2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that changed the face of Europe. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Trieste Film Festival creation. Now thirty years on, TSFF looks back at the events leading up to Europe unification celebrating with the best cinema from Central and Eastern Europe.
30th edition of the TSFF, running from January 18 to 25 January, a film festival that proves to be culturally and artistically significant in the landscape of these events with its unique focus on Central and Eastern European Cinema.
Not only the latest trends in cinema but also iconic films from over the last decades throughout the European unification with the can’t miss retrospective ‘Tales from the Berlin Wall’ (four titles in the programme) and the focus ‘1989-2019 Wind of Change’ dedicated to iconic films from Eastern and Central Europe (eleven films) told by great protagonists.
TSFF 2019 in figures: 9 competing feature films, 11 competing documentaries, 13 competing short documentaries, 9 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 32 Italian premieres.
The opening film of this year’s festival is Werner Herzog and André Singer’s documentary MEETING GORBACEV – Across a six-month period, Werner Herzog conducted three interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev. Now 87, Gorbachev speaks like a man with nothing to lose. He is respected more outside Russia than inside his country. The interviews trace Gorbachev’s rise in the Communist party, being named President of the USSR, the negotiations with Ronald Reagan to reduce nuclear weapons, the tumultuous years of glasnost.
Among the special events a Masterclass with Sergei Loznitsa, the internationally acclaimed Ukrainian documentary director who best succeedes in taking inspiration from the past story of Central and Eastern Europe for cinematically representing dramatic current events.
FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
THE DELEGATION by Bujar Alimani – October 1990, the communist regime in Albania is trying to hold on to power. A European delegation comes to Tirana to monitor the government’s implementation of reforms conditioning Albania’s admission into the OSCE. Leo, a political prisoner for 15 years, is secretly taken out of a remote prison and brought to the capital. The European delegation is headed by an old schoolmate of Leo’s. The government wants him to convince his old friend that everything’s fine.
DONBASS by Sergei Loznitsa – In the Donbass, a region of Eastern Ukraine, a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth and hatred is declared to be love. A journey through the Donbass unfolds as a chain of curious adventures, fake news and the grotesque.
THE LOAD by Ognjen Glavonic – The story of Vlada who works as a truck driver during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. As it turns out later on, his mysterious cargo consists of the bodies of massacred Kosovo Albanians who are to be taken from Kosovo to Belgrade so that the war crimes of the Serb-dominated army are covered up. Vlada does not know what he is transporting, yet the need for money leads him to betray his morals. He is an accomplice, even a partner in crime, he represents a generation that has hidden itself without optimism between shared responsibility for the wars in former Yugoslavia and hopes for the future.
THE INTERPRETER by Martin Šulík – 80-year-old Ali Ungar realises his parents were executed by an author of a book describing wartime activities in Slovakia during WW2. In search for revenge, he comes across the son of the former SS official responsible of the crime. He had avoided his father all his life, he decides to help Ali as a interpreter with surviving witnesses.
ERASED by Miha Mazzini – Set in the mid-1990s the story about Ana who has lived in Slovenia all her life. As the Yugoslavia brole up the Slovenian state revoked the citizenship of nearly 26,000 people, mostly of non-Slovene or mixed ethnicity. Ana is one of these people, she has become a foreigner. Legally she doesn’t exist, and her newborn child is an orphan, ready for adoption.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY by Želimir Žilnik – The film follows a group of young migrants in Vienna forced to flee their homes while trying to adapt to the strange new environment. We see their anxieties, mutual encouragement and achievements they demonstrate skills in their professions. is a twentythree-year-old Bagher, twentythree-year-old, embarked on a three–year journey from Afghanistan as a seventeen-year-old, leaving a war-thorn family. He struggles to be on the road of “Europeanisation”, when suddenly his grandfather Haydar appears to reopen old wounds and reignites painful conflicts.
CHRIS THE SWISS by Anja Kofmel – Set at the time of the Yugoslav wars, in Croatia, the story of Chris, a young Swiss journalist found dead in a uniform of a mercenary group. An investigative film to shed light on the mysterious circumstances of the journalist’s death.
VICTORY DAY by Sergei Loznitsa – In the Treptower Park in Berlin the impressive Soviet Memorial commemorating the Soviet soldiers died during the Second World War. Each year, on the 9th of May, the day of the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis, people gather here to celebrate the Victory Day. They wear historical uniforms and carry contemporary staffage, sing patriotic songs, drink vodka.
HUNGARY 2018 – Behind the scenes of democracy by Eszter Hajdú – Twenty-eight years after the fall of communism Hungary about to embark on another four years of right-wing populism, with Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party. The documentary follows his electoral campaigns alonside the one of the former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and his pro-European left-wing party.
KOBARID by Christian Carmosino Mereu – A poetic documentary reounting the historical defeat of the Italian soldiers during WW1. A battle for survival, the absurdity of a war fatefully breaking Europe. A multitude of nameless and voiceless soldiers who did not lose the sense of brotherhood resisting the desertification of war.
A MINOR GENOCIDE by Natalia Koryncka – A documentary animation tells a war story through the perspectives of three women. The trauma ot the war affects the mother, the daughter and the granddaughter. Teresa Ferenc, a poet, was 9 years old when her village was burnt down. This memory returns in the writing of her daughter, Anna Janko.
OCCUPATION 1968 by E. Moskovina, L. Dombrovszky, M. Szymkow, E. Scheidt, S. Komandarev – Fifty years after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, five directors from the occupying countries depict the events from their side.
PUTIN’S WITNESS by Vitaly Mansky – Documentary testimonies of the true causes and consequences of the operation “Successor” that began the Putin’s era. The renowned documentarist puts on screen the events that followed December 31, 1999, the day when Vladimir Putin became Russia’s president. Based on unique testimonies, the documentary features, among others, Mikhail Gorbachev e Boris Yeltsin.
DOCUMENTARY OUT OF COMPETITION
SRBENKA by Nebojša Slijepčević – A play as a catharsis, a collective psychotherapy to break the vicious circle of revenge. In Croatian schools of today Serbian pupils continue to be taken for the “enemies”. Nebojša Slijepčević enters with the camera one of these schools performing with the students the “the Zec affair”, the true story of Aleksandra Zec, a Serbian teenager who was orrobly lynched in Zagreb in 1991. An innocent victim of outbreak of hatred between Serbs and Croatians.
BORN IN TRIESTE, films that found financial support during “When East Meets West”, the coproduction meetings organized by the TSFF.
BEFORE FATHER GETS BACK by Mari Gulbiani – In a remote mountain village of Georgia, in a classroom some kids for the first time get engaged with cinematic experience. For two of them, Iman and Eva, two Muslim girls, the experience becomes a turning point inspiring them to take the camera and start filming the daily lives of the village ridden with radicalism.
MY UNKNOWN SOLDIER by Anna Kryvenko – An account of the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact forces with unpublished archival materials from the whole Europe and Russia. A family story being grand-uncle’s director was a Soviet soldier who occupied Czechoslovakia in 1968, contextualised with historic information and personal perspectives.
CORSO SALANI AWARD, section dedicated to independent Italian films seeking international distribution.
MY HOME, IN LIBYA by Martina Melilli – The story of Antonio and Narcisa Melilli, two of the over 20,000 Italians who were born in Libya when it was an Italian colony and forced to leave the country just after Gaddafi’s coup d’état. With the help of Mahmoud, a young Libyan contacted on social media, the film maker collects images of her grandparents‘ Tripoli as it is today.
THE BORDER FENCE by Nikolaus Geyrhalter – Brenner Pass is the border between Italy and Austria. In 2016 the Austrian government announces the construction of a border fence to reject the expecting invasion of refugees from Italy after the Balkan route was closed. Two years later, the fence is still rolled up in a container, as the inrush of refugees never occurred. Surprisingly, the inhabitants of the place are against a border fence.