Cottbus, October 13, 2022
The FilmFestival Cottbus is one of the world's leading forums for Eastern European cinema and this year presents 219 films from 48 production countries. Among them many German, international and world premieres.
"FilmFestival Cottbus is known for not excluding any genre and so we are proud of the diversity on our screens. From contemplative experimental cinema to socially critical arthouse films to light summer comedies, from medieval action to environmental drama, from silhouette films to FullDome," is how program director Bernd Buder describes this year's program selection.
The genre diversity ranges from Bekir Bülbül's contemplative road movie CLOVES AND CARNATIONS (TR), which has its German premiere at the FFC, to the world premiere of the tragicomedy KINGS OF RAP (UA) by Myroslav Latyk, in which two teenagers from the Ukrainian province go off the rails because they take the motif of 'gangsta rap' too seriously, and the Albanian political thriller ONE OF US (AL), a reference to film noir, to the medieval thriller trilogy MELCHIOR THE APOTHECARY (EE). The latter was shot in one of the best preserved medieval city ensembles in Europe, the Estonian capital Tallinn. Also celebrating German premieres are Dragan Bjelogrlić's stirring musician biography TOMA (RS), Meel Paliale's TREE OF ETERNAL LOVE (EE), a laconic summer comedy that finds a style all its own between Aki Kaurismäki and Olsen Gang, Sophia Zornitsa's MOTHER (BG/DE/HR) about a woman who must choose between her own desire to have children and her political commitment to orphans in Africa, and Taras Tomenko's "SLOVO" HOUSE. UNFINISHED NOVEL (UA), a situation description with musical interludes about writers who come under pressure under Stalinism and take refuge in a mixture of conformity, escapism and cynicism.
The focus of the FFC is the three competitions for the best feature film, short film and youth film. At the Lausitzer FilmSchau - Łužyska filmowa pśeglědka - Łužiska filmowa přehladka the first prizes are traditionally awarded on Monday evening. In seven other program sections, the 32nd FFC provides an overview of current filmmaking in Central and Eastern Europe. With 13 films from and three films about Ukraine, the country under attack by Russia is strongly represented in all sections of FilmFestival Cottbus this year, including three competition entries.
In the new EcoEast section, films on ecological themes and sustainability will be shown. The first films are from Georgia, where Nutsa Gogoberidze dealt with the ecological and cultural consequences of draining a marshland in western Georgia as early as 1934 in CHEERLESS. The long-lost silent film was rediscovered only in 2018. THE HARVEST (GE/US 2019) reflects on Georgia as the world's third largest exporter of Bitcoins. Director Misho Antadze describes the relationship between nature, technology and a changing landscape. Nino Kirtadze's THE PIPELINE NEXT DOOR (GE/FR 2005) tells the story of the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, with resistance to the mammoth project slowly rising in the affected regions.
In Spotlight RO, the focus is on Romanian cinema. It convinces with its closeness to everyday life and the courage to experiment with film. Seven feature-length films and a short film program show the genre diversity of current Romanian cinema and explore Romania's past and present between province and urban space. SWAMP CITY tells stories about the underground music scene in Timişoara, Romania, and screens as an international premiere in Cottbus. R.M.N., the latest film by Christian Mungiu, celebrates its German premiere at FFC, EAGLES FROM ŢAGA tells the story of the "Eagles" from Transylvanian Țaga, arguably the worst football team from Romania, a mixture of passion and defiance. Bogdan George Apetri's social psychological thriller MIRACLE follows the trail of a police officer who becomes entangled in emotional contradictions while investigating the murder of a young nun.
The film series What`s left? asks how Eastern Europe is coming to terms with the "turn of the times". 16 feature-length films and a short film program describe the transitional situation between the hopes of the 1990s, transformation, military violence and a new Cold War. The lightly directed railroad-movie BRATAN by Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov (TJ1991) conveys the mood of departure after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The film was recently restored by Veit Helmer and revived this year at Venice Classics. In BEYOND REVOLUTION - FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY (DE 2019), Kristof Gerega observes the long-standing engagement of three 'Euro-optimists' against corruption and for more transparency in the Ukrainian parliament. In THE ECLIPSE (NO 2022), Nataša Urban reflects on Serbia's failure to speak out about its responsibility for the disintegration wars in the former Yugoslavia and the associated war crimes. In THE LONELY LONG-DISTANCE RUNNERS (BG 2022), investigative journalists tell of their difficult daily lives and the political pressures they face. The film will have its world premiere at the FFC. THE ROUTE RECALCULATED (Belarus 2022) is screening as a German premiere. Director Maxim Shved, who - like most Belarusian filmmakers - has since left his home country, captures very different opinions of passengers in a cab about the presidential election in Belarus in August 2020. Kornii Hritsyuk explains in EURODONBAS (UA 2022) the little-known early history of the industrialization of the Donbas, when entrepreneurs from Belgium, Germany, France and Wales turned the region into an intercultural melting pot - for example, this part of today's Ukraine was at times called the "10th province of Belgium" because 10,000 Belgians lived here. And WAITING FOR HANDKE (German premiere, RS 2021) by Goran Radovanović tells of the longing wait of the Serbian population of a village in southern Kosovo for the savior Peter Handke.
The film series Women's Roles in Socialism and After explores the diverse kaleidoscope of women's roles after 1945 and their development until today. VON ETWAS ANDEREM (Věra Chytilova, CS 1963) contrasts the different realities of life of a housewife and a top athlete. The short film program includes AKTFOTOGRAFIE by Helke Misselwitz (GDR), which describes the representation and perception of women's bodies in 1983, a discussion that is still highly topical today. The musical animated film MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARRIAGE (Signe Baumane, US/LU 2022) humorously and originally describes the woman-man relationship in the former Soviet Union and does so from a neuroscientific perspective. BUTTERFLY VISION by Maksym Nakonechnyi shows a woman in a state of emergency: the protagonist struggles with her traumas after being tortured during her time as a prisoner of war in the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.
The Polskie Horyzonty section traditionally presents current Polish films. This year, they reflect images of the province - precisely and pointedly between small-town portrait and melodrama, the Greater Polish Plain and the High Tatras. ALL OUR FEARS (Łukasz Ronduda, PL) - based on authentic motifs - tells the story of artist and LGBTIQ activist Daniel Richarsky, torn between his small village community and urban art galleries, the Catholic Church and his gay identity. TONIA (PL) by Marcin Bortkiewicz has its world premiere at FFC and is a family saga between comedy and poetry. SONGS ABOUT LOVE (Tomasz Habowski, PL) convinces with the fascinating music of Polish independent singer Justyna Święs, who also plays the female lead here - a poetic black and white between amour fatale and nouvelle vague. The FullDome program offers a unique opportunity at the Cottbus Spaceflight Planetarium to completely immerse yourself in the world of film and be captivated by a 360-degree projection. Films from Super-8 to 35 mm will be shown from the complete oeuvre of Ralf Schuster, a filmmaker by choice from Cottbus.
In Heimat | Domownja | Domizna, Andrina Mračnikar's cinema documentary IZGINJANJE/VERSCHWINDEN (AT) about Carinthian Slovenes celebrates its international premiere. Two episodes of the documentary series WIE KLINGT HEIMAT (Markus Weinberg, DE 2022), in which pop star Felix Räuber goes in search of the sounds of Sorbian Lusatia, will have their world premiere. In THE LONG NIGHT OF SHORT LAUSITZERS, brand-new short films from Lusatia will be shown. A tribute is dedicated to Jörg Herrmann, one of the world's last practicing classical silhouette filmmakers.
The FFC program also features the Spectrum section, with films that stay in the memory because they look at life between genre film and arthouse from new angles. The Hits section shows selected films and series that are real hits with audiences in their countries of production or have the potential to be. Kids at the Movies holds fantastic adventures and stories for kids aged three to twelve, with the traditional fairy tale film premiere and children's festival on Festival Sunday. This year, ZITTERINCHEN (Luise Brinkmann, DE 2021) premieres at the FFC.
Accreditations for the festival week are now possible and are free of charge for reporting press.