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Belgrade’s New Author Film Festival opener cancelled

Belgrade’s New Author Film Festival was not officially opened with Chinese film “Summer Palace” (Yihe Yuan) by Lou Ye, because Serbia didn’t wanted to politically compromise with Chinese government.

Just minutes before the movie “Summer Palace” supposed to open the festival, Serbian authories pulled the movie off the festival because China threatened to freeze all diplomatic relations with Serbia. Chinese movie is problematic because it mentions events from Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Square massacre) that took place in 1989, when Chinese Army tanks violently crushed into protest and killed students, more than 1000 people lost their lives. Ridiculously and terrifying Chinese government is trying to hide the fact that this event ever took place. Film was showed in Cannes and Ljubljana and I wander if the same thing was done to Cannes Festival and Ljubljana Film Festival. Movie was nevertheless shown in Belgrade, at the festival later in days, but the bitter taste of the “Chinese style” censorship stands still. I guess that this is why this film won award of Belgrade’s New Author Film Festival. Rumor said that film director Lou Ye already shot couple of films without permission from the Chinese government.
Never the less, an Author Film Festival in Belgrade is relatively young festival and has the tendency to become important as FEST, an older and more famous International Film Festival in Belgrade. I can say that by its program, it has a very good chance to become that important. An Author Film Festival started life during the period of war destruction in 90s in ex Yugoslavia and always has been opposing authentic of author poetics. With very small budget and with quality film program it has been defending its own integrity. Every generation of film buffs has its own taste and therefore this festival is forming taste of new festivalgoers every year. It shows primarily an art film as well as already awarded slightly commercial films, and it does create its own film festival sensibility. Therefore this year, Belgrade’s New Author Film Festival sold all the tickets, for every single film.
The Jury of the festival: Lordan Zafranovic, ex Yugoslavian film director with an international fame, Faruk Loncarevic, theatre, film and television director from Sarajevo, freshly awarded on Sarajevo Film Festival, Srdan Golubovic young Serbian Film Director, with festival director of course, a well known Dinko Tucakovic.


As a film critic I must mention Russian film “Euphoria”, personally my favorite, directed by Ivan Viripajev (Viripajev is more less a theatre writer) that dragged attention. Truly visually marvels good old Russian school: cruel, romantic and slightly unreal. Film “East of Bucharest” by Bulgarian Corneleiu Porumboiu won a critic award, I assume because of the Serbia’s similar past. Then, 2 Italian films brought my attention as well: “The Family Friend” by Paolo Sorentino and “Wedding director” by Marco Bellochio. Both films are strongly fulfilling social and visual aspects of an art film, while “Wedding director” deserves a thriller fan audience. I would also like to mention Croatian film “All for free” by Antonio Nuic, film that won couple of awards, Golden Arenas on Pula Film Festival in July 2006 and Special Award on a New Author Film Festival. All at same time: a beautiful, poetic, cruel, romantic and glorious story. Also, one of most mentioned among film critics is Gela Babluiani’s “13”, Gruzian director French film that won Jury Grand Prize as the Best Foreign Fiction Film at Sundance Film Festival 2006. Awesome Hithcockian suspense atmospheric story structure film, about high society Russian roulette players in France.
Eventually I would add to my list an Australian Film Institute Award, Rotterdam Award, Discovery Award in Toronto and Best Film Award in Mar Del Plata “Look both ways” directed by Sarah Watt, film attractive and strong, with sort of typically recognizable Australian film poetics. Also Scottish Screen film “Red road” by Andrea Arnold, film that won Jury Prize on Cannes Film Festival 2006.

by Radmila Djurica


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