The ninth edition of the Cinema City International Film Festival will be held from June 25 to July 2 in the Creative Quarter, in Novi Sad’s own Chinatown and Limanski park. The audience will have a chance to see more than sixty films divided into five distinct sections. National Class is one of the five sections, featuring domestic debut films which notched up a remarkable success at local and international festivals. Seven of these eagerly anticipated movies will be screened before the Novi Sad audience for the first time, and another two long-awaited debut films will have their world and national premieres at the 9th Cinema City.
“It’s been twelve months since the last edition of the festival, and these twelve months have brought us many reasons for happiness and optimism. A number of domestic films have had successful premieres at some of the most renowned international festivals, but what is probably even more important is that, this year, we’ve discovered as many as eight new, local filmmakers,” says Milan Stojanović, Director of the Cinema City Festival.
Stojanović also added a few words about the major success and festival lives of the films included in this year’s Cinema City repertoire. “The cycle started off with Nemanja Ćipranić, whose film Legacy was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival last September. In January, the convincing directorial debut of the actress Mirjana Karanović, A Good Wife, had its world premiere at Sundance, and claimed the continued presence of Serbia at this festival in the last couple of years. Another film that was premiered in January is Mihajlo Jevtić’ documentary Four Passports, which was screened at the Trieste Film Festival. Humidity, an arthouse thriller directed by Nikola Ljuca, and Ognjen Glavonić’ extremely powerful documentary Depth Two had their world premieres in Berlin, as part of the Berlinale’s Forum section, while Apophenia, a film by Novi Sad’s own Marin Malešević, and Signature Work, a noir drama by Dejan Vlaisavljević Nikt, were premiered at Belgrade’s FEST.
Open Wound, our local representative in the Fresh Danube Films section and the first full-length film by Momir Milošević, was also screened at FEST. Wall of Death, and All That, a documentary by Mladen Kovačević, permeated the dark of movie theaters in April. This film was premiered at the Visions Du Reél International Film Festival, and it was also screened at this year’s Beldocs, and shared the Beldocs Grand Prix with The Other Line, a film by Nenad Milošević, portraying the cultural scene of Novi Sad in the 1960s and ‘70s. Seven of the ten above-mentioned films will be screened before the local audience for the first time, but we are particularly excited and proud to host Filip Kovačević’ debut film Incarnation, which will have its world premiere at this year’s Cinema City Festival.”
FILMS FEATURED IN THE SECTION NATIONAL CLASS
The Novi Sad audience will have an opportunity to see the premiere screening of Momir Milošević’s film Open Wound, which our selector Vladan Petković calls “the most pleasant refreshment in the Serbian Cinema in the last few years,” adding that this “mixture of a coming-of-age drama and a psychological horror by the young Belgrade director, was created without a single cent of state funding". Utterly disciplined and meticulously directed film, utilizing the black-and-white technique not only in a meaningful, but also in a very imaginative manner, Open Wound tells a story about two teenage girls exploring their friendship and identities in the Serbia of the 1990s in the best manner of David Lynch. The leading roles are spectacularly played by Milena Đurović, with Open Wound being her debut acting experience, and Jelena Puzić, remembered for her performances in films such as Next to Me and Humidity.
The world premiere of Incarnation, a film by Filip Kovačević, brings you a story about a man who keeps waking up at a square of an unfamiliar city, over and over again, and whose each end every attempt to break away from the four masked men chasing him ends in his death. As the endless pursuit continues, our hero tries to discover his own identity and to find out who framed him for murder. The leading roles are played by Stojan Đorđević, Dejan Cicmilović, Tihomir Stanić, Dača Vidosavljević, Sten Zendor, Vidan Dojčinović, Žarko Stepanov and Bogdan Petrović.
Combining sound with light – spoken testimonies and images of the crime scenes, Ognjen Glavonić’s film Depth Two is an experimental documentary about a mass grave in the suburbs of Belgrade. Meditative and mesmerizing as it is, Depth Two speaks directly to the experience, imagination and emotions of the audience. This film is an act of resistance against the oblivion, aspiring to unveil, clarify and vocalize the stories which have long been buried in silence. Depth Two had its world premiere at this year's Berlin Film Festival.
The documentary film The Other Line is the result of a long-term exploration of Neo-Avant-garde cultural and art scenes of the late 1960s and ‘70s in Novi Sad, which to this day remains marginalized. After the brutal intervention of the state apparatus, art magazines were outlawed, the management dismissed, films were banned, and the protagonists were prosecuted, two of them being even sentenced to prison. The question is: What hides behind the fact that these retrograde mechanisms, suppressing and devastating the most creative and the most representative progressive impulses of our time, remain ever effective to this very day? The artists participating in the film are, among others, Želimir Žilnik, Slobodan Tišma, Oto Tolnai, Vladimir Kopicl and Božidar Mandić. The film was directed by one of the Cinema Club Novi Sad re-establishers, Nenad Milošević.
Mirjana Karanović’s directorial debut A Good Wife is a narrative about facing the truth. Just as she learns she is critically ill, our heroine discovers the war atrocities committed by her own husband years ago, and for the first time in her life she faces the challenge of making a major life decision all on her own. A Good Wife had its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and its Belgrade premiere at this year’s FEST brought Mirjana Karanović the Best Actress Award.
Humidity, Nikola Ljuca’s cinematic debut, tells a story of Petar, a handsome and charismatic manager for a successful company supplying large government projects with construction materials. Petar returns from a business trip, and his wife Mina picks him up at the airport. They arrive home, but while Petar is asleep, Mina disappears without a trace. The film was premiered at this year's Berlin Film Festival, and it also won the National Awards for Best Film and Best Actor at this year’s FEST.
Legacy, a drama directed by Nemanja Ćipranić explores the lengths to which people will go to get what they want. This is a film about our own selves, which does not provide the answers, nor does it ask any questions. Legacy made it to the Official Selection of the Montreal Film Festival as part of the First Films World Competition featuring debut works from around the world. The Cinema City audiences will also have an opportunity to see the film Apophenia, a narrative about the incapability of the modern man living a life of constant sacrifice to confront his own self, in a society where blind egoism defies all ideologies, organized religions and lifestyles. The film was directed by Marin Malešević, who also won the Best Concept Award for this film at the Brussels Film Festival in 2009.
Make sure to check out the German-Croatian-Serbian co-production Four Passports, an animated documentary film, directed by Mihajlo Jevtić. This film talks about emigration, identity and the recent history of Yugoslavia, told through the personal perspective of the director. This is a story of four passports and one country. The lead roles are played by Slavko Jevtić, Kaća Jevtić, Maja Lagator, Jelena Krneta and Nikola Milosavljević. This film was also included in the Trieste Film Festival’s line-up.
Inspired by Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street, Dejan Vlaisavljević’s film Signature Work portrays the Belgrade underworld and the realm of contemporary art, as seen through the prism of the noir aesthetics. The ideological elements are there to establish a framework for the action of corrupt protagonists, whose only goal is – to make it through the day alive. Wall of Death, and All That, a documentary directed by Mladen Kovačević, is a story of a ten-year-old girl Brankica, better-known as the Princess on the Wall of Death, who was the major attraction at carnivals and fairs throughout the former Yugoslavia. She is now 43 and a grandmother of six, but she still performs the same old terrifying stunts, trapped between the melancholic memories and claustrophobic existence on the last wall of death.
“Looking at this year’s line-up, which features a rich variety of cinematic achievements, it is impossible not to notice the upward trend in the number of documentaries and low-budget genre films by young authors. Both of these phenomena deserve applause, and we are eagerly expecting to see their clash with the audience,” says Milan Stojanović.
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Let’s get together from June 25 to July 2 in Chinatown and Limanski park!