Awarded in renowned film festivals or included in end-of-the-year film critics tops, the first titles announced to be part of this year`s festival program make up an eclectic selection of films addressing hot topics of today – politics, religion, society -, but also genre films that strongly appeal to the general audience.
The annual Supernova section`s best of will include productions launched at Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Karlovy Bary or Toronto, some of which were submitted for the Oscars. Some of the first titles confirmed include Neruda, directed by Pablo Larraín (No, El Club, Jackie), which will premiere in Cluj-Napoca. Selected in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section in Cannes, proposed by Chile for the Oscars, nominated at the Golden Globes and distributed in Romania by Independența Film, Neruda is an unconventional biopic inspired by the true story of the Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, who was persecuted by the Communist regime of Gabriel González Videla after having publicly criticised him in 1948, starring a remarkable Gael Garcia Bernal.
Another Nobel Prize winner is the hero of the Argentinian El ciudadano ilustre/ The Distinguished Citizen, an Oscar contender black comedy (directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn). A famous writer accepts the invitation to visit his native town in Argentina, the source of inspiration behind each of his novels. The worst idea when you have used real people as characters in your books! This role brought Oscar Martínez the award for Best Actor at the Venice Festival. The wrong man in the wrong place gives rise to a bubbly comedy, Ministry of Love (directed by Pavo Marinkovic), screened in more than 15 festivals. A Croatian biologist finds himself in a complicated national mission: to check which of the war widows have found lovers and should no longer benefit from alimony from their husbands.
An ode to Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati, is the Paris, pieds nus/ Lost in Paris comedy starring directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon themselves (whose unique films have been screened during various TIFF editions), alongside veteran Emmanuelle Riva. A 93-year old aunt disappears without a trace, and her niece and a homeless man search for her in Paris, a pretext for perfectly directed gags, jokes and coincidences reminding us of silent comedies.
From the Un Certain Regard section in Cannes comes The Student, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov (Betrayal), a poignant film about a teenager in Russia who becomes an Orthodox radical and who is challenging, with the Bible in his hands, everything that is happening around him. Religious fundamentalism, teenage crisis and sexual identity in a film distributed in Romania by Transilvania Film and which will premiere on March 31.
Like every year, Unirii Square will be hosting some of the most spectacular screenings at TIFF. The winner of the Transilvania Trophy, Rodrigo Sorogoyen for Stockholm, returns with a cutting edge thriller, Que Dios Nos Perdone/ May God Save Us, about two policemen whose actions become as suspicious as those of the serial killer they are following. Set in a completely different register, the exuberant La pazza gioia / Like Crazy, (directed by Paolo Virzì), screened at Cannes and distributed in Romania by Independența Film, follows the emotional and very surprising friendship between two women who meet in a psychiatric clinic.
Unpredictable and challenging, the films included in the What’s Up, Doc? section address current dilemmas. La Libertad del Diablo/ Devil’s Freedom (directed by Everardo González), recently shown at the Berlinale, is an impressive exploration of dramas beyond numbers. The drug war has produced over 100.000 deaths and disappearances in Mexico over the past five years alone. Confessions of victims and executioners wearing masks to protect themselves bear the outmost shocking effects. In Austerlitz, selected in Venice, the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa shoots, in black and white, tourists visiting concentration camps. Selfies, smiles and inadequate comments – places where the Holocaust was a reality become tourist attractions devoid of historical resonance.
The border between fiction and documentary disappears in the ultra-stylised All These Sleepless Nights (directed by Michal Marczak), depicting the night lives of two young men in Warsaw and, by extension, the existential confusion of the Facebook generation. Screened at Karlovy Vary, the film won the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance.
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Transilvania International Film Festival is organised by the Association for Romanian Film Promotion and the Association for the Transilvania Film Festival.