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7th International Skopje Film Festival Ended – Hollywood Overshadowed by Europe

(Nova Makedonija, 17.03.2004) - The second half of International Skopje Film Festival was firstly experienced as a sharp quality slash of the optimistic picture, which brought back the old dilemmas on the destiny of the contemporary film; in the battle with the technological giants of Hollywood. It cannot spontaneously and harmlessly determine the consistency of its identity, and develop the possibilities of its artistic nature to the end. Films, such as “29 Palms” of Frenchman Bruno Dumont, a depressive picture of the latent executioner that is hidden within all of us; “American Splendor” of Sharry Springer Berman, a chronicle about the escape from the labyrinths, in which even the inventive natures wander; comedy of Spaniard Javier Fesser, in which dictators constantly tyrannize the people, while plotters rebel without any success, will certainly find their followers. Their topic of violence and alienation, or the problem with isolation, in which loners find certain peace and satisfaction, can be deeply rooted into their intimacy. However, the private affinities of the viewers, their tendency towards pessimistic, anecdote or nihilist views of the world, which less talented authors place as big revelations, have never been lifted towards common truths, which are necessary to our heart and mind, as well as our senses.
That mood of skepticism in the film vitality is somewhat heated up in the classics of Claude Shabrol, whose “Flower of Evil”, despite of the formal perfection, does not reveal a new idea or content novelty. Neither his friend from the year when the New Wave conquered the world, Jacques Rivet did not go far with his new film “History of Marie and Julien”, from the grading of the moral position of the contemporary man among the individuals that we want to control and ones that control us. The discrete emotion, which lasts for 150 minutes, does not include one bit of the passion of this aesthetic rebel from the time when he made films, such as “Nun”.
On the other hand, Shabrol and Rivet’s fellow countryman, young Patrice Chereau, managed to elevate the theme of agony before death to a religiously philosophic principle in his film “His Brother”. It is a painful story about the love of two brothers, Luc and Thomas. They are indifferent towards each other, uninterested about the mutual hopes and misfortunes, but reveal how much they need each other and how deeply they love each other before the fatal end.
Among the festival films that the audience and critic reveal as surprises comes Afghanistan film “Osama”. The interesting thing about “Osama”, as in most of the movies made in the central Asian countries, is that the main characters are women. They carry the largest burden of wars, migrations, prohibitions and terror. Such is the case with the leading character Sidik Barmak, who provides sense to life, fight and sufferings with her perseverance, bravery and intelligence. A true example of mythic stoicism.
Equally intriguing according to the originality of the directing process is Brazilian “Man who Copied” of Jorge Futado, which is a melancholic anecdote story about people from the margins of the Brazilian society, who however, know how to love passionately and evade laws in the name of love.
We shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that directors of the best films in the second part of the festival programs were Russians. This before all refers to Aleksandr Sokurov. His hymn dedication to parental love in film “Father and Son” in many aspects reminds on the masterpiece “Mother and Son”, but this time his picture is more dynamic, and the relations between the characters are more subtly weaved.
Sokurov’s fellow countryman Alexey German also aroused excitement with film “The Last Train”, with a hallucinating picture of war, which should be entirely erased from the humankind’s memory. However, Alexey German is able to find humanity, understanding and forgiveness even in terror.
If we also mention the remarkable documentary film of Wim Wenders “Soul of a Man”, nostalgic melodrama of Canadian Dennis Arcand “Barbaric Invasion”, political thriller of Marco Belocchio “Good Morning, Night”, we can say without a doubt that this year’s Skopje Film Festival, comes shoulder to shoulder with the most prestigious manifestations of this kind in the world. This is the best edition of a film review organized in Macedonia so far.







brzi - 2001