After Berlinale, Munich Film Fest is internationally one of the most important festivals in Germany, as leading European festival country. Proof of the festival’s prestigious position was offered in the 35 th Jubilee edition, with the general programme offering a variety of films, alongside many sub- programmes.
The Main Competition ArriOsram Awards, was composed mostly from the latest Jubilee 70 th Cannes, including Loveless (Nelyubov) by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Happy End by ~Michael Haneke, Redoubtable (LeRedoutable) by Michel Hazanavicius, Cannes’ opening film Ismael’s Ghosts (Les Fantomes d’ismael) by Arnaud Desplechin, Ukrainian film A Gentle Creature (Krotkaya) by Sergei Loznitsa, The Beguiled by the main festival guest/star director Sofia Coppola (with a retrospective in her honour), South Korean movie The Day After (Geu-hu)by Sangsoo Hong and the Munich Film Fest opening film Let The Sunshine In (Un beau soleil interieur) by Claire Denis. This was obviously a very strong competition and I was very satisfied by the Munich main Jury decision, which deservedly gave the prize to Loveless, displaying more courage than the Cannes main Jury, since, for me, the Zvyagintsev’s film was a moral winner of the Golden Palm.
Our FIPRESCI Jury was focused on the very interesting programme called New German Cinema (NeuesDeutsches Kino), composed of 19 selected films from the latest German production, with the selective criteria that the film was either the debut, second or, at most, third film of a director from the younger generation, showing the creative capacities of the new German cinema, which is similar to the one independently shown in each Berlinale edition. Judging from the results in this programme, the feelings could be 50/50, meaning at least half of them are promising for their directors. In my opinion, the three best films from this programme were our winning film Blind & Ugly (Blind & Hasslich), The Garden (Sommerhauser) and Lucky Loser (Lucky Loser-Ein Sommer In Der Bredouille).
FIPRESCI Award winner Blind & Ugly is a complete author’s film by the co-writer, director, producer, editor and main actor, Tom Lass. This, his third feature film, shows his maturity, as he creates an unusual love story with the elements of comedy with slightly black humour in mixed casting, featuring blind nonprofessional actors, who practically act themselves. In the main role as Ferdi, who is a young frustrated man, Lass shows his talent as an actor capable of transforming himself from a naïve alienated person to someone who is disappointed in love on the verge of suicide and all that because his ideal to be loved by a blind girl has been changed, facing the fact that she is not really blind. The girl, Jona (played by very talented young actress Naomi Achternbusch) doesn’t deserve his true love. Luckily, Lass has come to a happy ending, avoiding the banal tragedy and giving an optimistic perspective of blind people. The visual creation of dynamic storytelling by the cinematographer Jieun Yi and, of course, the co-editing of Lass together with Daniel Hacker and MajaTennstedt are also worthy of praise.
After a few video installations and her graduating film, 38-year- old writer-director Sonja Maria Kroner has made her new film The Garden. Like Lass, she shows an author’s maturity, creating an easy going, slow motion countryside comedy, when three generations of a family gather together in their summer house, overshadowed by the frightening news about the killing of the girl that at the end finished cynically as an invented/gossip story about a cannibal serial killer. In his observation of the relations in-between the generations – sons and daughters, parents and grandchildren – and their childish and provocative games, Kroner builds a kind of Tattiesque comedy, in which the danger from the outside society comes to a tragic end when, after a night storm, one of the children falls from the garden tree house. For this kind of Chekhovian spirit, the most important part of the film is the wonderful casting and the whole cast and crew are excellent.
My third favourite film from New German Cinema section is Lucky Loser, another type of comedy with social and racial implications. When the divorced parents one summer find temptation in the fact their only daughter, Hannah, 15, is in love with an African-German Otto. Writer-director Nico Sommer, also with his third film, creates a dynamic situation comedy about a sensitive subject – racism. His spontaneous approach offers balanced humor and a positive cosmopolitan approach.
Edited by Amber Wilkinson
© FIPRESCI 2017
Macedonian FIPRESCI. Long standing film critic of MRTV/Macedonian Radio, a National Broadcasting Company. He is also a long standing artistic and presently general managing director of the Manaki Brothers International Cinematographers Film Festival, the oldest and first festival in the world to be dedicated to the creativity of the world cinematographers, organised in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. The festival’s 38 th edition will be held in September, 2017. He is also co-author of the book “Rain”, dedicated to the great success of the debut film Before the Rain by the auteur Milcho Manchevski, reflected in the world’s media.