Euro Beat: Ben Wheatley's A FIELD IN ENGLAND Will Screen At Karlovy Vary Film Festival Before Release
The seminal European film festival has announced their line-up, which will open with Michel Gondrey's Mood Indigo. And yes, Wheatley's film will screen July 4 as part of the competition. U.S. readers will have to wait a bit longer for a Stateside release after the summer, courtesy of Drafthouse Films. But that's not all! Scroll down to check out the festival's entire program, complete with synopses to see what catches your fancy. We've got weddings gone awry, priest visits to small towns gone awry and even wartime refuge gone awry! And of course a few films about things that don't go awry.
-- French actress and Jean Rollin-collaborator Françoise Blanchard has passed away at the too-young age of 58. Besides appearing in Rollin films, she also showed up in Jess Franco's Golden Temple Amazons and Revenge in the House of Usher. In her honor, I suggest watching her gorgeous, oddly touching performance in Rollin's Living Dead Girl. Cause of death has not been disclosed.
-- We previously reported that Swedish wunderkind Thomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) had bought the rights to Astrid Lindgren's 1973 Children's Fantasy novel The Brothers Lionheart. Well, he's making it! And not only that, he's making it in Scandanavia, not Hollywood, for around €38.1 million, which makes it the most expensive Swedish film ever produced to date.
-- Readers in London need to start planning their entire summer now around BFI's two-month long, very comprehensive Werner Herzog retrospective which runs through the end of July. And if you miss any essentials, catch up with them at the Locarno film festival in August, which will also pay tribute to the German master with screenings of his work.
If there's one thing Europe loves, it's classic American literature. Or maybe just Leonardo DiCaprio? Either way, The Great Gatsby dominated the entire continent, taking the number one spot in Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain, Porutgal, Netherlands, Italy, France, Greece and Finland. Whew! Meanwhile, Star Trek: Into Darkness opened in a few Northern and Eastern territories including Norway, Iceland and Germany, and, predictably took the top spot in each country. And, unlike the rest of the E.U., The UK got Fast and Furious 6 early, and promptly celebrated this privilege by making it their number one film for the last reported frame.
Karlovy Vary - Full Lineup
Official Selection - Competition
Director: Philippe Godeau
France, 2013, 102 min, International premiere
How is it that a security guy with an impeccable driving record managed to transport huge sums of money for ten years without any problem, and now he suddenly goes missing with more than eleven million euros in his van? Although it was the talk of France in 2009, director Philippe Godeau and François Cluzet, who plays real-life Toni Musulin, are more interested in the man's motivations than in what happened to all that cash.
Director: Lance Edmands
USA, 2013, 90 min, International premiere
A tragedy strikes a small community in the state of Maine, but it is not entirely clear who is to blame. The oppressive weight of the story is deftly illustrated by the film's evocative visual conception highlighting the wretched situation the characters find themselves in but which also allows love to filter through.
A Field in England /Pole v Anglii
Director: Ben Wheatley
United Kingdom, 2013, 90 min, Festival premiere
England, civil war. A group of men flee from a raging battle but they are captured and forced to take part in a hunt for treasure supposedly buried somewhere in a field. But before they start digging, they gobble up some strange-looking mushrooms and then everything goes pear-shaped. A beguiling piece with touches of mystery and farce.
Le grand cahier /Velký sešit
Director: János Szász
Hungary, 2013, 100 min, World premiere
A fascinating and hard-hitting adaptation of the controversial first novel by Hungarian writer Agota Kristof about 13-year-old twins forced to spend the last years of the Second World War with their cruel grandmother somewhere near the Hungarian border. The term bewitching was never so apt as in the case of this new film by renowned filmmaker and theatre director János Szász.
Líbánky / Honeymoon
Director: Jan Hřebejk
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2013, 92 min, World premiere
A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but things can go awry. When an uninvited guest turns up at the church and later at the reception as well, the newly-weds' day turns sour. Shadows of the past can blight the most sumptuous of banquets and rend the most affectionate of embraces.
Makom Be-Gan Eden / A Place in Heaven / Místo v nebi
Director: Joseph Madmony
Israel, 2013, 117 min, World premiere
Following Restoration, which won KVIFF 2011, Israeli filmmaker Joseph Madmony has turned in a masterful writer-director entry about a much decorated general who, years earlier, made a crucial mistake: with typical arrogance he exchanged his place in heaven for a plate of food. The central theme - a father-son relationship - is played out over the course of four decades of turbulent history in the State of Israel.
O ouro do tempo / The Value of Time / Hodnota času
Director: Xavier Bermúdez
Spain, 2013, 97 min, World premiere
Melancholy and humour characterise this tale of an aging doctor who, for over forty years, has been devotedly tending a bizarre "domestic grave" containing his beloved wife. When she died young, Alfredo had her body cryogenically frozen, convinced that progress in medical science would one day be able to bring her back to life.
Director: Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze
Poland, 2013, 128 min, World premiere
Bronisława Wajs (1908-1987), known as Papusza, is the world's most famous Romany poet. Her life in Poland is swathed in mystery, and her talent for writing poetry brought her fame. Her own people, however, cursed her for having betrayed the secrets of ancient Romany culture and customs.
Quellen des Lebens / Sources of Life / Prameny života
Director: Oskar Roehler
Germany, 2013, 174 min, International premiere
Basing his work on his own novel, Herkunft [Origin], Oskar Roehler shot an autobiographical film in which the destinies of three generations confront German history from the postwar era up until the 1980s. As an unloved child of bohemian intellectuals professing the political clichés of the 1960s, the filmmaker projects his disenchantment onto a sarcastic image of society, while introducing a surprisingly subtle romantic tone to the proceedings.
Director: Penny Panayotopoulou
Greece, Germany, 2013, 105 min, World premiere
Anna, a taciturn 30-something, lives in a small flat with her dog Manu, who means everything to her. After a distressing incident which disrupts her carefully guarded, secluded life, Anna attaches herself to the family of Sofia, a happily married woman and mother of two children. This personal and suggestive variation on the theme of solitude and the fragility of human relationships heralds the return to Karlovy Vary of renowned Greek author of the film Hard Goodbyes: My Father after an absence of ten years.
Styd / Shame / Hanba
Director: Yusup Razykov
Russia, 2013, 90 min, International premiere
A half-crumbling military base in northern Russia is home to a community of women whose husbands are out at sea. The women patiently wait out the long days, hoping that their men will come back safely from their mission this time as well.... Renowned director Yusup Razykov set his effectively-constructed, understated drama in the icy winter landscape of northern Russia, whose desolation and chilling beauty is masterfully captured by cameraman Yuri Mikhaylishin.
Svećenikova djeca / The Priest's Children / Knězovy děti
Director: Vinko Brešan
Croatia, Serbia, 2012, 96 min, International premiere
A young priest assigned to a community on a picturesque Dalmatian islet is appalled at its very low birthrate. When the confession of a local tobacconist reveals the reason why, he opts for a rather unusual method for rectifying the situation. The result is an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies and consequent demographic growth. Except that not everything turns out the way the idealistic clergyman had envisaged.
Viva la liberta /Ať žije svoboda
Director: Roberto Ando
Italy, 2013, 93 min, International premiere
It's coming up to election time and the country's biggest opposition party isn't doing so well. Its leader Enrico Oliveri can't take the pressure, and he disappears. Fearing a scandal, the party's éminence grise uses the politician's look-alike brother to fill the gap. Giovanni Ernani is the spitting image of his sibling, but is diametrically opposed in character. Thanks to his open-minded approach and forthright expression, the party starts to win popular support.
Director: Marteinn Thorsson
Iceland, 2013, 87 min, International premiere
Deputy Leifur is a total wreck. Nonstop parties, hangovers, sexual escapades and drug abuse have gnawed his life to the bone. He decides to throw his last party before entering rehab. How will it turn out? An expressive and highly distinctive film which morphs into a delirious, hyperbolic nightmare.
East of the West - Films in Competition
Director: Miroslav Mandić
Slovenia, Croatia, 2013, 90 min, World premiere
Aging Bosnian rocker Toni Riff hasn't written a single song in twenty years; suffering from depression, he relies on financial support from his wife Sonia. The latter decides to make a last-ditch attempt to salvage Toni's talent - and their marriage. Maintaining the necessary degree of detachment, Miroslav Mandić's incisive tragicomedy examines certain consequences of war in the former Yugoslavia.
Director: Kadri Kõusaar
Estonia, Sweden, 2013, 103 min, International premiere
John is an ambitious young scientist and brilliant in his field. Despite this, he decides to take an extended break from his work in order to put his carefully conceived plan into action.... This masterfully directed, provocative piece by a young Estonian filmmaker poses a number of unsettling questions but leaves the viewers to find the answers for themselves.
Dvojina / Dual / Duál
Director: Nejc Gazvoda
Slovenia, Croatia, Denmark, 2013, 102 min, World premiere
The paths of two girls cross one evening in Ljubljana. Tina, a Slovene, and Iben, a Danish girl of similar age, both experiencing some kind of turning point in their lives, open up to one another and soon develop a close bond.... After the international success of his debut A Trip the Slovenian director now brings us a gentle story which absorbs the atmosphere of the summer city and examines the emotions of today's young generation.
Dziewczyna z szafy / The Girl from the Wardrobe / Dívka ze skříně
Director: Bodo Kox
Poland, 2012, 90 min, International premiere
This intimate tale of Jacek and his brother Tomek takes place in a claustrophobia-inducing prefab apartment building - part of a housing estate still bearing traces of socialism. One day Tomek, who has savant syndrome, gets to know his mysterious neighbor Magda. Told with overstatement, this debut persuasively draws the viewer into a visually rich, fairy-tale-like world.
Intimnye mesta / Intimate Parts / Intimní místa
Director: Natalia Merkulova, Alexey Chupov
Russia, 2013, 78 min, International premiere
Contemporary Moscow, home to several people who apparently have everything they need to lead a totally carefree life. But they all have their own little secrets.... What do people really need to be happy? An acerbic comedy by a first-time directing duo who employ hyperbole and considerable frankness to address things most of us would rather keep to ourselves.
La limita de jos a cerului / The Unsaved / Lekce létání
Director: Igor Cobileanski
Romania, Moldova, 2012, 80 min, World premiere
Nineteen-year-old Viorel lives with his mother in a remote Moldovan town. He has no great ambitions nor any illusions about life, and he and his pal Goos earn a little cash through illegal activities. But eventually he begins taking control of his life.... In his authentic, socially conscious debut, director Igor Cobileanski captures the dead-end situation the young generation finds itself in - growing up in a place lacking prospects for a better life.
More / The Sea / Moře
Director: Aleksandra Strelyanaya
Russia, 2012, 83 min, International premiere
Weary of Moscow life, a young photographer sets out for the Kola Peninsula in order to document the life of the local fishing communities whose inhabitants have lived in close proximity to the sea for centuries. The director portrays the wild beauty of this gradually disappearing world through a series of poetic images.
Odumiranje / Withering / Odumírání
Director: Miloš Pušić
Serbia, 2013, 110 min, World premiere
After years spent in Belgrade, Janko returns to his half-deserted village, the home of his widowed mother Milica. The latter sincerely hopes that Janko has come back for good; her son, however, has other plans.... The director captures the generational conflict with sensitivity and compassion for both sides and, aided by mournful folk melodies and images of the striking mountain scenery, he creates a moving evocation of life in a remote village high up in the hills.
Paradžanov / Paradjanov
Director: Olena Fetisova, Serge Avedikian
Ukraine, France, Georgia, Armenia, 2013, 95 min, World premiere
This unusual biopic illustrates key moments in the life and work of Sergei Parajanov, the brilliant film director of Armenian descent who was persecuted by the Soviet authorities. In conceiving their artistic stylisation for the film, the filmmaking duo drew on Parajanov's unique approach, offering viewers a vivid interpretation of his distinctive view of the world.
Płynące wieżowce / Floating Skyscrapers / Plovoucí věžáky
Director: Tomasz Wasilewski
Poland, 2013, 93 min, European premiere
Young athlete Kuba, who lives with his mother and girlfriend Sylwia, makes the acquaintance one evening of Michal, a guy of similar age. A fragile bond gradually forms between the two young men, yet unfavourable circumstances begin to complicate matters.... This visually compelling romance offers a sensitive take on issues concerning the unmasking of human sexuality, the quest for identity, and the desire for social acceptance.
Zamatoví teroristi / Velvet Terrorists / Sametoví teroristé
Director: Peter Kerekes, Pavol Pekarčík, Ivan Ostrochovský
Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Croatia, 2013, 86 min, World premiere
A film which hovers on the edge of documentary and fiction as it describes the efforts of certain individuals to rise up against the former regime. Stano, Fero and Vladimír were once branded as criminals yet, from today's perspective, we look upon their often comical actions as expressions of a courage that was extremely rare amid the homogeneous mass of normalisation society.
Zázrak / Miracle / Zázrak
Director: Juraj Lehotský
Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, 2013, 78 min, World premiere
Fifteen-year-old Ela finds herself in a correctional facility. The girls who end up here have often had much bleaker experiences than many adults, but their dreams and desires aren't all that different.... After his multi-award-winning documentary Blind Loves, director Juraj Lehotský returns to the screen with a socially perceptive film, whose strength lies both in its story, inspired by a real person, and in the totally natural performance of the actress who plays Ela.
Documentary films in Competition
Director: Emil Langballe
United Kingdom, 2013, 28 min, International premiere
Danish filmmaker Emil Langballe describes what appears to be a budding romance between the young Kenyan boy Juma and the 50-year-old, overweight British woman Lynn, in a real-life version of the feature film by Ulrich Seidl Paradise: Love, set in Kenya, whose sex tourism trade promises women a romantic idyll, but all they hear are compassionate lies.
Cutie and the BoxerFešanda a boxer
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
USA, 2012, 82 min, European premiere
American filmmaker Zachary Heinzerling's documentary is an extremely direct, powerfully scored portrait of a complicated relationship between larger-than-life Japanese artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko, who are finally accepted by New York's art world after a 40-year struggle.
Director: Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic, 2013, 73 min, World premiere
A builder who preferred to demolish. A timid eccentric, a cold-blooded alarmist, an ascetic hedonist, and a benevolent usurper. An inventor of life. Collage as method, fragments of memory, the quest for identity, the "ich" form. A feature-length documentary about the life and death of radical architect David Kopecký.
După FEL și CHIP / As You Like It / Jak se vám líbí
Director: Paula Onet
Romania, 2012, 21 min, International premiere
Young Romanian documentarist Paula Onet's award-winning film captures the poignant way in which a group of elderly Romanian villagers look after the portraits which already adorn their final resting place. Taken all together, the pictures might also be perceived as a public photo album.
Exponáty alebo Príbehy z kaštieľa / Exhibits or Stories from the Castle / Exponáty aneb Příběhy ze zámku
Director: Pavol Korec
Slovak Republic, 2013, 70 min, International premiere
From the loosely interwoven life stories of clients at an old people's home in the Slovak town of Stupava, documentarist Pavol Korec pieces together a cheerful, light-hearted and, at the same time, highly compelling and varied mosaic portraying the fate of people "who have lost everything; all they have left is life."
Gangster te voli / Gangster of Love / Mafián lásky
Director: Nebojša Slijepčević
Croatia, Germany, Romania, 2013, 80 min, European premiere
In the European premiere of his tragicomedy, Nebojša Slijepčević investigates the mentality of the inhabitants of the Croatian town of Imotski through humorous situations and the disarming spontaneity of the main characters as they try to find a mate. Guided by the boss of the local dating agency, who looks like a gangster, maybe they'll find "the one."
Le jour a vaincu la nuit / The Day Has Conquered the Night / Den přemohl noc
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
France, 2013, 28 min
Award-winning French director Jean-Gabriel Périot, a specialist in highly original short documentaries, puts questions to eight unwilling inhabitants of an Orléans prison who appear in front of the camera to speak of their dreams and nightmares, allowing us to delve deep into minds altered by a life behind bars.
Kang seonjang / Captain Kang / Kapitán Kang
Director: Won Ho-yeon
South Korea, 2012, 82 min, International premiere
In his poetic and visually sophisticated movie, South Korean director Won Ho-yeon sensitively records the extent to which family solidarity can overcome the vicissitudes of fate in a story about an abandoned dream and a legless fisherman named Kang.
Kathedralen / Cathedrals / Katedrály
Director: Konrad Kästner
Germany, 2013, 15 min, World premiere
More than 2 million inhabitants could live in the recently built Chinese city of Kangbashi. The majority of the buildings, however, remain empty because money-mad speculators have bought up all the apartments. Breathtaking images reveal the inanimate chill of a city that has lost the fight against humanity's insane lust for wealth.
Director: Bettina Timm, Alexander Riedel
Germany, 2012, 30 min
This documentary by Bettina Timm and Alexander Riedel, whose visuals were nominated for the German Camera Prize, tells us about eight-year-old Kiran, who lives with his mother in a yurt at the foot of the French Pyrenees but now no longer shares her alternative disposition and preference for a life without the creature comforts of civilisation.
Lalkarz / The Man Who Made Angels Fly / Marionetista
Director: Wiktoria Szymańska
Poland, United Kingdom, France, 2013, 64 min, European premiere
Deferring to the power of suggestion, Polish director Wiktoria Szymańska eschews a standard biopic of one of the world's top living puppeteer, Michael Meschke, focusing instead on his uncanny ability to imbue his puppets for a few minutes with living emotion and inimitable expression.
The Manor /Manor
Director: Shawney Cohen
Canada, 2013, 80 min, International premiere
Shawney Cohen's highly personal view of his Canadian Jewish family's extravagant way of life, which includes running a strip joint. The home environment could hardly be described as ideal; even so, they are a remarkably close-knit family.
Meine keine Familie / My Fathers, My Mother & Me / Moje žádná rodina
Director: Paul-Julien Robert
Austria, 2012, 99 min
In his highly personal search for his biological father, Austrian filmmaker Paul-Julien Robert reveals the true nature of life in one of Europe's biggest communes, formerly located in the town of Friedrichshof, whose members espoused common property ownership, free love, and a markedly controversial method of raising children.
Moon Rider Až na Měsíc
Director: Daniel Dencik
Denmark, 2012, 83 min
Made with 8mm film, this movie presents a portrait of talented Danish athlete Rasmus Quaade and his struggle to find a firm footing in the world of professional cycling. A captivating and, at the same time, unusually poetic film which probes the inner mechanisms of this contemplative young man who, more than anything else, has to overcome the obstacles he has placed in his own mind.
Director: Paweł Ziemilski
Poland, 2012, 17 min
Via slow tracking shots, the camera glides through a series of ordinary Polish households and, like a prying voyeur, captures the hidden magic of everyday home life. This inventive and strictly observational cinematographic essay by Paweł Ziemilski won awards at the festivals in Zagreb and Oberhausen.
Truba / Pipeline / Roura
Director: Vitaly Manskiy
Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, 2013, 116 min, International premiere
Director Vitaly Manskiy sets off on the trail of the Trans-Siberian gas pipeline to find out what it's like for ordinary people living in its vicinity. This visually refined road movie, eloquently illustrating the absurd banality of modern Russia, is also an unsettling portrait of a gas line on which most of Europe is reliant.
Forum of Independents
Au nom du fils / In the Name of the Son / Ve jménu syna
Director: Vincent Lannoo
Belgium, France, 2012, 80 min, International premiere
Elisabeth is a woman devoted to her faith who works as a Catholic radio host. After she is devastated by family tragedy, she finds the strength within herself to face the situation in a way she never imagined. Using absurdity and black humor critical of the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, the movie refuses to let viewers sit back quietly in their comfortable theater seats.
Las cosas como son / Things the Way They Are / Věci, tak jak jsou
Director: Fernando Lavanderos
Chile, 2012, 94 min, European premiere
Jerónimo is a mistrustful loner who rents out rooms to foreigners without respecting their privacy. His life is turned upside down when the beautiful Sanna, a Norwegian, comes to stay. Jerónimo starts to come out of his shell but then he discovers that the girl is hiding something in his house....
finissant(e)s / class of '09 / Maturanti
Director: Rafaël Ouellet
Canada, 2013, 75 min, International premiere
This quasi-documentary feature is set in a small Québécois town where the graduates of '09 spend their last vacation before going off to face the reality of adulthood. Not only do they have to come to terms with an unknown future and say their many farewells, they have to work through all the sorrow that surrounds them. It's the summer of 2009.
How to Describe a Cloud /Jak popsat oblak
Director: David Verbeek
Netherlands, 2013, 80 min, International premiere
Now settled in Taipei, young Liling must return to her home village to care for her mother, who has suddenly lost her sight. The lack of this important sense, however, has increased her mother's ability to see into the future, and Liling, too, is now experiencing inexplicable flashes of intuition. This stylistically and thematically integrated film builds its persuasive atmosphere via the use of long shots and ambient sound.
Hungry Man /Hladový muž
Director: Philip Martin
France, 2013, 70 min, World premiere
This story of an unexpected encounter between a young boy and a wounded foreigner somewhere in the Romanian wilderness is a parable about the freedom of man in modern society. The film was made with non-professional actors, a minimal crew and no accompanying music. The plot is subdued while emphasis is placed on the endeavour to probe the minds of the individual characters and to create a true sense of atmosphere.
Kamczatka / Kamchatka / Kamčatka
Director: Jerzy Kowynia
Poland, 2013, 77 min, International premiere
The protagonist of this intimate drama is a man doing time in prison who is given the chance to attend his mother's funeral. Instead of a warm reception, he receives stony glares from his family and the atmosphere at the gathering is steeped in animosity. This feature directorial debut betrays the author's previous experience in the documentary film genre.
Director: Jakob Lass
Germany, 2013, 89 min, International premiere
Luxury hotel. Luxury clientele. Irritable staff. A couple who might fall in love, or they might leave their relationship in its raw state - like the titular steaks. A gutsy film in which sauciness becomes a desirable quality.
Director: Dwein Baltazar
Philippines, 2012, 75 min, European premiere
A colourful Filipino village, the bustle of its daily life, and an 84-year-old man waiting for death. An extremely sensitive film offering a fascinating perspective on aging which, while it's nothing to look forward to, allows us a welcome opportunity to stop and simply watch time rushing by.
Marea baja / Low Tide / Odliv
Director: Paulo Pécora
Argentina, 2013, 73 min, International premiere
The rotting head of an animal bobs up and down in a river delta somewhere in the jungle, and it augurs nothing good. Especially when it becomes clear that a man who has turned up on the doorstep of a secluded house inhabited by two women is running away from something. This dark, bewitching film with its ambiguous narrative looks to the major works of Latin-American minimalism.
Sen Aydinlatirsin Geceyi / Thou Gild'st the Even
Director: Onur Ünlü
Turkey, 2013, 107 min, International premiere
Cemal lives in a city where the inhabitants have all sorts of unusual abilities, and although strange things happen to them they lead rather normal lives. His story, about a complicated relationship with a girl named Yasmin, is imbued with unbounded imagination and formal playfulness.
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Ukončete výstup a nástup
Director: Sam Fleischner
USA, 2013, 103 min, International premiere
Thirteen-year-old Ricky is an autistic child living with his immigrant parents in New York. One day he gets lost in the subway and so begins his odyssey through a city which is totally alien to his way of thinking. His anxious family begin to fear the worst when a hurricane approaches the metropolis and the boy is still nowhere to be found.
El triste olor de la carne / The Sad Smell of Flesh / Smutný pach masa
Director: Cristobal Arteaga
Chile, Spain, 2013, 87 min, World premiere
Alfredo Barrera is taking his little girl to school, as he does every morning. But this isn't a day like all the others. For the first time in all these years he decides on a change of plan - and no-one has the faintest idea of his intentions.... An original minimalist film which tells its story in one shot, without a single cut.