News

Thursday, 6/15/2017

The New Silk Road

Russia, China and Iran 2017

Misagh Zare and Anna Nemati in IMMORTALITY

 

The international program at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN boasts a number of strong films from three growing moviemaking territories: Russia, Iran and China. All three nations are seen as political radicals by the West, even as rogue states. All the more reason to try and understand what goes on behind their iron or silk curtains, through the eyes of local filmmakers.

Chinese movies of the so-called Sixth Generation, led by master director Jia Zhang-ke (XIAO WU-PICKPOCKET, 1997), placed their narrative focus on the everyday reality of their nation. Their social dramas mainly screened at international festivals, either ignored or censored at home. In recent years, even as the hype around Chinese film of the '90s and 2000s has ebbed, a new school of filmmaking has emerged, known as dGeneration. In close collaboration with Confucius Institute Headquarters Peking, we have invited two directors, a producer and a leading film critic from China to discuss the topic of CHINA: THE REVOLUTION GOES ON on Friday, June 30 at 5 p.m in the Black Box in the Gasteig.

Zishan Yang in WALKING PAST THE FUTURE


Three young filmmakers, three different worlds: WALKING PAST THE FUTURE by Ruijun Li (who screened OLD DONKEY in Munich 2011) is a look at the working days of an average Chinese family. From poor peasants to poor city dwellers, they are torn between their old and new homes. KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER by Xuebo Wang whisks us away into a far-away mythic world of little to no dialogue. A world of wind, weather, cattle, and eternity. THE SUMMER IS GONE by Dalei Zhang is a beautiful b&w reminiscence back to the time before the market took over in Inner Mongolia in the early '90s.

Thanks to our long-term partnership with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Berlin we can also present a top-notch genre film by cult director Johnny To: THREE, a spectacularly crafted and expertly staged thriller with breathtaking stunts.


 Zhang Chen, Kong Weiyi and Guo Yanyuan in THE SUMMER IS GONE


Filmmakers in Iran have to struggle with censorship as well. Even so, young directors manage to produce outstanding films like IMMORTALITY, a film shot in two takes, providing a gripping microcosm of modern Iranian society. PARTING is a refugee drama about the fate of Afghans fleeing for Europe through Iran. A minor homage is devoted to recently deceased directing legend Abbas Kiarostami, the CineMerit Award winner 2010. And director Amir Naderi, who lives in exile in the USA, offers classic Iranian filmmaking with MOUNTAIN. A special mention goes to Till Schauder's WHEN GOD SLEEPS, documenting the life and work of exiled musician Sahin Najafi.

Sahin Najafi in WHEN GOD SLEEPS


A strong crop of Russian filmmakers also finds a way to defy the odds and give us their cinematic vision of their world, beginning with the Cannes Jury Award winner LOVELESS by star director Andrey Zvyagintsev (ARRI/Osram Award 2014 for LEVIATHAN) and masterpiece A GENTLE CREATURE by Sergei Loznitsa, which also screened in Cannes but unfortunately came up empty-handed. We will also screen two outstanding genre entries, THE DUELIST by Aleksey Mizgirev and QUEEN OF SPADES by veteran Pavel Lounguine, who will come to Munich for his screening. With BONFIRE Dmitrii Davydov whisks us away to the harsh wintry solitude of Jakutsk, a region as exotic as any to us. And CLOSENESS by 25-year-old newcomer Kantemir Balagov ranks among the great film discoveries of the year.

Bernhard Karl

 

Darya Zhovner in CLOSENESS

 

CineMasters Competition
A GENTLE CREATURE, Sergei Loznitsa
LOVELESS, Andrey Zvyagintsev 

CineVision Competition
CLOSENESS, Kantemir Balagov
KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER
, Xuebo Wang
PARTING, Navid Mahmoudi
 
Spotlight
THE DUELIST, Aleksey Mizgirev
MOUNTAIN, Amir Naderi
QUEEN OF SPADES, Pavel Lounguin
THREE, Johnny To
 
International Independents
BONFIRE, Dmitrii Davydov
IMMORTALITY, Mehdi Fard Ghaderi
THE SUMMER IS GONE, Dalei Zhang
WALKING PAST THE FUTURE, Ruijun Li
WHEN GOD SLEEPS, Till Schauder

Lights, Camera, Action
76 MINUTES AND 15 SECONDS WITH ABBAS KIAROSTAMI, Seifollah Samadian
TAKE ME HOME, Abbas Kiarostami

 

Father and Son: Shengcang Yang and Shengcang Yang in KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER