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Molodist 2011 Report by Oleh Baturin, Ukraine

Ukraine is for Molodist

It was a festival with the Scandinavian mood and accent. The audience felt this way at the 41st International Film Festival Molodist, which was closed in Kiev on October 30. It is not just about the extensive film program from Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and other neighboring countries.

Many films from the competition and non-competition program filmed in Russia, Poland, Belgium and Austria were quite consistent with the spirit of the harsh northern lands.
Molodist provides a unique opportunity for the Ukrainian cinema-lovers to watch the most iconic, most sensational and most experimental films of the year, retrospectives of prominent artists and premieres of young directors on a big screen. It is difficult to find another place in a country with near-to-nothing film distribution, where you can see films of Bela Tarr, Bruno Dumont, a documentary project of Kim Ki Duk and a new work of American genius Gus Van Sant. However Molodist is also remarkable for being the festival engaged in finding new names. This festival is the showcase of students’ debut artworks from every corner of the globe. And you can define some trends in the world cinema process through issues raised by young filmmakers and though the language they use.
The most powerful and integral part of the festival was a full-length films section. With the exception of an unprofessional and pretentious Michale Boganim’s melodrama LA TERRE OUTRAGE (LAND OF OBLIVION). Fair enough, it provoked mocks and sneers from the audience: French director of Israeli origin could not adequately convey the reality of the Soviet period after the Chernobyl disaster. Many were surprised with the extremely poor choice of the leading actress – Olga Kurylenko. In spite of its Ukrainian origin, this film is unlikely to gain the favors of Ukrainian audience. Chernobyl is still waiting for an adequate and meaningful screening of its story.
All the members of FICC jury thought a Karl Markovics’s debut, ATMEN (BREATHING), to be the most integral and thorough work. This Austrian film eventually won the Grand Prix Award and the award of FIPRESCI jury. We decided not to award the Don Quixote prize to this film, regarding the fact that Karl Markovics is a successful film actor and a relatively mature newcomer. We want our reward to be the starting point for beginners and less eminent filmmakers. We have not found a worthy candidate among the full-length films (for example, one of our favorites – Jan Komasa’s film SALA SAMOBOJCOW (SUICIDE ROOM) has already broken attendance records at home, in Poland, and become a loud cinematic event in the Eastern Europe, and Pablo Giorgelli’s film LAS ACACIAS won the prestigious Golden Camera prize at Cannes in 2011). The DON QUIXOTE prize was unanimously awarded to the debutant of a short film section Emma Balcazar TRO, HAAB OG SEX (THE PRAYER) from Denmark. This is a delicate story of relations between a Catholic Mexican mother and her 16-year-old daughter, who wants to have sex with a neighbor before her marriage.
We also decided to award two student directors with diplomas. In our opinion Ignacio Chaneton’s CORAL (Argentina) and Miroslava Khoroshun’s FACTOR FELLINI (Ukraine) were the best. With all the obvious shortcomings of the latter, it had something in it, which is rarely found in films nowadays: the original idea. Indeed, with the state-of-art equipment nearly any director can shoot pretty sophisticated image, which in most cases hides the terrible emptiness. Such refinements can be seen in the works of many eminent filmmakers, receiving prestigious awards in Cannes, Berlin and Moscow. We need fresh ideas and desire (and ability) of directors, capable of shooting a simple intelligible story, which is close to the modern audience.
Oleh Baturin.