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Balkan Beats
The section dedicated to the production of Balkan countries and highly popular with the audience is ruled by Serbia this year. Our selection offers four films which confirm a well-known truth: it's not necessary to have a perfectly working financing system and full coffers; the crucial aspects are good ideas, strong topics, and talented filmmakers. And we mustn't forget that this Balkan country has another iron in the fire – a film in the New Europe competition.
A harsh portrait of a country and lives of young people without hope or perspective is brought by a postmodern drama, Travelator, the third film by internationally rather well-known Dusan Milic, who will come personally to Prague to introduce the film. Its main protagonist of this post-modern drama is 18-year-old Slav, a master of shooting computer games. One day, he gets an interesting offer – to prove his abilities in the real world. As if there wasn't a difference between games and reality, Slav is sent to Las Vegas to shoot an inconvenient witness.
Another Serbian film, Monument to Michael Jackson,, is brimming with the typically “Balkan style” humour that Febiofest's viewers enjoy so much. Director Darko Lungulov made a story of one wacky dreamer who decides that in order to capture the heart of his ex-wife; he must erect a magnificent monument in his tiny village – a statue of the king of pop, Michael Jackson.
Szabolcz Tolnai, a director of Hungarian origin, is probably the most distinctive filmmaker representing Serbian cinema in our selection as his film are mostly made in Serbian-Hungarian co-production. In relation to his work, critics name such personalities as David Lynch or Jan Svankmajer. He remains faithful to his poetic tone in his latest film, Strange Forest,, where an uncompromising social analysis intertwines with elements of surrealism, non-traditional dramaturgy and experiments with form. We follow an elderly weary couple whose son fled from rehab to god-knows where to escape local mafia.
While listing the films representing Serbia at this year's Febiofest, we mustn't forget No One's Child,. Vuk Rsumovic drew inspiration from a real story of a “wolf child” found the deep forests of Bosnia in late 1980s. Little Haris, which is a name given to him later, is taken to an orphanage, but it takes his guardians years before they find traces of humanity in the seemingly hopeless case. The strong side of the film awarded the Best Film prize in the Critic's Week section in Venice is the acting performance of the lead actor, Denis Muric, who will come to Prague together with the film's director to personally introduce the film.
Croatia will present a fresh new comedy, Cowboys, – the story of a bunch of total losers cast by a desperate director to stage a theatre play – some kind of a bizarre Western. Although Tomislav Mrsic's film is based on the famous play, you certainly can't tell from the result – a full-fledged film that combines black humour with sincere humanity. It is no wonder that the film won the audience award at the Pula festival.
Andrei Gheorghe's It Takes Two to Fence, represents the best trends that have made new Romanian cinema respected worldwide. The story of a love triangle set in the environment of sport fencing is not that formally radical as some other world-famous films of the Romanian New Wave, but it boasts the characteristically easy dialogues, inventive direction, and natural acting performances.
Turkish cinema celebrated its 100th anniversary by reaching one of the peaks of cinema achievement: by winning the Palme d'Or in Cannes for Winter Sleep, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. However, numerous other talented filmmakers represent the furthest country of the Balkans this year. One of them is Kutlug Ataman. His fifth feature film, The Lamb,, observes, through eyes of children, the adults living in meager conditions in North-Eastern Anatolia. Young Mert is to be circumcised, his parents would like to kill a lamb for this festive event and invite the whole village for the feast. Yet the question is how to get it when they don't have enough money and nobody wants to give them anything for free.
The Cowboys / Kauboji / Kovbojové (Croatia) Director: Tomislav Mršić (Balkan Beats )
It Takes Two To Fence / Plansa / Na kordy (Romania) Director: Andrei Gheorghe (Balkan Beats )
The Lamb / Kuzu / Jehně (Turkey, Germany) Director: Kutlug Ataman (Balkan Beats )
Monument to Michael Jackson / Spomenik Majklu Džeksonu / Pomník Michaelu Jacksonovi (Serbia, Germany, Macedonia, Croatia) Director: Darko Lungulov (Balkan Beats )
Strange Forest / Čudna šuma / Podivný les (Serbia, Hungary) Director: Tolnai Szabolcs (Balkan Beats )
Travelator / Travelator / Travelator (Serbia, USA) Director: Dušan Milić (Balkan Beats )
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