One of the most intriguing features this year comes from France. Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Black Venus” (Vénus noire), nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice Film Festival, is a harrowing tale of Saartije (Sarah) Bartman, a young South African woman who spent most of her adult life as a slave in England and France of the 19th century, appearing at freak shows around Europe. Kechiche, two times winner of the César award, European equivalent of the Academy Award, gave us insight into cruelty and indifference which spring from ignorance. “Black Venus” is a successful portrayal of one of humanity’s more humiliating steps on the road to self-discovery.
Presently, Romanian cinematography is one of the best in the world. To understand why, check out Bogdan George Apetri’s “Outbound”. Apetri coproduced Eric Mendelsohn’s “3 Backyards”, winner of the best director award at Sundance film festival, and Florian Serban’s “Emigrant”. This time as a director, Apetri brings us a story of a woman who gets a 24 hour-long prison leave, during which time she has to face some of the toughest life choices.
“Kawasaki’s Rose” by Czeck author Jan Hrebejk is an exciting and provocative story of the world of dissidents. This story is about love, deceit, friendship and betrayal, masterfully played by Czech actors. The film received an award at last year’s Berlinale. Hrebejk’s film is a clear warning of the imperfection of human memory, stating that key points in human history can be reduced to simple interpretation in a blink of an eye.
Discover what shocked the inhabitants of a small post-war Spanish village over 70 years ago in "Black Bread" (Pa negre). Agustí Villaronga uses a murder as a background for a story of an awakening of an adolescent’s moral consciousness and the discovery of sexuality. The leading female role, played by Nora Navas, brought her the best actress award at San Sebastián International Film Festival 2010. Also starring are renowned Catalan actors Sergi López and Eduard Fernández.
“When We Leave” premiered at Venice Film Festival 2010. It is Feo Aladag’s directorial debut, crowned with 23 prestigious awards. Feo was inspired by controversial customs of many cultures which punish women in the most brutal ways, even death, if they break their traditional or religious roles. “When We Leave” brings us a story of a woman caught between her roots, customs and a desire for a better life.
Norwegian director Maria Sødahl will present the film which brought her the best director award at last year’s Montreal World Film Festival. “Limbo” is a coming-of-age story for adults.
Argentine film “Cerro Bayo” is Victoria Galardi’s story on the relativity of things, which differs depending on the perspective. A simple question of the amount of money the eldest member of the Keller family won at a casino and hid before slipping into a coma will bring out the worst in those who are left behind.
Turkish “Black and White” by Ahmet Boyacioglu follows events at the Black&White bar in Ankara. Residents are the people for whom this bar is a haven, a place to escape their own realities. The film speaks of the passing of time, of friendship and of little things that make life livable.
Based on Posy Simmonds popular graphic novel of the same name, “Tamara Drewe” is a modern take on Thomas Hardy’s popular classic “Far From the Maddening Crowd”. Although she is the apotheosis of a modern woman, her story of love and the chaos it brings is timeless. Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe” is, as he says “an intelligent story about the things we can easily recognize”.
Another British feature at this year’s Cinema City is Morag McKinnons’ “Donkeys”. This is the second film from a trilogy called “Advance Party”. The first feature was directed by Andrea Arnold, Academy Award winner and two times winner of the jury prize at Cannes. “Donkeys” are a superb sequel, which uses the same actors but in completely different roles. This is a bittersweet tragicomic take on the life of a 64 year old Alfred, and his road to redemption, covered with the most spectacular obstacles.
The jury of five will choose the best achievements in this selection. Presiding over the jury is Dorota Kedzierzawska, Polish novelist and director. The rest of the jury are: Sergei Lavrentiev, Russian film critic, Igor Sterk, Slovenian director, Ana Maria Rossi, Serbian director and Visar Vishka, Macedonian actor. This year Exit Point will be screened at Arena Cineplex, the central location of the festival.