Nisimazine @KVIFF – Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017

Nisimazine @KVIFF – Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017

by July 2, 2017

Nisimazine sends its love from KVIFF 2017, taking place June 30th-July 8th, and shares an opportunity to take a closer look at the selection of as glamorous as ever Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Casey Affleck as C. Photo Credit: Bret Curry. Courtesy of A24 (2016)

Special events: A Ghost Story (USA)

by Cora Frischling

Who is going to turn up at our funeral? What are they going to remember? What are we leaving behind when we die? Questions everybody has asked themselves before, I assume. But who are we to claim significance over the 100 billion other people that have lived on this planet so far?

The idea of having something to be remembered for by the people we cared about, and the future generations is an essential motivator of leading what they call a good life (well, that and the fear of being cooked in a cauldron by Satan).

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C. Photo Credit: Dede ​(2017)

East of the West Competition: Dede (GE, QA, IE, NL, HR)

by Nele Volbruck

Traditions have the capacity to provide a soothing sense of security, belonging and identity, through offering understanding of ancestry. But what if these traditions, rooted deep in everyday life, profess your voice to be worthless instead? Dede aims to voice the sufferings of countless Georgian women, whose free will is deemed insignificant in the face of tradition.

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C. Photo Credit: Corporate (2016)

Official selection – competition: Corporate (FR)

by Miha Veingerl

Carved stone agendas and prognoses. Team building workshops, motivational slogans and worn-out phrases. Best practice groups and ad hoc problem-solving committees. Large offices with cubicles and all-in contracts. Detached, narrow-minded managers and a militaristic organizational structure.

Such artificial world is the focus of Nicolas Silhol‘s feature film debut Corporate, premiered internationally in the competition of this year’s KVIFF. The story develops around Emilie (Céline Sallette), the Human Resources Manager of a large multinational corporation. She lives for her job, follows instructions from her superiors mechanically, and keeps all the apparently relevant numbers in her head. She neglects her family at the same time, isn’t willing to understand the psychology of her colleagues, and cannot show empathy.

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C. Photo Credit: Land of the Free ​(2017)

Documentary films – competition: Land of the Free (DK, FI)

By Sabine Kues

Los Angeles from a bird’s-eye view. Cars and more cars are pumped through the veins of the city of traffic. Travelling in a bus on Highway number 5 is Brian, Camilla Magid‘s first protagonist in her documentary Land of the Free. Aged 42, he has just been released out of prison where he served a long sentence of 24 years. In her first feature-length film the Danish director follows Brian into an unknown world of take-away coffee in paper cups with plastic lids up to the world wide web. Magid shows with tenderness the amusing moments of Brian opening an e-Mail account with Gmail, or asking a girl to meet him for tea or a salad.

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C. Photo Credit: Untitled ​(2017)

Horizons: Untitled (AT, DE)

by Sabine Kues

Untitled was meant to be an experimental journey for the Austrian director Michael Glawogger.

Together with cinematographer Attila Boa, Glawogger had set out for a cinematic venture that was supposed to take him around the word in one year. There was to be no plot, no interviews –  it was supposed to be a documentary about nothing. Instead, travelling and motion was to be at the core of this essayistic film. But the project ended in an unforeseen manner when the filmmaker died of malaria only four months into his travels.

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C. Photo Credit: Family Life ​(2017)

Horizons: Family Life (CL)

by Nele Volbruck

Most people dream of being more, whether they dare to admit it or not. More beautiful, more significant, attractive, mysterious. Perhaps filthy rich. You know, starting from tomorrow, this time for real. Family Life by accomplished filmmakers Alicia Scherson and Cristian Jimenez offers a glimpse of what happens when that desire actually becomes true.

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C. Photo Credit: Khibula ​(2017)

Official selection – competition: Khibula (GE, DE)

by Miha Veingerl

Transitions from one political system into another are never easy. Especially if a country is just gaining its independence. Until ideological theory turns into political practice, one can never know how the former dissidents will behave as statesmen and how the opposition, as well as the general public, will react to the exertion of power of the newly elected elite.

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C. Photo Credit: Another News Story ​(2017)

Documentary films – competition: Another News Story (UK)

There are stories that dominate the news for weeks and there are those that stay for years. When images of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece, walking over the Balkan and arriving in different states of uncertainty became more prominent in newspapers in the late summer of 2015, you could already sense that not one but thousands of stories were waiting to be told in the upcoming years. People liked eating human stories, as expressed by a reporter in the film.

The topic is still very hot two years later, and films, both feature and documentary, have tackled it in various ways. Everyone from politicians to professional online news commentators have expressed their feeling of being oversaturated with the issue, which poses the question if we need to see more footage of it.

Orban Wallace says we do. The director’s first feature documentary Another News Story about the refugees arriving to Europe celebrated its world premiere in the documentary competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

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C. Photo Credit: Western ​(2017)

Horizons: Western (DE, BG, AT)

by Cora Frischling

Germany has not just lingered at the intersection of the East and West, it has properly experienced being both. Dealing with the past like that is something that the Germans have obsessed ever since, and it has shaped our cinematic landscape like nothing else, resulting in endless stream of films about the war, aftermath and the separation. The recent films seem to indicate a newly-found understanding though, that we learn most about ourselves in communication with others and not in the sense of non-believable encounters on the front line of a battle field. In Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria a young Spanish twenty something rides through present-day (or rather present-night) Berlin. In Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, a German businesswoman gets her world shaken up when her father visits her corporate bubble in Bucharest.

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C. Photo Credit: Fortunata ​(2017)

Horizons: Fortunata (IT)

by Nele Volbruck

Are you familiar with the rules of improv? Say“yes-and”, then always add new information, and do not block and refrain from asking questions. When someone says that their new film is a boat, answer with something like: yes, and it sails in lava. These appear to be the guidelines Italian director Sergio Castellitto followed when making the over the top drama Fortunata.

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C. Photo Credit: The Nothing Factory ​(2017)

Another View: The Nothing Factory (PT)

by Sabine Kues

The Nothing Factory by the Portuguese director Pedro Pinho is a manifesto for the democratic film. Everyone can have their say in it, and that is most probably the reason why this take on the financial crisis in Portugal turned out to be three hours long.

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C. Photo Credit: The White World According to Daliborek ​(2017)

Documentary Films (Competition): The White World According to Daliborek (CZ, SK)

by Miha Veingerl

The times we currently live in aren’t simple. Especially in Europe we have experienced that the so-called solidarity union is only a marriage meant for good times. It falls apart as soon as a crisis develops. Once the tenor of politics changes, part of the population feels encouraged to present and act out their radical ideas openly.

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C. Photo Credit: Bones for Otto ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Matei Lucaci-Grunberg

Director of Bones for Otto (RO)

by Cora Frischling

The Romanian New Wave has been hitting us pretty hard the past decade. While filmmakers like Cristian Mungiu, Cristi Puiu and others have received wide international recognition (and thus, national funding) it is time to turn our attention to the younger generation.

At this year’s Future Frames masterclass at Karlovy Vary IFF we sat down with Matei Lucaci-Grunberg who is presenting his short film Bones for Otto in the programme. And no, it’s not a social realist drama, it’s a comedy about two prostitutes meeting by the road at night. Differences in professional experience create tension at first but connect them ultimately.

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C. Photo Credit: Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Liene Linde

Director of Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One (LV)

by Nele Volbruck

It is often pointed out that sex sells. But what exactly does it sell? Perhaps it’s time to shake the status quo and attach the diverse, awkward nuances to it, as suggested by the young Latvian film director Liene Linde with Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One – a courageous and straightforward short film that offers insight to the lives of contemporary women, and employs humour and melancholy in contrast to the glossy and steamy sex scenes typical of Hollywood. Amidst the Karlovy Vary festival buzz, we caught up with Linde who told us about her ideas behind the film. Linde might come across as modest at first glance, but she certainly doesn’t shy away from provocative subjects.

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C. Photo Credit: Atlantis, 2003 ​(2017)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Michal Blaško

Director of Atlantis, 2003 (SK, CZ)

by Sabine Kues

Slovakian writer, director Michal Blaško’s short film Atlantis, 2003 delivers a disturbing tale of false beliefs tied to a couple trying to make it across the border. A chilling experience for them and the viewer both.

Blaško’s second, 30-minute short film is part of the Future Frames section at the 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF, presenting young emerging talent from Europe. It is his graduation film at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (VŠMU) In Karlovy Vary we had the chance to meet the young director to look out for.

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C. Photo Credit: Greetings from Kropsdam ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Joren Molter

Director of Greetings from Kropsdam (NL)

by Miha Veingerl

Dutch filmmaker Joren Molter became an artist early in his life and got his first nomination for the national film award at the age of 16. It is also reflected by his demeanour. Despite the fact that he is still only in his early twenties, he instantly appears as more confident, even dominant in a conversation than the majority of his Future Frames colleagues. In Karlovy Vary, he presented his graduation film from the Netherlands Film Academy, a piece about a different type of dominance – peer pressure. Greetings from Kropsdam has gained much praise and some awards from the festivals like short film festival Nijmegen and Warsaw IFF.

It tells the story of a small village in the Netherlands. Everybody knows each other, the community is peaceful. At least until an energy company wants to invest there and Lammert (Ruud Poiesz), the village pigeon watcher, makes a tiny, yet crucial mistake accidentally.

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C. Photo Credit: Waiting for Ana ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Giorgi Mukhadze

Director of Waiting for Ana (GE)

by Sabine Kues

With Khibula by George Ovashvili competing in the main competition and another four titles in the program, Georgian cinema is not to be overlooked at the 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF. We wanted to find out what’s to come, as we met up with the young Georgian director Giorgi Mukhadze. His short film Waiting for Ana offers an understanding of Georgian society, as it seems impossible for a brother and his sister to reunite in such an oppressive society. In the context of his selection for the Future Frames program we took up the chance to ask him about Georgian cinema.

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C. Photo Credit: After the Reunion ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Kirsikka Saari

Director of After the Reunion (FI)

by Nele Volbruck

The Finnish director Kirsikka Saari’s short After the Reunion (2016) paints a bittersweet picture of looking in the mirror – literally and figuratively. The film imposes a question if getting older comes with getting stronger or is it simply a make-believe to silence the inner disappointment about life.

Saari seems to agree with the first option. She has proven that you don’t have to come straight from school to be brave enough to chase your dreams. Saari decided to make a U-turn and become a filmmaker after a career as a journalist. Since then she has co-founded a production company Tuffi and earned an Oscar nomination for her short film Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (2012). The course of events has brought her to Karlovy Vary, to Future Frames program, where she shared her ideas about filmmaking.

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C. Photo Credit: Imprisoned ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Damian Vondrasek

Director of Imprisoned (CZ)

by Sabine Kues

The Czech director Damián Vondrášek brought his short film Imprisoned to the screens at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Jakub (Jakub Koudela) considers a job as a prison educator and his father-in-law just cannot wait to see him fail. With Imprisoned the film student of FAMU in Prague dares to bring a sensitive male lead to the screen which brought him a nomination for the Magnesia Award for Best Student Film at the Czech Lion Awards.

As part of the Future Frames program presenting new European signatures the we caught up with the writer and director to talk about his expectations.

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C. Photo Credit: Atelier ​(2017)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Elsa Maria Jakobsdottir

Director of Atelier (DK)

by Miha Veingerl

Elsa María Jakobsdóttir, the Icelandic representative in this year’s Future Frames programme in Karlovy Vary, worked as a TV journalist, reporting about the film industry until deciding to approach the film directing studies at the National Film School of Denmark; a school she graduated from recently.

Her film Atelier is dealing with an unexpected situation inside an artificial environment. A modern holiday house is the setting for an unintended meeting of two women, loosely connected through a mutual acquaintance. While one of the women is solitary and fighting a bout of depression, the other is extrovert and wants to utilise the encapsulated house as a studio for her artistic endeavours. Soon, the conflict between the two personalities reaches a boiling point.

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C. Photo Credit: Schoolyard Blues ​(2017)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Maria Eriksson

Director of Schoolyard Blues (SE)

by Nele Volbruck

A film director has to be prepared when 99 factors out of 100 might turn out to be a bit – or let’s be honest – very difficult to control on set. Even more tricky when the factor concerns the main actors of your film.

Swedish Maria Eriksson’s short film Schoolyard Blues (2017) is an aching, yet affectionate story of two small boys being there for each other, when their care takers aren’t able to. The film is carried only by two children acting opposite each other. We sat down with Eriksson in Karlovy Vary to hear how it felt like, and how she managed to squeeze such mature performances out of the boys.

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C. Photo Credit: Ljubljana-Munchen 15:27 ​(2016)

Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers to Follow 

Interview with Katarina Morano

Director of Ljubljana-Munchen 15:27 (SK)

by Miha Veingerl

Katarina Morano came to Karlovy Vary with her graduation film for the Slovenian Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. In 2014, her film Where To (2013) became the third Slovenian production in a decade that earned a nomination for the student Oscar.

Her film Ljubljana – München 15:27 is the portrait of a representative couple of the generation Y. Stuck in precarious jobs they decide to move abroad to look for a better future for their soon-to-be family. But do they really want to go?

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Interview with Karel Och

Artistic Director of KVIFF – Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017

by Cora Frischling

Karel Och is calm personified. Not the kind of calm that would make you question, whether he’s awake or not, or the kind where you have to fight for every word (that would be unfortunate, considering his position as the artistic director of Karlovy Vary IFF). He exudes rather an air of utter relaxedness– probably quite a valuable trait when guiding a team that selects around 200 films every year. Maybe he frequents the thermal springs as preparation for the festival madness. Karlovy Vary is a spa town, after all.

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C. Photo Credit: Los Perros ​(2017)

Another View: Los Perros (FR, CL)

by Sabine Kues

A young girl dressed in white. A pack of dogs is closely surrounding her. It is a nightmarish scene brought to the canvas by the contemporary Chilean artist Guillermo Lorca. The painting is a present to Mariana (Antonia Zegers) by her husband Pedro (Rafael Spregelburd) in the Chilean feature Los Perros, screened in at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

In her second feature film, the Chilean director Marcela Said paints her own picture of a pack of former perpetrators working for the Pinochet dictatorship. Until today, the next generations are haunted by these beasts whose pact still remains in place to this day.

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C. Photo Credit: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

KVIFF 2017 – East of the West Competition

Interview with Alexander Hant

Director of How Viktor “the Garlic” Took Alexey “the Stud” to the Nursing Home (RU)

by Cora Frischling

When Alexander Hant stepped onto the stage of the beautiful Pupp cinema in Karlovy Vary to present his film How Viktor “the Garlic” Took Alexey “the Stud” to the Nursing Home, he pulled out a note and greeted the audience in Czech. Everybody burst out laughing. Then the translator stepped to the front and said: Hello, I’m very happy to be here. I would have never thought something like that could happen. Thank you for being here!

Great, I thought. Either something was lost in translation, or I was about to see a film by a guy whose humour I didn’t get at all. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.

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C. Photo Credit: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

KVIFF 2017 – Horizons

Interview with Jonas Carpignano

Director of A Ciambra (IT, USA, FR, SE)

by Cora Frischling

To describe Jonas Carpignano as charismatic, is an understatement. The director, whose first feature film Mediterranea premiered in 2015 to raving reviews, lights up the room with his outgoing presence. He offers you water, starts chit-chatting and reverses the roles after the interview by starting to ask you questions -no business-as-usual kind of exit.

It is probably this manner of genuine interest in his interlocutors that allows him to delve that deeply into the stories of his protagonists. Like in Mediterranea, Carpignano has found the characters of A Ciambra in the locals of the Southern Italian town of Gioia Tauro. Everybody plays themselves in stories based on their actual lives. Many of them turn up in both films, but this time the story is focused on Pio, a young boy of the local Roma community who needs to step up and assume a new role in the family when his father and older brother get into trouble.

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C. Photo Credit: 78 / 52 (2017)

KVIFF 2017 – Out of the Past

Interview with Alexandre O. Philippe

Director of 78 / 52 (USA)

by Miha Veingerl

When a filmmaker describes his film as geeky, then you know you are in for a special ride. Alexandre O. Philippe, a chronicler of pop culture, decided to make a film not only about one filmmaker, or one film, but about one scene. The documentary 78/52 tackled the shower scene of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), invited an illustrious group to analyse it –Elijah Wood, Eli Roth, Guillermo del Toro, Walter Murch, Gary Rydstrom

Nisimazine spoke with him about motels, mysteries and melons.

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C. Photo Credit: Filthy (2017)

KVIFF 2017 – Czech Films 2016-2017

Interview with Peter Badac

Producer of Filthy (CZ, SK)

by Nele Volbruck

„Shhh-shhh”, whispers the math teacher to his student Lena as he assaults her, destroying the world of a normal teenager and setting up consequences too horrific to talk about in Tereza Nvotova’s film Filthy (2017), that screens in the 52nd Karlovy Vary film festival. The film is using this realistic and detailed disruptionto tackle the painful subject and convey a clear message. We had a chance to look behind the scenes and talk to Peter Badač, the producer of Filthy, who had to do a lot to take these shushed subjects to the screen.

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C. Photo Credit: Filthy (2017)

Czech Films 2016-2017: Filthy (CZ, SK)

by Nele Volbruck

The central theme of Tereza Nvotova’s first feature film Filthy, screened at 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF, is a delicate one. There is no amiable way to talk about it, no probable method to paint it casually, and films expanding on it can hardly be described as enjoyable. “It” being rape, as if the word itself is not to be uttered. Thankfully, it is not so in the mind of Nvotova, whose startling picture about a troubled person keeping an atrocious trauma secretly locked away, urges the victims to come forward.

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C. Photo Credit: The Double Lover (2017)

KVIFF 2017 – Horizons: The Double Lover (FR, BE)

by Sabine Kues

François Ozon gives us something to dream about in his latest feature The Double Lover. He indulges in psychoanalytical overkill, with a spree through film history.

An inexplicable pain in her stomach causes the young and beautiful Chloé (Marine Vacth) to consult the psychotherapist Paul Meyer (Jérémie Renier). The patient and the doctor fall in love but Chloé discovers only after they’ve moved in together, that Paul has a twin brother, practicing psychotherapy as well. In order to solve the mystery, she attends sessions with Louis – seemingly the evil twin of the two – and starts an affair of rough sexual lust. The film wouldn’t live up to its saturation in psychoanalysis though, if it wasn’t for Chloé eventually discovering truth about herself.

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Workshop participants Sabine Kues and Nele Volbrück discussing the films of the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Concept, Camera & Video Editing: Cora Frischling
Interview: Sabine Kues & Nele Volbrück
This video was produced during the Nisimazine Karlovy Vary 2017 Film Journalism Workshop.