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Fribourg 2008, 22nd Festival International de Films 1st-8th March 2008, report by Ursula Philipp-Schürmann/Germany

The 22nd FIFF started with the new artistic director Edouard Waintrop and in a new cultural centre (An-cienne Gare), serving as meeting-point for all guests and the public, too.
And it spread over two cinema complexes in town centre nearby. So it was a festival of short distances and lots of discussions between the international visitors, members of different juries, film directors, ac-tors and all the others. Conclusion: It was really great.
Its first function was completely fulfilled: Presenting a range of new and very interesting
works, primarily from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
To my personal opinion we had lot of possibilities watching films of high level.
Thirteen films were in the competition, 11 fiction films and two documentaries.
It was not easy finding the winner for the Don Quijote Prize. But after intensive reflections and discussions our decision was made: The Don Quijote Prize of the International Federation of Film Societies was given to “Geomen Tangyi Oi” (With the Girl of Black Soil) by Jeon Soo-Il from South Corea. Here parts of the short describtion out of the festival catalogue: ” …..a nine year old girl lives with her mentally handicapped elder brother and their father in a shabby village….. When health reasons force him to leave his job as a miner, the father succumbs to depression and alcoholism….. Young-Jim has no other chance than to take over the family responsibility”
This film impressed us very much by the topic, by the style without any artifice, the special kind of static shots and last, but not least by the extraordinary interpretation of the young actress.
Our special mention was given to the documentary film “He Fengming” (Fengming, chronicle of a Chi-nese The fascinating 70 years old Chinese Woman tells throughout three hours in front of the camera
about her life from the foundation of the Democratic Republic of China until today.
Beside the high standard films of the competione there were many other possibilities of watching really interesting and special films , long and short ones, f.e. in the official selection, the hommage to Lee Chang-dong, the panorama with the parts “cinema and revolution”, “noir total” and “global love”, which mainly proved: Fribourg is an important and outstanding festival of wonderful films.
The festival started with Lee Chang-dong´s “Secret Sunshine” as a very suitable opener and ended with Wane Wang´s “A thousand Years of Good Prayers” an equally good choice.
My personal conclusion of the week in Fribourg: Many chances for getting a huge bundle of new experi-ences...