14th goEast Wiesbaden
Germany, April 9 - April 16 2014
Anna Bielak (Poland), Ciprian David (Germany), Radovan Holub (Czech Republic)
Free Range — Ballad on Approving of the World by
(Estonia, 2013, 104 mins)
Why go East when you’re in the West? For regulars at the goEast Film Festival, the answer is simple. For one week in Wiesbaden, you can change your perspective on the history of film, discover cinema’s new waves, and immerse yourself in mesmerizing foreign cultures.
The 14th edition of the goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Film took place from April 9 to 15 in the Hessian state capital, located on the banks of the Rhine River. The festival, launched in 2001 and founded by the German Film Institute’s chair Claudia Dillman, is focused on the cultural dialogue between East and West. goEast reactivated an earlier tradition in the Institute, which until the 1980s had regularly organized an Eastern European Film Week. The festival organizers honor this great tradition, while ambitiously exploring former socialist Europe in terms of boundaries of cinematic expression and subject matter.
This year’s festival screened not only features, documentaries and shorts, but also experimental films and video art for the first time. Every film selected for the competition program was followed by excellent discussions at the Festival Center, situated in the lovely building of Wiesbadener Casino-Gesellschaft. An East-West Talent Lab was run to train and support young filmmakers, artists and students. The 2014 goEast Portrait was dedicated to Malgorzata Szumowska. During one of the most important panels, professionals had the opportunity to talk about the role of film culture in relation to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And as usual, the Beyond Belonging section sought to open up the festival to productions which were from countries outside Central and Eastern Europe, but which demonstrated a clear link to the region.
Speaking of regions, this year the festival was focused on contemporary Slovak Cinema. As guests of the festival, Polish film scholars and filmmakers (including the Polish New Wave master Krzysztof Zanussi) discussed the film-historical phenomenon of the Nouvelle Vague Polonaise. In the course of lectures and talks, certain films were identified as “documents of rebellion and subversion which created pop-cultural links between countries on either side of the Iron Curtain: a phenomenon that virtually cries out for a transcultural approach to film historiography.”
Showing that they value the notion of a transcultural attitude to cinema, the FIPRESCI jury members — Anna Bielak, Ciprian David and Radovan Holub — gave the prize to Free Range — Ballad on Approving of the World (Free Range — Ballaad maailma heakskiitmisest), directed by Veiko Õunpuu. The main jury, composed of Nana Ekvtimishvili, Iván Forgács, Ivan Shvedoff, Dmytro Tiazhlov and chair Jan Harlan, chose Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida as best feature film and Eszter Hajdú’s Judgment in Hungary as best documentary. For his film Blind Dates (Shemtkhveviti paemnebi), Levan Koguashvili received the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director. The goEast jury gave two special mentions, honoring Cristian Niculescu’s brilliant production design for the Romanian drama Quod Erat Demonstrandum as well as the supporting actor in Blind Dates, Vakhtang Chachanidze. (Anna Bielak)