*it’s been an incredible journey through such inspiring stories. Can’t wait for the next one!!!
A 14 year old reindeer-breading Sámi girl exposed to racism in the ’30. A realistic (yet beautiful) view on the Romanian – British relationship as seen when falling in love. A lost watch. Teenage boys and their journey into adulthood and a movie I really wanted to see but missed. A local competition. A modern Oedipus complex and an interactive film. But first things first.
Sameblod (Sami Blood, Sweden, Denmark, Norway 2017)
Although it might seem a bit predictable, Sami Blood awakens emotions that are, in fairness, long gone. At first, I wanted to call it “the Swedish Titanic”, the structure resembles a tiny bit – the old lady returning to a place filled with (her own) history, and memories unleash. But it’s surprisingly delicate, touches not only racism issues but feminism and an educational system completely different from how we know it now, in a Nordic country. Personally, it reminded me of everything I knew about being close to your siblings: love, trust, forgiveness.
And somehow, I don’t quite understand why this wasn’t part of the competition, but the next one – Heart stone – was. Not that it’s bad, but it’s not that good. Or is it?
Hjartasteinn (Heart stone, Denmark, Iceland 2016)
Yes, it actually is. I was speechless. We’re not (yet) an educated public, as much as we’d like to pride ourselves with. We’re not quite there yet. And the response the movie had was – including from my side, after the screening – that it was a bit too romantic. Truth is, we should give it a second chance. We might not see it now, but there is a magic twist and bits and bobs of authentic being.
God’s own country (UK, 2017)
“…until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path”. Well, I think it’s much more than that. After its premiere at the UK Edinburgh Film Festival in May, some people named it the British Brokeback Mountain, which I wont say it’s not, but as a Romanian myself, I saw things a bit differently aka the making of sheep cheese, Gheorghe’s resistance to insults and xenophobia when he’s being called a “dirty gypsy”. Funny thing, Francis Lee – the director and the Romanian casting director both agreed that it was way easier to find an actor for one of the main roles in Romania than it was in the UK.
Zeus (Mexico, 2016)
A curious story based on Oedipus complex and falconry. Curious, weird, awkward, strange, authentic and unapologetic. I can’t say it was my favourite, but it certainly has a special place on my list. Miguel Calderón uses photography, video and novel writing to create his stories and his work was featured in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.
Slava (Glory, Bulgaria, Greece 2016)
This Bulgarian tale of corruption and bureaucracy couldn’t have had a better public! It might seem odd and out of time for a Westerner, but the sad truth is that we’re still living it. When Tsanko Petrov, a railroad worker, finds millions of leva on the train tracks, he decides to turn the entire amount over to the police. Unfortunately, his luck changes (not in a good way) and everything falls in a desperate search for the here and now, as Tsanko’s two new watches skip time. Looks a bit like a contemporary poem.
Late Shift (UK, 2016)
Late Shift is the world’s first cinematic interactive movie and I’m super happy I got to see/ make it happen. I have to be honest, I was a little sceptic when I saw everyone with their phones in hand, ready to change (almost) every step and a little worried that it would be gaming, not watching a feature film. Now that I saw the trailer, it doesn’t look a bit like the the Late Shift on the screen!
Fixeur (The Fixer, Romania, 2016)
Toronto 2016, Tokyo 2016, Les Arcs 2016, Stockholm 2016, Vilnius 2017, BAFICI 2017 and now TIFF. Would have been difficult to watch if not for the specific (black) humour of the Romanian creativity. Loved it. Would watch it again and again.