Wednesday, 6/21/2017

Youth on the Move

Millennial Trailblazers


A young woman has two jobs: on the Dead Sea, and in a zoo for exotic animals. Then she starts breaking into other people's houses on the side, using the personal belongings she finds there – a hearing aid, and lipstick, a bicycle – as inspiration to imagine herself into other, more adventurous roles and realities (THE BURGLAR, Israel). A group of kids hangs out in the ruins of the deserted Olympic Village in Athens, conducting ridiculous games of their own (PARK, Greece). A young couple, both orphans, cast off social shackles to live a utopian life in an idyllic forest (BIG BIG WORLD, Turkey).

Just three examples of films that share a common theme: Until recently, young people were seen as unpolitical, passive consumers and slackers. Now, the Millenial generation has decided to rebel against the adult world, against political ignorance and capitalist thinking. They're on the move, creating their old escapist micro-worlds and parallel realities. They ride their BMXes and race bikes in restless circles through the capital to oppose the luxury limos of their parents (LIGHTNING FALLS BEHIND, Chile). Or they erupt in religious ecstasy to bring aid and comfort to the sick and oppressed in the sticks (THE BLIND CHRIST, Chile).

 Sebastian Van Dun, Loïc Batog and Lena Suijkerbuijk in HOME

An outstanding example of this cinema of youth and empathy is multiple award-winner HOME by Belgian director Fien Troch: A visually appealing, minutely crafted portrait of a group of social outsiders who come up with a simple and surprising plan to break out in the end.

 Justin Holborow in BOYS IN THE TREES

On the move often means on the run. Escape from social repression, escape from countires like Iran (PARTING) or Myanmar (THE ROAD TO MANDALAY). The conflicts confronting kids of immigrants to Europe are the theme of LAYLA M.: A Muslim girl lives in the Netherlands with her parents, suffering everyday discrimination. When she falls in love with a young radical, she winds up in the grip of ISIS. Another culture clash in THROUGH THE WALL by Rama Burshtein (who screened FILL THE VOID at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2014): When her groom back out at short notice, the bride decides to find a new groom at short notice instead of canceling the wedding – a man who may be the better choice anyway.

On the move can also mean a quest for self-realization. Two Italian films – fresh from Cannes – portray teens radically breaking with social conventions (A CIAMBRA, PURE HEARTS). Two outstanding artists' biographies, POLINA by famed French ballet choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, and portrait of a painter LIGHT THEREAFTER on Berlin-based Bulgarian artist Konstantin Bojanov, present people who leave their own lives behind to present thier bodies and souls to the audience.

 Noée Abita in AVA

Australian shooting star Nicholas Verso presents the mystery of youth between dream and nightmare in his nocturne BOYS IN THE TREES. In THE WAR OF THE YOKELS teens play power games just like the fat cats and big boys.

Charismatic young leads also in the always interesting French films: AVA by Léa Mysius stars Noée Abit, who was just feted in Cannes. And Julien Samani sends his heroes in THE YOUNG ONE on a poetic, painful but ultimately healing odyssey to a new me: The kind of journey that the big screen shows best.

Bernhard Karl


CineMasters Competition
THE BLIND CHRIST, Christopher Murray
HOME, Fien Troch

CineVision Competition
A CIAMBRA, Jonas Carpignano
AVA, Léa Mysius
PARTING, Navid Mahmoudi

LAYLA M., Mijke de Jong
THROUGH THE WALL, Rama Burshtein

International Independents
BOYS IN THE TREES, Nicholas Verso
, Hagar Ben Asher
LIGHTNING FALLS BEHIND, Julio Hernández Cordón 
LIGHT THEREAFTER, Konstantin Bojanov
PARK, Sofia Exarchou
POLINA, Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj
PURE HEARTS, Roberto de Paolis
THE WAR OF THE YOKELS, Davide Barletti and Lorenzo Conte
THE YOUNG ONE, Julien Samani