An Open Panorama of Today's World

in 28th Panorama of European Cinema, Athens

by Jean-Max Méjean

Of all the films in competition, Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Treasure (Comoara), written by Viktoria Smirnova, is by far the most interesting and most beautiful, with its aesthetic qualities and vision of childhood. But this, like adolescence, is not absent from the festival as proof that our world is currently very cruel. Father (Babai), by Visar Morina, could have obtained the Fipresci Prize as his approach to the problem of migrants in Europe is full of sensitivity. It shows also that the child is often the first casualty of war and genocide. It’s the same situation for Enclave (Enklava) by Goran Radovanovic in that it shows life in an enclave of Kosovo after the war in ex-Yugoslavia in which there co-exist Orthodox Serbs, Albanians and Muslim Kosovars. It is a beautiful fable again on the rivalries and hatreds between different communities, where children try to live while holding on to their dreams and illusions. Zeinada, a film by Alexis Tsafas and Yannis Fotou, also highlight economic misery, since this is a young woman from Cape Verde, forced into prostitution in Greece, and where men suffer violence.

It is not just war, terrorism and poverty that affect children worldwide. The Greek film Invisible, by Dimitris Athanitis, is the story of a child, Adonis, shared between a mother who does not care for him and a father too concerned about his personal worries to prove his love. The Wednesday Child (A Szerdai gyerek) by Lili Horvathova also shows social misery suffered by young people, in tune with the crisis and personal problems that society tries awkwardly to adjust. As for The Violators by Helen Walsh, it does not tell anything other than the young distressed people from the UK, caught between loneliness, abandonment and social misery. Therefore Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Treasure brings some oxygen by telling a love story between a father and his son, ignoring money and greed.

Furthermore, on the adult side, this doesn’t get much better: The Shadow of Women (L’ombre des femmes) by Philippe Garrel does not tell anything other than betrayal and lies. Home Care (Domácí Pece) by Slavek Horak, while remaining perfectly a sad movie, however, gives us a better picture of the adult world through the portrait of a woman worthy to fight against the disease, her own and that of others and death.

Every film festival brings its own vision of the world, and the 28th Panorama of European Cinema in Athens is no exception. The mirror we see is rather scary concerning the present state of Europe.

Edited by Steven Yates