43rd Film Fest Gent

Film Fest Gent 2016

October. Film Fest time.

Wednesday 12 October

Bacalaureat (Graduation)

Romeo Aldea (49) has raised his daughter Eliza with the idea that once she turns 18, she will leave to study and live abroad. On the day before her first written exam, Eliza is assaulted in an attack that could jeopardise her entire future. Now Romeo has to make a decision. “Cramming an enormous amount of story into just over two hours, with a time period of just a few days, ‘Graduation’ combines the always-on-the-move energy of Belgium’s Dardenne brothers with an oblique mystery familiar from Austrian film-maker Michael Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon’ and, especially, his ‘Hidden’. Both of those films were partly about the morality we do or don’t pass down to our kids, and that’s the abiding theme here. It’s not a despairing movie – Mungiu even suggests that a new generation might put things right – but it’s a brutally honest one.” (Time Out)

Thursday 13 October

Demning (Dam)

Two young men, J and Jo, just had a one night stand. The following day they go for a hike in the mountains. J is brimming with unresolved self hatred. Jo desperately wants to be loved. Their trip soon becomes a psychological battle of wills that can only find release in an act of violence.

‘Demning’ (‘Dam’) is a journey of two queer hikers being alone together, with “lyrical echoes straight out of a Terrence film,” as one reviewer noted. The Nordic film journal Rushprint proclaimed: “one of the most distinctive and exciting voices of the new independent Norwegian film.” (R.D.)

Friday 14 October

Under sandet (Land of Mine)

An untold story of young German prisoners of war forced to demine the Danish coast at the end of WWII. “New is that it’s brought to a wide audience in the language of epic cinema. The sand dunes are a huge canvas that evokes a desert-like vastness reminiscent of a David Lean landscape.” (Screen International)

Saturday 15 October

Miekkailija (The Fencer)

Fleeing from the Russian secret police, a young Estonian fencer is forced to return to his homeland, where he becomes a physical education teacher at a local school. The past however catches up and puts him in front of a difficult choice.

Snowden

“Technology is intrinsic to Snowden’s story, and Stone brilliantly reflects its ubiquity and velocity in his characteristically addled, multi-tiered approach. But Snowden’s experience cannot be understood without a complex portrait of the man himself, and Gordon-Levitt more than rises to the occasion. ” (Toronto International Film Festival)

Sunday 16 October

Câini (Dogs)

Roman returns to the land near the border with Ukraine he has just inherited from his grandfather. Fully decided to sell this vast but desolate property, he is warned by the local cop that his grandfather was a local crime lord and his men will not let go of the land – and their smuggling business – without a fight.

A contemporary western noir/crime drama set in a rural Romania where violence roams the plains. “Picture ‘No Country for Old Men’ as reimagined by the Romanian New Wave. ‘Dogs’ oozes tension.” (Variety)

Hjartasteinn (Heartstone)

A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thór and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.

“Heartstone is a personal story based on my experience growing up in a small fishing village. The core of the film is a strong, beautiful friendship between two boys, and how their environment and inner conflict drive them apart, before the bond they share manages to reunite them again. The village is a place full of contrasts, where kids discover how nature and people can be both amazingly beautiful and incredibly cruel. As a kid, I wished I could show the grown-ups around me how our world really felt, and that’s what I want to show as a filmmaker: because the years of youth reflect our lives in a clear, beautiful, and sometimes harsh manner.” [Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson]

Given his multi-awarded shorts, no wonder Screen International included Guðmundsson’s feature about friendship and love between two boys in their 2016 Most Anticipated list. The producer reveals it’s a story “in the spirit of Rob Reiner’s ‘Stand by Me’ and Lukas Moodysson’s ‘Fucking Åmål’.” (R.D.)

In 2013 director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson won the award for Best European short here in Ghent, for his film Whale Valley.

Monday 17 October

Réparer les vivants

“Ivory Coast-born filmmaker Katell Quillévéré adapts Maylis de Kerangal’s Booker Prize-longlisted novel for this elegant and affecting film which draws three seemingly unrelated stories together into a tale about the moment when tragedy meets hope. For her third feature film – her first won the prestigious Prix Jean Vigo for best feature in 2010 – Quillévéré has taken on a psychologically complex tale and told it with both technical skill and attentiveness to the nuances of human interaction. Moving easily between scenes with great control and a powerful visual imagination, she transforms ‘Réparer les vivants’ into a deeply moving experience.” (TIFF)

Tuesday 18 October

Forushande (The Salesman)

“There is a formal pleasure and fascination in the way Farhadi juxtaposes the grim, complex scenes of the couple’s real life with the scenes from Arthur Miller’s play, with its formal demonstrations of emotion. Messy realism and classically proportioned tragedy are set down, side by side.” (The Guardian)

Wednesday 19 October

Fuchi ni tatsu (Harmonium)

Toshio hires Yasaka in his workshop. This old acquaintance, who has just been released from prison, begins to meddle in Toshio’s family life.

“Many a film has contemplated the splintering of the family dynamic, yet ‘Harmonium’ burrows into just how tentative ties predicated upon affection, loyalty and even blood can be.” (ScreenDaily) “Cycles of guilt, blame and vindictiveness are replayed in scenes of scorching emotional power, which elicit gut-wrenching performances from Tsutsui and Furutachi. The Japanese title, which means “Standing on the Edge” takes on existential resonance in the finale, which manages to be stirring without offering any catharsis, or even answers. That it succeeds in doing so is all the more impressive, considering the measured (some would say slow) tempo.” (Variety)

Thursday 20 October

2016 Competition for European Shorts

Adaptacja (Adaptation)

When Marcin dies in an accident, his family plunges into grief. But instead of looking for reconciliation, the family members frantically reopen old wounds. The atmosphere at home is becoming denser with every word said because neither the brother nor the parents were prepared for the young man’s passing away. Their mutual relations become complicated and snippets of conversations do not help the family find agreement. What is worse, the question about who is guilty of this death keeps coming back to them with increased force.

Catherine

Catherine loves pets! But most of all, she loves her cat. As a young girl, she can not connect with other people. Her cat is her life, and little by little she grows up to be a crazy old cat lady… Will she ever find friendship, or love?

Houvast (Hold on)

A young cellist has to overcome her fears to keep her position in an orchestra.

Menina

Lisbon, 1971. A young housewife has the courage to find out if there is more to the world than her husband, her baby and her home.

Sweet Dumplings

Yin and Lee are making dumplings in the kitchen of their restaurant. Yin is kneading dough. Lee is cutting meat and vegetables to make the filling. They are preparing the favorite dumplings of their daughter Tim Tim who has passed away three years ago. While they are cautiously folding the dumplings, they are thinking of the beautiful and painful moments. In all silence … each with their own memories.

Timecode

Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day.

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