Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

Slagjan Penev, selector of the European Cinema Perspectives program: Original and lucid debut

The European Cinema Perspectives program at the Manaki Brothers Festival this year also puts mainly debut feature films of young authors in the spotlight, ones which had their premiere this past year, for which films there are high hopes of getting top spots at the European and world cinematography in the near future.

The Turkish and the Romanian cinematography are the ones in the spotlight as quite attractive in the world these past few years, which makes them relevant for us as well, as we can learn quite easily from them as they are close to our culture and mentality. The films we chose from these two film schools only prove the prestigious status of their national cinematography because they show how extraordinary works can be done on small budgets. The Turkish film My Short Words portrays an exciting day in the growing up of three boys, in which they decide to cross the borders of their physical and mental neighboring space. Whereas, the Romanian film Charleston can bring some freshness with its surrealistic comedy based on a seemingly absurd situation coming from a love triangle, where a few film characters parade as if they are borrowed from Saraevo’s SURREALISTS’ TOP CHART.

We have a Kosovar film coming from a neighboring territory, namely the film THE MARRIAGE, which ripples waves through the public these last months with its theme of a forbidden love between same sex persons, which is a very essential dramatic base where exceptional characters are built, as well as scenes which develop a great contemporary story on the background of the contemporary Balkan political and cultural traumas.

It is quite sure that the audience which will watch the exceptional Croatian comedy film COMIC SANS will have a good chance to laugh at the humor which has enough local or regional recognition within itself, but also enough of a worldly charm to look decent, not only for festival screenings, but also to be informational for the regular cinema repertoires program, as it skillfully communicates with a contemporary film language which is comprehensible for the wider masses.

The Hungarian film ETERNAL WINTER imposed itself primarily with its powerful visual showcase of a terrifying, yet true historic scene from the dusk of World War II, which is full of emotional charge and unexpected turns in the fates of the main characters, which can be created not only by the war craze and the criminal system, but also the rare good and persistent people who survive primarily with their tough will.

Somewhere between the comedy and action films, there is one more European Cinema Perspectives film – the Icelandic film WOMAN AT WAR. We encounter a theme of fight against the system in it, which includes guerilla and political moments, yet in the spirit of an original and lucid culture as the Icelandic one, full with uncommon situations which seem to question the boundaries of film narration.

Coincidentally, the last film in this program, though not a mistake to be put at first spot, is the British film PIN CUSHION, which tells of a sad story of the everyday life of the unprivileged citizens, brutally molested by their neighbors and seeming friends in their everyday struggle of vanities and a search of subjects for mocking, all in a light of a partially gloomy and partially fairytale manner (which reminds a little of the Amelie Poulain story). This story of bullying certainly has a universal value in the world of today, which addresses this problem and the painful consequences the psychological molesting leaves on people in a more serious manner these last few years.