Valencia Film Fest ’21: Best OF

From the Caucasus to Cabo da Roca, the 36th edition of Valencia Film Festival celebrated the Mediterranean cinema. I got to see great films at Mostra de València. The Golden Palm was awarded to So She Doesn’t Live by Faruk Loncarevic (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The film deals with cycles of domestic / gender-based violence. Unfortunately, I was trauma-triggered by a scene and had to exit the theater. However, here are four films from the program that won me over. The Timbul Awards go to:

When I’m Done Dying (Turkey)

A poignant coming-of-age story from/for the global hip-hop diaspora. What happens if finding your voice and claiming your space is not enough to heal your wounds? Written and directed by Nisan Dag, this nuanced look at Turkey’s millennials is set in Istanbul, one of the gateways of civilizations. Haunting work by actor Oktay Çubuk and a power-full soundtrack make it my overall favorite. Behind the scenes is here.

RUS: Стамбульская сага про то, что выбраться из трущобы внутри это вам не речитатив зачитать. Было бы интересно посмотреть подобное о хип-хоп культуре Ростова-на-Дону (Баста, Каста, Рэм Дигга, etc). Придётся самому снять?!

Should The Wind Drop (Armenia)

What happens when the entire lifespan of a person or a place falls through the cracks of geopolitics?! Director Nora Martirosyan co-wrote a love letter to aviation and Nagorno-Karabakh. “A disputed territor” per Wikipedia. It fictionalizes the real story of Stepanakert Airport which has received no flights since 1990. What are any patriots’ choices beyond violence and magical thinking? Behind the scenes is here.

RUS: Пост-советское пространство ещё долго будут терзать пост-колониальные судороги. Красивый фильм о красивых людях с красивыми мечтами на фоне очень некрасивой Истории. Обнять и плакать. И любить.

Tailor (Greece)

Creativity is always and never in crisis. This gem was whimsical, genuinely concerned for each of its characters, universal in the affirmation of our inherent power to pivot a career, a relationship, a life. It rings TRUE in the way Charlie Chaplin’s oeuvre does. The film won three (!) awards and I concur with Best Actor to Dimitris Imellos, Best Screenplay to Sonia Liza Kenterman and Tracy Sunderland, and Best Soundtrack to Nikos Kypourgos.

RUS: “Неприятность эту мы переживём!” Искренне, шедевр вровень Амели, Чаплину, каноническому Рязанову. Что делать, когда ты умеешь делать что-то одно, а “оно” так и норовит кануть в Лету?! Можно пересматривать.

Heavens Above (Serbia)

How much bad can a good person get away with? How much good should a bad person do for redemption? What if there was a clear sign from Above? A halo has been a staple of collective speculative imagination long before Beyoncé. The satirical theme is popular in Eastern European literature. Czech novelist Karel Čapek toyed with the idea. Hungarian author Ágota Bozai had a bestseller “To Err is Divine“. This Balkan take is inspired by the writings of Marcel Aymé. An unflinching look at a society committed to dysfunction. The jury deservedly awarded Best Cinematography to Dusan Joksimovic.

РУС: Цена нимба? Для детей “лихих девяностых” это просто документалка. Зрителям в любой глухомани “восточного блока” тут всё ясно-понятно, не моргая. Западная критика пишет: “Аллегория”. Ну-ну.

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Other awards from the 36th edition of Valencia Film Festival:

Silver Palm – The World After Us by Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas (France)

À Punt Audience Award – Broken Keys by Jimmy Keyrouz (Lebanon)

Best Director – Alex Camilleri for Luzzu (Malta)

Best Actress – Bassant Ahmed and Basmala Elghaiesh for Souad (Egypt/Tunisia)

Honorary Palm for director Jean-Pierre Jeunet who gifted the world with Amelie!


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