Trends and styles of contemporary european cinema

in 32nd Warsaw International Film Festival

by Alberto Castellano

The ten films we have seen at the 32nd Warsaw Film Festival could be seen as a snapshot of current tendencies in the European, but also in film production from other parts of the world; a small, but reliable mirror of the ??????? relationship between form and content in contemporary cinema. It is no coincidence, for example, that six of the ten films are directed by women. For years, European women directors have offered particular sensitive works due to their ability to excavate deeper layers, usually inaccessible to their male colleagues, from stories about the social, psychological or family life of other women. Thus Anishoara (Anisoara), by Moldovan director Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu, tells about the discomfort of fifteen-year- old girl from a small village in Moldova; Greek director Sofia Exarchou situates her Park (Park) among the few poor families, who live in the former Olympic Village in Athens, now abandoned and degraded; Croatian Hana Jusic of Quit Staring at My Plate (Ne gledaj mi u pijat), focuses on the familiar world of young Marijana; Estonian Triin Ruumet, in the tragicomedy The Days That Confused (Päevad, mis ajasid segadusse), follows a group of men and women, who live from one smoking and drinking party to another; Godless (Bezbog) by Bulgarian Ralitza Petrova, is a ruthless picture of the post-communist world of depression, corruption and misanthropy; yet another Estonian, Kadri Kösaar with Mother (Ema), takes aim at the hypocrisy and selfishness of a small town community.

Another trend that emerges from these ten films is the focus on teenage discomfort, or hypersensitivity of maladaptation, experienced nowadays by many young people both within and without their families, a troublesome sign of a generation that has no future. Thus while the fifteen- year-old Anishora of the eponymous film is faced with a problematic passage to adulthood, the eighteen year old protagonist of Christo lives on the streets and fights for survival, and yet finds willpower to look for a job and place in society, pretty much like the seventeen year old Dimitris Park who, after wandering long enough with his peers among the ruins of the Olympic village, decides to escape in search for a better life. On the other hand, there is the pair of twelve-year- olds from the Polish film Playground (Plac zabaw) who, in their frustration, violently lash out in the only way they know for acting freely. Or the young Marijana of Quit Staring at My Plate, who is exasperated by the escapades of her difficult family, not unlike the boy, adopted by a Turkish couple in Albüm (Album), who is made to believe they are his biological parents.

And finally, there is the young Allar of The Days that Confused who, bored after a frantic journey through an assortment of bourgeois pleasures, is trying to make sense of his life. And finally, these films also point to interesting developments in visual style and narrative solutions, The stylistic preferences of their directors, whose age varies from 28 to 53 years, fluctuate from hard and dry realistic style to a tongue-in- cheek American-style comedy; from the linear and didactic narrative to the more elliptical and sophisticated one; from a basic form in service to story and character, to a 1960s-inspired hand-held camera following the protagonist, and even to the abstract intricacies of suspensions and allusions.


Edited by Christina Stojanova