BNFF is a place where every member of the audience has three options when browsing the programme and looking for films. These are like three shots – one into the leg, the other into the tin can set up as a target, and a third as a warning into the air. You can have certain hits, lucky strikes, and sad fails. It is the same with these ten films. The list focuses on Spanish-speaking world and Asia, but some European films from the competition section have also attracted our interest.
Right Now, Wrong Then (South Korea)
Sang-soo Hong’s films centre on human relationships, in couples and singles, universities, on the streets. The everyday characters of his stories take you unnoticeably to the lower levels of their culture, which has its own rules and expectations.
From Afar (Venezuela-Mexico)
A dentist who picks young boys up from the street is a provocative premise enough. But the winner of Venice Film Festival, directed by Lorenzo Vigas, does not only focus on the weird manifestations of sexuality and its reasons. One of the background forces of the powerful drama has been Guillermo Arriaga, who has worked on several screenplays by Alejandro Iñarritu.
Food and Shelter (Spain)
A number of films from the Spanish-speaking world attracted attention in the first feature film competition. Like “Arabian Nights”, directed by Gomez , Juan Miguel del Castillo’s film also dives into the deep levels of economic and political crisis. But aside the social criticism it is still a sensitive film, which was financed by crowd-funding and just won an audience prize in Malaga.
Louder than Bombs (Norway)
Von Trier is no longer the only noticeable Trier in Scandinavia. Three men are in the centre of this English-language film, a father and two sons, and a mother who has died as a war photographer. Although it has been pointed out that the focus of the story seems to fade, it is definitely a characteristic example of a Scandinavian director, who sets to conquer America armed with dry Nordic humour.
Cemetery of Splendour (Thailand)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul melts dreams into reality in a way that really has no cinematographic comparison. An epidemic sleep disease, nature and spirits, are the keywords that can characterize this quiet vision-like work. And, at the same time, while the viewer has one’s own understanding of the reality, there is no point in letting Weerasethakul’s rich pantheism ruin that.
The Throne (South Korea)
18th century Korean ruler had his son imprisoned and left to die in a rice box on the palace courtyard. Lee Joon-ik has made a number of historic films, but this work, based on a well-known historic event, has attracted attention abroad as well. The period film, which is accurate in details, looks for the reasons of this still unexplained event.
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Laszlo Nemes’ film sets the camera up in the heart of evil of the 20 century, in a concentration camp. Nemes, who has worked as an assistant to Béla Tarr for a couple of years, leads his viewer along with Saul, a Jewish member of Sonderkommando, through the everyday life of the camp. The grimly visual and enchanting story does not necessarily take an innovative approach, but is focused and disturbing.
Our Little Sister (Japan)
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s last film deals with relationships in a Japanese family, which are based on traditional loyalty. After their father’s death, three sisters decide to take in their step-sister. But the death of the person who was guilty of breaking up a family does not mean that there is no guilt and the relationships can start from a clean slate. Kore-eda has made a realistic and sensitive film based on a well-known manga.
Aleksandr Kott has made both patriotic war films as well as national comedy. He would not have been selected into the competition section with either of these genres. „Insight“ is a love story between Pavel, who has lost his sight, and Nadezhda; a drama about complicated choices around simple feelings.
Romania’s film wave continues on a quieter note, but on a theme characteristic to Estonia. A married couple opens a guesthouse in isolated mountains. Marian Crisan’s third film, screening in the competition section, follows how they manage in the new environment controlled by a gang of illegal loggers. Pressure by the police and the frontier’s unwritten rules do not leave them many options.