"Domain Boyar" stands behind the competition and provides the Best Balkan film prize
The "Balkan competition" traditionally includes some of the most
successful films made in the region during the last year. Again, this
year we have the pleasure to share with the audience valuable works from
the Balkan filmmaking presented by their authors. We present the first 6 films confirmed in the program:
"Son of Sofia" (2017) by Elina Psukoy was among the winners at Tribeka festival 2017, where it won Best Foreign Film prize. The story takes the viewer on the eve of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. 11-year-old Misha arrives from Russia longing for his mother’s embrace, but is welcomed by a new father. The film is a Greek, Bulgarian (Chouchkov Brothers) and French co-production.
"A Balkan Noir" (2017, Sweden-Montenegro) by Dražen Kuljanin, born in Bosnia but now based in Sweden, is both an impressive family drama, powerful and dynamic thriller. This is Kuljanin’s second film, after his feature-length debut "How to Stop a Wedding", which won the Grand Prize at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2014. A Balkan Noir was also premiered there, ScreenAnarchy wrote: “Kuljanin delivers what could be described as a Balkan take on Frank Miller´s neo-noir "Sin City"...“ The plot recreates a dramatic story - while on holiday in Montenegro, Nina's and Oscar’s daughter disappears. Five years later the mother continues to look for clues to get to the kidnapper, until a kind of closure is provided. The couple separate and write a book about the ordeal. Nina reprimands her husband that he buried their daughter without her body, whereas Oscar is just trying to move on with his life, as best as he can.
Janez Burger’s (Slovenia) participation in the Balkan competition at SFF is not his first time. After "Silent Sonata" (with 8 prizes at the Slovenian National Film Festival 2010), he is now joining the competition with "Ivan" (2017), this time with 9 awards from the Slovenian Film Festival, for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Female Actress - Marusa Majer. The critics compare her play with Emily Watson's role in Lars von Trier's "Breaking the Waves". In "Ivan", Marusa Majers enters the image of a single mother, forced to make an impossible choice between the man she loves and her newborn son. Defined as a drama with elements of a thriller, the film poses many complex socio-ethical issues without offering an unambiguous answer.
"Catalina" (2017) by Denijal Hasanovic is a co-production between Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. Colombian girl who studies law in France, arrives to Sarajevo in order to write a study about the War Crimes Tribunal. Unexpectedly she finds herself in the center of the intimate tragedy of her new friend, a native woman.
Seven years after completing his “Yusuf Triology” - "Egg - Milk - Honey" ("Honey" was awarded with "Golden Bear" and the Berlin Ecumenical Jury Award 2010), the Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu returns to cinema even more ambitiously. Filmed entirely in English with international cast filmed on three continents, his new film "Grain" (2017, Turkey, Germany, France, Sweden, Qatar) is an anti-utopian science fiction epic inspired by 29 verses from the Quran. It is a post-apocalyptic story set in a world where those that survive, are divided between the remnants of cities and agricultural zones... Both groups are run by corporations and its elitist population. In territories called Dead Land, genetically incompatible immigrants suffer from drought and epidemics. With this film Kaplanoglu pays over visual and thematic homage to Russian maestro Andrei Tarkovsky’s dystopian sci-fi classic, "Stalker".
"The Basics of Killing" (2017), by the Slovenian director Jan Cvitkovič focuses on the breaking down of the idyllic relationship between a couple, the breaking down of a family. The reason - both partners lose their jobs and the subsequent financial problems. Over time, the burden that the parents can no longer carry for a long time falls more and more on the children's shoulders. This is a story that happens every day in Slovenia, but it can happen anywhere else. For those who know the phenomenon the story seems painful. For others – it’s a warning ...