As the curtain goes up for the 19th IFFK, City Express picks some films you shouldn’t miss
The Postman’s White Nights
by Andrei Konchalovsky
This Russian film included in the World Cinema section is woven around the inhabitants of a remote Russian village. The community is totally cut off from the rest of the world with their own system of survival. They have to cross the lake to reach the mainland and their only connection to the outside world their postman. The film was selected for the Competition section at the 71st Venice International Film Festival where it won the Silver Lion.
by Chaitanya Tamhane
Chaitanya Tamhane’s debut feature film is a court room drama in which a 65-year-old social activist is arrested for inciting a sewage worker to kill himself. With the trial there starts a dissection of the private lives of the people involved in it. The film bagged two important prizes in the 71st Venice International Film Festival - the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature and the Orizzonti Award for the best film. It also won the New Talent Award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival.
by Kaan Mujdeci
11-year-old Aslan saves an injured fighting dog named Sivas which is left to die after losing a match. Soon the boy tries to charm his classmates, including the girl he likes, using the dog. The Turkish film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize.
by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
This Ukranian drama has no dialogues and subtitles. The film follows Sergey, a deaf-mute teenager as he arrives in a boarding school for deaf children. Eventually he is drawn to a web of organised crime involving robbery and prostitution. Sergey’s life becomes more complicated when he falls for a girl he is assigned to pimp. The film won the Nespresso Grand Prize as well as the France 4 Visionary Award and the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week section.
by Zhang Meng
40-year-old Chen Shengli returns to his town after a 10-year sentence. Determined to reform, he undertakes the management of a kindergarten. He also starts a relationship with a beautiful nurse-cum-dancer but his dark past and the people associated with it come after the ex-convict. ‘Uncle Victory’ won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Shanghai Film Festival.
by Rebecca Zlotowski
This French-Austrian film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it won the François Chalais Prize. Gary is inducted as a decontamination sub-contractor at a nuclear power plant where he falls for another man’s wife. The film bagged the Grand Pix at 2013 Cabourg Romantic Film Festival and Prix Spécial du Jury and Best Actress awards at 2014 Prix Lumières.
by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
In the ‘The President’ a dictator is overthrown from power and his family flees to another country. The man, who is used to a life of luxury, finds himself in charge of his grandchild as danger mounts around him. The film had its world premier at the Venice Film Festival in 2014. It received The Audience Award for the Best Film at the 15th Tokyo Filmex International Film Festival. The film also bagged the Gold Hugo Prize for the best film at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Société Générale Award for Best Feature Film by the audience vote at the 14th Beirut International Film Festival.
One on One
by Kim Ki Duk
Kim Ki Duk’s latest film is a dark thriller. A high school girl is brutally murdered and the seven suspects are hunted down by a group. When freed from their clutches, one of the them tries to unravel the mystery. ‘One on One’ was the opening film of the 11th Venice Days sidebar at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
by Hany Abu-Assad
In Hany Abu-Assad’s Palestinian drama, a young freedom fighter is tricked to work as an informant. It’s the story of Omar who braves the bullets and crosses the separation wall in occupied Palestine to meet his love Nadiya. The film shows how his life changes following an unexpected incident. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and the film was selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, making it to the list of five finalists. It also won Best Feature Film at the 2013 Asian Pacific Screen Awards.
by Andrey Zvyagintsev
‘Leviathan’ chronicles the life of an auto-repair shop owner who fights a corrupt Mayor. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where Zvyagintsev and Negin won the award for Best Screenplay. The film was also adjudged the best film of the 45th International Film Festival of India. The film was announced as Russia’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards
by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari
This film is Ethiopia’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. Woven around the illegal practice of child bride kidnapping, it portrays the plight of 14-year-old Aberash Bekele. The film was part of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival where it won the World Cinematic Dramatic Audience Award. The film was also screened in the Panorama section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Audience Award.
by Ann Hui
The film is Hong Kong’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. ‘Golden Era’ is woven around the eventful life of Chinese writer Xiao Hong who died of tuberculosis at the age of 30. Xiao walks out of her conservative family fleeing to Beijing with a cousin to avoid an arranged marriage. The cousin leaves her and she finds herself in the company of her fiancee, who later ditches her pregnant and penniless. The film traces her personal journey against the backdrop of the civil war.