It is with mixed feeling that I face the last festival day every year. A little sad that it is coming to an end, on the one hand, and very happy and grateful to have seen so many meaningful and moving stories some of which literally change my views, perception and have the potential of making people “better” or at least more thoughtful in different ways.
It is difficult indeed to imagine that I won´t be going to the festival tomorrow evening to experience another evening of cinema at its best. The 28 films I saw were definitely not enough and no matter what the number they will never be enough. But before I start looking forward to the next edition of the festival, it´s time to mention the film stories that impressed me most this year. My list of winning films so to say, and they are:
Final Whistle by Niki Karimi
The story started with the simple need for re-shooting a film scene and ended in a hopeless lost battle. A desperate battle for life, meaning and more humanism. The hopelessness, injustice and despair are striking indeed on the incredibly noisy and hostile streets of Teheran. But what I found impressive about this film is its focus on a very human side – our ability to show compassion and to help others. It feels almost unreal and impossible that someone feels the necessaty to help in an environment geared around material success and individual well-being based on it. Sahar´s determination to help and her willingness to do whatever it takes to follow it are overwhelming and thought-provoking.
“It´s not about money, it´s about helping people. Can we do something?”
With questions like this one she might seem like a Don Quixote in today´s Iran, but she is so much more than that.
I wonder what will happen if we all ask her question a little more often. Maybe our world will become a slightly better place?
Not an easy film, but one worth seeing.
The Grace by by Bonifacio Angius
A story depicting life as it is. Life as a constant journey. Sometimes meaningless, sometimes funny or sad, sometimes accompanied by people, and sometimes not. The destination is as mysterious as it can be, but the way seems to be more important. And everything happening while walking in the supposedly right direction. People appearing and disappearing on the way almost like a mirage. “Where do I go? Where am I going?” and “How many steps until we get there?”. How much I wish I would be able to answer Antoneddu´s questions. And I wish I could answer them at any given moment for myself as well. But often enough the only possible answer is “C´est la vie!”.
A beautiful and almost surreal film about our journeys.
Silent City by Threes Anna
One of the pleasant surprises for me at this festival. Fish filleting is not the most exciting subject ever…, but fortunately the film was not about it. Rosa, a Dutch girl in Tokyo, wants to learn the art of fish filleting and preparation by master chef Kon. The only thing that she shares with us during the film is the passion for her profession and her determination to become proficient in it and to literally understand fish. And this together with a different view on the Japanese capital and culture is more than enough to make the 90 minutes worth seeing.
A beautiful title of a film about passion, determination, and culture(s) in all its visible and invisible layers.
Good Luck. Take care of each other by Jens Sjögren
Courage and pure human connections. The courage to be and show your true self and to let others be theirs. And the ability to connect on a human level and in a sincere and open way. These two should be inherent in human nature, but seem to have become rare to see and difficult to do. The story of Alvar shows just how difficult to almost impossible it can be to do that. His friendship with Miriam helps them both overcome fears, masked truths, false memories.
A touching and very human encounter exceptionally showing that it´s up to us to be ourselves and to follow our dreams.