Pubblicato il 23/09/2019 17:50:08
CANNES 2019 Cannes Classics / by CINEUROPA/News
Review: 'Forman vs. Forman' by Vladan Petkovic
20/05/2019 - CANNES 2019: Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna's documentary about Miloš Forman juxtaposes the director's life and creative output in Czechoslovakia and the USA.
Forman vs. Forman [+], the latest biographical documentary made as a collaborative effort by Czech filmmakers Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna (after 2016's Doomed Beauty, on actress Lída Baarová), about great Czech director Miloš Forman, has just world-premiered in the Cannes Classics section of the Cannes Film Festival.
Taking a chronological approach and using archive footage from Forman's films, earlier interviews and documentaries (including Vera Chtylova's 1982 title Chtylova vs. Forman), private archives, and the director's own words from his autobiography What Do I Know?, narrated by his son Petr, Třeštíková and Hejna frame the director's life and creative output predominantly with reference to the relationship between his Czechoslovak years and subsequent exile in the USA.
Starting off with Forman's childhood, which he spent without parents, who died in Auschwitz, and moving on to his early years at FAMU, the filmmakers weave a complex but easy-to-follow story of a man who was as engaging a talker as he was a filmmaker.
"Our biggest inspiration was reacting to this enormous bullshit that was produced back then… It was the essence of boredom!" says Forman about the Czechoslovak cinema of the 1960s. He was instead impressed by Italian neorealism, and Audition and his second feature, Black Peter, reflect this in their presentation of real people with real problems, and their use of non-professional actors.
His international breakthrough, Loves of a Blonde (1965), was the first film to wake Western critics up to cinema made behind the Iron Curtain, and Firemen's Ball was one example of the unbelievable things that were happening in his life. First banned at home, and then released after Dubček's rise to power, it was invited to Cannes in 1968 – which was cancelled on the very day of its premiere. This segment also includes some priceless footage of the director being interviewed in swimming trunks on a Cannes beach.
In 1970, he was invited to the USA to "make a film about hippies" and instead came up with Taking Off, about the clueless parents of kids gone wild, which flopped at the box office but won a Grand Prix at Cannes. Forman relates how he spent two years living in the famous New York Chelsea Hotel, grappling with depression, until Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz invited him to direct One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which brought him his first Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.
Forman explains how he found the story of individual versus an institution very familiar: "The Communist Party was our big nurse telling us what we could and couldn’t do," and Třeštíková and Hejna utilise this mix of biographical and political approach to comment on each of his films. Ragtime was a movie about a man's pride and dignity, The People vs. Larry Flynt was about freedom of speech, and the story of the shooting of Amadeus in Prague would make for a great documentary in its own right, with its mix of politics, art, culture clashes, and the relationship between the creator and his creation.
Forman saw himself more as a Salieri than a Mozart: "Always envying Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni…" A down-to-earth, pragmatic but immensely creative artist, he was also a man whose life included two sets of twin sons with two wives, and whose biggest flop, Valmont, was released at the same time as the start of the Velvet Revolution, led by his schoolmate Václav Havel. Třeštíková and Hejna's biographical-political approach might seem overly convenient, but it is certainly close enough to home and perfectly adequate for a 78-minute biopic.
Forman vs. Forman is a co-production by Prague-based Negativ and French company Alegria Productions, with the participation of Czech Television and ARTE France. Negativ also has the international rights.
BIAFF – BATUMI 2019 Awards International Art-house Film Festival, which has reached its 14th edition, has just presented around 65 films from 35 countries both in its competitive and non-competitive sections. The BIAFF industry platform, “Alternative Wave”, welcomed eight projects from Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey.
'Let There Be Light' wins at Batumi by Vladan Petkovic
23/09/2019 - Other winners include A Tale of Three Sisters, End of Season, Shooting the Mafia, Lovemobil, Forman vs. Forman and Reza Mirkarimi's Castle of Dreams.
The 14th Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival (15-22 September) wrapped last night with a ceremony in the Black Sea city's State Musical Centre. Marko Škop's Karlovy Vary title Let There Be Light [+] picked up the Grand Prix, just two days after winning the same, main award at the Almaty Film Festival.
Iran's Reza Mirkarimi received the Best Director gong for Castle of Dreams, as well as the Award of the Georgian Film Critics’ Jury. Emin Alper's A Tale of Three Sisters [+] won both accolades in the acting categories: Best Actress for Ece Yüksel and Best Actor for Kayhan Açikgöz. Finally, the Jury's Special Prize went to Elmar Imanov's Rotterdam title End of Season [+] (Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia).
n the Documentary Competition, Kim Longinotto's Shooting the Mafia [+] won the Best Film Award, and Special Mentions were given to Helena Treštikova and Jakub Hejna's Forman vs. Forman [+] and Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss' Lovemobil [+].
Georgian filmmaker Amiran Dolidze's Locarno hit Animal won the Best Short Film Award, while Hope by Belarus' Aleksandra Markova and Watermelon Juice by Spain's Irene Moray received Special Mentions.
Earlier in the festival, the Lifetime Achievement Awards for Contribution to Cinema were bestowed upon Paul Schrader, Denis Lavant, Krzysztof Zanussi and veteran Georgian actor Manuchar Shervashidze, while on the closing night, the president of the jury, Russian director Alexander Mindadze, received the same honour.
Here is the full list of award winners:
Let There Be Light [+] - Marko Škop (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Reza Mirkarimi - Castle of Dreams (Iran)
Ece Yüksel - A Tale of Three Sisters [+] (Turkey/Germany/Netherlands/Greece)
Kayhan Açikgöz - A Tale of Three Sisters
Jury’s Special Prize
End of Season [+] - Elmar Imamov (Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia)
Georgian Film Critics’ Jury Prize
Castle of Dreams - Reza Mirkarimi
Shooting the Mafia [+] - Kim Longinotto (Ireland)
Forman vs. Forman [+] - Helena Treštikova, Jakub Hejna (Czech Republic/France)
Lovemobil [+] - Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss (Germany)
Short Film Competition
Animal - Amiran Dolidze (Georgia)
Hope - Aleksandra Markova (Belarus)
Watermelon Juice - Irene Moray (Spain)
Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Cinema
Paul Schrader (USA)
Denis Lavant (France)
Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland)
Alexander Mindadze (Russia)
Manuchar Shervashidze (Georgia)
ALMATY 2019 Awards
Let There Be Light wins the second Almaty Film Festival
by Vassilis Economou
23/09/2019 - The Grand Prix was bestowed upon Marko Škop’s drama at the up-and-coming Kazakh gathering, while Maryam Touzani received the Best Director Award for Adam
The fresh-faced and dynamic Almaty Film Festival has wrapped after a successful seven-day run (14-20 September), and ended on Friday night with the awards ceremony, which was held at the Palace of the Republic in Kazakhstan’s largest city.
The triumphant film of the night was Marko Škop’s Let There Be Light [+], which won the Grand Prix in the Official Selection, focused on films that were co-produced by at least two countries. The prizes were dished out by the International Jury, headed up by British director-producer Hugh Hudson, and comprising Russian producer Natalya Ivanova, Portuguese producer António Costa Valente, president of the Tokyo International Film Festival Takeo Hisamatsu and Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova.
The Best Director Award went to Maryam Touzani’s feature debut, Adam [+], while Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven [+] was awarded with the Jury’s Special Prize. The Best Actor trophy went to two thesps ex aequo, as Valentin Novopolskij and Dawid Ogrodnik, who star in Oleg [+] by Juris Kursietis, shared the award, while Georgian actress Salome Demuria was presented with the Best Actress Award for her performance in Dito Tsintsadze’s Inhale-Exhale.
In the non-competitive documentary section, which is organised in collaboration with UNESCO and this year focused on “Women in Cinema”, Women of the Silk Road by Yassamin Maleknasr won the special UNESCO Main Award. Also, Hepi Meti’s Merata, How Mum Decolonized the Screen and Barbara Miller’s #Female Pleasure [+] received the UNESCO Recognition Award.
Finally, at the Alatau Film Awards, which are dedicated to commercial Kazakh films that have been particularly appreciated by the local audience, Best Film was bestowed upon Holidays Offline by Ruslan Akun, as decided via a secret ballot procedure on the Almaty Film Festival website. The other major winner of the local awards was Financier: Playoff Game by Elena Lisasina, which picked up four awards, including Best Director and Best Script.
Finally, jury president and Almaty Film Festival special guest Hugh Hudson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the president of the festival, Akan Satayev.
Here is the complete list of winners at the second Almaty Film Festival:
Let There Be Light [+] - Marko Škop (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Maryam Touzani - Adam [+] (Morocco/France/Belgium/Qatar)
Special Jury Prize
It Must Be Heaven [+] - Elia Suleiman (France/Germany/Canada/Turkey/Qatar)
Valentin Novopolskij and Dawid Ogrodnik - Oleg [+] (Latvia/Belgium/Lithuania/France)
Salome Demuria - Inhale-Exhale (Georgia/Russia/Sweden)
UNESCO Main Award
Women of the Silk Road - Yassamin Maleknasr (Iran/Oman/Tajikistan/Turkey)
UNESCO Recognition Award
Merata, How Mum Decolonized the Screen - Hepi Meti (New Zealand)
#Female Pleasure [+] - Barbara Miller (Switzerland/Germany)
Alatau Film Awards
Holidays Offline - Ruslan Akun (Kazakhstan)
Elena Lisasina - Financier: Playoff Game (Kazakhstan)
Dmitriy Bogomolov - Financier: Playoff Game
Chingiz Kapin and Asylkhan Tolepov - Financier: Playoff Game
Kuralay Anarbekova - Brother or Marriage 2 (Kazakhstan)
Azamat Dulatov - Lift (Kazakhstan)
Alim Zairov and Roman Vishnevskiy - Businessmen (Kazakhstan)
Sergey Bergugin - Financier: Playoff Game
KARLOVY VARY 2019 Competition
Review: 'Let There Be Light' by Vladan Petkovic
02/07/2019 - The relationship between fathers and sons is at the heart of Marko Škop's second feature, which deals with the rise of the extreme right wing in Slovakia
It turns out that both youths belong to the paramilitary organisation The Guard, in which they are trained to "protect their family and homeland". And apparently, Peter was gay. But Adam denies he has any knowledge of what might have pushed his friend to take his own life.
Meanwhile, we come to realise that the family is very religious, and that Milan himself has a collection of rifles and machine guns that he enjoys cleaning – but is trying to make sure the kids don't go anywhere near them. After Sunday Mass, the Denišes go to visit Milan's tough, zealously religious father (Ľubomír Paulovič), who mentions how the rule of the fascist Slovak puppet state during World War II was the only time the country had it good, and in addition humiliates his son for being too soft.
But Milan is a good man at heart, and maybe that is a problem – fascism gains momentum not because too many people are evil, but because too many good people do not act. So he goes to visit Peter's parents and learns that the boy told them he was raped on the day he committed suicide. As he starts to investigate, pressuring his son, the family is threatened. Milan turns to a young priest (an appropriately irritating Daniel Fischer) only to learn that the church condones The Guard's acts even more than the local police.
Those who have seen Jan Gebert's When the War Comes [+], a documentary about a real such organisation called Slovak Recruits, will have no problem recognising the story as ringing very true. And more important than the factual reality of the topic is Škop's straightforward but nuanced script, in which small details reveal much more about modern-day Slovak society than is explicitly shown. However, Let There Be Light is, at its heart, a story about how sons perpetuate their fathers' mistakes by copying their patterns in relationships with their own sons and, in turn, how this eventually creates the incendiary and hateful atmosphere in society that brings scum to the top.
Let There Be Light is a co-production between the two biggest independent production companies in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Artileria and Negativ, respectively, with the participation of both national broadcasters, Radio and Television Slovakia and Czech Television. Although such a production structure may have led to the film being somewhat less ambiguous than a more arthouse-spirited approach would allow for, the topic it deals with is huge and very important, and it deserves a healthy level of exhibition, both in theatres and on television. Paris-based Loco Films has the international rights.
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