Molodist or the Word Given to Students' and Debut Films
by Shahla Nahid
33 years ago when a student forum called Molodist started its platform for the beginners in cinema, the organizers never imagined their festival would become almost a unique place where students and beginners show their creations, share their opinions with others, attract a large number of young people and give a glance of the world of cinema in the future to elder generations. Becoming an international festival 15 years ago, Molodist found its deserved place among the others. In opposite to other festivals the catalogue of Molodist (at least this year) starts with the student films. A list composed by 34 films mainly from eastern European countries and Germany, but with only 7 films from female directors.
Let’s get closer and speak about the nature and quality of these films. First, I precise that, in spite of some technical weakness, these films are more sincere and more spontaneous than the films tied by producer’s concerns. A global gaze on these films shows their very personal aspect: either they speak about the inner world of the characters or about the author’s surroundings. Is it a lack of financial or production supports or a deliberate selection and the absence of a wider vision of the world? I guess the first possibility is the right one. Nevertheless, gripped between adolescence and adult age, the films reflect their hidden fears of facing themselves and an unknown future.
For example, a very interesting film called Elfilm by Czech director Jakub Sommer, 21, gives a “minimalist portrait of maximal love”. Sommer combines simply arranged photographs from a family album with sober acted sequences. Comment and the subjective camera give a well-balanced and humorous portrait of a certain phase in the life of the author. It is a film in 35 mm made in 2002 . Or David Sukup, also from the Czech Republic, with his funny and original mise en scene, creates a world ruled by machines. The audience understands that young people seem to accept easily the modern and mechanic aspects of the world in which they are living, but they are not aware of that. In The Mechanics, 9’20”, 35 mm, Sukup shows a merciless world ruled by machines. If you have no money, you get nothing. Even for taking a pee in the morning you have to pay. Pay and pay again for everything.
I liked most films in this program, but it would be too long to speak about all of them. However, I will mention one last film, My first rendez vous by Boris Sima from Slovakia. This delicious mixture of animation and acting describes perfectly the fear of a young man confronted to the first sentimental discoveries and maybe to new responsibilities.
As you may have noticed, I mainly cited Czech and Slovak films. I must recognize that the quality of the films, especially those from the Czech Republic, was better giving the impression that Czech Republic’s cinema is entering a new golden era. The short films in competition deserve also commentary. They constitute a surprisingly rich section showing another aspect of youth’s creation. There is also the feature film competition program reserved for debuts whether the filmmaker is young or not. The last but not least is the creation of a laboratory during the festival with cinema celebrities and their workshops, lectures and master classes. According to Andriy Khalpakhchi, general director of the festival, the search has become a reality with the new Molodist talent campus project. It’s astonishing to see the enthusiastic young people during the screenings: They applause and behave like in a live play. Surely they are not very disciplined, coming and going as they like, but they are present. So if you want to know what would be the contribution of this part of the world to the cinema, or if you want to know what kinds of creations better suit young people, come to Kiev next year, at the end of October. It will be a very good experience.
© FIPRESCI 2003