26th Palm Springs International Film Festival
US, January 2 - January 12 2015
Michał Oleszczyk (Poland), Ella Taylor (US), Ernesto Diezmartínez (Mexico)
Leviathan (2014) by
(Russia, 2014, 140 mins)
The 26th edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival took place in the Californian city between 2 and 15 January 2015. The opening film was Ava DuVernay’s “Selma”, a fact stressed with pride by the festival’s artistic director, Helen du Toit, who pointed out that this marked the second consecutive time for the festival to be opened with a film directed by a woman.
The festival, which held screenings of several hundred titles from all over the world, was very well attended and held a number of special events. Among special sections were “Another Europe”, focusing on Eastern European cinema, “New Voices/New Visions” (a showcase of 10 outstanding features from debut filmmakers, including Vuk Rsumovic’s “No One’s Child”), “After Dark” (a showcase of strange and transgressive midnight films, including the unsettling “The Tribe” by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy from Ukraine), “Modern Masters” (including new films by established directors, such as Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria”, Albert Maysels’ Iris and John Boorman’s “Queen and Country”), “Awards Buzz” (focused on Best Foreign Film Oscar submissions), “World Cinema Now” (the largest section of all, with 72 titles from 36 countries), and “True Stories” (a section devoted to documentaries).
As usual in Palm Springs, special focus of the “Awards Buzz” section was put on the Best Foreign Film submissions to the Oscars from all around the world: this year 50 of 83 total submissions were presented in Palms Springs and then judged by the FIPRESCI jury. The winner proved to be Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”, with Anne Dorval getting an acting nod for Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” and Haluk Bilginer for his work in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep”.
The festival also included a number of workshops devoted to film criticism and film production, as well as meetings and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers in all competitions. A special event, hosted by Chaz Ebert, was devoted to commemorating the work of critic Roger Ebert. (Michal Oleszczyk)
Best actress: Anne Dorval in “Mommy” by Xavier Dolan (Canada). Motivation: “As the somewhat unhinged mother of a throughly unhinged son, Anne Dorval appears in almost every frame of Xavier Dolan’s ‘Mommy’. The jury recognizes this performance for the sheer expressive range of her transition from ‘crazy mom’ to ‘crazy wise mom’, forced to make an impossible decision for everyone’s good.”
Best actor: Haluk Bilginer in “Winter Sleep” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey). Motivation: “This actor achieves a superb performance through dialogue, and is even more impressive when he’s silent, planning his next lethal response.”
Palm Springs International Film Festival: www.psfilmfest.org