The view from the top opens up many vistas and this year’s Cinehill Motovun Film Festival perched on two hills will expand your horizons with films from all over the world. The program selectors have prepared a highly compelling program that is geographically very dispersed and features important topics.
For the first time, the festival will take place at two locations – 22 to 24 July in Motovun and 26 to 29 July at Petehovac in Gorski Kotar. In addition to the perfect ratio of feel-good, as well as “heavier” and thought-provoking films, the mouth-watering program will also include numerous titles awarded at prestigious festivals, it was announced at the press conference held at Zagreb’s Cultural and Information Centre.
The Motovun portion of the festival will be inaugurated by cult Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s latest flick, Fallen Leaves, a subdued romance in his signature nostalgic style, peppered with a healthy dose of humour and optimism.
“The first ever screening in Motovun took place on 10 August 1999. It was Aki Kaurismäki’s Juha. That is how we embarked on the adventure of offering a program that would promote original films, films with a soul, films that we like. Twenty-five years later, we once again inaugurate the festival at Motovun square with Kaurismäki and a beautiful love story based on his proletarian trilogy”, highlighted festival Director Igor Mirković.
Having scooped up the Cannes Jury Prize this year, it’s one of the films coming to Cinehill on the wave of success at prestigious international festivals.
“British film Scrapper directed by Charlotte Regan about twelve-year-old bicycle thief Georgie, who lies to social services about living with her uncle Winston Churchill, won the top prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Georgie’s dad is played by Harris Dickinson, the star of last year’s hit Triangle of Sadness. Dutch director Sasha Polak’s emotional queer drama Silver Haze arrives to Cinehill with a Teddy Jury Award from Berlinale in tow, while Kamal Lazraq’s Hounds, a story about a father and son and a mafia abduction in the suburbs of Casablanca, comes bearing the Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury Prize”, revealed program selector Inja Korać.
Polish director Damian Kocur’s Bread and Salt, that brings together youthful neighborhood parties, a promising pianist and a conflict with immigrants, won the Special Jury Prize in the Horizons program in Venice, while Fernando Guzzoni’s Blanquita, a gripping tale about a political sex scandal involving orphan children and Chile’s Oscar candidate, took home the award for Best Screenplay in the same program.
A magical realist journey between the worlds of the living and the dead, La Chimera is the latest title by the icon of Italian auteur cinema Alice Rohrwacher, while director Charlotte Le Bon’s feature debut Falcon Lake is a poetic rendering of the turbulent time between childhood and adolescence.
June Zero, an Israeli drama directed by Gwyneth Paltrow’s brother Jake Paltrow, hones in on the moment that dramatically changed the way the Holocaust is understood and remembered. Thomas Hardiman’s feature debut Medusa Deluxe is a hilarious satire on the world of fashion and crime fiction taking place at the glamorous regional hairstyle competition.
“Selecting the films for this year’s festival, we realised that the world of film is becoming increasingly decentralised. Our main program has never been this geographically diverse either, with great films coming in from Morocco, India, Kazakhstan, Israel, Chile… A unique feature of this year’s program are the dystopian films that will inaugurate and close the festival at Petehovac, as well as many powerful queer films, from very small ones to those awarded at the key festivals”, said main program selector Milena Zajović.
Some of these are the first Czech science-fiction film in the last forty years, Robert Hloz’ debut feature Restore Point, set in the near future in which everyone has the right to a new life in case of an unnatural death. Old Motovun acquaintance Paolo Virzì returns to the festival with a fascinating apocalyptic eco-drama Dry, about a three-year drought in Rome.
Brazilian director Marcelo Gomes’ debut Paloma is a romantic tale about a transgender woman in search of self-determination, while beautiful drama The Blue Caftan directed by Maryam Touzani, also Morocco’s Oscar candidate, renders the unspoken psychosexual tension between the three main characters – a married couple who run a traditional clothing store and their apprentice.
Mountain Onion is a Kazakhstani feel-good film about a brother and sister set out on a quest for the “golden Viagra” for their father, while corruption and bigotry within the Indian education system are laid bare in director Prithvi Konanur’s compelling drama Seventeeners.
The intriguing Bulgarian drama Blaga’s Lessons directed by Stefan Komandarev centres on a retired teacher who loses her life’s savings in a scam and is forced to accept a shady deal to get by. Recently awarded at the Annecy IAFF, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is an animated adaptation of short stories written by Haruki Murakami directed by composer Pierre Földes.
The two Croatian titles in the program are Escort by the recently deceased Lukasa Nole and Hotel Pula directed by a long-time Motovun team member Andrej Korovljev. Serbian director Radivoje Andrić returns to Motovun with Dudes: Again!, a new instalment of the turn-of-the-millennium smash hit Dudes.
The short film program featuring 25 films in the main competition is an indispensable part of the festival. “We received a record 1,100 applications for this year’s competition, so it’s safe to say that my colleagues Mirna Belina, Luka Erdeljac and I had our hands full of great films. The program, which we have never been prouder of, includes films from the most important festivals, which take a fresh and interesting view of relationships, families, revolutions, and even earthquakes, employing different cinematic languages and modes of expression”, says selector Inja Korać.
The best film of this program once again enters the running for the European Film Award, while the best Croatian title will receive the Corto Montonese Award, presented in Motovun. The four domestic premiere titles competing for the award are: Filip Peruzović’s Little Waves, Ivan Grgur’s Espi, Marko Bičanić’s Last Winter, Bruna and Jakov Nole’s The Bridge.
In addition to the great main and short film program, the visitors are in for a well of side events. The Lost & Found program is dedicated to ‘the ones that got away’, which Motovun Film Festival selectors wanted to include in the program in the past years, but circumstances got in the way. In addition, the gourmet menu includes a whole host of special screenings, including the series Kapelski kresovi, filmed in Gorski Kotar and starring Zdenko Jelčić, this year’s recipient of the 50 Years Award. In addition to films, the traditionally rich music program will be announced soon.
“It is important to emphasize that the programs in Motovun and Gorski Kotar are not the same and offer different thrills, so it will be worth your while to visit both hills this year. If Motovun is remembered for its balmy summer nights, we see our new adventure in Gorski Kotar as a day-time experience, as well as an evening event. Screenings start at 10 a.m., along with activities typically associated with an outdoor fun: workshops, walking tours, a mountain excursion. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Kvarner Tourist Board, with which we have been looking for the best ways to present the hidden gems of Gorski Kotar”, said Igor Mirković.
Tickets for both sections of the festival are already on sale. For those who plan to watch a lot of films, the best-buy ticket packages can be used at both locations and are available until 9 July or until sold out. Individual tickets will be sold online starting this week, as well as for the duration of the festival. More information about tickets can be found on the festival’s website, at: https://motovunfilmfestival.com/en/tickets-2/