„The times in which the world recognizes its reality as a civilization, are unfortunately as heavy as lead and in many aspects depict humanity’s downfall. Real authors are unable to turn a blind eye to this and push the truth under the carpet. It was only natural that the “Camera 300” selection should feature as many films with this type of, I dare say, explosive visual dynamics which reflects and enhances the writers’ and directors’ ideas. Such a group of explosive films inspired by the global state of affairs are:
LES MISERABLES, where the co-writer and director Ladj Ly, starting off from his own experiences, observes modern France in the echo of the demonstrations of the “Yellow Wests”, in a Parisian Ghetto, where the sharp line separating them from the rich in terms of social standing and class, as some sort of an urban guerilla — is portrayed by an explosively excellent cinematographic crew led by cinematographer Julien Poupard. The WILD GOOSE LAKE is a terrifying chronicle of the modern Chinese society with its criminal underground, which emerges as the price of the “progress” – an uncompromising observation by writer-director Yinan Diao, whose cinematographer Jinsong Dong visually captures it in a masterful way.
THE BULL and PIRANHA are complementary to the previous film, whereby in the former, author Boris Akopov reveals the Russian underground of the mob gangs from Yeltsin’s time, and this is dynamically explosively depicted by the young and promising cinematographer Gleb Filatov. In the latter, director Claudio Giovannesi builds the tension leading to escalation of the teenage underground and the war between the Napoli gangs through the visual chronicle of the experienced cinematographer-director Daniele Cipri;
SYNONIMES by director Nadav Lapid is an internal psycho-explosion of a young Israeli, who feeling his own identity burdened with frustrations, finds himself in Paris, learning French, which is also an indirect commentary to the rising anti-Semitism, while cinematographer Shai Goldman follows his 24/7 Odyssey as a visual eyewitness;
The Romanian THE WHISTLERS is an effective police-gangster thriller by the experienced writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu whose plots from the underground and the bizarreness of the whistling ritual are translated into a visual riddle with an impressive audio-visual finale by cinematographer Tudor Mircea.
The fact that social injustice is the every-day life of the underprivileged from the working class and the gig economy who are struggling to make ends meet under cruel capitalism, but also as an echo of the “half-way-through” Brexit adventure, is attested in the latest film by the leading British Tandem, writer Paul Laverty and director Ken Loach, the film SORRY WE MISSED YOU, where the demise of one family is depicted with a documentary-like precision by the experienced cinematographer Robby Ryan.
As a representative of the already popular names, our previous laureates, I point to the First Lady of Polish Cinema – Jolanta Dylewska, who after her previous film SPOOR, has entered our competition once again, for the fifth time (for the second time with director Sergey Dvortsevoy, after their excellent film TULPAN). With an equal dramatic and visual strength comes their latest film AYKA, as a German production of a modern, intimate-existentialist drama from the Russian every-day life which focuses on the young Ayka who is constantly followed by the camera acting as the silent witness of her life-shattering drama, while she, as an immigrant in Moscow, is in the midst of a cruel fight for survival, featuring a new type of mastery by Dylewska and her collaborators – camera operators.
The Brazilian film THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO, based on a best-selling novel, takes us into the drama of the two sisters, tragically separated for decades, effectively directed by Karim Ainouz, whose tropical atmosphere of the eternal Rio with all its vivid drama is depicted in a visually stunning way by one of the leading French cinematographers, Helen Louvart.
Two films are characterized with subtlety in the direction and in particular in the visual expression of capturing psycho-drama: the German Lara by director Jan-ole Gerster, where the Manaki Brothers’ discovery, our laureate and multiple returnee, the now experienced leading German cinematographer, Frank Griebe, gets the moral-psychological drama of Lara as a mother, closer to us. The Icelandic WHITE, WHITE DAY, by the leading director of this small, but vital cinema, Hlynur Palmason, also builds a moral psycho-drama about betrayed love, and the talented young cinematographer Maria von Hausswolff, injects this film with a magical-poetical gamma, which is the essence of the creative beauty of this small, but great film.
Finally, as the cherry on the top of this year’s high-quality selection in the “Camera 300” Competition we have the masterpiece, and according to me the moral winner in Cannes, PAIN AND GLORY, the autobiographical vision of himself as a man and artist, by writer-director Pedro Almodovar, enriched with the masterful color palette of our previous Laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement, the great cinematographer Hose Luis Alcaine.
Blagoja Kunovski – DORE
Programmer and Festival Artistic Director