iffmh 2023

12. Dezember 2023

IFFMH 2023 Six films

Von Natalia Serebryakova

Animal (Sofia Exarchou)

© courtesy of IFFMH


Animal (Sofia Exarchou)

The film, directed by Greek director Sofia Exarchou, follows a group of animators at a seaside resort. One day in early summer, dancers arrive at a luxury hotel. Here they are met by the slender, experienced Kaya, who seems to know how to present herself perfectly to the public and knows what the audience wants. Since childhood, Kaya wanted to be like Madonna. Among the new animators there is one girl from Poland – Eva. A friendship develops between Kaya and Eva, based on trust, female understanding and support. When Kaya injures her leg during one of her performances, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to go on stage every evening. She treats her trauma with alcohol, casual sex and singing karaoke with tourists. Her outlook on life radically changes when she meets the Austrian Jonas. Animal is a touching story of loneliness in a group of people, and also of growing up and aging. Every appearance on the stage for Kaya is like sharing a piece of her soul with the audience. The film also talks about the other side of the everyday life of people in the entertainment industry. Behind every smile lies human drama and hard daily work.


Mimang (Kim Taeyang)

Most of all, Mimang is reminiscent of the work of the Korean director Hong San-soo, of whom the director Kim Taeyang is a student. The film has a clear structure and consists of three parts with different characters in which they have lazy conversations while walking around Seoul. Sometimes characters from different parts of the film intersect with each other, creating a continuous circle of communication. Just like in Hong San-soo’s films, on the screen viewers see people of creative professions related to cinema. However, the topics of conversation of these heroes go far beyond the sphere of art – they talk about love, life, loneliness, death. The film is filled with a light atmosphere of casual dialogues and is an involuntary journey through the cozy streets of the capital of South Korea.


The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams)

Student Lillian and her class visit Washington as part of a school excursion. She suffers from jealousy towards the guy with whom she had sex for the first time. Taking advantage of the moment when shooting started in one of the bars, Lillian eludes the group. She meets fearless and dangerous punks, and spends the night in their lair, and then – more and more new meetings and new acquaintances. Lillian stays with an adult man – an Alt Right professor, who sees Nabokov's Lolita in the girl, but does not make sexual proposals to her. She runs away from him with a bag of money and meets filmmakers who invite her to star in their film. The line of new faces and Lillian's saviors is growing, the adventures are becoming more serious and dangerous. However, nothing can break Lillian's fearless adventurous spirit. She, like America itself, changes every day and stays afloat thanks to a sincere interest in life.


Upon Entry (Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastian Vasquez)

He is Venezuelan, she is Spanish, they are in a civil marriage. Today, this couple must cross the American border to start a new life in the United States. However, everything does not go according to plan. At customs they are asked to wait, their passports are taken away and they are subjected to an unpleasant, deep interrogation, exerting psychological pressure. During a conversation with the police services, it turns out that they do not know everything about each other. And this is just the beginning of the test. In this short, gripping film, a pair of Venezuelan directors draw on the experiences of their friends and acquaintances to create a true chamber drama-investigation about the difficulty of foreigners obtaining permanent residence in the United States. The film is an apt commentary on the political situation in Trump-era America.


Without Air (Katalin Moldovai)

Ana Bauch is a middle-aged literature teacher. She is very loved and popular among the students at the Hungarian school where she teaches. One day, during one of her lessons, she advises watching Agnieszka Holland’s film Total Eclipse for a better understanding of the work of the poet Arthur Rimbaud. The homosexual line (the relationship between Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine) infuriates one of the parents, who writes a complaint to the school management. The scandal grows like a snowball and destroys the life of Ana, who already has problems in her personal life. The film acutely raises the issue of liberal education in modern Hungarian schools, subject to the traditional way of life and patriarchal views.


An Endless Sunday (Alain Parroni)

Brenda, Alex and Kevin are three young people living on the outskirts of Rome, enjoying the warm summer days. They fool around, play pranks on each other, ride mopeds and visit nightclubs. It seems that their whole life is one endless Sunday. However, things get complicated when it turns out that Brenda is pregnant, and Alex, as the child's father, must find a job to provide his new family with a better life. Kevin finds himself out of work, although he becomes increasingly close to Brenda. This film has a tragic ending, dedicated to the lack of perspective in the modern generation of millennials, which is associated with social insecurity and tension.