10 days, 35 films, a fascinating atmosphere, many inspiring talks and encounters, new perspectives, discoveries and captivating images. This was the 2013 international film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg to me. But most of all it was the stage for incredibly touching and thought-provoking stories.
This year’s films did justice to the festival motto, “Everyone a story” taking all of us in the audience to a magically real journey through the enchating art of good film storytelling. I truly enjoyed experiencing each and every film – the different angle they all presented the world from and the thought-provoking perpectives and questions they invited us to ponder on.
However, there were films that resonated with me and moved me more than others. Perhaps because their narratives were more relevant to my own story or the way they were told was so fascinating that it made me think and see the world with different eyes. But whatever the reason was, I am happy and thankful that I had the chance to experience them and I can highly recommend them. Here they are, my ‘winners’:
“Tangerines” turned out to be much more than I expected. It started and ended with the question “Who are you?” with a violent journey of searching inbetween. The director Zaza Urushadze from Georgia presented it as “a film about war in which war is not shown”. Well, war is shown in its cruelty and pointlessness, but it’s not only a war film. It’s a universal story about the essence of being human – about understanding, empathy, forgiving, change beyond ethnicity, religion, culture. In my eyes, it was one of the most touching film stories I have experienced lately and definitely belongs to the must-see films from this festival. Watch it when you have the chance to, I guarantee it will move you with its human and subtle, yet clear and touching storytelling.
I guarantee this story will go under your skin in no time and make you smile and thoughtful… perhaps even at the same time. But there is something bigger beyond the emotions it evokes. It’s the potential to bring about change for the better – in thinking, attitude, midset… in us.
A group of young dreamers is working hard on achieving a milestone – a theater performance abroad. Admittedly, it’s much more than just a performance and throughout the film turn into a life-changing experience for many of them. All that in incredibly long and wonderfully shot scenes, almost no interruptions and cuts… it almost feels like sitting in a theater… a theater of dreamers. Will they choose to remain true to a friend or to achieve their goal? One of the most amazing films this year.
What excites me most about the festival is the variety of touching film stories – stories that have the power to make us (re-)think and (re-)consider. Stories like “Home” where four very different people let us discover a world of honesty, memories, searching… and finding. We all have been confronted with some, perhaps even many, aspects of their journey and it’s eye-opening and moving to be a part of it. It feels so familiar and all four of them are so wonderfully ‘human’ and unique that by the end of the film you almost feel like sharing a cup of coffee or tea with them. The cup of coffee or tea that was accompanying and connecting them throughout the film. And while you imagine how you drink a coffee with them you start thinking about your own search for honesty, happiness, for the place you belong to and probably without noticing it you even start seeing it differently…
The ‘invisible’ and tragical journey across cultures through and beyond violent expectations – an intricate web of what is at the core of us, human beings. We all need to be reminded of it.
And now I am off to enjoy the last festival evening for this year. And to look forward to next year’s edition. What would life be without good storytelling and the magical world of cinema!