Wherever I go, I know what to expect from a certain festival. It was also the case of FIFA/Mons Festival, even more so because they show films inspired by and dedicated to – Love!, a fact that I saluted at the closing Ceremony in Mons when we presented our FEDEORA Prize. ”Vive L’Amour!”
Apart from the Best First European Feature and the International Competition, the festival had parallel programmes: Les Autres Films (Other Films) and Regards Croisés (Crossed Views) or a Meeting of Minds. (Not all the 16 films presented films were the best from the latest world production and festivals, but This Must Be the Place by the Italian director Paulo Sorrentino, from last year’s Cannes Competition, is one of my favourites). Then the programme Lumières D’Ailleurs (Lights From Elsewhere) – among 9, the Moroccan film The End by Hicham Lasri, was surprisingly good, especially visually, thanks to the cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, who shot it in black and white in a very dynamic way.
FEDEORA’s Jury judged the European Competition, which was composed of 11 debut films, not all of them good, which is normal. Among the five best was the Polish The Mole (Kret) by the talented writer-director Rafael Lewandowski, who one can see is as a good pupil of the great Krzysztof Kieslowski. This moral drama of a son who is facing the collaboration of his father, an ex-Solidarnosc/Solidarity member, with the secret police, is impressively acted and visually good.
The Romanian film The Phantom Father (Tatăl fantomă) by writer-director Lucian Georgescu, an adventurous trip of an American across present-day Romania in search of his Romanian-Jewish roots, shows that the new Romanian Cinema continues to be vital.
Shun Li and the Poet (Io sono Li), by talented Italian writer-director Andrea Segre, is a tender drama about the forbidden friendship of two strangers: Li, a Chinese woman who works as a bar tender and Bepi, a Slav fisherman called ”Poet”, both foreigners in the Venetian Lagoon, who become very close friends which upsets and provokes their Chinese/Italian communities with fatal consequences.
The Swedish film She Monkeys (Apflickorna), shows that the writer-director Lisa Ascham, in her version of teenage-girls’ ambiguous sexual relationship, is under the influence of the prototype film Fucking Åmål (Fucking Amal) by Lukas Moodysson.
And, finally, the best among the top-5 on our list was our prize-winner, Let My People Go! by the very promising French writer-director Mikael Buch, who, most importantly, wrote the script with the very well known French writer-director Christophe Honoré (My Mother /Ma mere/, In Paris /Dans Paris/, Love Songs /Les chansons d’amour/, The Beautiful Person /La Belle personne/), that was a primarily guarantee for the film to function on all levels. Buch, with a sense for humour, directs a playful and joyful dramatic-comedy, with a very good cast, among them the excellent Carmen Maura (a leading Spanish actress) and Jean-Luc Bideaux (a leading Swiss actor) who inspired the young actors to give their best especially Nicolas Maury as the young French Jewish gay in love with a Finish gay.
To end, may I offer some very friendly advice to the Mons organizers: starting from next year, in your festival catalogue, please credit the cinematographers, very important artists in the creative process of making films.
Blagoja Kunovski, member of FEDEORA Jury