15th goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film
Germany, April 22 - April 28 2015
The Festival of Central- and Eastern European Films was launched in Wiesbaden 15 years ago as an initiative of the Deutsches Filminstitut in Frankfurt. The new, energetic event was established under the slogan “GoEast”. Though Germany traditionally already hosted the Eastern European film festival in Cottbus, “Go East” turned to be a successful project that helped promote the cinema of Germany’s Eastern neighbors, which is almost absent in regular distribution.
The festival structure includes an international competition (both fiction and documentary); the East-West Talent Lab, presenting experimental films and video art from emerging filmmakers; homage programs and special sections. It is hardly surprising that the main focus of this year’s program was on Ukraine, and on Russian-Ukrainian relations as reflected in cinema. “The other Russia, the new Ukraine” section collected documentaries on such subjects as Maidan and the Ukrainian revolution, the brutal invasion of propaganda, the affair around the Film Museum in Moscow, and the trial of the filmmaker Oleg Sentsov. Another section was named “Beyond Belonging” and concentrated on films dealing with war trauma and reconciliation.
The 15th “GoEast” chose as its cultural hero the outstanding director Marlen Khutsiev, whose films of the 1950 and 1960s changed the totalitarian image of Soviet cinema of the Stalin era. From “The Two Fedors”, the opening film of retrospective, Khutsiev presented new faces, new rhythms and new style strongly connected with European modernism, and at the same time very Russian in their roots. At 89, Khutsiev, the oldest Russian director still at work, gave a master-class presenting his new project about Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov; he willingly communicated with the young audience and even performed Italian opera arias. (Andrei Plakhov)
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film: