Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes
Lately, the cinema is getting more and more democratic in technical and logistical terms, so it’s especially stimulating to watch works and processes of new filmmakers. The Polish festival Etiuda&Anima, which takes place every November in Krakow, offers a very interesting exhibition frame, showing to the big audience, in one of its official sections, a selection of short films from schools from all around the world; Russia to Hong Kong, Netherlands to Mexico. Besides, some of the filmmakers come to the festival to present their films and offer a little Q&A after the screenings, which makes it even more interesting.
After an unfortunate change of my flight, and carrying an incipient cold, I arrived to the Polish city at night, losing the opportunity to assist to the festival opening. Next morning I met my FICC Jury partners, Gunter Lange (Germany) and Konrad Domaszewski (Poland), and I had some time to visit the city and the festival venues. Krakow is a very beautiful place, with a rounded urbanism: the main market square, where there’s also the St. Mary’s Basilica, the City Hall Tower and a gorgeous work by the great sculptor Igor Mitoraj, is the epicentre of the city, rounded by the old downtown, the city walls and the park and the rest, expanding as the age circles of a log. I got the pleasure to visit the centre, the impressive Wawel Castle and, next days, also the Jewish neighbourhood, the awesome Wieliczka Salt Mine and the brutalist soviet district of Nowa Huta, thanks to the activities organized by Etiuda&Anima staff.
However, in the afternoons it was time of hanging our accreditations and watch films; 7 sessions of Etiuda section. As it happens with all festivals, the other official section, the animation one, was at the same time, so I couldn’t assist to any of those screenings. We could, otherwise, watch some films from parallel animation sections. The wonderful animated feature film –Poland – UK co-production– Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman), about the last days of Van Gogh, beautifully oil painted; the last irreverent comedy by Bill Plympton, Revengeance, and meetings and retrospectives with filmmakers as Tony Palmer, Géza M. Tóth or Claudius Gentinetta. Another parallel section consisted in animated short films sessions, programmed by several animation festivals. We watched two of them, both very nice; one from Animateka (Slovenia) and another one from Anima (Belgium).
In Etiuda section, the one we had to watch and give the Don Quijote Award, we found, at least, ten great works. Beyond a general and very positive technical quality, and also good standards in cinematographic language, between the 32 films of the section they were some of them which had a remarkable narrative and stylistic wisdom, perfectly attributable to a veteran artist. The section was an approaching to new films and filmmakers but also to film schools, especially from center and east Europe. Among them, I was impressed by the selection from Nederlandse Filmacademie, with three extraordinary films: Without Sun (Paul de Ruijter), documentary with expressionist approximations which reminded Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, taking place in north Norway; Greetings from Kropsdam (Joren Molter), wonderful and dark comedy about the eccentricities of a remote rural community in Netherlands; and Our Own (Malu Janssen), psychological drama about two twins and their love-hate feelings. Also two works from the German school Filmuniversitat Babelsberg Konrad Wolf: Gabi (Michael Fetter Nathansky) and Attak (Ruben Meier). The first of them was a dramedy about a young girl and her familiar and loving issues, reminding, for its singularity, Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade). The second one was a mockumentary, also comedy, about a mobile app named Attak which was a “fighting Tinder” the people could use to meet and fight.
The Swiss Zürcher Hochshcule der Künste also shined for the technical and artistic skills of their films in the selection. However, one of the three films presented by the school was brilliant, and won in fact our Don Quijote Award. It’s Millimeterle, by Pascal Reinmann, powerful allegorical approach to abuse chains in patriarcal societies represented by 5 kids who play in a swimming pool. Reinmann’s film has an awesome cinematography, an extraordinary and complicated acting work with teenagers and, over all, a concept which gets perfectly illustrated in only 15 minutes.
The verdict was divided in order to give a special mention to another magnificent film. The Polish Dregs, by Kordian Kądziela, that actually won the section main award, and uses a clever sense of humour, onirism and veiled hardness in a story about an astrologist and a client. It talks, again metaphorically, about the dangers of meddling in other people existences.
As in the arriving, my flight was just before the closing ceremony, so I sadly loss the party again. Few connections between Krakow and Barcelona conditioned me… Anyway, from here I’d like to thank all Etiuda&Anima staff and organisation, especially to Marta Chwałek and Konrad Głąbek, for their fantastic hospitality. Also Gunter and Konrad, jury partners, for all the good times during the festival.