the festival's winner Or (My Treasure), by Keren Yedaya.
photo: Courtesy of the International Film Festival Bratislava
DECEMBER 11, the day when The Life and Death of Peter Sellers entered Slovak cinemas, was also the day the International Film Festival Bratislava closed.
The largest movie happening in the country, which brings films and music from around the world to a Slovak audience, ran for eight days at Bratislava's Aupark.
Up to 22,000 people visited this, the sixth year of the festival. 170 films and 53 music videos from more than 50 countries were on offer.
As at other film festivals, such as Cannes and Venice, there was also an element of competition in Bratislava.
Three international juries awarded seven prizes. The main one, the Grand Prix for Best Film, went to Israeli-French entry Or (My Treasure), by Keren Yedaya.
The film is about a daughter who persuades her mother to stop being a prostitute. It is a subject of concern for the director, who organizes lectures on prostitution.
The jury, led by Slobodan Arandjelovic, a journalist from Serbia and Montenegro, praised the film's "excellent direction and well-thought out choice of actors, Dana Ivgy and Ronit Elkabetz, and their interpretation of the feminine aspect."
There were 19 films competing in the festival's main section, most of which have already scored at the world's prestigious film festivals.
Atiq Rahimi was awarded Best Director for the Afghan-French film, Earth and Ashes. The prize for Best Actress was shared by two British actresses, Lindsay Duncan and Paula Sage, for their work in the film Afterlife, directed by Alison Peebles. Pietro Sibille won the prize for Best Actor, for his portrayal of a young man in Days of Santiago, by Josué Méndez, a movie that received Special mention by the jury.
The Ecumenical Jury awarded its prize to Earth and Ashes directed by Atiq Rahimi. The jury of the International Film Critics Federation led by Günter Jekubzik, awarded its prize to a strong and tragic drama, Private Madness, by Belgian director Joachim Lafosse.
The most popular films with the public were Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education and Alejandro Amanébar's The Sea Inside. The latter two will soon be showing in Slovak cinemas.
The Slovak film, Two Syllables Behind, by Katarína Šulajová, which competed in the main section, won the Zlatý Bažant Audience Prize. Šulajová's film will enter cinemas from February 10, 2005.
Another Slovak movie, one of the four in the festival featuring the Radošinské naivné divadlo theatre group, Konečná stanica (Final Station), will receive its public premiere March 3, 2005.
It was a rich year for Slovak cinema, the festival screening a total of 15 movies. Pokrvné vzťahy (Bloodlines) by Oleg Harenčár, however, had to be withdrawn from the festival programme at the last minute due to unsolved copyright issues.
There were fewer movies screened this year than others, but more screens were devoted to the festival, more screenings of particular films were scheduled and more ticket sale points were available for the eager public. Despite these improved measures (and more expensive tickets), some films sold out extremely quickly, and screening times of some movies coincided.
The seventh year of the festival will take place December 2 to 10, 2005.
By Zuzana Habšudová
20. Dec 2004 at 0:00 | Zuzana Habšudová