Friday, 6/19/2015

Families, Westerns, Northwesterns

11 Films in CineVision Competition

Dolores Fonzi in PAULINA


CineVision, the competition for the best international first or second film, is a real globe-trotter this year: From Latin American and the Carribbean to the United States, Canada and the UK, on to Jordan, India and South Korea all the way to New Zealand. A strong year with truly international legs.

La Tierra y la SombraMarleyda Soto, Edison Raigosa und Hilda Ruiz in LA TIERRA Y LA SOMBRA

Latin American film is well-represented across all festival sections, including two Cannes award winners in the Cinevision sidebar: Teacher PAULINA, perfectly portrayed by Dolores Fonzi, works against the will of her father, a judge, in a remote settlement on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, where her humanist ideals are subjected to a tough personal trial. LAND AND SHADE is a breathtakingly apocalyptic scenario set on sugar cane plantations, where the indigenous workers have to struggle just to survive.

Slow WestKodi Smit-McPhee und Michael Fassbender in SLOW WEST

The U.S. indies are also in fine form, with three very different films in competition: KRISHA, SLOW WEST and TIRED MOONLIGHT. Family drama KRISHA evokes Thomas Vinterberg's FESTEN set at Thanksgiving, which filmmaker Trey Edward Shults shot with his actual family. SLOW WEST by John MacLean, creates its own, poetic-psychedlic take on the Western, "somewhere between Peter Fonda's THE HIRED HAND and Jim Jarmusch's DEAD MAN" (The Guardian). Both films are carried by extremely charismatic leads, KRISHA by the amazing Krisha Fairchild, SLOW WEST by A-lister Michael Fassbender and shooting star Kodi Smit-McPhee, while TIRED MOONLIGHT employs personal, documentary means. Britni West illustrates her declaration of love to her hometown of Kalispell, Montana in hynotically innovative visual sequences.

Sleeping GiantReece Moffett, Nick Serino und Jackson Martin in SLEEPING GIANT

Andrew Cividino's Canadian coming-of-age drama SLEEPING GIANT is set on Lake Superior, Ontario, marked by its boundless empathy for its youthful protagonists and magnificent cinematography.

RadiatorDaniel Cerqueira und Richard Johnson in RADIATOR

The British competition entry, Tom Browne's autobiographic RADIATOR, paints a gripping family portrait of father, mother and son, evidenced by extremely well-observed character details and surpising touches of humor within the tragic story.

TheebJacir Eid in THEEB

Arab cinema has evolved remarkably, offering cinematic discoveries like visually opulent desert drama THEEB, which would have been all but unthinkable a few years ago. The young Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar tells the story of a little Lawrence of Arabia in visual perfection, with a heart-wrenching performance by his child lead that garneredstanding ovations at the Venice film festival.

CourtVira Sathidar in COURT

Indian films are also well-represented at Munich this year, currently undergoing a fascinating paradigm shift away from superficial Bollywood razzle-dazzle. Legal drama COURT, which already won over 20 prizes world-wide, is a prime example of the new self-confidence of Indian art films.

AliveJungbum Park und Seungyeon Lee in ALIVE

In contrast, the Korean New Wave films have long been at the forefront of worldwide artistic output. Every year, Seoul Film School turns out new and interesting debut directors with remarkable new films. Park Jum-bum screened JOURNALS OF MUSAN at Munich in 2011, and his second film ALIVE is a no-punches-pulled parable on the individual under the Damocles sword of global capitalism, caught in the struggle for sheer survival. (Click here for more on Korean & Chinese films.)

Dark Horse James Rolleston und Cliff Curtis in THE DARK HORSE

Finally, in the New Zealand entry, Cliff Curtis (WHALE RIDER) embodies a bipolar chess whiz in hard-hitting THE DARK HORSE, based on the autobiography of Maori speed chess master Genesis Potini – a genuine slice of life in remarkable filmic form, like all the entries in this year's Cinevision competition. 

Bernhard Karl

ALIVE, Jungbum Park, Republic of Korea
COURT, Chaitanya Tamhane, India
THE DARK HORSE, James Napier Robertson, New Zealand
KRISHA, Trey Edward Shults, USA
PAULINA, Santiago Mitre, Argentinia, Brazil, France
RADIATOR, Tom Browne, UK
SLEEPING GIANT, Andrew Cividino, Canada
SLOW WEST, John Maclean, UK, New Zealand
THEEB, Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, UK
LA TIERRA Y LA SOMBRA, César Acevedo, Brazil, Chile, France, Colombia, Netherlands