The 2011 HIFF proudly presents six first-rate Balkan films. In addition to dark depictions of war and revenge, the Balkanize! series includes fresh humour and lightness. HIFF is happy to welcome two of the series’ directors, Serbian Dejan Zečević and Turkish Seyfi Teoman, to Helsinki on the last weekend of the festival, from September 22 to 25.
The tragic events of THE ENEMY take place in 1995, right at the end of the Bosnian war. The film skillfully examines levels of hatred and hostility and the universality of conflict. When the war comes to a close, notions of both self-destruction and joy, and of both trauma and hope, are at their strongest. Serbia’s most awarded director, 38-year-old Dejan Zečević, convincingly combines traditional images of war with paranormal elements.
Director Dejan Zečević in Helsinki from September 22 to 25
A group of friends skateboard, get drunk and film Jackass-style tricks in a mining town in Eastern Serbia. The stunts reach a new level when two young men try to make an impression on their mutual friend. TILVA ROŠ, directed by Nikola Ležaić, is a portrayal of these youngsters’ wild private struggles together with images of fierce demonstrations in the dying town of Bor. The protagonists Toda and Stefan play themselves, and have preformed the rough stunts in their real-life video CRAP – PAIN IS EMPTY.
Hopeless characters struggle to find the meaning of life in the melancholic WHITE WHITE WORLD. With a screenplay by famous Serbian playwright and poet Milena Marković, the story has been called a miner’s opera. Directed by Oleg Novković, the awarded WHITE WHITE WORLD takes place in the same mining town of Bor as TILVA ROŠ. Life and the joy of living seem to escape the town at the same pace as the quarries are being shut down.
Directed by American Joshua Marston, THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD is a realistic film about revenge in the Albanian countryside. Dealing with the ancient law code of Kanun, the viewpoint is that of the teenage children, whose lives consist of both strong tradition and mobile phones, the Internet and cars. THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD won the Silver Bear for best screenplay at the Berlinale. Joshua Marston is known for his 2004 film MARIA FULL OF GRACE.
Despite its name, OUR GRAND DESPAIR is the lightest and funniest film of the Balkanize! series. What happens when two 30-something bachelors both take a liking to their young roommate? The awarded OUR GRAND DESPAIR was seen in the Berlin competition series, and instead of Istanbul, it portrays another modern Turkish metropolis: Ankara. In addition to friendship, the film deals with the changing moral standards of Turkish society.
Director Seyfi Teoman in Helsinki from September 22 to 25
The winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes, ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA is the sixth feature film by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose background as a photographer is not difficult to notice. The beautiful film is a hypnotic murder mystery in which a lost body is hunted in the windswept hills of Anatolia. Operating with long shots and an extremely charged general ambiance, ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA cleverly examines bureacracy and social hierarchies alongside its meditative visuality.
Press coordinator Henna Raatikainen
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