Thanks to the “Brussels Film Festival” (“BRFF”), the best of the european Films Productions is now to be seen in “Flagey” (buses 38 and 71 and tramway 84), till friday June 24th.
First of all, it’s interesting to read what Ivan Corbisier, Festival’s Director, wrote in the catalog: “As organizers of a cultural event in Brussels, the Festival team and myself were very shocked by the dramatic events that affected our beautiful capital of Europe. But instead of admitting ourselves defeated by barbarism, we redoubled our efforts to prepare an even richer and exciting festival. We are convinced that culture remains the foundation of our European society, and can serve as a wall against obscurantism and violence. It’s therefore no coincidence that we will be welcoming two guests this year, both politically engaged against extremism, German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff and French actor Guy Bedos. When the first warns us against the radical right through his films such as ‘The Tin Drum’, the other uses humour to denounce racism. And it is fair to say that humour plays an important part in this edition’s festival program. European filmmakers have more than in previous years exploited comedy to talk about the economic crisis, illness or violence. The festival will … close with a light comedy, ‘The Aquatic Effect’, of the late Solveig Anspach. But there will also be many more events not to be missed out on at any cost. During this week of art, culture, emotions and joy, you will have the opportunity to spend unforgettable moments with our film-concert evening presented as part of the ‘Fête de la Musique’, …, 10 Belgian premieres, an open-air cinema every night, exciting guests, a ‘Sunday film flea market’ as well as the Italian, Polish and Spanish nights. But most importantly we hope you will enjoy the relaxing and cinephile atmosphere that characterises the ‘Brussels Film Festival’ “.
12 Films in Compétition:
- “A Good Wife” (Mirjana Karanovic/BIH-HRV-SRB/2016/90’/a serbian family, right after the war, in the nineties): “Selected at the last Sundance Film Festival, A Good Wife depicts a 50-year-old woman, living a successful life with her husband and two grown children. A large house, two cars, friends, everything seems perfect in the best of worlds. But how has this Serbian family managed to come this far? When the father ‘s military past resurfaces, reality becomes less bright. Mirjana Karanovic is probably the best-known Serbian actress, and has been seen in several Kusturica films (‘Underground’, ‘Life is a miracle’, …), but this time she also shines as a screenwriter and director. For her first film, she manages very accurately to tackle the difficult past of her country while creating a very personal work”;
- “Blind Sun” (Joyce Nashawati/FRA-GRC/2016/88’/a prize-winning film, in Thessaloniki): “A heat wave hits a seaside resort in Greece. Water is scarce, violence is latent. Aschraf, an immigrant, is guarding the holiday villa of a French family when he is controlled by the local police… Slowly and irreversibly, the narrative switches into a fantasy world. Aschraf loses touch with reality while around him the plot is built upon the corruption as to the supply of water and the looming ecological disaster. A dive in an impalpable and baffling mystery”;
- “Callback” (Carles Torras/SPAIN/2016/83’/another face of the american dream): “We will call you back. After hearing this phrase over and over again when he shows up to castings, Larry is starting to lose it. He works as a mover but dreams to become an actor. And to make his dream come true he moves to the place where everything is supposed to be possible: the United States. Catalan filmmaker Carles Torras signs a disturbing film, unconventional and violent by time about the dark side of the American dream. Not devoid of black humor, as a kind of strange thriller, Callback will petrify you into your seat and freeze your body as did Scorsese with Taxi Driver or Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs. Carles Torras produced his film with a small budget, but nonetheless managed to make his work stand out through an attentive care in terms of scenery and screenplay. ‘Callback’ won numerous awards at the last Festival of Malaga”;
- “Couple in a Hole” (Tom Geens/UK-FRA-BEL/2015/105’/2 prizes-winning films, in Dinard): “Karen and John live in a hole in the forest, lost in the Pyrenees. They carefully avoid contact with the neighboring village, but when Karen falls seriously ill and needs medication, John crosses the path of Andrew, a local farmer. The two men become friends which gradually gives back to John a taste of civilization, to the dismay of Karen, determined to never leave the forest and their painful secret… The Flemish director biblically films his two protagonists as if they were the Adam and Eve of modern times where the return to the primal and wild life is a way of fleeing rather than returning to the fundamental values of life. The experience is intense and one will come out of it full of question”;
- “The Olive Tree” (Iciar Bollain/SPAIN-GER/2015/98’/with emotion and sensuality between Alma and her grandfather): “Iciar Bollain, actress and award-winning director, including for Te Doy Mis Ojos (Take My Eyes) manages to surprise us once again with her latest film full of emotion and sensitivity, The Olive Tree. It tells the story of Alma, written by the brilliant Paul Laverty, screenwriter to Ken Loach among others. Alma, very attached to her grandfather who used to produce olive oil from the ancient family olive grove, decides to go to Germany find a 2000 years old olive tree that her father sold years earlier. She suspects that this is responsible for the declining health of her grandfather. She manages to convince her relatives the benefit of her improbable journey and it will surely convince you too, by its beautiful simplicity and above all the love that one carries for a grandfather. The film is both funny and tragic as well as incredibly emotional. Difficult to remain indifferent to this superb human adventure”;
- “Lazar” (Svetozar Ristovski/HRV-BGR-FRA/2015/103’/in Macedonia, in the heart of the burning actuality): “In Macedonia, Lazar lives of illegal human trafficking to Europe. His life changes when he falls in love with Caterina, a young student. Fascinated by the world of crime, Lazar is torn between respect for the rules of his environment and the awakening of a new consciousness. One night, following the death of an illegal immigrant, Lazar must find the courage to face a dilemma… A film at the heart of a hot European topic, shot with a very personal perspective from the director and strong imagery”;
- “Pikadero” (Ben Sharrock/SPAIN/2015/97’/one original way to follow, in Spain, the economic crisis): “In the Basque province, Gorka and Ane, in their early thirties, live with their parents. They seek a pikadero, a place to meet that would be much cheaper than a hotel. But the weight of family traditions and lack of job prospects lead them to a dead end that seems to exclude any possibility of living together. The story is carried by a quirky humor and proceeds through a series of absurd situations. The film editing and framing have been thoroughly worked and provide a continuous support to the narrative as to give the impression of facing an Edward Hopper painting that would have crossed Kaurismäki. Some scenes even remind us of American silent cinema. Nothing is random. Everything is significant and mastered. Composed with a dry and laconic humor, Ben Sharrock manages to tackle the economic crisis in Spain in an original, funny and very, very cinematic manner”;
- “Suntan” (Argyris Papadimitropoulos/GRC-UK/2016/104’/on a greek island, a strange love story): “Kostis, fourty years old, arrives for Christmas as the only doctor on the small island of Antiparos in Greece. In winter it is an empty and lonely place, but when it starts getting sunny, hordes of tourists arrive on the nudist beaches. Kostis meets Anna, 19, and her pals. Sun, alcohol, free sex, Kostis is introduced to a world that is unknown to him and his attraction to Anna is haunting. Their story becomes like a tragicomedy where love, sexual tension and despair are madly mixed together. Greek filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos manages to make obvious the terrible axiom that some tan while others burn their wings, and also depict the portrait of an island that lost its soul to tourism”;
- “The Student” (Kirill Serebrennikov/RUS/2016/118’/“François Chalais Prize”, in Cannes): “Veniamin, a teenager who lives in Baltic Russia is not like others in his age group. He plunges into a frenzied reading of the Bible and rejects the teachings what he has been taught, finds it outrageous that girls wear bikinis instead of a one-piece suit, and challenges the theory of evolution… And instead of turning the other cheek as would suggest the holy book, he raises his angry fist. Kirill Serebrennikov offers us here a disturbing work with caustic humor. His splendid screenplay made with visual audacity and choreographed frames give urgency to this breathtaking and horryfying story. The detailed work on colors fill his narrative with life, and the actors all make a perfect and convincingly infernal dive into obscurantism. Religious fundamentalism is indeed at the heart of this original, chilling and disturbingly up to date film”;
- “Toni Erdmann” (Maren Ade/GER/2015/162’/a film wich received a great audience’s succes in Cannes): “Winfried and his daughter don’t exactly get along. He tries to get closer to her after the death of his old dog and starts visiting her in Bucharest, but if only things could be this simple… Funny, even hilarious at times, original, sensitive and very personal, Toni Erdmann is appealing for all cinema lovers. Maren Ade was very noticed at Sundance in 2005 and won three prizes at the Berlinale in 2009 for her film Everyone Else. Often linked to the Berlin school, in other words some of the most exciting German cinema in recent years, Ade delivers us a film that brilliantly illustrates relations between father and daughter”;
- “Viva” (Paddy Breathnach/EIRE/2015/100’/selected fo the “Oscar of the best film in foreign langage”, in Hollywood): “Jesus is a discrete young man who dreams of the spotlight while working as a hairdresser for a troupe of drag performers at a ramshackle Havana club. Under the tutelage of Mama, he becomes a performer himself and is empowered on stage by his drag persona, Viva. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when his estranged father and former boxer Angel comes back into his life after a long jail sentence and formally forbids him to perform. Jesus finds himself torn between the joy of being on stage and the respect for his father’s will. Paddy Breathnach plunges us into the world of “transformistas” where, emotions and social struggle are beautifully intertwined through an original illustration of the Cuban atmosphere and romance”;
- “We are never Alone” (Petr Vaclav/CZE-ROM/2016/103’/about the tchek society losing marks): “A village in the Czech countryside, a few houses wedged between a prison and a brothel. The stage is set. Petr Vaclav illustrates a portrait of characters living on the margin: a paranoid prison guard, a hypochondriac neighbor watching the saleswoman of the single store falling in love with the local pimp himself in love with a prostitute… The atmosphere of the film seems tragic but in fact the dark humor sets the real tone in this social fable about a disoriented society. A remarkable and original film that is both challenging and disturbing”.
Six people, coming from 4 different countries, are in the official Jury: : Natali Broods (belgian actress), Emanuele Crialese (italian movie director, scriptwriter and films’ producer), Derek De Lint (dutch actor), Maruschka Detmers (dutch actress), Pierre Dherte (belgian actor, scriptwriter, columnist and illusionnist) and Ivona Juka (croatian director).
A Short Films Competition (11 belgian movies) and many other feature films, not in competition, are to be seen in different sections, coming from countries like Bosnie Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tchek Republic, … wich are not often in the belgian regular movie viewing. That’s also the possibility for these countries’ citizean, living in Belgium to ba be back in their own culture, with movies speaking in their own langages.
Some other films you can see in “Flagey”: « Mustang » (Deniz Gamze Ergüven/FRA-GER-TUR-QAT/2015/97’/“European Parliement’s LUX Prize”, in Brussels/4 “César” and 4 “Lumières Prizes”, in Paris/“Goya Price of the Best European Film”, in Madrid/different Prizes in Odessa, Salé, Sarajevo, Stockholm, Valladolid/selected for the « Oscar of the best Film in foreign Langage »/ show in audio-description, for blind people); “They Call Me Jeeg Robot” (Gabriele Mainetti/ITA/ 2015/112’/7 « David di Donatello », in Rome/different Prizes in Amsterdam, Bari and Lisbon); « The Paradise Suite » (Joost van Ginkel/NLD-BUL-SWE/2015/123’/showed at the Opening Gala of the “International Film Festival from Toronto”/selected for the « Oscar of the best Film in foreign Langage »); “Adama” (Simon Rouby/FRA/2015/85’/animated film/“Best Feature Film Prize” of the “Anima Festival”, in Brussels); and at the “BRFF Closing Gala”, on Friday June 24th., at 08 p.m., right after the Iris Awards’ Ceremony, “Aquatic Effect” (Solveig Anspach/FRA/2016/83’/“SACD Prize” of the “Directors” Fortnight”, at the “Festival of Cannes”.
Two exhibitions are organized in “Flagey” (works from Laurent Durieux, one Belgian artist that the “New York scene” adores, and « All colors by Kieslowski », describing life and work of this Polish Artist). Also, on “Sainte-Croix Square”, each evening, some Belgian Feature Films are showed for free. Inside and outside “Flagey”, on Sunday 19th., the 1st. ‘Sunday film flea market’. And don’t forget, on Tuesday 21th., at 07.30 p.m., a “Cine-Concert” will take place, with “Castus”, Kris Dane and “Mustii” as guest stars.
Dowtown Brussels, at the “Cinematek” (buses 38 or 71 from “Flagey”, closed of the “Centrale Railway and Metro Station”, near “Bozar”), till July 31th., 17 movies (from 1969 till 2014) of Volker Schlöndorff (°1939) will be showed. Don’t miss this interesting retrospective, including, on Friday July 31st., at 05.30 p.m.: “Diplomacy” (GER-FRA/ 2014/ 84’/with André Dussollier /“César Award 2015 for the best Adaptation”/ wich opened the 64th. “Berlin International Film Festival”, in 2014 /one historical drama film adapted from the french play “Diplomacie”, by Cyril Gely). And take note that this German films’ director received the “Golden Palm” of the “Festival of Cannes”, in 1979, as well that the “Oscar of the best Film in a foreign Langage”, in Hollywood, in 1980, for “Die Blechtrommel” (“Le Tambour”/GER-FRA-POL/1979/164’/with the well knowed french singer Charles Aznavour / this movie being one adptation of a Germanbook by Günter Wilhelm Grass.
More to read on: http://www.brusselsfilmfesival.be. Prices: 7€50 for one film (6€50 if not yet 26 years old, more than 60 years oldans, unemployed persons and moins valides). Pass for 5 movies, excluding the Closing Gala: 25€. Italian, Spanish and Polish Evenings (with 2 films, the 1st. one starting at 07 p.m., and a little reception between both of them): 10€.
Yves Calbert, with catalog’s extracts.