Today, July 19, two films will compete for the award in the International Competition program: “Crystal Swan” by Darya Zhuk and “Pororoca” by Constantin Popescu. The long-awaited event of the festival day will be the presentation of the film “When the Trees Fall” by Marysia Nikitiuk within the National Competition. Its world premiere took place at Berlinale.
“Crystal Swan”, Darya Zhuk, Belarus-Germany-Russia-USA
Among the devastation of the 1990s, unemployed DJ Velya, in order to obtain a US visa, gives a random phone number. It appears to this number Consulate will call to check her workplace. The only way to confirm the legend and to answer the call on time is to seat for a few days in a small industrial town, in an apartment where the exact phone is situated. The inhabitants of the apartment are simple people, the local proletariat. The phone isn’t ringing, waiting is prolonged, and conflicts are gaining its momentums.
It could be a plot for a comedy: chick from the capital comes to the province. However, this is not a comedy. Velya, first of all, stands out in a post-Soviet environment with her quest for freedom. This is an empty word for men and women around her. Rules, customs, “concept”, this is what important for them. Velya who carries her own burden of lies, can’t get along with them.
This film is not without the disadvantages inherent to full-length debuts. Situations are somehow straightforward, characters are too typical, and in the script, you can find mistakes. However, the message of the director that the freedom is important and difficult to receive. All this expressed convincingly and strongly.
“Pororoca”, Constantin Popescu, Romania-France, International Competition
Modern Romanian cinema has reached the level that film made in this country, even unknown to the general public, almost completely guarantees unordinary directing and high-quality acting. Yet Constantin Popescu hasn’t got any Cannes awards like his more famous compatriots but, the same fate waits for him.
From its beginning “Pororoca” seems to be a dark drama-thriller: a happy couple of Cristina and Bogdan loses their daughter right in the middle of a day. After it, the family and especially Bogdan fall into the whirlwind of self-destruction.
Bogdan Dumitrache, who plays the protagonist of this story, is doing a tremendous job. He shows a gradual transformation of his hero from a somewhat self-satisfied bank clerk to the outcast obsessed by revenge. The skillfully filmed story is structured around the alternation of long, one shot episodes (sometimes up to 15 minutes – you can only imagine how difficult it was on the film set), and dynamic conflict scenes. However, this story leads us on the wrong track, almost until the finale. We think that this is some kind of detective; we share the hero’s suspicions. But in the end, it turns out that this story is about a true and fake guilt, born in the blood principle of presumption of innocence and other powerful ethical things. The finale just stuns you. And at the same time, it makes you think seriously. Intelligent and shocking, “Pororoca” is indeed a Romanian film in the best sense of these words.
“When the Trees Fall” Marysia Nikitiuk, Ukraine-Poland-Macedonia, 2018
This is a story about the generation gap. Two sisters five-year-old Vitka and her teenage cousin Larysa live in a village, where are not so many options for the future: whether to rot at some uninteresting and underpaid job or get married and dissolve in the household.
Actually, Marysia Nikitiuk in her full-length debut shows two lines of rebellion: Larysa is going to escape together with the young bandit Scar. Vitka simply resists routine with all her childish might. In the end, the first one fails, and the second one flies to the sky on a white horse. The film is imbued with such metaphors that are simple-heart picturesque, clearly rooted in the tradition of the Ukrainian poetic cinema. Also, there is a Witch orgy in the woods, and cinematographic, like those cowboys, Roma on horseback. The amazingness and routine are neighboring without a special conflict, but, after all, isn’t it always so when you’re young?
Turned out that at least, this kind of somewhat naive visual poetry is enough to get the picture to “Panorama”, the parallel competition of Berlinale. Whether it has a prospect for an award in Odessa, we’ll see on July, 21st.
The film will be demonstrated at 20.30 in the Blue Hall of “Rodina” cinema. The movie’s due out the on 13th of September.
As part of the Naomi Kawase’s retrospective today you’ll be able to see “Hanezu”, Japan, 2011.
“With time, my heart will absorb all the shades of red.”
“Hanezu” by Naomi Kawase is a delightfully controversial film. On the one hand, it is skillfully masked as a documentary that somewhere in the middle of the action it becomes clear that this is still a Live action, with actors. On the other hand, this film’s mood and development of the plot are a real poem.
Elements here are very simple. A bird is in one house and a swallows’ nest is under the ceiling of the other. Love triangle. Dazzling mountain landscape, captured so that they look like traditional Japanese graphics. The noise of the river. Rain. Wet clay at archaeological excavations. Red, in which the heroine paints a cloth. Red blood.
Kawaswe unfolds her story slowly and carefully. She waves in it her ancient legend about the mountains in love. Time is conditional here, as well as a love story. In fact, the thing that is the main here is an eternal circle of passions, divorces and encounters, the invisible choir of ancestors, which accompanies us in our Earth life and lifts us up after all.
Such a way out of routine with the help of predominantly everyday elements points out that Kawase has that sharpness of optics inherent to the true talent.
Yesterday, during the Gala premiere the film of Gaspar Noé “Climax”, France-Belgium was shown.
French-Argentinian Gaspar Noé, who has almost 30 years of experience in the cinema, got in a particular sense, a reputation of one film director.
Indeed, the sensational success of spectacularly captured, overloaded with violence and unusually structured “Irréversible” (2001) with Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel served the director, not in the best way. Since then, all of his films are measured from that peak, and he himself is trying to repeat the old success. However, until recently, he didn’t have much of success.
“Climax” begins somehow like “Irréversible”: After documentary-like interviews with heroes and heroines, a title appears: “You’ve just watched a movie dedicated to our great mentors,” then the end credits, and a caption with the movie title “Climax” flares up in the last shot.
The whole movie is an enormous party, where everything just went out of control. Twenty dancers worked were working for three days and decided to have some fun in the end. However, someone added a strong drug to sangria.
Somewhere in the middle of the film, after another portion of the titles, Noé does what he can, perhaps, do the best. He shows the various levels of dipping into the madness. And here again comes back the idea of “Irréversible”, but this time it’s a compliment. Apparently, for the first time since 2001, Noah managed to achieve a true passion in his picture, and the passion primarily belongs to him. He throws goosebumps behind the spectator’s collar and even experienced one will shudder.
Climax or not, but he succeeded in scaring.
Text by Kostyantyn Levin