53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Greece, November 2 - November 11 2012

The jury

Samir Farid (Egypt), Andreas Günther (Germany), Michał Oleszczyk (Poland), Tonci Valentic (Croatia), Nikolaos Aletras (Greece)

Awarded films

The 53rd edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival took place from the 2nd to the 11th of November 2012 in Greece. With the current political and economic situation of the country being strained, the festival also registered some social unrest, when a group of protesters delayed the closing ceremony by vocally criticizing the austerity measures being implemented by the Greek government. Many films in the Greek competition commented on the current situation of the country, as well on the global economic crisis.

The FIPRESCI jury, as well as the main jury (which was headed by the American film scholar Thomas Elsaesser), looked at fifteen features in the main competition, from countries as varied as Mexico, Brazil, the US, Germany, Iran, Israel and Poland. The main award of both juries went to Tobias Lindholm’s thriller ”A Hijacking” (”Kapringen”), which realistically depicted the abduction of a Danish boat by a group of Somali terrorists on the Indian Ocean. In addition, the FIPRESCI jury awarded the best Greek film of the festival. This honor went to Ektoras Lygizos’ ”Boy Eating the Bird’s Food” (”To agori troei to fagito tou pouliou”) — a vivid, masterfully shot metaphor of hunger and deprivation that has been widely seen as a commentary on Greece’s current economic situation. It is worth noting that, apart from the contemporary sections, the festival presented large retrospectives of Theo Angelopoulos, Aki Kaurismäki and Cristian Mungiu. The latter’s newest film, ”Beyond the Hills” (”Dupa dealuri”), was also shown at the festival and managed to win the Audience Award.

Other sections of the festival included Open Horizons, which presented a number of contemporary films from around the world, including acclaimed works like Leos Carax’s ”Holy Motors” (which was also the opening film of the festival), ”In Another Country” (”Da-reun na-ra-e-seo”) by Hong Sang-Soo (the festival’s closing film) and Costa-Gavras’ ”Capital” (”Le capital”). The Greek Films section included thirteen new Greek features and one short. There was also a special screening to honor the 60th anniversary of ”Positif” magazine, still one of the leading voices in the world of film criticism. The film chosen for that screening was Jacques Tati’s prophetic masterpiece ”Playtime”. (Michal Oleszczyk)

Thessaloniki International Film Festival: www.filmfestival.gr