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Molodist XL 2010 - 40 Years International Filmfestival of the Youth in Kyjv (Oct.23rd - 31st 2010) report by Christl Grunwald-Merz

In our competition we had to screen 57 productions - among them 13 first full length fictional films.

While their technical quality was excellent, problems occured - due to the "first" resp. students' productions - in treating the narrative. We - like probably any other jury - discussed therefore problems like:
How was the "plot" - good story, with (some) originality, well told and told in a way that did not confuse the audience?
Were the subjects treated of general (contemporary?) interest or of more local resp. regional importance? Did they give insights in internationally discussed problems - like the insider situation of Iranians shown in "Tehroun" (Teheran) by the "outsider" Nader T. Homayoun or the problems of Kurds in Iraq in 2004 in Ebrahim Saeedi's "Mandoo"?
Did the directors follow too closely their "models" - which means the style of famous directors or of some of their films?
Did he or she stick to certain "main stream" phenomena and stereotypes - for our jury of particular interest: the "typical" Russian resp. Eastern European criminals according to producers'and distributers' conviction "Russian crime sells"?
Were the actors convincing and were they well guided?
Did the sound track support the action?
Our FICC-jury - with Iryna Romanovska (Ucraine) and Carl Henrik Eilertsen (Norway) - turned during our discussions to those criteria since there was not only a huge number of films to be "somehow" compared but also a vast range of directors' experience with other genres like theater or documentaries while others were just film school students. Besides there was the regional variety from Mexico to Iran, from Sweden to Italy...

We gave the "Don Quijote" to the short film "Der kleine Nazi" by Petra Lueschow (Germany 2010. 13'23''). It treats the typically German problem "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" (overcoming the past) - which means the rather complicated phenomenon of getting over those 12 years of Nazi reign with all their horrors by looking at them very carefully and drawing lessons from what had happened. We - and the audience - liked the film because it showed in 14 minutes the different ways of coping with this burden on the historically important background of three generations. It had hilarious and bitter moments in a well balanced way - up to the end. It also got the award of the Ecumenic Jury.The film got the German label "besonders wertvoll" (of particular value).
Since the competition programme had a large spectrum we gave also two Special Mentions - one going to Balint Szimler's "Here I Am Here" (Itt Vagyok, Hungary 2010, 37') and to Paolo Sassanelli's "Uerra" ("War",Italy 2009, 15'). While the Italian short film tells funny episodes about broken values right after WW2 the Hungarian student film shows(adequately set in black-and-white) a young loner wandering - while he has differen casual encounters - through Hungarian society after the Soviet Empire's fall, it got also the International Jury's "Festival Diploma".

Other films we had been discussing for quite a while were (fortunately) given awards by other jurys.
The "Prize for the best performance(s) by a young actor" was given by the International Jury to Monica del Carmen for her (almost exclusive) "one woman show" in "Ano Bisiesto" (Leap-Year) by Michael Rowe (Mexico 2010, 92'). While the film had in its beginning very slow and repetitive scenes it developed speed and tension towards the end - and turned - almost or directly - into a porno.
"Stschastje mojo" (My Joy, better: My Happiness) by Serhiy Loznytsia (Ukraine, Germany,Netherlands 2010) got the Grand Prix of the International Jury and the main prize of the FIPRESCI-Jury. According to our opinion it followed too closely the pattern of an "Eastern" (as a contrast to "Western") - right up to the end when the mute hero walks up to the shades after he had killed everybody in a (desperate or revengefull?) show down. This was one of the films on the edge of documentary vs. fiction.
"Sound of Noise" by Ola Simonsson und Johannes Stjärne Nilsson(Sweden, France 2010, 102') got the International Jury's "Prize for the best feature film and the Prize of the audience. We enjoyed it as a gorgeous grotesque in a time and in societies which run out of order.
"Ich bin's Helmut" (It's me Helmut) by Nicolas Steiner (Germany 2009, 12') got another one of the "Prizes for the best student film" by the International Jury. It is a wild comedy with fantastic scenes about a German living as one of the "not integrated" new Swiss.
"Majorité opprimée" (Oppressed Majority) by Eleonore Pourriat (France 2010, 10'41") - got the International Jury's "Prize for the best short film". In our opinion it lost at the end it's drive.
"When We Leave" (Die Fremde, Germany 2010, 119') by Feo Aladag was our favourite until almost the end, but we thought it had got enough public interest although it is an excellent example for a very sensitive story about the widely discussed problem Europe has by integrating it's foreign immigrants - especially from Muslim countries. It got a Special Diploma from the Ecumenic Jury.

I personally thought the Film "Komt een vrouw bij de dokter" (Stricken, Netherlands 2009, 105') an important production because we in Germany have had for years - and will still have much longer - a controversy about dying in dignity - which means that you get doctors' help for dying when there is no more hope. The film showed also the husband's "needs" while his wife is fighting cancer.
The last film we saw in the competition was a fantastic "remake" of Mozart's "Don Giovanni": "Juan" by Kasper Holten (Denmark 2010, 105'). It had the original "sound track", but - forget the texts of da Ponte - the arias etc. were presented in a drastic lower class jargon and absolutely "fucking in", up to date - as were the people who played the roles (brilliantly shown by a highly erotic "ensemble") and as were the scenes in today's life with computers and nice big cars. Instead of Juan's going to hell at the end - he ends up in schizophrenia.

A film that was shown outside of the competition programme but right after our Award Ceremony was "The Brest Fortress" by Alexandr Kott (Russia, Belarus 2010, 120') dedicated to the heroic defenders and their brave deeds. It seems to come in time for the 70th "anniversary" of the German attack on the Soviet Union next june. It was set in a mixture of a game show scenery with bad computer pictures and the acting in a Stalinist movie to the honor of the "Great Patriotic War"- but with only ONE black and white picture of the State and Party leader, shot from a "SAFE" distance, the heroic speech never quoting him with his name - but in the style that stood for the long years of his reign. Is this "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung"? Since many people left during the film I hope they will find better forms of remembering the atrocities of the German conquerors. The film has young people as a target group!

This was the only dubious film (and "event") while we stayed in Kyiv, warmly welcomed and surrounded by the festival staff with it's remarkably friendly guest service: thank you to (both) Katerinas, to Iryna and Oxana, to the very helpful Vera who accompanied me to the airport!