lux film prizeGiornate degli Autori - Venice Days

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.

I just wanted to tell you all - Im gonna miss you terribly, my lovely 27!!!! LOVE YOU xxx

My top five

I’m sad as The Bienalle is reaching the end. Everything is closing down and people are slowly leaving the Lido. The Giornate Degli Autori Villa is more or less empty and the atmosphere inside the Festival area seems dull. I guess everyone is exhausted after a long and busy festival.

Participating in the 27 Times Cinema initiative has really been a great experience and I’ve been enjoying every second of it. I will miss it all.

My top five favorite films of the festival (In no particular order):

Post Mortem (Pablo Larraín)

Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski)

Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko)

Incendies (Denis Villeneuve)

Somewhere (Sofia Coppola)

Discussion 9: Europe and Cultural Identity

Juana Lahousse-Juárez – General director for Communication of the European Parliament – and Bertrand Peltier – responsible of LUX Prize – presented MEPs Doris Pach, Silvia Costa and Stavros Lambrinidis and the three film-makers contesting for the LUX Prize: Feo Aladag (When we leave), Oliver Masset-Depasse (Illegal) and Filippos Tsitos (Plato’s Academy). The debate on ‘Europe and Cultural Identities’, the latest and largest discussion within the framework of the 27 Times Cinema initiative, was moderated by British journalist Nick James. Giorgio Gosetti and Valerio Caruso, directors of Venice Days and respectively, were present too during this one-hour meeting, which ended with the young 27 European cinema lovers granting their Special Mention to Denis Villeneuve's feature Incendies.


(PART 1)

I felt a sense of relief the moment i stepped outside the cinema hall - not only because i felt free of the pressure that the film itself caused me, but because, for my relief, i saw most of the 27 having the same look on their faces..And they left the screening with a slow pace like they didnt actually wanted to escape.
Umay’s – a young Turkish 25year old mother and wife – attemp to escape from the abusive family envirroment she is living in and start a new life begins an irreversable trip to violence, pain, anger and pure solitude for both sides.
A vicious circle of hatred and violence inside an uneducated society which foreigns its own children in the name of plastic morals. During the movie we watch Umay struugling with this unhealthy mechanish that has as a result her parent ‘s constant rejection,harsh restrictions and domestic violence.

Without slipping into the easy way of making a melodrama the direrctor Feo Aladag tells a strong story because as she said “only personal stories tell the actual truth”.

* * *

(PART 2 - Last thoughts)

A film is a journey to where your imagination imposes.It is a silent agreement between the film and the greedy audience that it is going be a pure orgasm of sences that tickles your soul and mind until the last cell of your body - until your fingertips. Otherwise it is not worth the lights it has been given.

Cinema is so fragile that you are not allowed to put any kind of boundaries .fragile as your soul is ,as your memories are ,as revolution is.So let it penetrate into your worst fears,into your fantasies ,let it shock you and provoke you in order to look clearer when you walk out of the dark screening room.

Can you even imagine what would happen if all the unconventional minds of the world put limits and forms in their creativity ,to all their reckless-at the time-operations and they did not confront the conservative other side? Even worse in our basic human -primitive sometimes- desire for freedom? What if Lars Von Trier had doubts about Dogma,what if Kinsey never talked about sex without taboos ,what If a pioneer as Martin Luther King would say: ”I have a dream… but I don’t really want to talk about (actually that one is stolen!)

So please leave behind you any restrictions and enter in such an experience as vulnerable you can be…

SCHEDULE, Saturday September 11th


Sala Volpi

Sala Volpi

Venice 67: Oh Venice Days, Oh Venice Days!

(apologies to Connall for the title of this post :) )

The Venice Film Festival is slowly, slowly drawing to a close and I'm sitting at my laptop trying to come up with an adequate way to describe this experience. It's been eleven days of non-stop running from one screening to another, of searching for our next caffeine fix in the hope that it will keep us awake for the next screening, of exchanging ideas with peers and professionals, of the occasional celebrity sighting, of getting to know 26 European Cinéphiles – with the Venice Film Festival serving as the perfect backdrop.

The idea that you are going to spend eleven days watching films can be a bit daunting at first and n all honesty, if anyone had to ask me which films I've seen, I wouldn't be able to mention them off the top of my head; of course, there are ones which stick out. What strikes me about the majority of the films I have seen is their social and political relevance, which I find immensely important. From François Ozon's 'Potiche' serving as a satire of the current political situation in France, Feo Aladag's 'Die Fremde' dealing with the problem of honour killings in Europe and domestic violence , Denis Villeneuve's 'Incendies' where the struggles Lebanon faced become an essential part of the narrative and Danis Tanovic's 'Cirkus Columbia' which is played out against the political situation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991. These films that I have mentioned are just a few of the films at the festival which in one way or another struck some political notes. In my opinion, films act as a mirror of reality, so it is quite impossible for a film to be void of social or political commentary. Art is political in itself, and cinema as a visual and auditory medium is very powerful in that it can clearly convey a message or an idea. Throughout the history of film (and politics) this has been used negatively - such as propaganda films as well as positively; making politics more accessible. The rise of Soft Power in today's world means that Film as a medium is extremely important, and we can see that even the European Union acknowledges the potential of cinema in this respect with the Lux Prize. The meeting we had yesterday with some members of the European Parliament showed us that the people who are representing us in Europe are aware of just how powerful film can be, and how it should be appreciated and supported.

Many thanks go to the European Parliament, Europa Cinemas, Giornate Degli Autori and Cineuropa for making this experience possible. Chapeau Bas!