Confident Attack of the Young Ones

in Sofia International Film Festival

by Olga Markova

The selected collection presenting 12 feature films, mainly debuts, for the 28th Sofia Film Fest is a representative extract for the pursuits and achievements of the young generation in the complicated territory of today’s cinema. The young artists confidently impose their own word on the screen by presenting original plots and fable findings, as well as precisely formed ideas and interesting casting. It is often the case that they prove to be worthy competitors to established authors.

Some debuts such as All about the Levkoviches (Hungary) by Adam Breyer and Jupiter (Germany) by Benjamin Pfoll reveal the serious creative potential of the authors through their inner self-confidence and the clearly expressed personal position towards difficult problems; towards the dilemmas and metamorphoses concerning the modern extremely tensed and chaotic world. In search of a way out of often unsolvable situations, the directors immerse their work deeper and deeper into the ecology of Man, turning their film characters into individuals with purposely decisive actions, behind which the future of humanity peeks. And it is here that I find their merit and responsibility for tomorrow.

I would like to especially highlight the ability of some of the debutants like Adam Breyer to defend significant, complex psychological themes with an original sense of humor. With a smile, our overtired and anxious contemporary fellow characters manage to more easily penetrate the existential problems and become accomplices in the action and events.

It is a curious fact that the theme of the modern family with its conflicts and contradictions, even with the disintegration on the one hand, and a desire for consolidation on the other, draws the attention of the majority of artists. To the above mentioned All about the Levkoviches and Jupiter, I will add three more, much specific to the topic, examples made by women artists: Girls will be girls by the Indian director Shuchi Talati with a completely atypical for the Indian film industry look at the conflicting emotions in the process of teenage maturation and the limits of trust in them; Sujo by the Mexican female screenwriters, directors and producers Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez, who have been collaborating for 15 years, with an intimate emotional atmosphere not inherent to the usual gangster dramas; Afloat by the Turkish Aslihan Unaldi (who teaches screenwriting in New York), with an intriguing narrative.

Among the variety of different film approaches and stiles, I would mention Beyond the fog (Kiri no fuchi), where the Japanese director Daichi Murase presents with particular nostalgia the theme of the abandonment and oblivion of the patriarchal way of life with its traditions in an idyllic village hidden in the mountains of Nara Prefecture, with a picturesque, but offended by man nature, in a gentle, lyrical way in a minimalist style.

In the co-production The Trap (Kapan, Bulgaria, Germany), Bulgarian director Nadejda Koseva also offers us a skillful connection of the character to the surrounding environment. She discovers a unique character, Božeka with a highly developed sense of his own dignity, who lives alone on the picturesque shores of the Danube River in harmony with nature and animals. However, this character turns out to be the only one who manages to oppose the dangerous project for people’s health.

We see an expressive visualization of characters and events with excessive aggressiveness in the desperate Romanian-Bulgarian drama The Capture, where the Romanian director and experienced cinematographer Adi Voicu confronts us against a fateful choice: a senseless feat or a compromise, leaving no room for hesitation.

The interesting debut of the Bulgarian director Yana Lekarska in her full-length feature film “Because I Love Bad Weather” (Zashtoto obicham loshoto vreme) warms up the audience with more light and lyricism. In the rediscovery of the past, the two main characters walk towards a change in the future. And yet: let’s believe in it!

By Olga Markova
Edited by Savina Petkova