In addition, the Festival celebrates the work of French director Arnaud Desplechin, a visionary filmmaker who has established a truly personal cinematic style. Arnaud Desplechin will attend this year’s edition to present his work, as well as a masterclass on his artistic career. His latest film My Golden Days (SACD Prize Directors' Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival) is also 56th TIFF’s closing film. Moreover, Focus on New Austrian Cinema, a selection of contemporary Austrian films that highlight extreme human situations, is also presented in this year’s edition.
Also, the Balkan Survey section, curated by Dimitri Kerkinos, has been showcasing the best samples of the Balkan area’s film production. Well-known directors, as well as promising newcomers in their exceptional debuts, the majority of which are women, tackle a variety of challenging social themes in this year’s edition. Balkan Survey also celebrates the work of Romanian auteur Mircea Daneliuc, one of the most important and influential filmmakers, whose work in Romania during the 80s and post-communism era remains largely unacknowledged outside his country. Daneliuc will be in Thessaloniki to introduce his films to the Festival’s audience.
This year's Open Horizons section highlights the most recent trends in worldwide independent production, featuring thematically original and aesthetically challenging films. Running in parallel, the Special Screenings section presents the newest additions in the work of renowned auteurs.
Fourteen Greek films will have their Greek premiere in Thessaloniki, two of which will be participating in the 56th TIFF’s International Competition section (to be announced on a later date). Chevalier by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Special Screening) introduces a challenging, competitive power game played by a group of six men stranded on a yacht in the Aegean Sea. Set in contemporary Athens, Constantine Giannaris’ latest work Spring Awakening focuses boldly on a gang of teenage thieves and their rebellious tragic outbreak against law and society. In his debut feature film Interruption, Yorgos Zois centres on an interactive theatrical adaptation of a classic Greek tragedy, in which life meets art in the most unpredictable ways. A deep personal crisis is depicted in Yorgos Gkikapeppas’ Silent, whose main character, a young promising soprano, mysteriously loses her voice and confronts the people she loves. Smac by Elias Demetriou unfolds the profoundly human story of a woman with cancer and a homeless man, whose accidental encounter changes their life perspectives. A lonely divorced factory worker unjustly loses his job and plans his revenge in Dimitris Athanitis’ Invisible, while the existential odyssey of a wandering man is highlighted in the enigmatic film Impressions of a Drowned Man by Kyros Papavassiliou, inspired by the work of Greek poet Kostas Karyotakis. Family Member by Marinos Kartikkis focuses on the contemporary crisis through the story of a family who tries to cope with their financial problems. Zenaida by Alexis Tsafas and Yannis Fotou uncovers the life of the titular Africa-born heroine, a victim of women's trafficking, who struggles to survive in hostile Athens. Heavy heat wave and water shortage cause turmoil for the people of a Greek seaside resort in Joyce Nashawati’s Blind Sun, while Andreas Marianos’ Fate observes the strange traditions of a small Greek island and a mysterious death that occurs there. Tabula Rasa by Iro Donta and Natalia Stratou is the coming-of-age drama of a young boy who embarks on a dangerous journey in search of his identity. Love takes center-stage in Spyros Amiropoulos’ In the Kitchen, a film that tackles the stories of six couples in different stages of their relationships, while Nikos Kornilios’ The Cypress Deep Down provides an experimental, in-depth look at love and emotions.
Six films which have already had their Greek premiere will be screened during this year’s edition. Wednesday 04:45 by Alexis Alexiou, a film noir set in Athens, records the relentless struggle of a desperate man to save everything he cherishes for. A weird creature upsets the inhabitants of an isolated island and the battle between good and evil begins in Angelos Frantzis’ atmospheric film Symptom. A strange love story about two people who find it hard to connect takes place in Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, while in Panos Karkanevatos’ Riverbanks love blossoms somewhere between life and death, in a minefield at Greece's northern border. Two women coexist in the most peculiar way in a man’s “double” life in the sensitive film Lovestruck by Thodoris Atheridis, while the protagonist in Savvas Karidas’ Illusion becomes enchanted by a femme fatale and immerses in a dangerous world of deceit and lies.
70 YEARS OF GREEK ANIMATION TRIBUTE
The 56th TIFF celebrates 70 years of Greek animation films in cooperation with ASIFA HELLAS (International Animated Film Association of Greece). The tribute 70 Years of Greek Animation presents an illustrative anthology of 40 short animation films dated from the early 40s to the present day, showcasing thus the evolution and diversity of Greek animation films. In addition, on Saturday, November 7 (12.30, Warehouse C) a round table discussion titled “Organized Animation Production - A Strategy for the Achievement of a Difficult Goal” will take place with the participation of representatives of ASIFA HELLAS and the Festival’s audience.
ARNAUD DESPLECHIN TRIBUTE
Complex emotions, sharp contradictions, humour that alternates with bitter commentary, as well as literary symbolisms and references, underline the profoundly human, often obsession-filled stories narrated in Arnaud Desplechin’s films, seven of which will be screened during the 56th TIFF.
Director, writer and cinematographer Arnaud Desplechin was born in 1960 in Roubaix, France. He studied film directing at the New Sorbonne University (Paris III) and afterwards in the IDHEC, Paris. In the late 80s he worked as a cinematographer in several films and in 1991 he directed his medium-length debut film La Vie de Morts, a forerunner to his later body of work which demonstrates his personal cinematic identity that comprises recurring themes, philosophical questions and idiosyncratic characters. Throughout his career, Desplechin remains faithful to his creative vision and directorial style, while frequently employing actors such as Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos and Catherine Deneuve.
Desplechin’s first feature La Sentinelle (1992), an intriguing thriller that dwells on the aftermath of the Cold War, served to establish the director among the new generation of French filmmakers who regenerated French cinema. Four years later, Desplechin directed the satiric comedy-drama My Sex Life... or How I Got into an Argument (César Award Most Promising Actor - Mathieu Amalric), which follows the story of young professor Paul Dédalus and his interminable love quests; an emotional and existential journey defined by the character’s great passion for women, illustrated as a vibrant celebration of the senses.
Two ex-lovers, both confronted with deep crises in their life (once again, Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric in the main roles) are the protagonists in Desplechin’s Kings and Queen (2004), a compelling drama narrated in parallel storylines that delves with sarcasm and humour into the main characters’ most intimate emotions. Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale (2008) dissects the holiday reunion of a troubled French family, exploring with dark humour their fragile, yet resilient relationships. As Roger Ebert had put it: “A Christmas Tale skates on thin ice across a crowded lake, arrives safely on the far shore, and shares a cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows with Death”.
Based on the book «Reality and Dream: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian» by the Hungarian-born ethnologist and psychoanalyst Georges Devereux, an inspiring figure for Arnaud Desplechin, the film Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian (2013) is a powerful character study that traces the true story of native American World War II veteran Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro) and his relationship with G. Devereux (played by Mathieu Amalric), who assisted him in dealing with his post-war trauma.
Desplechin’s latest work My Golden Days is a nostalgic elegy to youth, featuring a cast of brilliant young newcomers. The director revisits his 1996’s My Sex Life…or How I Got Into an Argument character, French academic Paul Dédalus (Mathieu Amalric). On his way back to France from Tajikistan, Paul thinks back on people and events that have marked his life; from his childhood, insane mother and widower father to his adolescent years, the journey to the USSR and later on, his studies, friends and of course the love of his life, Esther. This three-chapter memoir is a touching coming-of-age drama; a fresh, romantic chronicle about loss, pain and gain, all inevitable stages of maturity.
FOCUS ON NEW AUSTRIAN CINEMA
Following Austria’s long tradition of producing distinguished filmmakers and actors, the new generation of Austrian directors expresses the anguishes of our times by tackling an important set of themes, such as human relationships, family issues, consumerism and social outcasts. Using a distanced, critical point of view, these films are provocative and gripping. They make a subtle, yet uncompromised commentary on contemporary society, while their aesthetic approach is as powerful as their subject matters. A representative selection of the latest Austrian film production will be screened in 56th TIFF’s Focus on New Austrian Cinema.
Inspired by true events, Stephan Richter’s One of Us is set at the outskirts of Vienna, where a huge supermarket becomes the meeting point for a group of underprivileged youngsters who spend their time experimenting with love, drugs and petty crime, until a break-in goes fatally wrong. The film provides an in-depth look at universal topics such as the consumerism of contemporary society, police violence and also the rebellious adolescent experience.
The intimate portrait of another teenager in distress is highlighted in Sabine Hiebler’s and Gerhard Ertl’s Chucks, the wild and tender coming-of-age story of Mae. Her family is broken after her brother’s death and she roams the streets of Vienna wearing his red Converse shoes, until she meets and falls in love with Paul, a terminally ill young man. Mae experiences the painful transition to the adult world through loss and self-awareness.
John Gruber, the protagonist of Marie Kreutze’s heartfelt, frank film Gruber Is Leaving also embarks on a journey to find himself. He is a successful, egocentric, albeit lonely 35 year-old-man, who is indifferent and cynical towards everybody, but a cancer diagnosis and an unexpected love story present him with some life-changing decisions.
Barbara Eder’s revealing film Thank You for Bombing focuses on the behind-the-camera lives of three war correspondents in conflict areas and captures their daily routine and traumatic experiences. The film praises these professionals’ sense of justice, highlights their important role in the international political scene and also criticizes the political corruption.
Elisabeth Scharang’s psychological thriller Jack is a glimpse into darkness, through the biopic of the enigmatic notorious Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger, who gained wide reputation as a poet after his imprisonment and was later on charged with the murders of eleven women. The film’s detached style intensifies the appeal and repulsion caused by this ambiguous figure.
Arnaud Desplechin Tribute
LA VIE DES MORTS, 1991, 54’, France
A CHRISTMAS TALE / UN CONTE DE NOEL, 2008, 150’, France
JIMMY P, 2013, 117’, USA, France
KINGS AND QUEEN / ROIS ET REINE, 2004, 150’, France
MY GOLDEN DAYS /TROIS SOUVENIRS DE MA JEUNESSE, 2015, 123’, France
MY SEX LIFE OR HOW I GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT / COMMENT JE ME SUIS DISPUTE... MA VIE SEXUELLE, 1996, 178’, France
THE SENTINEL / LA SENTINELLE, 1992, 139’, France
Focus on New Austrian Cinema
CHUCKS, 2015, 90’, Austria, Gerhard Ertl & Sabine Hiebler
GRUBER IS LEAVING / GRUBER GEHT, 2015, 90’, Austria, Marie Kreutzer
JACK, 2015, 100’, Austria, Elisabeth Scharang
ONE OF US / EINER VON UNS, 2015, 86’, Austria, Stephan Richter
THANK YOU FOR BOMBING, 2015, 100’, Austria, Barbara Eder
The Open Horizons section includes a variety of films, directed by filmmakers who have already established themselves in the independent film scene, as well as promising newcomers. Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and David Strathairn star in Louder Than Bombs by Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st), who skillfully dissects a dysfunctional American family whose estranged male members reunite after their wife/mother’s death. Another English-language debut, Chronic by Michel Franco provides an in-depth and intense study on mortality and grief, featuring as central character a dedicated nurse, remarkably played by Tim Roth, who works with terminally ill patients. The 25-year odyssey of Eva Peron's embalmed body inspires Pablo Aguero’s Eva Doesn’t Sleep, a three-segment film with experimental hues that moves between dream and reality, featuring Gael Garcia Bernal and Denis Lavant in the main roles. Arabian Nights by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes is an ambitious, bold cinematic work divided in three-parts that ponders over the impact of the financial crisis in Portugal in a truly imaginative cinematic way.
Female characters in crucial moments of their life take centre-stage in many of the section’s films. The charismatic actress Elisabeth Moss portrays a deeply traumatized woman in Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth, a powerful and balanced exploration of the female psyche, sanity and friendship, centered on two women who attempt to find peace of mind in a lake house. Another woman in descent is the protagonist in Trey Edward Shults' psychological thriller Krisha (Grand Jury Award, Audience Award, SXSW Film Festival), a gripping character study that traces the return of the titular heroine to her family, as the black sheep who can’t escape her dark past. Santiago Mitre’s latest film Paulina (Critics Week Grand Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes Film Festival) masterfully uncovers the complex impact of a rape on a woman’s everyday life, personal beliefs and family relationships.
A coming-of-age story that dwells on female nature and the conflict between Mayan traditions and western modernity is highlighted in Jayro Bustamante’s brilliant first feature Ixcanul Volcano (Alfred Bauer Award, Berlin Film Festival). On a lighter tone, Marielle Heller’s daring, frank debut film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury, Berlin Film Festival) is about a teenage girl who discovers her sexual and emotional identity by having an affair with her mother’s boyfriend, the latter two played by Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, respectively. Three teenagers who face life-changing challenges are the protagonists in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s generous, bittersweet debut Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival). Jason Schwartzman stars in Bob Byington’s 7 Chinese Brothers, a comic character study about a loser who refuses to grow up and never seems to get a break, but only because it seems he doesn’t care to. Based on the well-known novel by Algeria-born Albertine Sarrazin, Brigitte Sy’s black-and-white period piece Astragal, starring Leïla Bekhti and Reda Kateb, follows the author’s adventurous life from her imprisonment, prostitution and gangster days to the great love of her life, Julien. The so-called “black decade” of Algeria’s 90s civil war is explored in Salem Brahimi’s powerful debut Let Them Come, through the story of a family who struggles to overcome fundamentalism and barbarity in a ravaged country. Refugees from the Middle East claim asylum by going on hunger strike in Bénédicte Liénard’s and Mary Jiménez’s Rising Voices (world premiere), a captivating story about human dignity and endurance.
Some of this year’s most anticipated films will be screened as part of the Special Screenings section. In his latest work Francofonia, Aleksandr Sokurov pays a virtuosic homage to the Louvre Museum, through the story of two remarkable men, Louvre director Jacques Jaujard and Nazi Occupation officer Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich, who cooperated in protecting Louvre’s art collections during World War II. The same period becomes the setting for newcomer’s László Nemes exceptional debut Son of Saul (Grand Prize of the Jury, FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes Film Festival), whose main character, a Jewish prisoner forced to assist the Nazis in exterminating camp inmates, reflects the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust. Based on actual events, Fever at Dawn (world premiere), the new film by acclaimed Hungarian filmmaker Péter Gárdos, unfolds a love story born in the strangest of circumstances between two long-suffering survivors of the Holocaust.
Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi drives a taxi through the busy streets of Tehran and listens to the passengers’ stories, thus illustrating the contemporary Iranian society in his film Taxi Tehran (Golden Berlin Bear, FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin Film Festival). Moving to present-day Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu delves into the past and the present of his homeland, blending humour and social realism with a fairytale touch in The Treasure (Un Certain Regard-A Certain Talent Prize, Cannes Film Festival). Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s allegoric and dreamy Cemetery of Splendour takes place in a memory-filled clinic inhabited by comatose soldiers who suffer from a mysterious sleeping sickness. Family relationships are observed in an elegant, sensitive manner in the female-dominated drama Our Little Sister by Hirokazu Kore-eda, starring three sisters who welcome home their younger half-sibling. Human relationships are also highlighted in Naomi Kawase’s An, a moving portrait of three people whose paths intertwine and reveal universal truths about the meaning of life.
The Currents section returns with a selection of innovative films, set in several parts of the world. The raw friendship drama Hopefulls by Ives Rosenfeld focuses on a young, ambitious Brazilian footballer whose hopes for a better future are crushed by a harsh reality. Pietro Marcello’s contemporary fairytale Lost and Beautiful is a poetic journey through Italy that oscillates between dream and reality. Where There Is Shade by Nathan Nicholovitch unfolds the story of a middle-aged crossdresser who discovers fatherhood in the streets of Phnom Penh. Carlos M. Quintela’s The Project of the Century portrays with realism and dark humor three generations of working class Cuban men who live in Electro-Nuclear City, an ambitious, never completed Soviet-Cuban project of the 80s. 55-year-old Sam Klemke, a man who filmed his life for 35 years, is the protagonist in Matthew Bate’s Sam Klemke's Time Machine, a docu-hybrid that ponders over time, memory and what it means to be human.
Important note: please make sure to inform us at your earliest convenience should you want to interview any of the guests mentioned in this press release
(Open Horizons section).
(the full list will be announced at the Festival’s press conference, date TBA):
VICTORIA, 2015, 140’, Germany, Sebastian Schipper
THE SECOND MOTHER /QUE HORAS ELA VOLTA?, 2015, 111’, Brazil, Anna Muylaert
GOAT/KOZA, 2015, 75’, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ivan Ostrochovský
BODY / CIALO, 2015, 90’, Poland, Malgorzata Szumowska
LA TIERRA ROJA, 2015, 100’, Belgium, Argentina, Diego Martínez Vignatti
BLUE BLOOD / SANGUE AZUL, 2014, 119’, Brazil, Lírio Ferreira
KRISHA, 2015, 83’, USA, Trey Edward Shults
IN YOUR ARMS / I DINE H ÆNDER, 2014, 88’, Denmark, Germany, Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm
IXCANUL VOLCANO / IXCANUL, 2015, 91’, Guatemala, France, Jayro Bustamante
QUEEN OF EARTH, 2015, 90’, USA, Alex Ross Perry
CHILDREN / DETI, 2014, 100’, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Jaro Vojtek
SONG OF SONGS / PESN PESNEY, 2015, 75’, Ukraine, Eva Neymann
CHRONIC, 2015, 93’, Mexico, France, Michel Franco
PAULINA /LA PATOTA, 2015, 103’, Argentina, Brazil, France, Santiago Mitre
THE HERE AFTER / EFTERSKALV, 2015, 102, Sweden, Poland, France, Magnus von Horn
RISING VOICES /LE CHANT DES HOMMES, 2015, 90’, Belgium, Bénédicte Liénard & Mary Jimenez
LAST CAB TO DARWIN, 2015, 123’, Australia, Jeremy Sims
LAND OF MINE /UNDER SANDET, 2015, 100’, Denmark, Germany, Martin Pieter Zandvliet
STRANGER /ZHAT, 2015, 105’, Kazakhstan, Yermek Tursunov
ASTRAGAL / L'ASTRAGALE, 2015, 96’, France, Brigitte Sy
7 CHINESE BROTHERS, 2015, 76’, USA, Bob Byington
A VERY ORDINARY CITIZEN / YEK SHAHRVAND-E KAMELAN MAAMOULI, 2015, 100’, Iran, Czech Republic, Majid Barzegar
THE LONG WAY HOME /EL CAMÍ MÉS LLARG PER TORNAR A CASA, 2014, 91’, Spain, Sergi Pérez
DRIFTERS / TJUVHEDER, 2015, 92’, Sweden, Peter Grönlund
TIKKUN, 2015, 120’, Israel, Avishai Sivan
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, 2015, 105’, USA, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
ONE BREATH /EIN ATEM, 2015, 110’, Germany, Greece, Christian Zübert
LOOKING FOR GRACE, 2015, 100’, Australia, Sue Brooks
LET THEM COME /MAINTENANT ILS PEUVENT VENIR, 2014, 95’, France, Algeria, Salem Brahimi
SABALI /LE COEUR DE MADAME SABALI, 2015,79’, Canada, Ryan McKenna
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, 2014, 102’, USA, Marielle Heller
MADAME COURAGE, 2015, 90’, Algeria, France, Merzak Allouache
LOUDER THAN BOMBS, 2015, 109’, Norway, France, Denmark, Joachim Trier
FRENCH BLOOD / UN FRANÇAIS, 2015, 98’, France, Diastème
SUMMERTIME / LA BELLE SAISON, 2015, 105’, France, Catherine Corsini
ARABIAN NIGHTS / AS MIL E UMA NOITES, 2015, Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland, Miguel Gomes
NEON BULL /BOI NEON, 2015, 101, Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands, Gabriel Mascaro
MOUNTAIN / HA'HAR, 2015, 83’, Israel, Denmark, Yaelle Kayam
VERY BIG SHOT / FILM KTEER KBEER, 2015, 107’, Lebanon, Qatar, Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
EVA DOESN'T SLEEP /EVA NO DUERME, 2015, 85’, France, Argentina, Spain, Pablo Aguero
LIGHT YEARS, 2015, 85’, United Kingdom, Esther May Campbell
THE TREASURE / COMOARA, 2015, 89’, Romania, France, Corneliu Porumboiu
FRANCOFONIA, 2015, 90’, France, Germany, Netherlands, Aleksandr Sokurov
CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR / RAK TI KHON KAEN, 2015, 122’, Thailand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Malaysia, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
SON OF SAUL / SAUL FIA, 2015, 107’, Hungary, László Nemes
FEVER AT DAWN / HAJNALI LÁZ, 2015, 110’, Hungary, Sweden, Israel, Péter Gárdos
TAXI, 2015, 82’, Iran, Jafar Panahi
IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN /L'OMBRE DES FEMMES, 2015, 73’, France, Switzerland, Philippe Garrel
AN, 2015, 113’, Japan, France, Germany, Naomi Kawase
OUR LITTLE SISTER / UMIMACHI DIARY, 2015, 128’, Japan, Hirokazu Kore-eda
THE PROJECT OF THE CENTURY / LA OBRA DEL SIGLO, 2015, 100’, Argentina, Cuba, Germany, Switzerland, Carlos M. Quintela
HOPEFULS / ASPIRANTES, 2015, 71’, Brazil, Ives Rosenfeld
MIRINDA, WHERE THERE IS SHADE / DE L'OMBRE IL Y A, 2015, 105’, France,Nathan Nicholovitch
LOST AND BEAUTIFUL / BELLA E PERDUTA, 2015, 87’, Italy, Pietro Marcello
SAM KLEMKE'S TIME MACHINE, 2015, 94’, Australia, USA, Matthew Bate