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INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL BRINGS TOGETHER NOVELTIES AND CLASSICS FROM FOUR CONTINENTS

Focus on Mexico and zoom in on Germany

NINE full days can be spent in the magical world of moving pictures during the upcoming fourth International Film Festival (IFF) Bratislava, which opens on November 29. It will offer a high-quality selection of more than 200 feature films and documentaries that represent current trends in European and world cinema. Most films will be shown with English subtitles.
The festival is divided into seven categories, each focusing on films from a particular region, a certain genre or paying tribute to a personality. A lure for fans of non-European cinema will certainly be the Mexican films that are being presented this year. Two of these movies - Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch) and Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too) - have already seen success after being released in Slovak cinemas earlier this year.
"Mexico is a progressive country when it comes to film - it is very successful at home and Mexican filmmakers have also recently won many prizes at major festivals. Thanks to our cooperation with the Mexican Film Institute, we'll be able to show the best [films] from the last two years, including 11 feature films and 17 documentaries," says Ľubica Turčanová, one of the programme coordinators for IFF Bratislava.


KOREAN film Oasis will be premiered at the International Film Festival Bratislava.
photo: Courtesy of IFF Bratislava

NINE full days can be spent in the magical world of moving pictures during the upcoming fourth International Film Festival (IFF) Bratislava, which opens on November 29. It will offer a high-quality selection of more than 200 feature films and documentaries that represent current trends in European and world cinema. Most films will be shown with English subtitles.

The festival is divided into seven categories, each focusing on films from a particular region, a certain genre or paying tribute to a personality. A lure for fans of non-European cinema will certainly be the Mexican films that are being presented this year. Two of these movies - Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch) and Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too) - have already seen success after being released in Slovak cinemas earlier this year.

"Mexico is a progressive country when it comes to film - it is very successful at home and Mexican filmmakers have also recently won many prizes at major festivals. Thanks to our cooperation with the Mexican Film Institute, we'll be able to show the best [films] from the last two years, including 11 feature films and 17 documentaries," says Ľubica Turčanová, one of the programme coordinators for IFF Bratislava.

For movie experts, names like Arturo Ripstein and Alfonso Cuarón might ring a bell, but for most visitors this festival will probably be an introduction to the exotic delights of Latin American cinema. Many of the films are shot in the megalopolis Mexico City and portray its chaotic street life and its peculiar characters. One of the most controversial is Carlos Carrera's film El Crimen del Padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro), which tells the story of a priest's love affair. When it was released in Mexico it provoked vehement criticism from the Catholic Church, which lobbied to get it banned.

The broad European film category will feature the best and most enticing recent art films from Europe and it will be complemented by the Zoom section, which will present contemporary German cinema. It will introduce new movies by veterans like Volker Schlöndorf and Wim Wenders as well as films by newcomers like Christian Petzold.

"We would like to show German films which, despite their quality, haven't made it to Slovak cinemas. We have defined 'German cinema' pretty broadly, so the section also includes films produced in Germany but made by non-German directors, such as the full-length documentary Marlene Dietrich - Her Own Song, which was directed by the American David Riva," explains Turčanová.


MARTINA Kudláček's film In the Mirror of Maya Deren portrays a Russian-American director.
photo: Courtesy of IFF Bratislava

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road, the road movies section will investigate the phenomenon of travelling, featuring new and older works. With films like Thelma and Louise and Under the Stars, it shows stories of people who travel not only to reach a destination but also for the sake of the journey.

The festival will also feature 22 films competing for the Grand Prix to be awarded by the IFF's international jury, headed this year by French actress Julie Delpy. The honorary guest of IFF Bratislava will be director, producer and screenwriter Roger Corman, who has worked with Hollywood's most-acclaimed directors and actors. He will attend the opening of a retrospective of his films in a special category entitled Profile.

Relatively few movies this year come from English-speaking countries. However, there is a surprisingly high representation of Asian films, from countries such as Japan, China and Taiwan.

And despite general scepticism about the current quality of Slovak cinema, Slovakia is also represented in the festival. Quartétto, the debut work of young director Laura Siváková, is nominated for First and Second Feature Film prize, a confirmation that Slovak cinematography seems to have got a second wind.

For those who do not find themselves overwhelmed by the myriad motion pictures before the end of the festival, there is a special bonus. On the last night of the festival (December 6), three of the most popular movies, as selected by festivalgoers, will be shown in a special homely atmosphere, with refreshments served to keep the audience awake.


DOCUMENTARY takes a new look at Marlene.
photo: Courtesy of IFF Bratislava

What:> International Film Festival Bratislava.

When: November 29 through December 7.

Where: Ster Century Cinemas in Polus City Center, Vajnorská street.

Tickets: Sk69 per screening (can be ordered at www.stercentury.sk or purchased at the cinema).

A detailed programme of the festival will be available at the venue or at www.iffbratislava.sk

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