In the year when Motovun Maverick is for the first time a female filmmaker, almost half of the films in the program of the festival’s jubilee edition were made by female directors. This record is the MFF’s contribution to the efforts to terminate the usual men’s domination in film festival programs.
Bright Sunshine In, the latest film of Claire Denis, one of the most prominent French authors of her generation, won the prestigious SACD Award in the Critics’ Week program in Cannes. Known by her fearless approach to filmmaking, Denis deals with love in this film. Western, this year’s winner of the Certain Regard Award in Cannes, directed by German filmmaker Valeska Grisebach, tackles relevant issues such as men’s dominance in western as a genre and (European) xenophobia. In her film Amok, Polish director Kasia Adamik grapples with an unconventional crime story, using numerous references to Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche and Freud.
Romanian filmmaker Iulia RuginĂ„Ć’ comes with her award-winning film Breaking News dealing with the plague of the modern world – sensationalism in the media. Spanish thriller The Fury of a Patient Man is a genre study of machismo, pointing out that one should be aware of those who do not talk much and that revenge is indeed a dish best served cold. The film triumphed at Spanish Goya Awards: it won Best Film, Best Supporting Male Actor, Best New Director and Best Script Awards. The leading actress Ruth Díaz also won Venice Horizons Award at Venice Film Festival.
Once again, coinciding with Iceland as this year’s partner country, an Icelandic film Heartstone, directed by Guðmundur A. Guðmundsson, will compete in the main program. Considered by many as an Icelandic debut second only to Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Volcano, the film premiered at Mostra and won the Queer Lion Award.
For the first time, a film shot at our festival will be shown in our program: one fourth of Igor Bezinović’s A Brief Excursion was shot in authentic festival situations. It had its world premiere at the acclaimed Rotterdam Film Festival. True to its tradition, Motovun offers a well-balanced combination of attractive films from major film festivals and “small”, almost obscure but excellent films like A Date for Mad Mary by Irish filmmaker Darren Thornton. One of the most intriguing Russian filmmakers today, Boris Hlebnikov, is back again with an analysis of troubled human relationships. His Arrhythmia comes to Motovun with Grand Prize and Best Actor Award from Karlovy Vary. Israel’s contribution to MFF is Holy Air, a colorful depiction of the modern life in the ancient Israeli city of Nazareth, directed and written by Shady Srour, who also appears in it. It is a film about a failed businessman who comes up with an idea to sell bottled holy air to tourists.
And finally, Louder than Guns, a sensation of a sort in this year’s program. The film by the awarded author Miroslav Sikavica analyzes the patriotic songs in the war-torn Croatia of the 1990s, which boosted the nation’s morale and, as the title says, were sometimes louder than guns. The film has its world premiere in Motovun!