The 12th Cinematik International film festival Piešťany is once again this year going to screen a selection of the best European films of the past year. The selection is put together yearly by European film critics and film festival programmers. Strong films will meet at the festival in a competitive section aptly named the Meeting Point Europe organized under the auspices of the International Federation of Film Critics FIPRESCI. The Cinematik audience will thereby be able to view straight-off several important films in a Slovak premiere, whose names were mentioned many times on foreign festivals.
This year’s mosaic is full of films of various genres from several countries. It brings pictures, which adequately represent the face of European contemporary cinema.
Ben’s Wheatleys new film Free Fire, which is taking place in Boston USA at the end of the 1970‘s, will be screened at the festival; in which Irish gangsters meet with local gun dealers in an abandoned warehouse. The Cinematik visitors can surely remember this British director, because it was exactly here where he personally received the RESPECT Award four years ago.
The drama Playground, by the polish director Bartosz M. Kowalski, presents a mature style debut. Its heroine is a schoolgirl named Gabrysia, who decides to confess her affection to one of her classmates on the last day of school; however it doesn’t go the way she has expected. A chilling story is inspired by real life events and is dominated by a distinctive stylistic execution.
Film fans will also have a golden opportunity to see The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen), a brand new film by the Finnish maestro Aki Kaurismäki. The film deals with the highly up-to-date immigration issue, main characters are a Syrian refugee and a tight-lipped businessman from Helsinki. Kaurismäki once again shows us his individual style, exclusive humour and his stance in the unceasing discussion. It was for this film that they awarded him with the Silver Bear for the best director at this year’s Berlinale film festival.
The segment of selected European films will among others present the appraised film I am Not Your Negro, by the director Raoul Peck. Peck in cooperation with the writer James Baldwin are giving us the story of races in modern US, based on Baldwins’ unfinished novel Remember This House.
The festival also presents the exquisite drama Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring the French actress Isabelle Huppert, who for her role in this movie was nominated for an Academy Award. For the first time will the Slovak audience be able to watch the controversial French-Belgian title Raw, on a big screen and in the festival atmosphere. This film can be included in the New French Extremity „movement“, along with films like Martyrs, Frontiers, Inside. Since its beginnings, it was interested in surpassing the genres and the audience experience.
In addition to contemporary European cinema, Cinematik also brings together a selection of the best documentary films that have been produced in the last year, they are in majority or minority of Slovak production and this year is no exception. The festival in the second competitive section Cinematik.doc will present a new film by Miro Remo, dedicated to Richard Müller, entitled This is not Me. In this sensitive portrait we get a glimpse of the backstage of Müller’s life, where the director also tries to answer his question of what his favorite singer really is like.
The documentaries by Robert Krichhoff and Anna Gruskova, will provide us with powerful stories, after Normalization, Robert Kirchhoff, a documentary filmmaker, has once again chosen a difficult, but at the same time, a very important subject. In his new film, A Hole in the Head he addresses the Romani Holocaust in a broader, not only Slovak context. Anna Grusková in her third film The Professional Foreigner tells us about the fate of the Slovak writer and activist Irena Brežná.
Maroš Berák’s feature film Grey Lizard Conspiracy took six years to make. The documentary brings forth the immediate testimonies of people who have seen UFOs in their lives. The director does not want to create a sensation or support many conspiracy theories, the filmmakers collected testimonies from random people, such as teachers, people from the military environment, or science. Trustful testimonies can be easily believed, the question is where the truth really is.
Juraj Mravec a young photographer made his road-movie Peace in us about the recent history of our eastern neighbors. He concentrates on the consequences of the war and translates his narrative with black and white photographs and subjective commentary. It is those photographs that create a complex picture of people frightened, but at the same time enjoying ordinary things, something that even the circumstances can’t take away from them – the hope for a brighter future.
The Cinematik.doc competitive section also offers a Adam Hanuljak’s film – 10 Years of Love, which deals with issues of young families in contemporary Europe. At its center there are five couples, each of which goes through its own development with the arrival of kids. The popular so-called “time-lapse” method is being used here. The film avoids superficial topics such as a change in lifestyle or socio-economic situation, it rather focuses on bringing up of children and partnerships and their possible crises.
This years’ Cinematik will focus on Belgian cinema and will also offer a retrospective by the director brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who are well-known representatives of the world’s social drama. The brothers have established their own stylized craft on worshiping of the principles of so called “true cinema,” which doesn’t fictionalize life, it only captures it.
Cinematik will offer in the Respect section their newly digitally restoredifilms, as well as their unique works, which are rarely shown. In addition to other works such as Unknown Girl, Two Days, One Night, or Boy on a Bicycle, it will return to more ancient history. The section will bring films such as the documentary Pour que la guerre s´acheve a R… Be repond plus. The festival will also present first feature titles by well-known filmmakers, a film Falsch, featuring an impressive story set during the Second World War will be shown among them. It is an adaptation of the play of the same name by a Belgian playwright of Polish origin. The award-winning The Silence of Lorna, or an older title The Promise, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, won’t be missed either.
Cinematik will feature a total of thirteen films by well-known Belgian filmmakers. Despite the fact that we associate Belgium mainly with the Dardenne brothers, the cinema of this country offers many other talented names and films, including an uncompromising drama The Ardennes by Robin Pront about two brothers who are separated by jail time.
Like every year, the focus on contemporary cinema of the selected country – this time Belgium, is specially compiled for Cinematik by a guest programmer – a Belgian film critic Grégory Cavinato.
The selection of films in the Belgium Magnified section paints the picture of contemporary Belgian cinema which is is diverse. The Pieter Van Heese thriller Waste Land will also be presented, the director tells a story of an uncompromising detective – Leo Woeste, solving crimes in Brussels and its gangland. Cinematik will also screen an original horror movie set in a boyscout camp Cub, a new thriller by the directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani named Let the Corpses Tan, a drama Prejudice with an extraordinary cast, as well as an unforgettable comedy full of colors and absurdities, Lost in Paris. The wide range of genres and themes has been a key to the film selection at Cinematik since its very beginning.