GoEast fes­ti­val kicks off with fo­cus on Eastern Euro­pean women

The Daily News Egypt - - In-focus -


The GoEast Film Fes­ti­val kicked off its 2018 edi­tion on 18April with a special fo­cus on Easter Euro­pean women.

The fes­ti­val, held ev­ery year in April, trans­forms Wies­baden into one of the most im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional cen­tres for Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean cin­ema and screens fea­ture films, doc­u­men­taries, and short films, through the seven sec­tions of the fes­ti­val.The films aim to ap­peal to both pro­fes­sional visi­tors and lo­cal cin­ema au­di­ences alike.

De­spite crit­i­cal suc­cess at in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­vals, Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean films are still un­der-rep­re­sented in reg­u­lar cine­mas.

“You can’t run away from your own past,” GoEast fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, Heleen Ger­rit­sen, told Ger­man me­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to the fes­ti­val’s web­site, GoEast re­ceives around 400 pro­fes­sional visi­tors and around 11,000 cin­ema visi­tors an­nu­ally.

The GoEast film fes­ti­val, launched in 2001 af­ter a two-and-a-half-year prepara­tory phase, was founded by Clau­dia Dill­mann,di­rec­tor of the Ger­man Film In­sti­tute (DIF). She wrote in her fore­word to the first fes­ti­val cat­a­logue, “the time has come to open our­selves to the thoughts, images,myths,and sto­ries of our Eastern neigh­bours.To their cul­ture.To their films.” Like­wise in­volved in de­vel­op­ing the orig­i­nal fes­ti­val con­cept was Swet­lana Sikora, who has re­mained the fes­ti­val’s artist di­rec­tor un­til 2010.

This year’s edi­tion will fea­ture a to­tal of 102 pro­duc­tions from 35 coun­tries.

This year’s com­pe­ti­tion con­sists of 16 films, which are all vy­ing for the fes­ti­val’s three main awards.“The se­lec­tion com­mit­tee re­ceived a lot of strong sub­mis­sions from women,” com­mented Ger­rit­sen.

GoEast has been able to reach a 50% par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for fe­male film­mak­ers.The large num­ber of sub­mis­sions treat­ing the re­spec­tive po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions in the coun­tries of Cen­tral and Eastern Europe was also of par­tic­u­lar note.

“This of­ten hap­pens in­di­rectly, in that sub­ject mat­ter from the past is taken up in or­der to mir­ror con­tem­po­rary de­vel­op­ments,” ac­cord­ing to Ger­rit­sen.

“We sim­ply can’t es­cape our past, even though some coun­tries might at­tempt to al­ter their of­fi­cial na­tional nar­ra­tives,” she com­mented. Nu­mer­ous film­mak­ers are con­fronting the un­com­fort­able chap­ters of their his­to­ries di­rectly and search­ing for iden­tity, though their films make use of a wide range of dif­fer­ing for­mal ap­proaches in the pur­suit of these aims.“Ev­ery­thing is rep­re­sented here, from clas­sic art­house all the way to an­i­mated doc­u­men­tary cin­ema. Many of the film­mak­ers have also cho­sen to em­ploy hy­brid forms com­bin­ing doc­u­men­tary, fic­tion, and an­i­mated film,” ex­plained Ger­rit­sen.

All in all, around 200 film­mak­ers from Cen­tral and Eastern Europe will par­tic­i­pate in the fes­ti­val. The Por­trait sec­tion is de­vot­ing a ret­ro­spec­tive to the work of Rus­sian mas­ter di­rec­tor Boris Kh­leb­nikov, while for­mer Ber­li­nale shoot­ing star Ma­teusz Koś­ciukiewicz, who is also a mem­ber of this year’s com­pe­ti­tion jury, will be pre­sent­ing the open­ing film, MUG, in which he plays the lead.

In the scope of the special pro­gramme Prague 1968, the five direc­tors, main pro­ducer, and four ac­tors from the an­thol­ogy film Oc­cu­pa­tion (1968) will be on hand for a ques­tion and an­swer seg­ment.

There are 16 films from Cen­tral and Eastern Europe in the main GoEast com­pe­ti­tion: 10 fea­ture films and six doc­u­men­taries.

Here are the most ex­cit­ing ti­tles in this year’s edi­tion:

Ro­ma­nian doc­u­men­tary: The Dead Na­tion

With The Dead Na­tion, di­rec­tor Radu Jude from Ro­ma­nia has en­tered his first doc­u­men­tary into the com­pe­ti­tion for the fes­ti­val’s awards.The film pro­vides in­sights into life in Ro­ma­nia be­tween 1937 and 1946 that are si­mul­ta­ne­ously po­etic and re­al­is­tic.

Hun­gary fea­ture: Aurora Bo­re­alis

Marta Meszaros is the grande dame of Hun­gar­ian cin­ema and her lat­est film, Aurora Bo­re­alis, tells the story of a Vi­en­nese lawyer with Hun­gar­ian roots. In it, Meszaros looks back at sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of strong women, who, like the film’s di­rec­tor, rebel against to­tal­i­tar­ian sys­tems. The film could be in­ter­preted as a commentary on con­tem­po­rary Hun­gary.

Pol­ish fea­ture: Once Upon A Time in Novem­ber

Poland’s po­lit­i­cal shift is the fo­cus of An­drzej Jaki­mowski’s film Once Upon A Time in Novem­ber. The so­ci­etal drama con­tains doc­u­men­tary footage as it tells the story of a young law stu­dent and his mother in the midst of a coun­try where pa­tri­ots and rightwing ex­trem­ists are march­ing.

Lithua­nian fea­ture: Mir­a­cle

Poland like­wise has a place in the movie Mir­a­cle by Lithua­nian di­rec­tor Egle Verte­lyt. In it, a small-town Pol­ish pas­tor, played by Daniel Ol­brych­ski, cre­ates satir­i­cal scenes as an Amer­i­can with Lithua­nian roots tries to set­tle down in a post-Soviet Lithua­nian town—the di­rec­tor’s own home­town.

Rus­sian fea­ture: The Bot­tom­less Bag

The Bot­tom­less Bag by Rus­sian di­rec­tor Rus­tam Kham­damov can be seen as an es­cape from the present. It crit­i­cally,yet real­is­ti­cally,tells the story of a coun­try in the time of Vladimir Putin. Kham­damov shapes his film around the won­der­ful pho­tographed fairy tales of 1,001Ara­bian Nights and movies by Ja­panese di­rec­tor Akira Kuro­sawa.

Slove­nian fea­ture: The Miner

Hanna Slak digs into Europe’s post­war his­tory in the most lit­eral sense as di­rec­tor of the filmThe Miner.A Slove­nian mine aban­doned af­ter the sec­ond world war is the sub­ject of the film; as min­ers go un­der­ground to un­cover its se­crets, new lay­ers of cover-up, crime, and old hos­til­i­ties come to light.

Al­ba­nian fea­ture: The Mar­riage

The Al­ba­nian film The Mar­riage by Blerta Ze­qiri tells the story of a man’s com­ing to terms with his sex­u­al­ity and his early love and the cover-up that fol­lowed. In it, a cou­ple that in­tends to marry quar­rels shortly be­fore the cer­e­mony and ev­ery­thing is thrown off bal­ance. Se­crets of the past are re­vealed through an ear­lier boyfriend, who also sheds light on the events of the present.


Still from The Dead Na­tion film, which will be screened at the fes­ti­val

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