- The festival programs nine films in competition from Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Brazil, Greece, Australia, North Macedonia and Ukraine
- The selection refers to political issues such as illegal immigration in the Bering Strait, the Turkish oppression of the Kurdish population and the drift of the Greek bourgeoisie after the economic debacle
- The Rohrwacher sisters, Denis Lavant, Will Ferrell, Paula Usero and Verónica Echegui, among the prominent faces of the short film section
The transition to adulthood is a trance common to all human beings, but its conditioning factors vary depending on the corner of the world where it is experienced. Cinema Jove captures it this year with a large group of films assigned to the ‘coming of age’ in its official section of feature films this year.
The Valencia International Film Festival, organized by the Institut Valencià de Cultura, has programmed nine titles from Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Brazil, Greece, Australia, North Macedonia and Ukraine, half of which explore learning and doubts faced during childhood and adolescence.
Fresh, direct and sensitive, ‘Stop Zemlia‘ keeps her gaze glued, at times almost in a documentary way, to the lives of a high school class facing their graduation. The first feature by the Ukrainian Kateryna Gornostai draws the doubts and desires, desires and intimacies of the protagonists of her avoiding clichés. The film has just won the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale.
The Kosovar Norika Sefa has also built her film ‘Looking for Venera‘, around the gaze and the adolescent problems of the characters. This robust, lively and powerful drama is a reflection on the double standards with which the sexual awakening of women is treated in the still closed environment of the Balkans.
Ferit Karahan sets her second feature film, ‘Brother’ s Keeper ‘, at a boarding school in eastern Anatolia. In this isolated environment, the director reflects on the growing authoritarianism of Turkish politics and the repression of the Kurdish population. Built around the gaze of its two protagonists, it combines the harshness of its setting with tenderness to narrate the close bond that is born in the heat of childhood.
The steps that mark the path of the protagonist of ‘The First Death of Joana’ are, instead, the questioning of gender stereotypes and self-discovery. Brazilian director Cristiane Oliveira has already visited Cinema Jove with her debut feature, ‘Nalu on the Border’, in its 2017 edition. In her opinion and in the context of the rise of the return to traditional values in her country, it is relevant to educate the young people on sexuality and gender as expressions of identity.
Also comes from Brazil ‘Ecstasy’, where Moara Passoni signs a dreamlike and autobiographical project on anorexia. The film, which features David Lynch and Likke Li themes in its soundtrack, is a ‘coming of age’ between fiction and documentary recognized with, among other awards, that of the Brazilian Association of Film Critics in the past São Paulo International Film Festival. Passoni is the co-writer and associate producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary ‘The Edge of Democracy’ (2019).
Finally, in ‘The Whaler Boy‘, the Russian debutant Philipp Yuryev reflects on the search for love, the transition to the adult world and the difficulties of emotional learning in a fiction set in a Siberian village specialized in whaling. The only connection of its inhabitants with the city are erotic chats. The film, selected in the Giornate degli Autori competition at the Venice Film Festival, shows illegal immigration to the United States through the Bering Strait.
It also talks about exodus, but in this case from the city to the country, ‘All The Little Pretty Horses‘, a thriller in the wake of the films of Roman Polanski and Michael Haneke, with the unrest of the Athens bourgeoisie as a backdrop. background. Its director, Michalis Konstantatos, generates a feeling of growing unease among the audience from a progressively cloudy atmosphere that has been considered the Greek answer to ‘Parasites’ (Bong Joon-ho, 2019).
However, ‘The Penultimate‘ has been compared to Roy Andersson’s cinema. Danish Jonas Kærup Hjort’s feature debut is a twist on Kafkaesque labyrinths and theater by playwrights like Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Eugène Ionesco. With great visual inventiveness and a good dose of black humor, this satire on human existence in times of confinement reflects the nonsense of everyday existence.
The Australian ‘Friends and Strangers‘ will complete the selection of lengths that are competing for the Moon of València this year. Amid blatant irony and emotional detachment, James Vaughan offers his vision of the ‘millennial’ generation. As if it were a lost character in an Éric Rohmer film, his protagonist remains isolated on the stage of the Australian bourgeois class, lost between his emotional problems and an increasingly palpable sense of emptiness.
Travel in 56 shorts around the world
The Valencia International Film Festival has programmed a selection of 56 shorts from 25 countries. There are projects from Spain, Egypt, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Sweden, France, Poland, Romania, USA, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, China, Austria, Iran, UK, South Korea, Germany, Belarus, Greece , Denmark, Brazil and Nigeria.
Many of the works in competition are endorsed by awards received at prestigious festivals such as Cannes and Clermont-Ferrand. ‘I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face’ won the Palme d’Or at the last Cannes edition. ‘Sestre‘, by Katarina Resek, was honored with the International Grand Prize in Clermont-Ferrand 2021, and ‘Gramercy‘, by Pat Heywood and Jamil McGinnis, with the Grand Prize in the ‘labo’ section of the same festival.
The official section contains six Valencian shorts, ‘La casa de Coto’, by Guillermo Alcalá-Santaella; ‘Dana’, by Lucía Forner Segarra; ‘Antonia‘, by Alba Just; ‘Retazos’, by Alba Pascual; “Sobre mi familia cuando la pandemia“, by Javier Robles; and ‘Cuando haces pop‘, by Kevin Castellano, starring Paula Usero, this edition of Cinema Jove was recognized with the Un Futuro de Cine award. The Valencian actress will present the short during a meeting with the public.
Other well-known faces on the show include Will Ferrell, who stars in the Zach Woods comedy ‘David‘; Denis Lavant, who adds a new bizarre character to his usual ones in Alice Goudon’s short “Phoenix 93“; and the Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher, who takes part in the metaphorical walk through the existence of a mother and a daughter in Jasmine Trinca’s piece ‘Being my Mother‘. Her sister, Alice Rohrwacher, directs four-handed with urban artist JR ‘Omelia Contadina’, a cinematographic action that wants to support the struggle of small farmers in the volcanic plateau of Alfina. Another well-known name is the Spanish actress Verónica Echegui, who makes her directorial debut with ‘Tótem Loba’, based on her personal experience.
The director Shoko Hara is also based on her own experiences, who in “Just a Guy“tells her epistolary relationship with Richard Ramírez, murderer and rapist, after she was admitted to prison. This edition abounds with documentary genre proposals. In ‘Écoutez le battement de nos images’, for example, Audrey Jean-Baptiste details the transformation of her territory, in French Guiana, by the construction of the Kourou space base. While in ‘Les poux’, from Mar Lahore, about the daily work of a group of volunteers from a social emergency team in aid of the homeless.
Attached to the genre, but with a hilarious approach, it highlights ‘Grab Them’, about the problems faced by a Swedish woman because of her resemblance to former President Donald Trump. And on the border between documentary and animation, “Augas abisáis“, by Xacio Baño and based on the study of the letters of a great-grandfather, explores the myths of the Civil War.
“For yet another year, the festival once again takes the pulse of animation with projects in 2D, 3D, ‘stop-motion’, metaphysical experimentation and large doses of surrealism,” said the director of Cinema Jove, Carlos Madrid.
Cinema Jove will be held in Valencia from June 18 to 26 and is a festival recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF).