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Molodist 41 Kiev International Film Festival - (Oct.22rd - 31st 2011) report by Raquel Llorca

"Molodist" is a specialized festival aimed at supporting films of young directors. It started 41 years ago with a two-day festival where 33 movies of students of Kiev were screened. At present the quantity and geography of the festival is expanding each year. During this year more than 300 films including films from Western Europe and Arab countries were shown. Molodist is among the 12 best film festivals in the world, however, something about the festival remains unchanged - as before it introduces new names and achievements in the field of cinematography to the world.

As the program director announced, this year the festival went back to its initial positions presented as a film forum of the country shedding itself of excessive luxuries and once again becoming a youth festival. The show was not happening on the red carpet, but within the screening rooms.
The objective of Molodist is to seek and discover talents among young filmmakers. In practice, it means that the competition programme of the festival consists of three debut sections: “First Student Films”, “First Short Film”, “First Feature Film”. The best film in each of them will be awarded in their category. Meanwhile, all competition films compete for the grand prize of the entire program.
What I could see was that the trends of the category “First Feature Film” include a wide representation of Scandinavian films and the domination of the topic of family relations.  It would seem that the issue is not  new for cinematography but here it has been shown in new ways in many films from Iceland’s “Volcano” to the Argentinean film “Acacias” and the Swiss film “The Little Room”. All three gave me the impression that great cinema is still being made, which doesn’t rely on special effects or a frenetic  pace, but  rather a sensitive story well told.
 On the other hand, only one film in particular disappointed me and it made me wonder how it could been selected for the competition section. It was “La terre outrage” (Land of Oblivion), a fiction feature debut by an Israeli director Michale Boganim that totally fails in an attempt to show the reality of the Soviet period after the Chernobyl disaster. Also contributing to this is the pour performance of the main actress Olga Kurylenko. The Chernobyl tragedy deserves a better approach and meaningful narration of its story.
Regarding the non-competition program we found several interesting regional sections such as “German Wave”, “Scandinavian Panorama”, “French Connection”, “Eastern Express”, “New Russian Cinema”. There were two other interesting programs “Films Festivals” with films that were had been selected and awarded  in the major international  film festivals  and “Molodist Cinergy” that aims to present the works at the intersection of film and media art, artworks that are close to the cinema and have  a   powerful impact on contemporary film.
The opening film of the festival was “Battle of Warsaw 1920”, a new film by director Jerzy Hoffman and the first 3D Polish film. The movie came to Molodist almost immediately after its recent world premiere in London where it has already received rave reviews of British critics. However, the film is certainly not what I consider  a worthwhile film despite the great special effects and the epic story. The film director attended the festival opening in Kiev and   gave a master class at the Talent Workshop, a traditional Molodist project for young filmmakers and those who want to gain valuable experience from experienced film directors, producers and actors.
Personally, I was very surprise at the high level of quality of the films shot/screened in the festival which give you hope and confident of the good cinema that is coming from the new generations. For the same reason it was not easy for our FICC jury to choose a winner from 61 competitive films of mostly high quality. All the members of the FICC Jury  agreed with the difficulty of the decision making process. At the same time I enjoyed the challenge and learned a lot from the interesting discussions we had and from my collegues’ opinions. Finally we decided to award the Don Quixote prize to “Tro, Haab and Sex” ( The Prayer)  a  debut short film directed by Emma Balcazar, from Denmark, for its  delicate approach to the issue of the relationship between sexual instincts and religious dogmas.
We also decided to give two special mentions due to the high level we found in the festival as I have mentioned before. They went to student directors trying to preserve the spirit of Don Quijote prize serving as a platform for promotion new talents and/or help with the distribution of new directors’ films.
 The first special mention went to “Coral” directed by Ignacio Chaneton from Argentina for individual artistic thinking and for its special treatment of art language, including all senses.
The second special mention went to “Factor Fellini” directed by young Ukrainian student who is also the main actor in the film Myroslava Khoroshum, for its interesting approach to the problem of artistic individuality.
I would like to mention one of the several events that took place during the festival that I really loved. The screening of the restored German film directed by Eugen Illes called “Mania”. The History of a Cigarette Worker, featuring a performance by silent movie star Pola Negri. The screening was accompanied by a concert of the Leopoldium Orchestra from Wroclaw, which manages to restore the atmosphere of the film premiere of 1918. It was a real gift having the opportunity to go one century back and experience cinema as it started.
Finally, I wouldn’t want to end without mentioning the kind team coordination service that made us feel so comfortable and allow us to enjoy the wonderful city of Kiev and the Festival.
Raquel Llorca