Friday, August 08, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #6 - Borderline European Directors

The European directors in Venezia71 competition, excluding those already preview it, come from Turkey and Russia, which we know are borderline countries as some of their territory is in Europe while the other is in Asia. In this group there is one director that is in Venice film festival for the first time with his first feature-length film, which is a high honor and yes, definitively makes expectations rise above average.

Kaan Müjdeci

Not easy to find info about this director but from the Krakow Film Festival where he had a short documentary in competition, Babalar ve Oğullari (Fathers and Sons) -which was done out of footage from the trip while scouting locations for his first feature-length film- here is the bio:
Born in Ankara in 1980, he moved to Berlin to study Film Directing. His short film, Day of German Unity, was invited to Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and also bought by several television broadcasters. His graduation short Jerry, produced at New York Film Academy, entered Berlinale Talent Campus one year later. Müjdeci is currently working on his first feature film Sivas.

Not sure what to think about his film as story does not call my attention at all; but some movie stills have breathtaking cinematography/visuals, so probably will give film a try. Sigh.

Basic info about Sivas
Director: Kaan Müjdeci
Scriptwriter: Kaan Müjdeci
Language: Turkish
Length: 104 min
Production countries: Turkey
Production company: Kaan Film, Ret Film

A family in Anatolian moorlands: a father, barely able to look after his family, a mother like a ghost and a hopeless brother. Anxious to break the chain of fate, Aslan (11) pushes to be the prince in the school play. But his chances are slim: he is trying to compete with Osman (11), son of the village chief. He is given a part in the end, but as a dwarf. Osman is the prince, and Aslan’s dream girl, Ayşe, Snow White. When Aslan finds Sivas, a fighter Kangal dog one day, the balance begins to shift. At first, Aslan doesn’t want Sivas to fight, but the power is there. He wins fights, gets tougher every day and starts to be like the others, until his brother sells Sivas.


Andrei Konchalovsky

Born in Moscow in August, 1937. He is the brother of well-known Nikita Mikhalkov and belongs to the noble family of Mikhalkovs with centuries-old artistic and aristocratic roots. Nevertheless he chose to use the maternal grandfather's last name as his stage name. He is better-known for his Russian work than for his American non-successful filmmaking; finally he returns to Russian topics with low success until now that his latest film opens in competition at Venezia71.

Both his brother as his Russian later work seem to me too classical for my taste with a cinematic style that was great a long time ago but that now it's kind of tiresome to watch, no matter the story. But Konchalovky's earlier work is worth-watching especially his thesis short The Boy and the Pigeon and his script co writing work with Andrei Tarkovsky's.

Not sure what to think about his movie but some film stills suggest that movie could have great visuals and always enjoy performances with non-actors when they have great direction.

Basic info about Белые ночи почтальона Алексея Тряпицын Belye nochi pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna (The Postman's White Nights or White Nights of a Postman)
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Scriptwriter: Andrei Konchalovsky and Elena Kiseleva
Language: Russian
Length: 101 min
Production countries: Russia
Production company: The Andrei Konchalovsky Cinema Company
Director's Web Site: here

The film represents life in a godforsaken Russian village. The only way to reach the mainland is to cross the lake by boat and a postman became the only connection with the outside world. A reserved community has been set up here. Despite the modern technologies and a spaceport nearby the people of the village live the way they would in the Neolithic Era. There is neither government nor social services or jobs. The postman's beloved woman escapes the village life and moves to the city. Postman's outboard engine gets stolen and he can no longer deliver mail. His normal pattern of life is disrupted. The postman makes a decision to leave for the city too but returns before long with no certain reason. The script is based on real characters' stories. People from the village play their own parts in the film.

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