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MIFF 2017

For three weeks in August the Melbourne cinemas open their doors to films from all over the world at Melbourne International Film Festival. See our pick of Storie From The Other Europe.

LOVELESS

D Andrey Zvyagintsev FranceBelgiumGermanyRussia (2017)

From the director of Elena screened at Euraw Stories last year, comes “a razor-sharp portrayal of a marriage in a state of collapse, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s searing drama was awarded top prize at the Munich Film Festival as well as the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Boris and Zhenya’s relationship is all but over. Caught in a spiral of vicious slanging matches and eager to be in the company of their new lovers, the only thing keeping them together is their 12-year-old son, Alyosha. When he doesn’t come home one night, the sparring couple are forced into an increasingly desperate search, with the lovelessness of their marriage mirrored by the indifference of the society around them.”

 

SPOOR

D Agnieszka Holland PolandGermanySwedenCzech RepublicSlovakia (2017)

“Agnieszka Holland, one of Poland’s most distinguished directors, won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize with this feminist, ecological thriller sprinkled with surreal touches.

Duszejko is a retired engineer living in a log cabin in a remote, mountainous corner of rural Poland. Obsessed with astrology, and ferociously protective of the local wildlife – especially when it comes to the area’s deer hunters, who have the police and even the church on their side – Duszejko is aghast when her dogs go missing and, in the following months, a series of hunters are found dead. Could nature itself be taking revenge?”

 

JUPITER’S MOON

D Kornél Mundruczó GermanyHungary (2017)

“The superhero genre collides with the rolling tragedy of Europe’s refugee crisis in previous Cannes award-winner Kornél Mundruczó’s action-packed assault on tribalism, human indecency and the basic laws of gravity.

Aryan is a Syrian refugee trying to make the dangerous journey from Serbia into Hungary – and the protection of the EU. When he’s shot by an overzealous immigration cop as he crosses the border, Aryan suddenly discovers he can fly. It’s a power that could change everything for him and his family, but people fear what they don’t know, and the authorities will do whatever they need in order to neutralise a perceived threat.”

 

THE TEACHER

D Jan Hřebejk Czech RepublicSlovakia (2016)

“Jan Hřebejk returns to MIFF with a darkly funny Czech primary school take on 12 Angry Men, featuring an award-winning turn by Zuzana Maurery as the titular teacher.

In the dying days of communist Czechoslovakia, the chilling Comrade Drazdechova (Zuzana Maurery) rules over her high school with cunning and corruption. The rules are simple: you help her out, your children do well. You don’t? Well, life can be hard for those deemed enemies of the state. But hers is a fragile empire, and when she tries to blackmail the wrong parent, those she’s wronged rise up against her.”

 

ANA MON AMOUR

D Călin Peter Netzer Romania (2017)

From the Director of Child’s Pose screened in April at Euraw Stories comes a new, “intellectually complex, emotionally harrowing dissection of the travails of a long-term relationship.” – Screen Daily

In a psychoanalyst’s clinic, Toma recounts the euphoria and dysfunction of his relationship with Ana; their shared affection and desire whittled away by her depressive tendencies and his issues with jealousy and control, each seemingly doomed to repeat their own parents’ destructive dynamics.”

 

LOVING VINCENT

D Dorota KobielaHugh Welchman UKPoland (2017)

“Over 62,000 oil paintings and a cast including Chris O’Dowd and Saoirse Ronan bring the story of Vincent Van Gogh’s life and death to the screen in the world’s first feature-length painted animation.

It sounds mad: inspired by a letter Vincent Van Gogh penned in the week before he died, in which he noted that “we cannot speak other than by our paintings”, Oscar-winning filmmaker Hugh Welchman (Peter and the Wolf) and Polish painter Dorota Kobiela decided to make a movie doing exactly that. Hiring an army of painters from across Europe, each trained in the Dutch master’s style, they set out to tell his story the way he himself would. Consequently, every single frame of the resulting film, Loving Vincent, is an oil painting (12 per second!); the noir-like detective plot is drawn from the artist’s many letters; and the cast – O’Dowd and Ronan alongside Douglas Booth, Helen McCrory, Aidan Turner and more, with music by Clint Mansell – were chosen based on their likeness to real-life characters in Van Gogh’s works.”

 

 

Other titles worth seeing:

AFTERIMAGE – Poland (2016) D Andrej Wajda

A GENTLE CREATURE – Lithuania (2017) D Sergei Loznitsa 

HOSTAGES – Georgia/ Russia/ Poland (2017) D Rezo Gigineishvili

LIBERATION DAY – Latvia/ Poland (2016) D Morten Traavik

THE LAST FAMILY – Poland (2016) D Jan P. Matuszyński

WESTERN – Bulgaria (2017) D Valeska Grisebach 

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