AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi has unveiled its expansive, annual World Cinema lineup. World Cinema showcases the most acclaimed international films of the year and features 33 films from 28 countries, including seven official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entries: DEATH IN SARAJEVO (DIR Danis Tanović), THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI (DIR Juho Kuosmanen), IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (DIR Xavier Dolan), JULIETA (DIR Pedro Almodóvar), LAND OF MINE (DIR Martin Pieter Zandvliet), NERUDA (DIR Pablo Larraín) and THE SALESMAN (DIR Asghar Farhadi).
Pictured above: THE SALESMAN
AFTER LOVE (L’ÉCONOMIE DU COUPLE) – Joachim Lafosse returns to AFI FEST with his latest feature, which follows a married couple going through the turmoil of divorce in full view of their twin daughters. DIR Joachim Lafosse. SCRS Mazarine Pingeot, Fanny Burdino, Joachim Lafosse. CAST Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn, Marthe Keller, Jade Soentjens, Margaux Soentjens. Belgium | France
ALBÜM – In this surreal comedy, things go awry when a Turkish couple tries to cover up the fact that they are adopting their new child as opposed to having a natural birth. DIR Mehmet Can Mertoğlu. SCR Mehmet Can Mertoğlu. CAST Şebnem Bozoklu, Murat Kılıç, Rıza Akın, Mihriban Er, Ali Meriç, Müfit Kayacan, Sencar Sağdıç, Şafak Karali. Turkey | France | Romania
BORIS WITHOUT BEATRICE (BORIS SANS BÉATRICE) – Upon receiving a mysterious letter, a proud, wealthy man must reassess who he is in this existential thriller. DIR Denis Côté. SCR Denis Côté. CAST James Hyndman, Simone Élise-Girard, Denis Lavant, Isolda Dychauk, Dounia Sichov, Laetitia Isambert-Denis, Louise Laprade, Bruce LaBruce. Canada
THE COMMUNE (KOLLEKTIVET) – Thomas Vinterberg returns to AFI FEST with this 1970s-set ensemble piece looking at a young couple who start a collective in the big vintage house where the husband grew up. DIR Thomas Vinterberg. SCRS Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm. CAST Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen, Lars Ranthe, Fares Fares, Magnus Millang, Julie Agnete Vang, Anne Gry Henningsen. Denmark | Sweden | Netherlands
CROSSCURRENT (CHANG JIANG TU) – A cargo ship captain falls under the spell of a mysterious book of poetry, and it sends him on an unexpected journey up the Yangtze River. DIR Yang Chao. SCR Yang Chao. CAST Qin Hao, Xin Zhilei, Wu Lipeng, Wang Hongwei, Jiang Hualin, Tan Kai. China. This screening is co-presented by the China Onscreen Biennial (COB) 2016 and is the closing night screening of their Los Angeles series.
DEATH IN SARAJEVO (SMRT U SARAJEVU) – Director Danis Tanović turns the luxurious Hotel Europa in the heart of Sarajevo into an ideological battleground in this Silver Bear winner out of the Berlinale. DIR Danis Tanović. SCR Danis Tanović. CAST Jaques Weber, Snežana Vidović, Izudin Bajrovic, Vedrana Seksan, Muhamed Hadžović, Faketa Salihbegović-Avdagić, Edin Avdagić, Aleksandar Seksan. France | Bosnia and Herzegovina
THE DEMONS (LES DÉMONS) – A 10-year-old boy begins to act out in frightening ways in this coming-of-age horror film. DIR Philippe Lesage. SCR Philippe Lesage. CAST Edouard Tremblay-Grenier, Pier-Luc Funk, Yannick Gobeil-Dugas, Vassili Schneider, Sarah Mottet, Mathis Thomas, Victoria Diamond, Laurent Lucas. Canada
A DRAGON ARRIVES! (EJHDEHA VARED MISHAVAD!) – This unique postmodern pastiche reenacts the confounding circumstances surrounding the 1965 suicide of an exiled political prisoner. DIR Mani Haghighi. SCR Mani Haghighi. CAST Amir Jadidi, Homayoun Ghanizadeh, Ehsan Goudarzi, Kiana Tajammol, Nader Fallah, Ali Bagheri, Kamran Safamanesh, Javad Ansari. Iran
FRANCA: CHAOS AND CREATION – In this incisive documentary, director Francesco Carrozzini creates an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue. DIR Francesco Carrozzini. FEAT Franca Sozzani, Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love. Italy | USA
GRADUATION (BACALAUREAT) – When a doctor’s bright young daughter is assaulted the day before her final exams, he will do anything to make sure her scholarship to Cambridge isn’t jeopardized. DIR Cristian Mungiu. SCR Cristian Mungiu. CAST Adrian Titieni, Maria Drăguș, Lia Bugnar, Mălina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov, Gelu Colceag, Rareș Andrici, Petre Ciubotaru. Romania
THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI – Based on a true story, Finland’s official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entry follows boxer Olli Mäki as he prepares for the 1962 world featherweight championship match. DIR Juho Kuosmanen. SCRS Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen. CAST Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola, Eero Milonoff, Joanna Haartti, Esko Barquero, Elma Milonoff, Leimu Leisti, Hilma Milonoff. Finland
HARMONIUM (FUCHI NI TATSU) – A Japanese couple’s quiet life is disrupted by the arrival of an old acquaintance recently released from prison. DIR Koji Fukada. SCR Koji Fukada. CAST Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Momone Shinokawa, Kana Mahiro. Japan | France
HOME – When a teen recently released from a juvenile detention center befriends another troubled young man, their shared alienation threatens to erupt in violence. DIR Fien Troch. SCR Fien Troch, Nico Leunen. CAST Sebastian Van Dun, Mistral Guidotti, Loïc Batog, Lena Suijkerbuijk, Karlijn Sileghem, Els Deceukelier, Robbie Cleiren, Yavuz Saçikara. Belgium
I, DANIEL BLAKE – In Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner, an ailing carpenter and struggling single mother join forces against the bureaucratic system keeping them down. DIR Ken Loach. SCR Paul Laverty. CAST Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, Briana Shann, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe. UK | France | Belgium
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (JUSTE LA FIN DU MONDE) – Xavier Dolan’s latest stars Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux as a volatile family reeling from the bad news brought home by an estranged son. DIR Xavier Dolan. SCR Xavier Dolan. CAST Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard. Canada | France
JULIETA – In Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, a woman is left to navigate tragedy and survival with her daughter after the death of her husband. DIR Pedro Almodóvar. SCR Pedro Almodóvar. CAST Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta, Dario Grandinetti, Rossy de Palma. Spain
LAND OF MINE – Tense and thrilling like THE HURT LOCKER, this film follows the adolescent German soldiers assigned to clear a Danish beach of its buried mines after World War II. DIR Martin Zandvliet. SCR Martin Zandvliet. CAST Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Belton, Oskar Belton. Denmark
LAYLA M. – When a young Muslim woman radicalizes and moves from Amsterdam to Jordan, she discovers a very different situation than she anticipated. DIR Mijke de Jong. SCRS Jan Eilander, Mijke de Jong. CAST Nora El Koussour, Ilias Addab. Netherlands l Belgium l Germany l Jordan
MALGRÉ LA NUIT – A man must descend into the world of pornographic snuff films in search of his lost love. DIR Philippe Grandrieux. SCRS Philippe Grandrieux, Bertrand Schefer, Rebecca Zlotowski, John-Henry Butterworth. CAST Kristian Marr, Ariane Labed, Roxane Mesquida, Paul Hamy, Johan Leysen, Sam Louwych, Aurélien Recoing. France | Canada
MISTER UNIVERSO – In this charming documentary and fiction hybrid, a young man of the circus embarks on a quest to find a legendary strongman. DIRS Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel. SCR Tizza Covi. CAST Tairo Caroli, Arthur Robin, Wendy Weber. Austria | Italy
NERUDA – Chile’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® centers on poet and senator Pablo Neruda, who went into hiding to escape arrest. DIR Pablo Larraín SCR Guillermo Calderón CAST Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal, Mercedes Morán, Diego Muñoz, Pablo Derqui, Michael Silva, Jamie Vadell, Alfredo Castro, Marcelo Alonso, Francisco Reyes, Alejandro Goic, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba. Chile
THE NET (GEUMUL) – Kim Ki-duk’s most controversial film to date centers on a North Korean fisherman who inadvertently drifts into South Korean waters, altering the course of his life forever. DIR Kim Ki-duk. SCR Kim Ki-duk. CAST Ryoo Seung-bum, Lee Won-gun, Kim Young-min, Choi Guy-hwa. South Korea
NOCTURAMA – Bertrand Bonello’s latest follows a pack of Parisian teenagers over the course of one day as they carry out a series of planned attacks throughout the city. DIR Bertrand Bonello. SCR Bertrand Bonello. CAST Finnegan Oldfield, Vincent Rottiers, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, Martin Guyot, Jamil McCraven, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laure Valentinelli, Ilias Le Doré, Robin Goldbronn, Luis Rego, Hermine Karagheuz, Adèle Haenel. France l Germany l Belgium
OLD STONE (LAO SHI) – When a timid cab driver helps an accident victim to the hospital, his decency is rewarded with a nightmarish decent into an unforgiving bureaucratic machine. DIR Johnny Ma. SCR Johnny Ma. CAST Chen Gang, Nai An, Wang Hongwei, Zhang Zebin, Luo Xue’er. China | Canada
THE ORNITHOLOGIST (O ORNITÓLOGO) – In the latest fever dream from João Pedro Rodrigues, an ornithologist is tossed from his kayak and finds himself on a wild, mesmerizing, blood-soaked journey downriver. DIR João Pedro Rodrigues. SCRS João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata CAST Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, João Pedro Rodrigues, Han Wen, Chan Suan, Juliane Elting. Portugal | France | Brazil
PANAMERICAN MACHINERY (MAQUINARIA PANAMERICA) – In this witty and comedic debut, a group of Mexican workers stage a dysfunctional showdown when their factory goes bankrupt. DIR Joaquín Del Paso. SCRS Joaquín Del Paso, Lucy Pawlak. CAST Javier Zaragoza, Ramiro Orozco, Irene Ramirez, Edmundo Mosqueira, Delfino López, Cecilia Garcia, Cesar Panini, Javier Camacho, Israel Ruiz. Mexico | Poland
THE RED TURTLE – In Studio Ghibli’s beautiful first co-production, a shipwrecked man struggles to escape a deserted island but he’s kept from doing so by a giant sea turtle. DIR Michael Dudok de Wit. SCR Michael Dudok de Wit. France | Japan
THE SALESMAN – In Asghar Farhadi’s latest, a husband seeks revenge against the perpetrator who attacked his wife in their apartment. DIR Asghar Farhadi. SCR Asghar Farhadi. CAST Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Mina Sadati, Maral Bani Adam, Mehdi Kooshki, Emad Emami. Iran l France
THINGS TO COME (L’ AVENIR) – Isabelle Huppert plays a passionate philosophy professor dealing with two quietly monumental life events. DIR Mia Hansen-Løve. SCR Mia Hansen-Løve. CAST Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Sarah Le Picard, Solal Forte, Elise Lhomeau, Lionel Dray, Grégoire Montana-Haroche, Lina Benzerti. France | Germany
THE UNTAMED (LA REGIÓN SALVAJE)– The lives of a young mother, and her husband and brother are thrown into upheaval with the arrival of a mysterious woman who shows them how to access the most intense pleasure they’ve ever known. DIR Amat Escalante. SCRS Amat Escalante, Gibrán Portela. CAST Ruth Ramos, Simone Bucio, Jesús Meza, Edén Villavicencio, Andrea Peláez, Oscar Escalante, Bernarda Trueba. Mexico | Denmark | France | Germany | Norway | Switzerland
THE WOUNDED ANGEL (RANENYY ANGEL) – Four adolescent boys in rural Kazakhstan deal with the harsh realities of post-Soviet life in this second feature by the director of HARMONY LESSONS. DIR Emir Baigazin. SCR Emir Baigazin. CAST Nurlybek Saktaganov, Madiyar Aripbay, Madiyar Nazarov, Omar Adilov, Anzara Barlykova, Timur Aidarbekov, Kanagat Taskaraev, Rasul Vilyamov. Kazakhstan | France | Germany
WÙLU – An honest but frustrated worker living in Mali resorts to drug-running to make ends meet, and soon finds himself embroiled in a conflict that stretches all the way to Al Qaeda. DIR Daouda Coulibaly. SCR Daouda Coulibaly. CAST Ibrahim Koma, Inna Modja, Ismaël N’Diaye, Jean-Marie Traoré, Habib Dembélé, Mariame N’Diaye, Quim Gutierrez, Olivier Rabourdin. France | Senegal
YOURSELF AND YOURS (DANGSINJASINGWA DANGSINUI GEOT) – In the latest from Hong Sang-soo, one painter searches for the woman he has just broken up with, while she — or her dopplegänger — pursues quasi-romantic encounters with other men. DIR Hong Sang-soo. SCR Hong Sang-soo. CAST Kim Jooh-yuck, Lee You-young. South Korea
2016 has been named ‘The Year of Cinema’ in Russia, with extra funds allocated for the local film industry. Russian Sputnik News service recalls five Soviet movies which left a lasting impression worldwide and are still looked up at as examples of stunning cinematography.
The Cranes are Flying, 1957 (Letyat Zhuravli)
This military drama, based on the play “Eternally Alive” (“Vechno zhivye”) by Viktor Rozov was directed at Mosfilm studio by the Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov. The Cranes are Flying has become the first and so far the only domestic film to have been awarded the Palme d’Or — the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
With surprising emotional power, the film reveals a tragic story of two lovers, who were cruelly and permanently separated by war. Picasso himself was shocked, saying he had not seen anything like this in the last hundred years.
In order to film some of the epic scenes, Russian cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky invented and built the first operator’s circular rail. Some of the groundbreaking techniques he pioneered are still used by filmmakers. According to renowned American film critic Todd McCarthy, the influence of Kalatozov and Urusevsky was obvious in the 2015 Oscar-winning movie The Revenant.
Battleship Potemkin, 1925 (Bronenosets Potyomkin)
In 1958, this Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm was named the greatest film of all time at the Brussels World’s Fair. Twenty years later, film critics worldwide rated this movie first on their hundred best films list. And in 2009, the Russian drama was cited as one of the top 15 blockbusters to have had the greatest impact on world cinema.
Created in just four months, Battleship Potemkin was ordered by the Soviet government, which needed propaganda material to mark the anniversary of the First Russian Revolution. In 1926 in Germany, the government tried to ban the film. A few years later, mutineers aboard the Dutch ship “De Zeven Provinciën” claimed that their revolt was inspired by this film.
Hundreds of examples can be found in world cinema copying the principles of the film’s famous shooting scene. The scene was directly quoted in Coppola’s Godfather, Gilliam’s Brazil, and De Palma’s The Untouchables. Even The Simpsons have referenced Eisenstein.
Andrei Rublev, 1966
A sincere biographical historical drama directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and co-written with Andrei Konchalovsky is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, the great 15th-century Russian icon painter. A version of the film was shown at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI prize from The International Federation of Film Critics).
Tarkovsky sought to create a film that shows the artist as “a world-historic figure” and Christianity “as an axiom of Russia’s historical identity” during a turbulent period of Russian history. It became a real eye-opener for Western audiences, which had perceived the Soviet Union as a bastion of atheism and godlessness.
At home, the film was often labeled as “Anti-Russian, antipatriotic and ahistorical.” The Soviet government refused to release the movie until 1971, when a censored version of the film was released. According to a 1978 survey of world film critics, the film had become one of the hundred best movies in the history of cinema. The European Film Academy in 1995 included it in its ten best films of world cinema.
War and Peace, 1966-67
Leo Tolstoy’s immortal novel has been adopted for the silver screen and television several times. The Soviet war drama written and directed by Sergei Bondarchuk won the Golden Globe Award in 1969 for Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first Soviet picture to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and also the longest film ever to receive an Academy Award. Produced by the Mosfilm studios and released in four parts, the film became the most expensive one ever made in the USSR, at a cost of 8,291,712 Soviet rubles, equal to 9,213,013 USD in 1967 or over 66 mln USD in today’s money. In 1967, the film was entered into the 1967 Cannes Film Festival outside of the competition; it was sent there instead of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.
Bondarchuk’s War and Peace became known for its large-scale battle scenes and use of innovative panoramic filming of battlefields. Several scenes were shot using a hand-held 1KSSHR camera, which weighed about 10 kg and required uncommon physical strength when wielded by film operator Anatoly Petritsky.
Some unusual techniques were adopted by the film makers during the shooting. Some scenes of the Battle of Borodino were taken with the camera fixed on a 120-meter-long cable, which was stretched across the battlefield. To “dive” into the atmosphere of the Natasha Rostova’s first ball, Petritsky stood on roller skates and was moved among the waltzing couples by an assistant. These techniques were included in a documentary about filming the movie and were later used as study material for the training of future operators.
Hedgehog in the Fog, 1975
This Soviet animated film was directed by Yuriy Norshteyn and produced by Soyuzmultfilm animation studio in Moscow. In 1976, the cartoon won its first prizes at the All-Union festival of animated films in Frunze and at the Festival of Films for Children and Young Adults in Tehran. In 2003, the cartoon was crowned the best animated film of all time in Japan and worldwide from among a top-150 list created by 140 critics and animators from different countries. The main hero of this animated film, the Hedgehog, received its own sculpture in Kiev. The film was also referenced in one of the episodes of the animated comedy series Family Guy, “Spies Reminiscent of Us” in 2009.
Famous Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki, who created such anime masterpieces as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, named this Soviet story about a little hedgehog his favorite work.
Interesting techniques were used during the cartoon’s creation. The fog effects were created by putting a very thin piece of paper on top of the scene and slowly lifting it up toward the camera frame-by-frame until everything behind it became blurry and white. The film also used a trick of combined filming; for example, the water was real, albeit hatched by the artist.
The 21st Busan International Film Festival will show a total of 299 movies from 69 countries, and among them 122 films will premiere at the event, its organizers said Sunday.
The annual festival, which will open Thursday and run through Oct. 15, will show a wide variety of films ranging from critically acclaimed films to experimental movies and those made by female directors.
Under the World Cinema section, numerous award-wining films from the 2016 Cannes Film Festival will be featured. Among those are I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach, It’s Only the End of the World by Xavier Dolan and Personal Shopper by Olivier Assayas.
A Window on Asian Cinema section also boasts a variety of films that have been highly acclaimed in Cannes. The list includes Ma‘ Rosa by Brillante Mendoza and The Salesman by Asghar Farhadi.
Korean-Chinese Zhang Lu’s A Quiet Dream will be screened as the opening movie. It is about a young Korean woman named Ye-ri who runs a bar and takes care of her paralyzed father. The Dark Wind by Hussein Hassan will be the closing movie.
For the Gala Presentation, four movies — Bleed for This by Ben Younger, Daguerrotype by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Rage by Lee Sang-il, and Your Name by Makoto Shinkai — wait to meet cinemagoers in the southern port city of Busan.
Those who look for some experimental Korean movies should check out the following films: The Table by Kim Jong-kwan, Picture of Hell by Park Ki-yong and Jane By Cho Hyun-hoon.
Female directors’ works such as Desperate Sunflowers by Hitomi Kuroki and The Long Excuse by Miwa Nishikawa will also be screened.
Desperate Sunflowers is a directorial debut film by a well-known Japanese actress who starred in, most famously, Paradise Lost in 1997.
For those who consider themselves to be avid, patient film fans, try A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery by Lav Diaz. The running time is 480 minutes. (Yonhap)