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Thessaloniki International Film Festival spotlights

December 3 - 12, 2010

Three diverse and distinctive directors are being celebrated this year in the 51st edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival:
Polish filmmaker Dorota Kedzierzawska and Danish director Susanne Bier, who will both attend the Festival to present and discuss their films, and the late Werner Schröter.


Dorota Kędzierzawska was born in 1957 in the Polish city of Łódż, home to the renowned film school; her mother, Jadwiga, also a director, exposed her daughter to the world of filmmaking early on in her life.
Dorota Kędzierzawska’s auteur cinema is realist in its concerns, unique and often fragmented in its storytelling. It is lyrical in its images and evocation of certain atmospheres and emotions and at the same time timeless and very much a social product of Poland from the 1980s to now.
She is much concerned with the contemporary human condition, offering a voice especially to women and children. They, usually living in impoverished conditions, are even more so disadvantaged because of their sex and their age.
In the affecting, sepia-toned Nothing, a woman with an abusive husband and three children decides to murder her newborn as she sees no way out.
In I Am the director follows a homeless boy, unwanted by his pitiable mother, who strikes a friendship with a girl from a wealthy family.
Perhaps the most magnificent aspect of Kędzierzawska’s cinema are precisely those children. The young actors in all her films are radiant, with their remarkable faces and their ability to convey emotion; and the young characters they portray are equally impressive. They face the hardest conditions that life has to offer them, and often seem fragile; but in their core, they maintain their fascination with the world and they are resilient, tough and not so easy to break.


Time To Die (Pora umierac, 2007, 104’)
I Am (Jestem, 2005, 96’)
Nothing (Nic, 1998, 74’)
Crows (Wrony, 1994, 66’)
Devils, Devils (Diably, diably, 1991, 86’)
The End Of The World (Koniec swiata, 1988, 57’)


Susanne Bier, one of the most renowned Danish filmmakers of the past two decades, graduated from Denmark’s state-run film school in 1987, after having previously studied religion and architecture. She started making features in the early 1990s and was also attached to the Dogme manifesto, although after Open Hearts, she does not adhere to its rules.
Her films, realistic and insightful relationship and family dramas, deal with the moral issues and dilemmas that everyone faces in life, found in the small and everyday gestures and situations. Her characters are always flawed and complicated; and, in her whole work, she succeeds in drawing sympathy for them from audiences on account of their plausibility as truthful human beings.
Her latest feature, In a Better World, will also be screened during the 51st TIFF. The film reunites Bier with her long-time screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen and actor Ulrich Thomsen, in the story of two families and how a small act of violence will threaten to ruin them both.


In a Better World (Haevnen, 2010, 100’)
After The Wedding (Efter brylluppet, 2006, 122’)
Brothers (Brodre, 2004, 110’)
Open Hearts (Elsker dig for evigt, 2002, 103’)
Once In A Lifetime (Livet ar en schlager, 2000, 108’)
The One and Only (Den eneste ene, 1999, 100’)
Like It Never Was Before (Pensionat Oskar, 1995, 108’)
Family Matters (Det bli'r i familien, 1993, 93’)
Freud's Leaving Home (Freud flytter hjemmefra, 1991, 103’)


One of the most unique filmmakers of the New German Cinema movement, Werner Schröter, who passed away in 2010, a director of film, theater and opera, started out with making experimental 8mm films in the 1960s, a series of which were dedicated to the famous Greek opera singer, Maria Callas. He made his first feature, Eika Katappa in 1969, winning the Josef von Sternberg prize at the Manheim International Film Festival of that year. His oeuvre includes films made in every format (8mm, 16mm, 35mm) and genre, from documentary to fiction and everything in-between, but the first film that made him known to a wider audience and more accessible was The Kingdom Of Naples in 1978. A family chronicle in a poor neighborhood in Naples, the film is allegorical and highly stylized and, despite its relatively conventional narrative structure, it is indicative of his affinity for the extravagant, the melodramatic and the avant-garde that characterizes all his work. Schröter’s last film was shot in 2008, the year that he died; only towards the end of his life was his work appreciated and he recognized as a highly distinctive filmmaker.


Maria Callas Portrait (Maria Callas Portraet, 1968, 17’)
The Death Of Maria Malibran (Der Tod Der Maria Malibran, 1972, 104’)
Willow Springs (1973, 78’)
Palermo Or Wolfsburg (Palermo oder Wolfsburg, 1980, 173’)
The Kingdom Of Naples (Neapolitanische geschichten, 1978, 136’)

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