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Film Festival Day 1: The Wish To Be Someone Else

The journeys on the first festival day were diverse and surprising. The wish to be(come) someone else was striking in all six films I saw today. A wish that is so familiar for who hasn’t wished to change, to become a different person, even if only for a day?


Olya and Sasha (“Name Me”), two 17-year old Russian girls, took the audience on a mission to find Olya’s father with the expectation for a change. What they found was unexpected, harsh, and poignant… Revealing the feeling of abandonment, as well as different aspects of today’s Russian society and mentality. While the latter is worth a longer, and possibly heated discussion, the good acting and the multi-layered narrative made the film worth watching.

“Amour Fou” let us peek into Heinrich von Kleist‘s thoughts, as well as in 19th-century Germany. Hard to believe what it was like two centuries ago, but it was very easy to believe Christian Friedel as Kleist.

“Nightfall in India” is not a road movie for me. It’s so much more than that. So much more than just a story about courage, love, truth… It’s a precious piece of cinema that accompanies you long after you saw it. A lesson of what it means to be human.

If I were to choose two champions of change for the festival day, these would be “The Sunfish” and “Hotel”.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about “The Sunfish”. Deep-sea fishing, a fisherman, small village… it sounded like too ordinary a story. Boy, was I wrong! The sense of humor, authenticity, simpleness make the film a real journey through adversity, hope, the willingness for a new beginning. After all, we all need to believe it’s possible.


Have you ever thought how soothing the anonymity of a hotel can be? It’s a place where no one knows us, and thus no one expects us to be the way we have always been. It’s the perfect place to escape from a vicious circle of social expectations, and burdens. And that’s how, Erika, together with a number of people from her group therapy, see it in “Hotel” when they decide to be someone else, for a day or two. This turns to be amusing, sad, disturbing, and triggers a spiral of unexpected feelings and actions. Not the funny moments make this film so touching, but the way it brings to light vulnerability, and lets us experience the essence of being human from different perspectives without any trace of judgement. One of the most moving films this year.


About irinapashina

Marketing professional, blogger, group fitness instructor, reader, theater-goer


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