26th Ljubljana International Film Festival

Slovenia, November 11 - November 22 2015

The jury

Eithne O'Neill (France), Margarita Chapatte Lopez (Spain), Tina Poglajen (Slovenia)

Awarded films

Six hours after my flight from Paris to the fairy-tale capital of Slovenia, horror struck the City of Lights. On this Friday 13th, many of the victims were as young as the film buffs that throng the theatres during the Film Festival in Ljubljana. Meeting the young organizers, notably Simon Popek, the program director, I was in touch with the hope of youth although far from home. Banners bearing the anagram LIFFE decorate the lively streets. For a population of two million, LIFFE is an opportunity to enjoy recent auteur releases, to sharpen film knowledge, thanks to a selection of masterpieces with Technicolor, from Rupert Julian’s Phantom of the Opera via Powell to Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits. A Slovenian documentary Home (Dom) about a former residence for construction workers was shot singlehanded by Metoc Pevec. The poignant Home Care (Domaci Pece) a Czech and Slovakian feature debut by Slavek Horak. Of the ten films in Perspectives, the international competition, four dealt with young people’s problems and the FIPRESCI prize went to Family Film, a somber but not pessimistic Czech drama on that topic, by Omo Omerzu, with worldwide appeal. The International Jury awarded the Kingfisher trophy to the Icelandic drama of brotherly rivalry Rams, winner of Un Certain Regard at Cannes. The Project of the Century, a semi-documentary with a stark fictional human conflict on an aborted Soviet nuclear power plant in Cuba is signed by Carlos Quintela, the director of The Swimming Pool. A nostalgic view of Tuscany The Creation of Meaning by Simone Rapisarda had its fans. As with Jacques Audiard, Miguel Gomes and Oskar Nemes, the inclusion of archival footage seems a must! A Festival highlight: the seminar on short film making that got off to a flying start with a Masterclass before a large young audience, courteously delivered in fluent English by Srdan Vuletic, a film maker and teacher from Sarajevo. His practical advice made sense, whittling down dialogue, innovation, daring to be oneself and above all, commitment to the visual. To illustrate his points, Scorsese’s The Big Shave 1968 and his own Hop, Skip and Jump, 1999, in their respective conflicts of the Vietnam and the Third Balkan wars were screened. On my way to the airport, a Slovenian post-graduate waxed eloquent about the twenty-nine films he had seen. A tribute to the success of the event!(Eithne O’Neill)

Ljubljana International Film Festival: www.liffe.si