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News 22 Nov 17

Belgrade's Auteur Festival Showcases Freshest Global Film Talent

As the weather cools off and the rain starts to fall, Belgraders know they can find a warm retreat from autumn at one of the best festivals in the region for connoisseurs of cinema – the Auteur Film Festival.

David Galic

The movie “Happy End”, written and directed by Michael Haneke, is a drama about a family set in Calais

with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop. It will be screened during the Auteur Film Festival. Photo: Facebook/X Verleih AG

The 23rd edition of Auteur Film Festival, FAF, will take place in Belgrade from November 24 - December 2.

The main venue for the Auteur Film Festival is once again Dom Omladine. However, films will also be shown at the Belgrade Cultural Centre and Yugoslav Film Archive, Fontana Theatre and the Studentski Grad Cultural Centre in Novi Beograd, as well as in the Vlada Divljan Cultural Centre, Parobrod and the Art Cinema of the Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment.

The audience will once again have the opportunity to enjoy a carefully-curated selection of the best independent, arthouse and films d'auteur released in the past couple of years from across the world.

The festival will open with Israeli director Samuel Maoz’ Foxtrot (2017). The military drama won the Grand Jury Prize at the 47th Venice Film Festival, as well as eight Ophir awards, including best director and best movie. Maoz describes the movie as “a philosophical parable trying to deconstruct this vague concept called ‘fate’ through a story about a father and his son”.

FAF works as a platform for films that are otherwise quite inaccessible and that stand a very poor chance of being shown on the big screen in Serbia.

This, combined with the degree of prestige that FAF has attained, explains why the festival keeps growing and increasing in popularity year after year.

Traditionally, the Auteur Film Festival features movies that won major festival awards, received critical accolades or shook the world of cinema in one way or another.

The selection also commonly includes some of the latest and most exciting movies created by Serbian authors, directors and writers, as well as releases by not-yet-established but promising young filmmakers.

The festival is known for its strong artistic statements and periods of historical exploration.

This year, organisers decided to bring back the famous spirit of 1967-1968, which was the pinnacle of Yugoslav cinematography.

The 1960s-1970s saw a period known as Black Wave – an era characterised by its critical approach, commitment to freedom of artistic expression, and dark humour. 

Many believe that these years were the absolute zenith of the New Yugoslav Cinema's identity, creativity and diversity.

Nine movies from the main festival programme will compete for the “Aleksandar Sasa Petrovic” award for the best film. Petrovic was one of the major Yugoslav Black Wave figures, with two of his films being nominated for Academy Awards.

Two of the entries are documentaries – Makalaby by French filmmaker Emmanuel Gras and Caniba by the UK’s Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Among the feature films competing will be Felicite by Alain Gomis (France), Barbara by Mathieu Amalric (France), Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof ’s A Man of Integrity, Macedonian director Teona Strugar-Mitevska’s When the Day Had No Name, and Sean Baker’s The Florida Project (US).

There are also two debut films on the programme – Custody by Xavier Legrand (France), which won the Lion of the Future Award in Venice, and Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari by Romania-based Serbian author Ivana Mladenovic.

The festival will also showcase the latest works from Serbian productions and co-productions, namely Majority-Minority by Goran Markovic, Nowhere by Predrag Velinovic, Mila Turajlic’s The Other Side of Everything, Marko Novakovic’s Eyes Wide Open, Biljana Tutorov’s When Pigs Come and the latest documentary by Purisa Djordjevic, I’m Afraid that All Is Understood.  

For more details about the programme and screening dates and venues, visit the festival's official website: www.faf.rs

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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