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Festivals and Awards 2000

Freedom Film Festival Poster

Freedom Film Festival Poster by Wiktor Sadowski © American Cinema Foundation

The Holloway FileDatabase of Russian and Ex-Soviet Union directors

The year is difficult to characterize, and no single trend seems to emerge. Concerns about freedom in the face of tyranny extend to the West, with the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia ("Sky Hook," "The Punishment"). Questions about the direction of the future lead once again to explorations of the past and all its fictions ("Ordinary Bolshevism," "A Trial In Prague"), and its tentacles in the fictional present ("Brother 2"). But the ability of poets to make living art in the face of dictatorship ("Wojaczek," "Abschied") and everyday life ("Otesánek") remains, as always, the driving force of filmmaking.

Berlin and Los Angeles
The Freedom Film Festival takes place in Los Angeles at the time of the American Film Market, and the Berlin Freedom Film Showcase takes place at the same time as the Berlin International Film Festival. These programs are independent initiatives that take place in cooperation and coordination with the American Film Market (AFM) and with the Berlin Festival. This year for the first time our presentation partner in Berlin is the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Art). The year 2001 was our fourth year in Los Angeles and our third in Berlin.

The Berlin Freedom Film Showcase opening night, featured Jan Svankmajer's newest full-length film, "Otesánek." The series of film screenings followed at the Akademie der Künste and the Czech Center. At the gala closing night ceremony at the historic Berliner Rathaus, Poland?s legendary film director (and 2000 Honorary Oscar recipient) Andrzej Wajda presented the second annual Andrzej Wajda Freedom Prize to Jan Svankmajer.

In Los Angeles the opening-night film is "Sky Hook" (Yugoslavia). A series of films by producer Peter Rommel begins at the Monica with the ground-breaking comedy set in East-Berlin "Nightshapes" and continues at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles with his documentary about early television in Europe "TV Is King."

Summer/Fall 2001
At the Moscow International Film Festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, and the Festival East-West in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Freedom Film Festival co-presents films in partnership with our sister festivals.


Freedom Film Festival 2000

The Asthenic Syndrome (Asthenic Syndrom)

The Asthenic Syndrome

153 min., color and b/w, 35mm
Russian with English subtitles

Director: Kira Muratova
Screenplay: Sergei Popov, Aleksandr Tschernych, Kira Muratova
Dir. of Photography:
Vladimir Pankow
Music: Franz Shubert
Editor: Valentina Olejnik
Production: Goskino, Odessa
Film Studios Cast: Sergei Popov, Olga Antonova, Natalja Busko, Galina Sachurdaewa, Aleksandra Ovenskaja, Pavel Polischnu

Asthenic Syndrom
(Russia 1989)

About the Film
Vivid fragments of people's modern lives create a mosaic of poetry and sadness. When her husband dies, Natasha, a doctor, finds she cannot cope with living alone. Her life is in ruins. Another person who can't reach out to others is the teacher Nikolai, depressed because his pupils think so differently from him that there appears to be no point in even trying to communicate any more. In another vignette, a mother and son live together, sitting in front of the television like strangers. An artist attempts to glorify everyday life, but only succeeds in emphasizing a sense of isolation and aimlessness. One of the main characters dies a terrifying banal death in the underground. Meanwhile on the streets, the people queue up for rationed foodstuffs, still chatting about love and humanism while life goes on.

Winner of the Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival, 1990.

Director's Filmography
Kira Muratova (b. 1934 in Soroki, Romania, now part of Moldova) is the daughter of a Romanian mother and Russian father (maiden name Korotkov). She first studied philology at the Moscow University then directing at the Moscow Film School VGIK. Her films Brief Encounters (1967) and The Long Goodbye (1971) were banned until 1986. Her directing career began with a film which she co-directed with her husband Alexander Muratov, On the Steep Cliff (1963), followed by Our Honest Bread (1964). Her solo career includes Brief Encounters (1967), Getting to Know the Big Wide World (1979), Among Grey Stones (1983, which she directed under the pseudonym Ivan Sidarov), Change of Fortune (1984), A Long Goodbye (produced 1971, released 1987, was the FIPRESCI Prize winner at the 1987 Locarno International Film Festival), Aesthenic Syndrome (1989), Sentimental Policeman (1992), Passions (1994, winner of the 1994 Russian Film Academy Nike Award for Best Director, Best Film), Three Stories (1997, nominated for the Golden Bear award at the 1997 Berlin International Film Festival), and her latest film, a 21-minute short entitled A Letter to America (1999).

 

Checkpoint

Checkpoint (Blokpost)

85 min., color, 35mm
Russian with English subtitles

Director: Alexander Rogozhkin
Screenplay: Rogozhkin
Dir. of Photography: Andrei Zhegalov
Original score: Vladislav Panchenko
Music: Wagner, Haydn, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Mozart, Moussorgsky
Editor: Julia Rumyanceva
Producer: Konstantin Ernst,
Sergei Selyanov
Production: ORT, STW Film Co.
Cast: Roman Romantsou, Kirill Ulianov, Ivan Kuzmin, Denis Kirillov, Egor Tomoshevsky

Contact: Intercinema Art Agency, Dryzhinnikovskaya 15 123 242 Moscow, Russia
Vox/Fax: (7095) 255-90-52
Vox/Fax: (7095) 255-90-82
Email: intercinema@glasnet.ru

Blokpost
(Russia 1998)

About the Film
A Russian "Full Metal Jacket," alternately funny and frightening, with a sharp visual style and a real sense of the burdens of empire. Somewhere in the Caucasus, in a place like Chechnya, a platoon of young Russian soldiers searching a village stumble into an ambush and gun down a civilian. But instead of being praised for surviving the ambush, the soldiers are disciplined and then punished by being posted to a remote checkpoint for thirty days. Ironically, their gripes echo those of western soldiers, and the main "enemy" in their eyes are the various women-with-attitude who work for the outside news media, or for the Russian army's own atrocities investigations office. Although they sense a constant danger–particularly in the person of an unseen sniper who takes shots at them from time to time–the soldiers develop a rapport with the local villagers. The goal is simple survival.

"Bears Rogozhkin's trademark fast, witty dialogue and effortlessly light comedic touches."—Anna Franklin (Screen International)

Director's Filmography
Alexander Rogozhkin (b. 1949) is one of the most important Russian directors who belongs to the Leningrad Film School, led by Alexei Guerman. He studied history and art at Leningrad University, then worked for Lenfilm as art director. From 1977 to 1981 he took a course in film directing at VGIK. Ginger, Ginger (1981, Ryzaja, Ryzaja was his diploma film). He returned to Lenfilm and made For a Couple of Lines (1985, Radi nieskolkih strochek), A Golden Button (1986, Zolotaya Pugovitsa) Miss Millionaire (1988, Miss Milionersha), a shocking story about "slavery" in the military titled Vigilance (1989, Ostraha), The Guard (1989, Karaul winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1990 Berlin International Film Festival) The Third Planet (1990, Trettia planeta), a French co-production, a naturalistic picture of a revolutionary terror security officer (1991, Chekist), Life With An Idiot (1993, Zhizn s idiotom), and the postmodernistic crime drama The Act (1993, Akt). He received great acclaim with his comedy Peculiarities of the National Hunt (1995, Osobennosti nacionalnoy okhoty). In the same comic spirit and with the same actors he then made Operation "Happy New Year" (1996, Operatsiya S novym godom for television) and The Peculiarities of National Fishing (1998, Osobennosti nacionalnoy rybalki).

 

Cozy Dens

Cozy Dens (Pelisky)

116 min., color, 35mm
Czech with English subtitles

Director: Jan Hrebejk
Screenplay: Petr Jarchovsky
Dir. of Photography: Jan Malir
Music: courtesy of Sony, Music/Bonton
Editor: Vladimir Barak
Producer: Pavel Borovan (Czech TV), Ondrej Trojan (T.H.A.)
Production: Total HelpArt (T.H.A.) and Czech Television
Cast: Miroslav Donutil, Jiri Kodet, Emilia Vasaryova, Simona Stasova, Boleslav Polivka, Eva Holubova, Jaroslav Dusek, Stella Zazvorkova, Jiri Krejcik, Michal Beran, Kristyna Novakova

Contact: Czech TV Telexport
Kavci hory, 140 70 Praha 4
Czech Republic
Fax/Vox: 42.02.612.12.945
Fax: 42.02.612.11.354
Email: telexport@czechtv.cz

Pelisky
(Czech Republic 1999)

About the Film
This bittersweet comedy of two next-door Prague families begins at Christmas 1967 and ends August 21, 1968, the day Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Soviet Army. History is expressed through a typically Czech coming-of-age story, set at a time when still-novel western fashions and American-style rock 'n' roll were casting a spell among the young people of eastern Europe. The Communist military man's sixteen-year-old son falls hopelessly in love with his reactionary neighbor's daughter. The adolescents, as in every age, suffer what they think of as the despotic or just embarrassing behavior of their parents, but real despotism is always lurking nearby. As warm and humane as "Pelisky" is, it poses a serious question with no fixed answer: What is more fundamental, what you believe in, or the way you act in everyday life?

Director's Filmography
Jan Hrebejk (b. 1967) belongs among the most interesting Czech film directors. He showed his mettle while still studying screenwriting and script editing at FAMU, Prague, when he directed and produced All the Things You Want to Know About Sex and Fear to Experience (1988) and 1948 A.D. (1989). For television he then directed his short acted debut Do Nothing Unless You Have a Serious Reason To Do So (1991). With Petr Jarchovsky he wrote a script for Ondrej Trojan's generation comedy Let's Sing a Song (1990). In 1992 he adapted the novel by Egon Hostovsky Charity Event for television. He made his debut with a full-length musical Years of the Jackal (1993), inspired by Petr Sabach's stories, which won high acclaim from film critics and became a great box office success. In 1996 he made a television serial for children Where Stars Do Fall and three stories to his own scripts for the television series Bakalari. Hrebejk is now preparing a bitter comedy with Jarchovsky, titled We Must Help Each Other.

 

Face to Face

Face to Face (Fata in Fata)

90 min., color, 35mm
Romanian with English subtitles

Director: Marius Th. Barna
Screenplay: Barna
Dir. of Photography: Alex Solomon
Sound: Cristian Tarnovetki, Dumitru Fleancu
Music: Petru Margineanu
Editor: Melania Oproiu
Production: ARTIS/ONC, National Film Office
Cast: Maia Morgenstern, Serban Ionescu, Serban Pavlu, Mircea Diaconu, Magda Catone, Adrian Titieni

Contact: National Film Office
4-6 Dem Dobrescu Str.
Bucharest 1, Romania
Vox: 40.l.310430l
Fax: 40.1.3100672

Fata în Fata
(Romania 1998)

About the Film
This sharp satire on intrusive TV reporting takes place against the true-life background of eastern European families torn apart by revelations of collaboration with the secret police. One morning, famous poet and political dissident Iona Petroni is confronted with the news that her husband Victor was an informer for the Securitate. The case becomes a national sensation, turning the wronged Ioana and the betraying Victor's lives into a cross between "Ed TV" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." While the rest of Romania seems to be weighing in with its opinions, the couple struggles to hold a marriage together and understand how the endless pressures of life in a dictatorship eventually corrupted them. A black comedy made out of the cruel truths of a society based on distrust.

Director's Filmography
Marius Theodor Barna, (b. 1960). In 1995 graduated from the Institute for Theatre and Motion Picture Arts in Film and TV Direction. He is also a prolific and acclaimed writer. His films include Mail-Life-13' (1995, short), War In The Kitchen (Razboi In Bucatarie, 1998), and Face To Face (Fata in Fata, 1998).

 

The Family

The Family (Aila)

95 min., color, 35mm
Azeri with English subtitles

Director: Rustam Ibragimbekov, Ramiz Hassanoglu Mirzoev
Screenplay: Ibragimbekov
Dir. of Photography: Valery Kerimov, Fikret Askerov
Music: Djafar Aliev
Editor: Nissachanum Gadieva
Producer: Rustam Ibragimbekov, Michail Litvak
Production: Azerkinovideo, Baku and Ibrus Ltd., Moscow

Cast: Gasanaga Turabov, Sijavus Kerimi, Svetlana Metkina, Rafik Alijev
Contact: Ibrus Ltd.
11, Maly Kozikhinsky per
Moscow 103001, Russia
Vox: 7.095.299.70.20
Fax: 7.095.299.38.80

Aila
(Azerbaijan, Russia 1998)

About the Film
The directorial debut of Rustam Ibragimbekov, who is best known as a screenwriter ("Burnt by the Sun", "The Barber of Siberia") is a warm and sad allegory on the end of the USSR in 1990 and 1991. A large, symbolically multi-national Soviet family shares a communal apartment in Baku, unwillingly led by Ismail, an old meritorious communist who finds it hard to come to terms with the new political climate. (His physical resemblance to Mikhail Gorbachev is no accident). Keeping the family together is becoming almost impossible; everyone else wants to split up. Subplots involve petty corruption, easy morals, and theft of public art, but the family's main activity is smuggling an Armenian relative safely out of the country during the opening months of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Aila, though made by Azeri cinema's best-known artist, treats the civilians expelled by both sides as innocent victims of changed political times.

Director's Filmography
Rustam Ibragimbekov (b. 1939 in Baku) graduated from the Institute for Petrochemical Studies, then studied script writing and film directing at VGIK in Moscow. He has written more than 40 film and television scripts, numerous plays and pieces of prose. Among his most noteworthy film work is The White Sun of the Desert (1970, Bieloye solnce pustyni), Interrogation (1979, Dopros), Guard Me, My Talisman (1986, Khrani mena, mdl talisman), The Plainclothes Cop (1957, Filer). Since 1990 he has been collaborating closely as scriptwriter with Nikita Mikhalkov. Films: Hitch-Hiker (1990, Avtostop) Urga (1991) Burnt by the Sun (1994, Utomlyonnye solntsem), The Barber of Siberia (1998, Sibirski ciryulnik) and East-West (1999). Ibragimbekov devotes his time to various supra-national activities for the Union of Filmmakers and he is also a film producer.

Ramiz Hassanoglu Mirzoyev (b. 1946 in Yerevan), cinematographer, was educated in Leningrad and has made 13 television films.

 

Gates of Europe

Gates of Europe (Wrota Europy)

90 min., color, 35mm
Polish with English subtitles

Director: Jerzy Wojcik
Screenplay: Jerzy Wojcik, Andrzej Mularczyk, based on the story by Melchior Wankowicz "Szpital w Cichiniczach"
Dir. of Photography: Witold Sobocinski
Music: Zygmunt Konieczny
Editor: Milenia Fiedler
Producer: Henryk Romanowski
Production: Filmcontract Ltd.
Cast: Alicja Bachleda-Curus, Kinga Pries, Agnieszka Sitek, Andriej Jegorow

Contact: Filmcontract Ltd.
ul. Chelmska 21
00724 Warsaw, Poland
Vox: 48.22.840.2278
Fax: 48.22.841.6591
Fax: 7.095.299.38.80

Wrota Europy
(Poland 1999)

About the Film
"Gates of Europe," the title, is a metaphor for the timeless, historically difficult plight of the Poles, who sit athwart the road that every eastern conqueror must take if they wish to make themselves masters of Europe. Like Andrzej Wajda's newest film "Pan Tadeusz," "Gates of Europe" is poetic, visually striking, and set in a turbulent Polish-governed territory that is dangerously attractive to invaders. But in this case the time is 1918, the invaders are Bolsheviks, and the whole cast is barely out of their teens. Three young, rather naive Polish women, all of them close friends, choose to become nurses at the war front. Rapid, chaotic shifts in the fortunes of battle leave their hellish field hospital at the mercy of the enemy. Each one of the women deals with the situation her own way, with defiance, horror, or resignation, and has to live with her choice.

Director's Filmography
Jerzy Wojcik is a camera operator and film director. He graduated from Film School in Lodz (1955). One of the finest camera operators of "Polish Film School" and an important contributor to its artistic success. Lecturer on cinematography in Silesian University in Katowice (1981-82) and in State Academy of Film, Television and Theatre in Lodz (since 1982). Full professor of film art. Most important films : Eroica (1958, dir. Andrzej Munk), Ashes and Diamonds (1958, dir. Andrzej Wajda), Cross of Valour (1959, dir. Kazimierz Kutz), Nobody is Calling (1960, dir. K. Kutz), Past Tense (1961, dir. Leonard Buczkowski), Mother Joan of the Angels (dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz), Samson (dir. Andrzej Wajda), The Old Guy (1962, dir. Janusz Nasfeter), Decent Sins (dir. Mieczyslaw Waokowski), Echo (1964, dir. Stanislaw Rozewicz), To Live Once More (1965, dir. Janusz Morgenstern), Pharaoh (1966, dir. J. Kawalerowicz), And Then the Silence Will Come (dir. Janusz Morgenstern), Westerplatte (1967, dir. S. Rozewicz), Uzrok smrti ne pominati (1968, dir. Jovan ivanovia), Face to Face (dir. Krzysztof Zanussi), The Crows (dir. Lubioa Kozomara), Devojka iz kosmaja (1969, Dragovan Jovanovia), Bloody Tale (1970, dir. Tori Jankovia), The Flood (1973, dir. Jerzy Hoffman), The Leaves Have Fallen Off The Trees (1975, dir. S. Rozewicz, awarded for best cinematography at PFF in Gdansk 75), Passion (1978, dir. S. Rozewicz), Elegy (1979, dir. Pawel Komorowski), The Lynx (1980, dir. S. Rozewicz), Mrs. Latter's Pension (1981, dir. S. Rozewicz), A Woman In a Hat (1983, dir. S. Rozewicz), The Devil (1985, dir. S. Rozewicz), An Angel In the Wardrobe (1987, dir. S. Rozewicz). Director's filmography: Joan of Arc (1976, TV); The Report (1977, TV), Medea (1978, TV), The Complaint (1991, also screenplay). Gates of Europe is the winner for Director of Photography, and for Costume Design at the Gdynia Film Festival 1999.

 

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, My Car! (Chrustaljov, macinu!)

137 min., b/w, 35mm
Russian with English subtitles

Director: Alexei Guerman
Screenplay: Svetlana Karmalita, Alexei Guerman
Dir. of Photography: Vladimir Ilyne
Sound: N. Astrakhov
Music: Andrei Petrov
Editor: Irina Gorochovskaja
Producer: Guy Seligmann (Sodaperaga), Armen Medvedev, Alexander Golutva (Goskino)
Production: Sodaperaga (Paris) and Goskino (Moscow) co-production in association with Arte (formerly La Sept Cinéma and Canal+), Centre National de la Cinematographie, SPIEF (Lenfilm Experimental Film Studio) VGTRK (Russian Federation), Petroagroprombank, Société "Orimi", M. Zlydnikov
Cast: Yuri Tsurilo, Misa Dementiev, Yuri Yarvet, Nina Ruslanova, Genrietta Yanovskaya, Alexander Bachirov

Contact: Flach Pyramide International
5, rue Richepanse
75008 Paris
Vox: 33 1 42 96 0220
Fax: 33 1 40 20 0551

Chrustaljov, macinu!
(Russia 1998)

About the Film
On a snowy Moscow night in the early 1950s, Stalin's secret police make their rounds. A voiceover begins a story about "the forgotten people" of that time. A bald, grinning doctor, The General, is head of a large, manic household. Scenes shift with the disturbing facility of a dream. A big Soviet hospital seems to be a madhouse without rules. Why? Russian viewers realize that Klenski, a general in the Red Army, has been swept up in the "doctors' plot" organized by the KGB in 1953.

The doctor makes a halfhearted attempt to flee but is gang-raped in a shockingly brutal scene. Abruptly, his fate shifts yet again. Being a doctor, he is pulled out of the camp, cleaned up and taken to see the dying Stalin. Told in a droll, unique poetic voice that could be called Socialist magic realism, "Khrustyalov, My Car" is waiting for the re-appraisal that will allow it to find its proper place among the works of one of cinema's great Russian masters.

"Leningrad director Alexei Guerman, one of the most singular talents to emerge from the Soviet Union in the 70s, whose 1982 portrayal of the bleakness of Soviet society, "My Friend Ivan Lapshin," won him a cult following inside and outside the USSR, returns to the scene after 16 years… After attempting to finance the project for more than a decade, Guerman seems to explode with long-repressed ideas like a swollen balloon spewing forth a cacophony of images, characters and camera pyrotechnics." —Deborah Young, Variety

"Years in the making, this alarming phantasmagoria is one of the great films of the decade: brilliantly directed, unrelentingly grotesque, savagely bleak... " —J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Director's Filmography
Alexei Guerman (b. 1938) graduated from the Leningrad Theatre institute (1960). After theater practice he started at Lenfilm in 1964 where he made his debut (co-directed with Gregori Aronov) The Seventh Fellow-Traveller (1967, Sedmoy sputnik). He made the following outstanding films in cooperation with his scriptwriter wife Svetlana Karmalita: Road Checks (1971-1985, Provierka na dorogakh), Twenty Days Without War (1976, Ovascat dney bez voyny), My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1982-1984, Moy drug Ivan Lapshin). In 1990 he established and started heading the SPIEF Studio of First and Experimental Film. Khrustalyov, My Car! was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in Competition.

 

Outskirts

Outskirts (Okraina)

98 min, b/w, 35mm
Russian with English subtitles

Director: Peter Lutsik
Screenplay: Peter Lutsik, Alexei Samorjadov
Dir. of Photography: Nikolai Ivasiv
Music: Georgi Sviridov, Gavril Popov
Editor: Svetlana Guralskaya
Producer: Peter Lutsik, Lev Kagno (Executive Producer)
Production: The Morning of the XXI Century, Goskino
Cast: Yuri Dubrovin, Nikolai Olyalin, Alexei Pushkin, Rimma Markova, Alexei Vanin, Victor Stepanov

Contact: Intercinema Art Agency
Druzhinnikovskaya 15
123242 Moscow, Russia
Vox/Fax: (095) 255-90-52
Vox/Fax: (095) 255-90-82
Email: intercinema@glasnet.ru

Okraina
(Russia 1998)

About the Film
News spreads in a remote village in the Urals that the land the villagers are about to till has been sold to an oil magnate by local officials. A Jim Jarmusch-esque trio of misfits decide to set off in quest of proletarian justice. As a partisan unit of national avengers they cross the country demanding retribution, with each victim an upward step in society, like a deadpan Russian version of an American gangster picture like "Point Blank." Director Peter Lutsik has a sure touch for dry satiric humor, ironically evoking traditional historical-revolutionary epics. When our hapless heroes approach the metropolis, cross the threshold of one of Stalin's seven skyscrapers, and enter the magnate's office to administer justice, peace and harmony return to the Urals, and a satiric vision straight out of the Soviet screen of the 30s ensues: happy tractor drivers cut furrows in the endless fields, the women bear children, and a happy tomorrow beckons us into the sunset.

Winner of the Freedom Award, 1999 at Karlovy Vary for best work by an emerging director. Winner FIPRESCI Prize 1999 Chicago International Film Festival.

Director's Filmography
Peter Lutsik (b. 1960) grew up in the village of Berezan in the Kiev region, then lived in Samarkand and Tashkent (Uzbekistan). He served as an officer in a tank column of the Red Army. As a talented mathematician he applied to study a university course on the physical characteristics of oceans, but finally graduated from the Moscow Steel and Alloy Institute as a metallurgical physicist (1982). After a short period at a foundry he became assistant director at the Uzbekfilm Studios, where he also acted. In 1990 he graduated in script-writing at the VGIK, Moscow. In 1986-1994 he and his fellow student Alexei Samorjadov (who met with a tragic death) wrote eight scripts which gave rise to the most controversial films of the production year: Gongofer (1992 dir. Bachyt Kilibayev), Dyuba-Dyuba (1992, dir. Alexander Khvan), The Children of Cast-Iron Gods (1993, dir. Tamas Toth), Limita (1994, dir. Denis Yevtigneyev). The young authors won the prestigious Nike three times, which is awarded by the Academy of Russian Filmmakers. Before his feature film debut Outskirts, Lutsik made a short film On the Eve (1989, Kanun).

 

Paper Heads

Paper Heads (Papierove Hlavy)

94 min., color, 35mm
Slovak with English subtitles

Director: Dusan Hanak
Screenplay: Dusan Hanak
Dir. of Photography: Alojz Hanusek
Sound: Igor Vrabec, Pavol-Jan Jasovsky
Editor: Patrik Pass, Alena Patoprsta
Producer: Marian Urban, Philippe Awril, Maya Simon
Production: Alef Studio

Contact: Alef Film and Media Group
Tekovská 7
821 09 Bratislava, Slovakia
Vox: 421 7 4445 85 11
Fax: 421 7 4445 85 10
Email: unfilm@reinside.sk

Papierove Hlavy
(Slovakia 1996)

About the Film
Paper Heads refers to a satirical May 1 celebration in which people parade with paper masks that mock Communist leaders. The movie is a vivid documentary meditation on the meaning of tyranny in Czechoslovakia between World War II and the revolution in 1989, interwoven with the personal experiences of Dusan Hanak, a top Slovak director since the early 70s. A highly interpretive, passionate, and sometimes savagely funny documentary, the result is a kind of central European "The Sorrow and the Pity," using previously unseen archive material to evoke a vanished era. In the wake of the Velvet Revolution, many bitter personal stories emerged. Where the issue of freedom is concerned, this is one of the most emblematic films in the history of the festival.

Director's Filmography
Dusan Hanak, one of the most important Slovak directors, studied in the sixties at the FAMU in Prague. He made his debut with 322 and has since realized many short and seven feature films. Filmography: 322 (1969); Pictures of the Old World (1972) Tinted Dreams (Ruzove sny, 1976) I Love, You Love (Ja milujem, ty milujes, 1980) Silent Pleasure (Ticha radost, 1985) Private Lives (Sukromne zivoty, 1990) and Paper Heads (1996), which won a Special Prize of the Jury at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and a Golden Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

 

Paths in the Night

Paths in the Night (Wege in die Nacht)

98 min., b/w, 35 mm
German with English subtitles

Director: Andreas Kleinert
Screenplay: Johann Bergk
Dir. of Photography: Jürgen Jürges
Sound: Siegfried Busza
Music: Andreas Hoge, Steven Garling
Editor: Gisela Zick
Art director: Gabriele Wolff
Producer: Katrin Schlösser, Frank Löprich, Ö-film
Production: Ö-film, in co-production with ZDF, and in co-operation with Studio Babelsberg Independents, Cultural Film Foundation Mecklenburg-Pomerania and Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung
Cast: Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Schmaus, Henriette Heinze, Dirk Borchardt, Ingeborg Westphal, Daniela Hoffmann

Contact: BavariaFilm International
Bavaria Media GmbH
Bavariafilmplatz 8
D-82031 Geiselgasteig
Bavaria Media GmbH
Vox: 49 (89) 64 99 2686
Fax: 49 (89) 64 99 3720
Email: michael.weber@bavaria-film.de

Wege in die Nacht
(Germany 1999)

About the Film
Walter is 55 and unemployed. He is a former factory manager in the old East German regime who cannot come to terms with the end of his factory and his own career. While his wife secures their livelihood by working in a bar, Walter roams the streets at night with two young thugs imposing vigilante law and order. But society does not need Walter or his "benevolent" work. And even the love of his good wife cannot comfort or save him when he decides to impose his fantasies on the real world. This is no Charles Bronson in "Death Wish" but a serious artist's view of the costs of urban alienation. Together with the cameraman Jürgen Jürges, who has played a leading role in German film since the seventies, director Andreas Kleinert has created memorable black-and-white images of contemporary Berlin. A young man, he skillfully depicts the dilemma of many of the older generation affected by the collapse of the GDR. Lead actor Hilmar Thate (former Berliner Ensemble regular) has been much praised in the role of Walter, and together with Cornelia Schmaus (as his wife) demonstrates Kleinert's sensitive casting.

"Andreas Kleinert's choice to shoot in black and white gives the picture a distinctive retro feel, though his precision technique and low-key irony are solidly contemporary." —Derek Elley, Variety

Director's Filmography
Andreas Kleinert, based in Berlin, started as an assistant at DEFA-Studio in Babelsberg. In 1989 he completed studies in film direction at the Konrad Wolf School of Film and Television in the GDR where his dissertation focused on Andrei Tarkovsky. Since 1990 he has been working as a freelance screenwriter and director. His student feature film, Farewell, Joseph (Leb' Wohl, Joseph, 1989) was nominated for a Student Academy Award in 1990 and was shown at the Locarno International Film Festival. A selection from Kleinert's filmography includes: Neben der Zeit (Outside Time, 1994/95) which won Best Film and Best Actress at the 1996 Cairo International Film Festival, Lost Landscape (Verlorene Landschaft, 1992) No Man's Land (Niemandsland, 1995, film essay) and In the Name of Innocence (Im Namen der Unschuld, 1996-97). Paths in the Night (Wege in die Nacht, 1999) was the opening film at the 1999 Directors' Fortnight at Cannes. Since then he has directed several episodes of Victor Klemperer's Diary for television (Ich möchte Zeugnis ablegen bis zum Letzten-Viktor Klemperers Tagebucher, 1999).

 

Totalitarian Romance

Totalitarian Romance (Totalitarny Roman)

98 min., b/w, 35 mm
German with English subtitles

Director: Vyacheslav Sorokin
Screenplay: Marina Mareeva
Dir. of Photography: Sergei Astrakhanov, Valeri Mironov
Music: Vadim Bibergan
Editor: Vyacheslav Sorokin
Producer: Vyacheslav Sorokin
Production: Studio TOO "A.K.V.", Goskino Moscow
Cast: Galina Bokashevskaya, Sergei Yushkevich, Svetlana Kryutchlova, Olga Volkova

Contact: Intercinema Art Agency
Druzhinnikovskaya 15
123242 Moscow, Russia
Vox/Fax: (095) 255 90 52
Vox/Fax: (095) 255 90 82
Email: intercinema@glasnet.ru

Totalitarny Roman
(Russia 1998)

About the Film
In 1968, when the Russian-led armies of the Warsaw Pact put a harsh end to the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, there might have been only six or seven people in Russia who had the courage to protest. Most people didn't know what was going on, and others didn't care. Young Muscovite Andrei Sorokin is one of those who makes his voice heard. He flees Moscow to the Siberian town of Abakan, where his aunt had settled after many years of imprisonment and exile. Out of sheer boredom, he goes to the local House of Culture and meets Nadya, a good-looking propaganda worker. The two very different young people have an affair. Nadya, approached by the KGB and pressed into collaboration, refuses and is soon made to suffer for her decision. The filmmaker makes the point that one can remain a decent human being even in a country with an indecent regime.

Director's Filmography
Vyacheslav Sorokin (Leningrad, 1944) worked after his technical study as an engineer in a factory. In 1978 he graduated from the Leningrad Institute for Theatre, Music and Film. His short films include What Holds The Globe (1981), Detective Story (1981), Under One Sky (1981), Original Cocktail (1982), On New Year's Eve (1982) and Vacations In January (1982). In 1986 he made his first feature, Once Upon A Time There Lived Doctor (Zhil-byl doktor, 1984) which he then followed with several features in a strong socially critical vein: Traffic Fare (1988) The Temptation (Soblazn, 1987), The Branded (Mechenye, 1991) On The Bank of the Irtysh (Na Irtyshi, 1992), and Totalitarian Romance (Totalitarny Roman, 1998).

 

Wheels

Wheels (Tockovi)

93 min., color, 35mm
Serbian with English subtitles

Director: Djordje Milosavljevic
Screenplay: Djordje Milosavljevic
Dir. of Photography: Dusan Ivanovic
Music: Laiko Felix
Editor: Branka Ceperac
Producer: Ljubisa Samardzic
Production: Cinema Design in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Serbia, co-production with Bulgarian National Television
Cast: Dragan Micanovic, Anica Dobra, Nikola Kojo, Ljubisa Samardzic, Bogdan Diklic

Contact: Cinema Design
Ustanicka 125
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Vox: 38 1 11 488 2377
Fax: 38 1 11 488 8011
Email: sinema@eunet.yu

Tockovi
(Yugoslavia 1998)

About the Film
This nightmare comedy is a parable about the Balkans and its culture of violence. Like Quentin Tarantino, but with bigger things in mind, director Djordje Milosavljevic is thoroughly at home with the moody, paranoid world of film noir, and is every bit as deft at using its traditions while sending them up at the same time. Nemanya, a young man from Belgrade, is trying to get home one stormy night. Not far from home he is soaked in a biblical downpour that maroons him at a remote little motel called The Wheel. The people gathered here would give pause to The Addams Family, and the rainy night changes into a night of horror for Nemanya. He is falsely accused of a series of murders, and finds that the gun is the only way out. The accelerating downward momentum of the formerly innocent Nemanya, and his growing mastery of murder, is black humor reminiscent of noir novelist Cornell Woolrich at his sardonic best. Parallels to the situation in the real Yugoslavia are there for those who care to make them.

Director's Filmography
Djordje Milosavljevic (b. 1969, in Ivanica, Serbia) began as a film critic, but mainly devoted his time to creating cartoons serials that ware published in many magazines. Some of them were translated into Russian, Greek and English. He won a National Prize for the best Yugoslav comics of 1994. Two of his theatre plays—"Saint Apocalypse" and "Paper Devils"—were published in the prestigious literary monthly "Knizhevna rec." "Naked Vera" is among the most popular Serbian dramas on the Internet. As scriptwriter he made his debut with the fiction film Paket Aranzhman, and he finished his studies at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade in 1997, graduating with the script for the film directed by Radivoy Andrich Three Palms for Two Loafers and a Chick (Tri palme za dye bitange i pticu, 1998) which became one of the most popular films in the country. Wheels is Milosavljevic's directing debut. Since directing it he has also written the upcoming Sky Hook (Nebeska udica, 1999).