The Thessaloniki International Film Festival announces the first titles selected to participate in its 48th edition.
In the International Competition section, catering to first or second features by emerging filmmakers and programmed by Festival Director Despina Mouzaki, three films have been selected for their originality and impressive command of the cinematic language.
In Año Uña, director Jonás Cuarón -the 26-year old son of Alfonso Cuarón- merges stills photography with the moving image, in an imaginative and appropriate aesthetic combination for his debut, a tender film about the possibilities of falling in love while young and –relatively- innocent.
La Influencia, a Mexican-Spanish co-production helmed by first-time Spanish director Pedro Aguilera is produced by Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya Producciones and co-produced by Carlos Reygadas. Mantarraya, founded by Romandia, is the company responsible for several breakthrough films of the Mexican cinema resurrection, such as Reygadas’ Japon and Batalla en el cielo and Amat Escalante’s Sangre. La Influencia, a family psychodrama about an impoverished single mother and her two children, succeeds -unobtrusively and without didactics- in indicting the society that has brought its protagonists to their dismal position.
PVC-1 by Spiros Stathoulopoulos, a 29-year old director from Thessaloniki, consists of one 81-minute take. Shot in Colombia, it is inspired by an event where terrorists attempt to extort millions of pesos from a family by placing an explosive PVC device around the mother's neck. The film warrants nonnegotiable psychological involvement from the viewer and stuns with the proficiency of the camera work, handled by the director himself.
For the Special Screenings slots of different sections of the Festival, two distinct films have been selected so far.
Snow Angels, David Gordon Green’s 4th feature, removes the narration from his usual southern locales and finds him in the cold landscapes of Nova Scotia. Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell excel in a study of familial and personal breakdowns, observed with the director’s usual elegiac insight of even the smallest in human relationships.
I Served the King of England is the latest feature by celebrated Czech director Jirí Menzel and is based on Bohumil Hrabal's novel of the same title. Menzel, who won an Oscar for his dramatization of the Hrabal story Closely Observed Trains, has made a film that celebrates comedy and human pathos, never eschewing the political and historical element in the process.
As evidenced by these first selections, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival remains faithful to its tradition of showcasing innovative work, by both new and established filmmakers.