20th Ljubljana International Film Festival
Slovenia, November 11 - November 22 2009
A young anniversary of 20 years of the Ljubljana Film Festival is another reason to celebrate on top of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.. I am talking about the charming little festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia that hinges upon a critical probe into recent European history. It presents the best in international cinema; a film retrospective that involves dramatic events from the democratic changes in Central and Eastern Europe. It is committed to a featuring promising filmmakers, rare film, European film, productions from remote parts of the world including films from traditional Peruvian folklore or baroque film noir from Malaysia or Chile. The film selection is divided into thematic sections and genre-oriented: (Extravagance), innovative (Against the Wind), buzz (Focus) an insight into a national cinematography or the masterpieces (Kings & Queens). There is The Kingfisher Award, the FIPRESCI Award, Best Short Film Award and an Audience Award. The festival section titled Perspectives is the official competitive section for new auteurs. These avant-premieres are meant for Slovenian distribution. The Kings and Queens Section includes award-winning contemporary films and the World Film Panorama, features front-runners from five-continent festivals, and Extravaganza is for late-night cinema of “daring idiosyncratic artists that are addressing sensual topics in film.” Of course, Retrospective is a representative selection of a contemporary filmmaker that presents an overview of their career, this year it was Austrian film director Michael Haneke and his provocative approach to film-making. Films shown at the festival are Haneke’s avant-garde intelligent dramas such as: And What Comes Afterwards (After Liverpool 1974), a complex melancholy tale about emancipated and successful woman Three Paths To The Lake (1976) and Lemmings Part II> Wounds (1979), an impressive portrait of the generation of young Austrians after the II World War, an emphatically suspense story with mysterious protagonists Who Was Edgar Allan (1984), Haneke’s cinematographic debut trilogy about emotional glacification of modern Western society The Seventh Continent (1989), Benny’s video (1992) and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994), a touching drama about a simple man who faces injustices of bureaucratic society The Rebellion (1993), an adaptation of Kafka’s The Castle (1997) and his latest pre war German tale The White Ribbon (2009). The film retrospective is dedicated to social changes in the former Socialist countries, which are relevant to all sections of the 20th Liffe committed to featuring promising filmmakers, European film, rarely screened films and productions from the remotest parts of the world. The Fall Wall Retrospective is guided by numerous motives, predominantly to the stories of ordinary people and answering 2 simple questions: how did people live in 1989 and how do they live now? Do the transitions bring favorable social changes or it is still the same?
20th Ljubljana International Film Festival FIPRESCI Award this year goes to a New York Independent Film, Go Get Some Rosemary, directed by Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie, presented to the lead actor from the film (himself a director) and festival guest, Ronald Bronstein. A film inspired by the American indie film tradition (New York Independent Film) and the chaotic mood of hectic NY lifestyle. This comic, well crafted drama focuses on an ambivalent man who is torn between impulses of immaturity and responsible fatherhood. With “handy camera”, jumpy editing and dogmatic lighting, the film reflects the irresponsible yet charismatic father and his state of mind; where Manhattan tackles his role as a father and constant life falls in between picking the children up from school and daily living that takes on more fatal proportions. In truly odd and difficult situations, Go Get Some Rosemary is a convincing depiction of the real life situation of many other single fathers in New York. The simple fact: Go Get Some Rosemary is a film about the culmination of long and demanding emotional exertions, true to its New York-indie roots, and it surprises us with appearances of Abel Ferrara and Lee Ranaldo from the NY band Sonic Youth.. “Throughout the whole movie you can see this man in moments of extremity, in moments of sadness and stress. But he is constantly trying to make it fun, and to turn everything on joke. That is what is emblematic for the whole film.” said Ben and Joshua Safdie. (Radmila Djurica)
Ljubljana International Film Festival: www.liffe.si