18th Bratislava International Film Festival
Slovakia, November 11 - November 17 2016
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a very well situated town. It is interesting on its own, but its great attraction also comes from the fact that there are two wonderful cities just near-by. Budapest is about two hours away by car and Vienna is less than one hour away. It looks like the festival in Bratislava is sort of fresh when compared to its much older and powerful neighbour – the Viennale.
Since its beginnings in 1999 The Bratislava International Film Festival has earned an important position among European artistic events. This festival is mostly dedicated to young filmmakers and their first or second films. In other words, it gives a fantastic opportunity to unknown or not very well-known artists to be awarded, or at least noticed. Alongside the competition screenings, the festival is full of additional attractions, like retrospectives and tributes to the masters of world cinema and courses led by the most eminent filmmakers.
There are a few things typical to all important film festivals. One of them is a very careful selection, the others are the mentioned above special sections. Last but not least, a typical feature of every good film festival is the presence of the jury representing FIPRESCI, i.e. film critics and film experts from all over the world. Bratislava has it all. This year’s leading theme was a picture of the contemporary city, its fascinating territories, its power of inspiring filmmakers from the very beginning until today.
The 18 th BIFF gave the opportunity to see lots of good films presented in three competitions: fiction, documentary and shorts. The FIPRESCI jury members looked at the films in the main competition, all selected with a care and presenting a high level of film-making. The city as a main hero didn’t appear in this competition too often, it was mostly present in documentaries and in short movies.
The trend of showing mostly women as main characters seems to be continuing. The female perspective is rather dominating. It is interesting to have a female point of view more often now, because this brings something new, a slightly different sensitivity to rusty stereotypes.
And what was the leading motif in the vast majority of the feature films presented in Bratislava? The answer may correspond to the above trend. Most pictures were about unhappy childhood or about some consequences of such childhood.
One could say it has already been told many times before, but many filmmakers, especially the young ones, still need to talk about it. The problem appears in many places and is shown in many ways. One could say it is banal, but many artists have that courage to repeat such banality constantly until most people understand that something must be done. Let’s have a look at a few strong pictures that may exemplify many filmmakers’ will to talk about something banal, but so important, so urgent that such banality can’t be ignored. (Andrzej Fogler, edited by Yael Shuv)