Truth and Dreams By Fulvio Montano

in 54th Mannheim International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg

by Fulvio Montano

“Truths and dreams” was the slogan used by the director of the festival Micheal Koetz who introducing the 54th edition of Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival.

It is a festival that offers to the large, young, and particularly German-speaking audience that follow its ten day program, an interesting selection of newcomer directors from all around the world.

According to the declaration made by the director, we found the “truth” in the extremely realistic approach that almost all the films use to describe contemporary everyday life. The selected films proposed strong, and sometimes rough characters, who are suited to a reality that doesn’t destroy their personal “dreams”, but enforces their hopes for a better future.

Having a look to the unusually large number of films in International Competition (20 features) and International Discoveries (12 features), it is possible to find two central and faceted themes that animate the selection: the intimate relationship between male and female citizens of the new globalized world, and the consequences of the economic problems of our contemporary capitalist society.

Some films focused on the problems connected to forced migration and related motivations like On The Other Side (Al otro lado) (Mexico 2005) by Gustavo Loza, and there where other films which showed the immigrants’ present like Man Push Cart (Iran, USA 2005) by Ramin Bahrani: a strong and dark description of everyday life of Ahmad, a Pakistani immigrant forced by poverty to move to USA, pushing his six-foot high shining silver aluminum barrow throughout the night streets of New York.

The intimacy, and difficulty, of modern relationships between men and women is successfully described by films as different as Tuning (Slovenia 2005) by Igor Sterk or In Bed (En la Cama) (Chile 2005) by Matias Bize.

The main Prize in the 54th Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival went to Tuning, which offers an effective portrait of a middle class family in a constant state of calm, before the inevitable storm brought on by the lies and discontent that exist between the wife and the husband.

Two actors, one camera, one location, and a narrative in real-time which solely develops upon what is the central point in the lives of all people: the bed. These ingredients of In Bed are supported by a strong screenplay and a great sensibility for the use of mise-en-scene.

Completely different is the film which won the award of the FIPRESCI Jury, Toss Up (Yazi Tura) (Turkey, 2005) by Ugur Yücel, an intense and sometimes fragmented portrait of Turkish society in upheaval in between the Kurdish war and its readiness for reconciliation.