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6th Zagreb Film Festival Awards

FEATURE FILM AND SHORTS OF ZAGREB FILM FESTIVAL
As the speciality of the 6th Zagreb Film Festival, this young and charming international film festival closed Oktavijan Miletic’s film “Agram die Hauptstadt Kroatiens”, documentary film made during the II World War and Nazi occupation, in Zagreb. The festival also previewed the oldest preserved film made in Croatia, directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, “The Grand Duke’s Financies” shot in Dubrovnik, Split and Rab in a year of 1923. The special program, among other additional program, this year featured first book by Stephen Lowenstein’s that content interviews of famous film directors, that author himself presented in the press centre of the festival.

Beside 7 days and 80 films displayed to the audience, by festival Jury’s opinion (Marit Kapla-Director of the Goteborg Film Festival, Sejla Kameric-film director and Nadine Luque-film producer) this year’s programme for feature and shorts offered a firm selection of films from all over the world. The Golden Pram Award for Best Feature Film went to ‘Rumba’ directed by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and well known Bruno Romy, because of their original and distinctive cinematic voice.

“…Their use of choreography and the characters sheer physical presence on screen becomes a powerful tool in telling this tale of how optimism can conquer the most tragic events in life, distinguishing this light and colourful comedy. This film is a great inspiration both for the audience and for filmmakers, demonstration the possibilities in original storytelling…”

‘Rumba’ was entry in International Week of the Critics of 2008 Cannes Film Festival and enjoys “splitting belly laughs” while watching.
Basically this is an old-fashioned alike silent-film comedy reworked into a modern-day fairy tale, through physical theatricality, put in the film frame. This is the Langdon and Lloyd, than Chaplin and Keaton that are protagonists to it. Their Latino dance routines express comic mime and agile body movements. Some visual gags also recall the finesse of Jacques Tati and Mr. Bean. Anyone who likes old fashion mime theatre would enjoy this film. Set in an isolated Belgian community, Rumba opens with school teachers Dom and Fiona rehearsing for weeks to win a Latino dance contest. Mind you, even if the film portraits certain sadness of isolated communities, there are hilarious scenes. How to turn dark tragedy into a theatrical comedy through a series of surreal gags, this is the question for authors of film. This is strictly visual material, with precise pop-art compositions, in between the minimalism and the colorful designs that reflects a modernist comic sensibility. Dancing in the movie is more dream than reality.

The Best Short Feature Film Award for Best Short Fiction went to a film “Cheese” directed by Huseyin Tabak for
“Its simplicity and uniqueness with which it addresses the harrowing experience of war. There is a poignancy and humour which touches by highlighting the fragile balance of human existence and our instinct for survival. ”

It’s a simple black and white story intriguingly directed, about Kurd family stuck in the basement to be bombed and killed afterwards.


Special Mention-Full Length Film went to ‘The Desert Within’ by Rodrigo Pla,
“…because of scale, inventiveness and surprising maturity with which this first time film maker has embraced a powerful and epic tale of a soul’s journey to redemption. The grittiness of the world that he portrays and the hardship that these characters endure is compelling and has struck a chord with us...”

Rodrigo Pla's "The Desert Within" ("Desierto Adentro") is a powerful tale about the obsessive pursuit of redemption. The movie has epic character, in which it issues faith and mainstream conscience presented with such dynamics and intensity. There are frequent religious references in the film but not really religion. In this film Plá brings spiritual intensity, leaving sense of the powers of deep faith. At the end, this ambitious work, this tragic figure of Shakespearean proportions Pla ends with the Nietzsche epigraph from which it draws its title: "The desert grows, and woe to him who conceals the desert within him..."

Eventually, Chinese documentary film Chao Gan’s “The Red Race” wins Golden Pram for the Best Documentary Film. Film portraits very small children in China being cruelly and intensively trained. And you ask me what a hard work is? “…Golden Pram for the Best Documentary Film goes to uniquely and dramatically packed, documentary overview of one nation to win the world contest in gymnastics. The special touch here is author’s compassion as the tool and the way to display methods that question (political) aims of the red race told by film language…”
Croatian film competition”Kockice” awarded Marin Juranić and Hana Veček with Golden Pram for The Best Croatian Film “Bad Day for Captain Cook” a short film about little boy lost in the world of imagination for the film“…wisely there’s border between fiction and reality deleted in a day of a little boy and his mother and sleepy father hardly present in their life, always so busy and angry…”
Story about life of a contemporary average family in Croatia, where father works all day and is never present in the life of son and mother that’s basically the pillar of family is always there. The story of Captain Cook perfectly presents every day life of a little boy living in the imagination in constant crave for his always absent, one way or another, father.

Radmila Djurica [bella@yubc.net]









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