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Tromsø International Film Festival 2009 (19th) by Gyorgy Karpati, Hungary

In Tromsø there are actually two seasons: the eight month long winter and a four month period which is unsuitable for skiing – a Romanian based dog trainee told us after an amazing dog sledging.

And really: for a Hungarian eye it was strange to see how unusual the weather conditions are with the lots of snowing almost all the time, the under 0 degrees temperature, the stormy wind and the snowfalls around the city not to mention the light – the 3-5 hours long daily twilight and the before-after darkness. Meanwhile the scenery is amazing, the city was built on islands which is simple astonishes the tourists, but perhaps the locals are getting used to is, for such the dog sledging, the gastronomic specialties (e.g. reindeer meet and sea specialties) which is unique someone coming from actually from the southern part of Europe.
The best one can do in bad weather conditions – not only in Norway – to go to a heated cinema and watching movies, and the population of Tromsø is also on this opinion. The one weeklong festival offers several dozen films each is screened 2-3 times and the people are queuing with very patience any time during the day. This means that most of the screenings are sold out even the screening hall’s capacity is 80 or 480 seats.
And there are no exceptions with the filmmakers: the 11 pictures of the competition section was such successful than the strong out of competition screenings in which one could found for example Darren Arronofsky (The Wrestler), Danny Boyle (Slamdog Millionare), or Takasi Miike (Sukiyaki Western Django).
This festival is really for the audience and good to see that both the audience and the organizers are very grateful.
The festival is well-organized; the hospitality is really great, though the competition section is very eclectic. Among the eleven competition section movies there was also a documentary: Rene directed by Helena Trestikova was won the European Academy’s best documentary award last December is about the life of a recidivist. The director follows his object for almost two decades with the criminal’s all tragically and dramatically moment in his life. From the world cinema there could be found the French Olivier Assayas with his latest work Summer Hour; the Norwegian romantic drama world premier Jernanger; and other Italian, German, Austrian, Icelandic movies with very different themes and genres.
The juries had very tough job. Finally the film critics’ FIPRESCI prize and the Grand Jury’s prize went to the 2008 Berlinale awarded Austrian Revanche. The FICC’s three member jury gave the Don Quixote-Award to the French-Canadian movie C'est pas moi, je le jure! (It’s Not Me I Swear) directed by Philippe Falardeau. This brilliantly set story tells about loneliness and loss in a difficult childhood in the late sixties from a ten year old child’s perspective. The extraordinary acting performances and black humor contribute to the great qualities of this movie. By the exquisite set-decoration and the hyper realistic colors the director creates a unique atmosphere.