The experience of the festival was truly magical for Domenico Palattella and here he demonstrates why, also explaining the motivations for choosing the winners for best Greek film and best foreign film.
The experience of being in the jury of the 62nd edition of the Thessaloniki Film Festival was very interesting and professionally exciting. The list of films in competition was also of a high standard, both international and Greek. I did my work remotely and watched all the films in the competition. I was a member of the jury together with my colleagues Tereza Brdeckovà and Elias Frangoulis, with whom we agreed on everything.
We awarded, as best foreign film, the film by Aga Woszczynska, entitled Silent Land (Cicha Ziemia, 2021). A film that struck me for its amazing photography and its ability to give atmospheres full of enchantment. The couple of protagonists are also spot on, moving along a plot full of twists. As best Greek film, we decided to award the prize to Magnetic Fields (Magnitika Pedia, 2021), by Yorgos Goussis, a story,also full of mystery and beautiful landscapes.
The Thessaloniki Film Festival is a festival that surprises for many reasons: for its unique atmosphere and professional organization, returning to enchant after two difficult years. With this edition, cinema is back in its natural meadow, or rather in the cinema, a place where cinema breathes and lives, where we all discover the films that will become the reference points of our life.
The plot of Silent Land develops on the story of a perfect couple who rent a holiday home on a sunny Italian island. The reality does not live up to their expectations when they find out that the pool in the house is broken. Ignorant of the fact that the island faces water shortage, they ask for someone to fix it. The constant presence of a stranger invades the couple’s idea of safety and starts a chain of events, which makes them act instinctively and irrationally, heading to the darkest place in their relationship.
Magnetic Fields is a clever scientific experiment. First-time director Goussis, along with his two main cast members, Elena Topalidou and Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos, have come up with a film full of tension and mystery. The guerrilla footage shot a few days before the beginning of the pandemic from Covid-19 is beautiful. The resulting work has a well-rounded plot and precise characterizations. A very original film, with an excellent narrative tension.
As usual, the festival presented the work of young directors from all over the world, establishing Thessaloniki as a meeting place between filmmakers and the Greek public. Other noteworthy festival sections included: Official international competition for fictional feature films; Official international competition for virtual reality (VR) films; while the section dedicated to the best Greek feature films was very interesting. The festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes dedicated to the work of new and important international directors.
The Thessaloniki Film Festival is truly proud and a boast for Greek culture and art. It is one of the most original and most important festivals in the world, thanks to its atmosphere that lets you enter the magic of cinema.
Edited by Steven Yates
© FIPRESCI 2021