22nd Ljubljana International Film Festival

Slovenia, November 9 - November 20 2011

The jury

Nathalie Kester (Netherlands), Dean Kotiga (Croatia), Tina Bernik (Slovenia)

Awarded films

The 22nd Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFE) is the best-attended festival in all of Slovenia and also of one its culturally key events. Taking place in the mid-October, it is a carefully programmed festival that really serves its purpose. The Slovenian public were especially interested in some award-winning movies because the distribution in Ljubljana has been poor recently; so the screenings of the latest McQueen, Sokurov and Bela Tarr films were fully booked. All of them and many more, including recent movies made by Balabanov, Ceylan or Guediguian, were screened in the program called Kings and Queens. Still, the most attended programme was Avantpremieres, which included movies such as Melancholia (Lars von Trier), Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen) or A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg). The Panorama of World Cinema was another program, with titles such as Michael (Markus Schleinzer), Nana (Valerie Massadian) or the confusing but exceptionally well done You are Here (Daniel Cockburn). Peculiar and/or unknown movies played in the Extravaganza section, from which we have to mention Viva Riva!, directed by Djo Munga from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kinobalon was a program completely tailored for young audiences, and Cinema-Integral showed us some quite unattainable gems of Spanish experimental cinema made in the last 40 years.

Both the main jury and FIPRESCI focused on the Perspectives program, notable films included; the wonderful Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari), the pretentious Finisterrae (Sergio Caballero), the overrated Die Vaterlosen (Marie Kreutzer) and the superbly astonishing Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols), but the FIPRESCI award went to Historias que so existem quando lembradas by Julia Murat, for its genuine and charming, but still uncontrived portrait of the way of communication we establish with ourselves and others, regardless of age, race, educ ation or practically anything. The jury also liked the way the same things were filmed over and over again, from different perspectives, subtly uncovering the layers of the story and its characters.”

LIFFE had some flaws, the biggest one being the fact that not all of the movies were subtitled in English. This is, of course, not what an international festival wants to have, because some foreign guests had to depart several of the screenings. In fact, there weren’t too many guests, but appearances by Athina Rachel Tsangari, Svetlana Proskurina and Valerie Massadian really made the event more interesting. Also, I have to compliment the Q&A’s, especially when our colleague Denis Valic conducted it. LIFFE is an important festival for the region and especially for Slovenia, because it offers the local audience various important titles which they otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to see. (Dean Kotiga)

Ljubljana International Film Festival: www.liffe.si