buy a small car and pay the rent. Resolved to maintain his bachelor lifestyle, Louka refuses. But when the grave-digger's niece turns out to be young and beautiful, he changes his mind. His bride quickly emigrates to Germany to join her lover, leaving behind her six year-old Russian son, Kolya. The young boy is left in Louka's care, inviting the turmoil of the country into his own small apartment.

Awards:

Academy Awards 1996 (Best Foreign Film)

Czech Lion 1996 (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Actress in Leading Role, Best Actor in Supporting Role)

IFF Tokyo 1996 (Tokyo Grand Prize, Best Screenplay)

IFF Madrid 1996 (Best Cinematography, Photogenic Contribution)

Film post-révolutionnaire tchèque le plus célèbre, Kolya a remporté en 1997 l’Oscar et le Golden Globe du meilleur film étranger.
L’auteur du scénario et interprète du personnage principal de cette comédie est Zdeněk Svěrák, père du réalisateur et grande figure du théâtre et cinéma tchèque. L’histoire se déroule en 1989, juste avant la Révolution de velours. Louka, la cinquantaine, est un ancien violoncelliste de l’Orchestre philharmonique de Prague, marginalisé par le gouvernement communiste. Il se voit désormais obligé de jouer lors de cérémonies funéraires pour gagner sa vie. Alors qu’il reçoit de l’argent suite à un mariage blanc avec une jeune Russe, il devient par la même occasion le père de Kolja que sa mère abandonne avant d’émigrer à l’Ouest. La relation entre ce petit garçon de cinq ans qui ne parle que russe et Louka, ce grand enfant, va donner lieu à de nombreuses situations tragi-comiques. Cette oeuvre épurée nous conte une histoire intemporelle avec une grande sensibilité. Le public pourra y apprécier l’intelligence des dialogues desservis par un humour très fin.

« Le grand atout de ce film, c'est justement le fait que son histoire est abordable pour tout le monde, vraiment pour tout le monde... » (Zdeněk Svěrák)

« C'est un sacré coup de coeur. Même s'il ne renouvelle pas fondamentalement notre paysage cinématographique, Kolya fait mouche. Il nous fait rire et pleurer. Il nous ouvre les yeux et colporte un message optimiste et pacifique. Un cadeau comme celui-là, on ne le refuse pas. » (Jean-Dominique Quinet)

Karamazovi / The Karamazovs (Czech Republic 2008)

directed by Petr Zelenka
drama, 100 min, eng subtitles

web http://www.karamazovi.cz/

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VLYpUJrj2I

director http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0954500/

The story of Petr Zelenka’s movie The Karamazovs takes place in contemporary Poland. A group of actors from Prague, led by a play director, arrive in Krakow to present a theatrical adaptation of Dostoyevski’s novel The Brothers Karamazov at an alternative festival organized in the unconventional environment of a steel mill. The theatrical play, the plot of which evolves around a patricide investigation, tells the story of debaucher and cynic Fyodor Karamazov and his four sons. The issues of faith, immortality, and the redemption of man present themselves as the powerful emotions of love, jealousy, and hatred play out on the makeshift stage of the dilapidated mill. Simultaneous with the rehearsal we observe story lines from the real world, of the cast, and of those who still work in this steel mill. Sometimes the effect is comic, but tragedy waits in the wings. A factory maintenance man learns during the rehearsal that his son, who is in the hospital due to an accident at the mill, has died. The rehearsal continues at the man's request. Suddenly the biggest drama is not taking place on stage but in the audience.

Awards:

Czech Lion 2009 (Best Director, Best Film)

IFF Karlovy Vary 2008 (FIPRESCI Prize)

Une troupe de théâtre pragoise arrive à Cracovie pour présenter une adaptation du roman de Dostoïevski Les Frères Karamazov au festival de théâtre alternatif de la ville ; la représentation doit avoir lieu dans un endroit inhabituel, les aciéries locales. Alors que les répétitions commencent, on suit non seulement l'aspect émotionnel du récit en se penchant sur des questions de foi, d'immortalité et de salut de l'âme, mais aussi les relations entre les membres de la troupe, qui reflètent, étrangement, les grands thèmes dostoïevskiens. Soudain, une tragédie impliquant un spectateur survient pendant les répétitions et la pièce de théâtre se trouve transposée dans le monde réel...

« Petr Zelenka a su utiliser les techniques du cinéma pour filmer une pièce de théâtre. En promenant sa caméra parmi les acteurs, en utilisant des angles et des échelles de plans différents, il évite à tout prix le point de vue statique de la mise en scène théâtrale, tout en exploitant au maximum l'expressivité des acteurs. » (Adriana Schmorak Leijnse, 2008)

Lauréat des Lions tchèques du meilleur film et de la meilleure réalisation en 2008, il a également reçu le titre de meilleur film attribué par la critique tchèque.

Kozí příběh / Goat Story (Czech Republic 2008)

directed by Jan Tománek
3D animated movie, 80 min, eng subtitles
web http://www.goatstorymovie.com/

teaser http://www.aaa-studio.cz/video/teaser-en.html



trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHDFmnXsDT8

A story of a friendship between a young villager who arrives in medieval Prague, Jemmy, and his goat. The important conflict comes up when Jemmy falls in love with Katy – a street-wise girl from Prague. Goat is jealous and starts to hate Katy. Jemmy works on the construction of the Charles Bridge, and late he helps Master Hanus who is creating an astronomical clock for the City of Prague. The work with Master Hanus allows Jemmy to meet and date Katy who is a maid in Master Hanus´s house. Having finished the astronomical clock, Master Hanus is blinded by greedy Aldermen who do not want him to be able to create another monumental clock. Blind Master Hanus – with help from Katy – disables the clock but soon afterwards, he dies. If Jemmy wants to save Katy from execution, he must repair and correctly set the astronomical clock as soon as possible. And Goat is always jealous…


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