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lux film prizeGiornate degli Autori - Venice Days

01 November, 2010

27 Times Cinema at the European Parliament

Last Wednesday, myself and Thomas from the 27 were taken to Brussels to sit in on a public hearing on Cinema and European Identities. The guest of honour was Wim Wenders, who gave a presentation on the importance of educating young people in cinema literacy.

Mr Wenders kicked things off in the palatial European Parliament buildings with a plea for a cinema-lierate population. He hoped that by raising future European generations to value their cinema as much they value television or games, then we may become more protective, and more nurturing of our our home-grown product. In short, creating more demand with a view to 'auteured' cinema ultimately taking the place of Hollywood output in our multiplexes.

He iterated the importance of digitalisation of cinema theatres in furthering a sense of 'Europeanness'. Films in foreign languages are now able to be screened in many different languages because with digital, our subtitles exist as meta-data, erasing the old problem of having to physically move prints around the continent. Wim said that pre-digital, if 10 prints of his film were made, 5 would be subtitled and 5 would be without. Think of how much more difficult this makes print traffic from a distribution point of view. Compared to a secure ftp transfer to a cinema, the projectionist able to choose between 15 different languages, and then project in crystal-clear digital or even 3D!

Of course, technology - as with anything new - creates its own problems. The idea of brand new, pre-release date films whizzing through the airwaves must make intellectual property lawyers break out in a cold sweat. Piracy is a real threat, however WW appealed to the lawyers to allow more filmmakers tro quote each other more liberally, and to classify more film footage as 'copyleft', specifically culturally significant documentary films.

Ann Jackel, a visiting research fellow of the UWE, then gave a very valuable overview of the co-production industry across Europe. On the subject of co-productions, may I please give a quick plug for "The Hunter" by Rafi Pitts, a German-Iranian co-production on release through Artificial Eye right now.

Roman Gutek, a Polish distributor of European and US films, gave an interesting alternative vision of the future of European film. He saw Europe as having to break down its culture of elitism and embrace newer business models to increase income. He sees US imports as being important 'tentpoles' for European distributors, allowing us to be flexible enough to showcase our own world-renowned cinema.

Finally, one Giorgio Gosetti gave an impassioned plea to remember that film festivals as still the only place that many auteured films may be seen in their natural home, the big screen. A successful festival appearance is the catalyst for a filmmaker's career, just as much as a profit-making film. He asked us to not overestimate the importance of the red carpet at major festivals, and to always remember that they are foremost a place of discovery and passion.

07 October, 2010

Finally.....Machete

I've just seen Machete... it's already on the cinemas in Romania. And i 'm very happy to finally understand the jokes i heard throughout the festival related to the macho character of Dannny Trejo. So, even if i'm a month later, i feel a great excitement reproducing them: Machete doesn't text, Machete gets evidence and Machete doesn't text, Machete improvises! Unfortunately, i can't imitate the voice....
And...yes, you were right, i enjoyed it, it's a very amusing film from the point of view of the situation and the characters. It was extremely funny to see names such as Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal put in awkward situations, making fun of their previous macho 'invincible' roles, which made them popular and well-known.
The girls were stunning/very hot...that's what the boys said and i agree with them (especially Michelle Rodriguez). Their foxyness in combination with Machete/Danny Trejo and the other middle aged guys .. made the story even more hilarous!


P.S It's strange how i still feel the need to share some of my opinions with you...it became a 27 Times Cinema habit!

27 September, 2010

Cyprus International Film Festival

Dear all,

I just want to inform you about the Cyprus International Film festival which will take place in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus from the 13th of October until the 18 th of October. The films that will be screened have been categorized in the following sectors: Golden Aphrodite 2010, Short Films 2010, Animations 2010, Antiquity, Panorama, CYIFF 2010 Premieres, Dance Films 2010,Nostimon Imar, Tribute to Polish Film as well as Sport films - Fair play. Please find attached the link of the Festival's web-site to acquire more information.

Regards from Cyprus,

Michalis

22 September, 2010

"Giornate Anniversari"


Audioviideo.

I will never forget the women reading instructions before the screenings. I have just been rolling things in my mind and thinking Lido.

My Italian did not improve, now it just consists of self-made english-french looking words. For instance, thanks to Conalls skills of creating words he almoust got Vytautas in to ”Sala Volpi” , because of Vytautas having his birthday and according to Conall, ”giornate is days or something likely” and well anniversari is quite obvious. Conall repeating with a slight american accent ”Giornate Anniversari”, pointing Vytautas and offering money (this happend before the music performance for the Parliament members) for the security guy . I think I will remember this quite a long time.

The other (or one of them) memorable moment happend due to hunger:

After waiting an hour to see ’La Comedia’, we left after ten minutes. The film didn´t have subtitles and it looked like pictures taken and shown in a disorganized way. Stuck for something to do we went for a gelato and to our surprise we met Michael Cera and some friend of his. We introduced ourselves and had a very interesting conversation with them. It was weird to accidentally run into some people with a bit higher social status than youself.

Trying to remember all the great people, films and events I thank every one of you!

As Thorben already said

Good Bye everyone!

P.s. Vytautas record with eight films per day is something to pick up, because I got tired after five!

14 September, 2010

Good Bye


So, that's us, the Happy Few, the 27. The Mostra left all of us slightly Scorched, almost as we've fallen into The Ditch. Now we are all scattered again, in Europe, Somewhere. The Last Movie I saw was the winner of the Golden Lion. Beyond that, I will always remember The Clink of Ice in our cups of Spritz, walking around the Lido, on The Road To Nowhere. The Black Ocean in the night made us Happy Poets, reflecting about how lucky we were, and what an honour it is to be in Venice. When we Leave, we go home to our countries, working with 13 Assassins, doing some Essential Killing, or maybe as a clown in Cirkus Columbia. Who knows. And of course, we want to meet each other again, but as nobody knows what life will expect us, these are all Promises Written in Water.


Venice was amazing. Thanks for this opportunity.

13 September, 2010

Akadimia Platonos and the Greek Nationalism


The core of the plot of Plato’s Academy is in fact the realization of Stavros, who is believed to be Greek, but it is found out that he is essentially Albanian after his mother acknowledges an Albanian man as her son. It is then revealed that this strange Albanian man is Stavros’ brother. A mysterious confusion inevitably occurs with regards to what the national identity of Stavros is. The film terrifically portrays the traditional long-term malicious Greco-Albanian relations that date back to 1991, after the fall of the Albanian communist regime whereby allegations of mistreatment by the Albanian authorities of the Greek ethnic minority in southern Albania and of the alleged Albanian minorities in northern Greece occurred. Albanian economic immigrants have penetrated the Greek state and their presence caused huge tension between the two parties. Therefore, Greeks have developed certain prejudices and biases against Albanians that is they consider them as evil, ugly, uncivilized and miasmatic entities which pollute their “civilized” and “cultured” social well being. As a result, Albanians by no means would be accepted to be integrated or tolerated within the Greek society, because these “savages” do not simply match with the Greek mentality of education and culture derived from the ancient Greek ideals (!). The Greek companions’ actions really reminded me of a typical Greek nationalistic quotation that dictates “Whoever is not Greek is Barbarian”. The companions’ objection to the idea of constructing a monument in the name of intercultural solidarity declares that in their “territory” (implying their quarter) no ‘foreign’ influence is possible to change their Greek habitual rituals and way of living (namely playing football and gathering around, drinking coffee, etc), hence tolerance, respect and compromise are bizarre words in their ordinary culture. In the meantime, at the moment of the football game between the Albanian and Greek National teams, we observed an intense social solidarity from the two sides, which separately gathered in a sort of a coffee shop to watch the match, using national symbols and passionately supporting their teams. Apparently, in such case football as a ritual, represents ethnic origins which are regarded emotionally, and this reality brings about collective consciousness which in turn binds people who share the same ideals and values. Stavros, as every compatriot of his, holds strong bonds with his Greek national identity and is not willing to accept the severe truth that he had to face up to because otherwise he would have lost his Greek companions who merely believe in the homogeneity of the Greek community, hence they wouldn’t easily accept an Albanian in their company. Nevertheless, the allegorical language and imagery used in the film (sheepdog called “Patriot”, Euro 2004 Greek National team photos posted on the wall, )signify the reality that was previously described. As Filippos Tsitos, the director and writer of the film said before its screening, the situations employed in the film are not be taken for granted that represent nowadays’ reality. However, Tsitos takes the issue of cultural absolutism, xenophobia and racial intolerance into a deeper level and through its problematic and complicated nature, the dramedy simply communicates a range of messages intended to those who suffer from cultural myopia and particularly ethnocentrism.

12 September, 2010

we’ll always have Venice


On the last day of the festival most of the “seven, twenty seven” left the queuing to others and went sightseeing. And at night in the villa we danced and didn’t dance, cried and didn’t cry, found and didn’t find love and said goodbye and didn't say goodbye.

11 September, 2010

Die Fremde – When we leave


Last morning, after voting for the winner of our special mention, we watched the movie When we leave for the Lux Prize competition, and I have to say that it was one of the best movies I saw in Venice Days. This is not a new theme, but is still common, and despite of being a long movie, Feo Aladag really managed to keep the audience focused on the story. I loved the main actors, specially the kid, they make the movie seem real. The movie was so dramatic but still so good! I had a knot on my throat almost all the time. In the end I thought the kid was going to shoot himself with the gun, and I felt so relieved when he droped it, but then the last scenes were so brutal that I couldn't avoid crying. “When we leave we always have to leave something behind”, but I'm pretty sure that no one will forget this movie.

Conall made my day


On the way home the other day Conall gave us an amazing performance as usual. Not satisfied with just applauds Conall took off his hat and started to beg for money from the surrounding people, trying to convince them that he actually is famous in Ireland. Conall never got any money but his reaction when realizing that he just begged the European Parliament members for money was indescribable!

Yesterday we met the members of the European Parliament again, although under more serious circumstances when discussing Europe and Cultural Identities. The moderator for this debate Nick James, editor of Sight and Sound, addressed interesting questions about cinema as a vehicle for transmigration, European transgression and the future of Europeans cinema in relation to the domination of American Cinema. I’m very interested in topics concerning cultural- and multicultural identities, partly because it’s something that I can relate to myself. One of the Lux Prize films, Plato's Academy by Filippos Tsitos, was talking about this subject in a humoristic way through the character Stavros who finds out that he is Albanian. Although he has spent most of his life in Greece, a conflict regarding whether he’s Albanian or Greek emerges, which is concerning both a personal conflict but also a conflict for his friends who openly show hatred for Albanians throughout the film.

As I wrote above this is something I can relate to myself; since coming to Venice several people told me that: “nooo, you’re not Swedish”, “you don’t look Swedish at all” or “where do you come from originally?”. Of course I can be Swedish! But what interests me about these comments is the question – what determines cultural identity today? Migration has created multicultural identities and lines are being blurred. For me it’s not important to define cultural identity but I believe that the blurred lines create a fear of “the new Europe” which creates a nationalistic political view.

I wish I would have more time to discuss this but now the Venice Days has come to an end, and I’m very grateful for being a part of the 27 Times Cinema! Being able to see as many movies as you can has been great and to discuss them with the rest of the 27 is fantastic. But before we leave I really hope we will see Conall perform the “Single ladies” choreography again.