Disappearing Act I – 2009 – full film line-up

Tobruk directed, written and produced by Vaclav Marhoul

Czech Republic, 2008, 100 min, in Czech, Slovak, Polish, German and English

With Jan Meduna, Petr Vanek, Martin Nahalka and Robert NebrenskyA humanistic story about Czech soldiers in exile who fought on the side of the Allies against Nazis and Fascists in the infamous battle of Tobruk in North Africa during WWII. A naïve young soldier joins the Czech troops. He soon finds out that there is only a very thin line between heroism and cowardice. Courage is the will power, which no man has enough to spare. When used, it is soon exhausted.

Watch the whole movie online (czech / no subtitles)

Delta directed and co-written by Kornel Mundruczo

Hungary, 2008, 93 min, in Hungarian

With Felix Lajko, Orsi Toth, Lili Monori, Sandor GasparMundruczo builds his tragic drama through quiet magnificent images of landscapes of the Danube Delta. Returning to his native village after a long absence, a nameless man builds a house on stilts in the middle of nowhere, aided by his half-sister whom he has just met, and ostracized by his mother and stepfather. Getting to know each other the siblings fall in love. Mundruczo’s drama traveled world festivals from the main competition in Cannes to official selection at Toronto IFF. He made his name with previous films at Locarno IFF (Pleasant Days) and Cannes IFF section Un Certain Regard (Johanna). The screening of this film is part of Extremely Hungary, a yearlong festival of Hungarian art and culture in New York and Washington, D.C.

Watch the whole movie on Netflix

Plastic Bags (Kese/Tasky) directed by Milos Tomic

Serbia / Czech Republic, 2007, 4.5 min, no dialogue

A love triangle between three plastic bags in a city park. Tomic, a Serbian PhD student of the Prague Film Academy, produced the film in the Belgrade studios of Dusan Makavejev, the legendary member of Yugoslav New Wave.

Watch the whole movie online

Vacation (Ferien) directed and written by Thomas Arslan

Germany, 2007, 91 min, in German

With Angela Winkler, Karoline Eichhorn, Uwe Bohm and Gudrun RitterDuring the course of the summer, several generations of a sprawling family come to a remote summerhouse. Things get off to a promising start with a pleasant round of long walks, swimming in the nearby lake, and family meals in the garden. But what looked like an idyllic sojourn is cut short when the grandmother falls seriously ill and needs to be cared for. Before long, the cracks in the relationship of the adult daughter’s marriage begin to become increasingly apparent. Even more confusion is caused by the visit of another daughter who lives abroad. The film was presented at the Berlin IFF’s Panorama special section and featured at other festivals as well.

La France directed and co-written by Serge Bozon

France, 2007, 102 min, in French

With Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory and Guillaume VerdierIn autumn 1917, during the height of the war, Camille leads a peaceful existence in the northeast of France, until she receives an unexpected letter from her husband who left for the front. That same day, the young woman decides to leave home disguised as a man, secretly hoping to find her husband again. Through a chance meeting in a forest, she succeeds in blending in with a small group of soldiers who have no idea of her true identity. A winner of Jean Vigo Award, the film was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and presented as part of the New Directors/New Films in New York where the NY Times Manohla Dargis praised it as pleasurable and mysterious and “a WWI movie like none other” where soldiers break mid-sentence into melodic riffs on a 1960s pop song.

Watch the whole movie on Netflix

Music (Muzika) directed by Juraj Nvota

Slovakia, 2008, 100 min, in Slovak

With Lubos Kostelny, Tana Pauhofova, Dorota Nvotova and Jan BudarSlovakia sometime in the 1980s, not far from a big city, just a few steps from the border of an evil capitalist country and in a place where all roads turn back to the numbing building of socialism – there begins a funny and blackish story about a man who hoped that his music would help him escape but who did not succeed. Director Nvota belongs to the mainstays of Slovak narrative cinema and his latest feature marked unprecedented box office success in his home country with numerous national awards and festival participations.

Il Divo Directed and written by Paolo Sorrentino

Italy, 2008, 110 min, in Italian

With Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, Piera Degli Esposti and Paolo GraziosiA difficult subject – the darkest chapters of Italian politics, which were never truly closed – told through a free and highly modern cinematic language. A portrait of the calm, ambiguous, inscrutable Andreotti who was a synonym of power in Italy for over four decades. At the beginning of the nineties, without arrogance or humility, immobile, ambiguous and reassuring, he advances relentlessly towards his seventh mandate as Prime Minister. The film premiered in the official competition at the Cannes IFF where it won jury award and traveled world festivals including the Toronto IFF.

Watch the whole movie on MUBI (check availability in your area on this link; U.S. currently unavailable, but may become available in the future)

The Paper Will Be Blue (Hirtia va fi albastra) directed by Radu Muntean

Romania, 2006

With Paul Ipate, Adrian Carauleanu, Dragos Bucur and Alexandru PotoceanThe story takes place in the confusion of the long night-day-night of December 22, 1989, the moment of Ceausescu’s overthrow and the uncertainty of its immediate aftermath. With no one sure who’s running the country or whether a counter-coup has restored the dictator to power, an armored military unit hunkers down in a quiet Bucharest suburb, awaiting orders but mainly trying to stay out of trouble. A gripping, taut rendition of the birth pangs of contemporary Romania, the film is history from the ground up – an attempt to re-create historical events as they were lived by the average Romanian. Presented in competition at the Locarno IFF. Muntean’s newest feature Boogie, which premiered at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes IFF, marks another success for the young director. The screening will be introduced by Mihai Chirilov, film critic and director of the Transylvania International Film Festival.

Watch the whole movie on Netflix

Yella directed and co-written by Christian Petzold

Germany, 2007, 89 min, in German

With Nina Hoss, Hinnerk Schonemann, Devid Striesow and Barbara AuerYella is estranged from her possessive and violent husband, but he can’t quite bring himself to give her up. When the couple’s fraught interaction finally comes to a dramatic conclusion, Yella’s life takes an odd shift. She moves across Germany to find work in an effort to escape her disintegrating marriage, but has a hard time getting rid of her past. The film competed at the Berlin IFF, where it won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. Petzold’s newest feature Jerichow – featuring the same leading actress – was in official competition at the Venice IFF and other festivals. Petzold has been described as the rising star of German auteur film.

Watch the whole movie on MUBI

California Dreamin’ (Endless Nesfarsit) directed and co-written by Cristian Nemescu

Romania, 2007, 155 min, in Romanian and English

With Armand Asante, Razvan Vasilescu, Maria Dinulescu, and Jamie ElmanThis raucously dark comedy centers on a trainload of US marines bound for an important mission in Kosovo in 1999, until a corrupt stationmaster holds them on a customs technicality in a Romanian backwater. Welcoming them with open arms, the locals see their unexpected guests as tickets to political power, financial advantage, or romance. As the days drag on, however, patience wears thin and sparks fly. Director Nemescu tragically died before the final edit of the film (hence the word “endless” in the title). His feature debut nonetheless received premiere and an award in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes IFF and traveled the world festivals including Toronto IFF. The screening will be introduced by Mihai Chirilov, film critic and director of the Transylvania International Film Festival.

Watch the whole movie on MUBI (check availability in your area on this link; U.S. currently unavailable, but may become available in the future)

Vaclav directed and co-written by Jiri Vejdelek

Czech Republic, 2007, 100 min, in Czech

With Ivan Trojan, Emilia Vasaryova, Jiri Labus and Jan BudarVaclav is the village looser, bordering on autism and still living with his widowed mother. He’s constantly fighting with his younger brother who’s ashamed of him and wants him to be put in an institution. Their fight over a mistress has criminal consequences for Vaclav, who cannot be excused as the village-fool anymore. The director made entrance to American festivals with his previous films Holiday Makers (Tribeca FF) and Roming (Toronto IFF). This film won two major awards at the Shanghai IFF.

Blind Loves (Slepe lasky) directed and co-written by Juraj Lehotsky

Slovakia, 2008, 77 min, in Slovak

Blind Loves is a non-fiction film about love between blind people. To find one’s place in this world is not an easy thing to do for people with good sight, but how much more difficult it can get for somebody who is blind? The “view” of blind persons is often pure and essential, and very often witty. It uncovers new dimensions of meaning of happiness. Lehotsky’s feature debut premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and since was presented in and out of competition in numerous international festivals including the Toronto IFF.

Watch the whole movie online

Girls (Lanyok) directed and written by Anna Faur

Hungary, 2007, 90 min, in Hungarian

With Fulvia Collongues, Helene Francois, Sandor Zsoter and Kornel MundruczoThe film was inspired by a story of a true crime committed in Hungary: two teenage girls killed a taxi driver. The director presents the fairly typical surroundings of a generation for which sex and sexuality have a previously unknown meaning. The traditional roles and taboos are long forgotten, and gone are the shyness and sensibility associated with sensuality. The story follows two societies on the fringes: one of the two girls living as petty criminals and the other of taxi drivers with no smaller criminal intents. After her film school graduation/feature debut with Girls, director Faur was invited to the residency of the Cinefondation-Cannes Film Festival.

girls daI

Scratch (Rysa) directed by Michal Rosa

Poland, 2008, 89 min, in Polish

With Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieslak, Krzysztof Stroinski, Ewa Telega, and Ryszard FilipskiIt’s present day in Krakow. The central couple lives a satisfied married life for 40 years until the wife discovers a dark page in her husband’s past through a videotape that holds an interview about the work of Polish state security in the 1950s and ’60s. She refuses to believe her husband is guilty and sets on a quest to find out the truth. The director describes the story as about original sin and that mercy is not compulsory. The film received several national awards including the award for best screenplay.

scratch

Import/Export Directed and co-written by Ulrich Seidl

Austria, 2007, 136 min, in German and Ukrainian

With Ekaterina Rak, Natalja Baranova, Paul Hoffman, and Michael ThomasOne film about two fates. One is about Olga, a young nurse from the Ukraine. The other one is about Paul, a young hooligan from the Viennese suburbs. Both are unemployed, both are living on the edge of society. She believes that she will find her luck in the West, whereas he ends up in the East in the pursuit for love, happiness and a meaning of life. The latest feature from the director of Dog Days and Jesus You Know was presented in the official competition at the Cannes IFF and at the Toronto IFF among other festivals.

Watch the whole movie on MUBI  (check availability in your area on this link; U.S. currently unavailable, but may become available in the future)

The Session Is Open (L’udienza e aperta) directed by Vincenzo Marra

Italy, 2007, 75 min, in Italian

As if a companion piece to the current Italian film sensation Gomorrah, this documentary is a record of one day in the courthouse of Naples: the protagonists are a 70 year old justice of appeal, his associate judge, a vivacious and friendly 45 year old woman, and the greatest criminal lawyer in all of Naples. They are all involved in resolving a judicial proceeding on a camorra killing case. The film was presented at the Venice Days accompanying the official program of the Venice IFF and at the Toronto IFF. Director Marra’s previous film Vento di Terra was also a favorite of international festivals including Venice, Cannes and Toronto IFF.

03

All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonne) directed and written by Mia Hansen-Love

France, 2007, 105 min, in French and German

With Marie-Christine Friedrich, Paul Blain, Carole Franck and Constance RousseauA film in three parts starts in Vienna in 1992 with two 30 year-olds, Victor and Annette, and their young daughter Pamela. In spite of Victor’s drug addiction, the family manages to stay together and Annette hopes that their departure for Paris will improve the situation. However, in France, everything goes downhill and the couple breaks up. Victor falls in love and moves in with a young woman who supplies him with drugs, while Annette leaves him and disappears with their daughter. Twelve years later, Pamela discovers that her father still lives in Paris and decides to go to see him. Among other festivals the film was presented at the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and at the Rotterdam IFF.

Forever Never Anywhere (Immer nie am Meer) directed, co-written and co-produced by Antonin Svoboda

Austria, 2007, 88 min, in German

With Christoph Grissemann, Dirk Stermann, Heinz StrunkWhere there’s life, there’s hope. But what happens if hope is suddenly discovered to have been laid to rest years ago…? The story features three men trapped in their car after an accident on a remote road, who find out more about each other than they would ever be willing to consider… Director Svoboda is also a well-known producer of such successful titles as Darwin’s Nightmare, Lovely Rita and Falling. This feature was among official selections at the Rotterdam and the Toronto IFF.

It’s Me, Now (Teraz ja) directed and written by Anna Jadowska

Poland, 2006, 85 min, in Polish

With Agnieszka Warchulska, Maciej Marczewski, Ewa Szykulska, Elzbieta GrucaHanna is a confused young woman who suddenly leaves home for no obvious reason: she just goes out to do some shopping and does not come back. She gets on a bus and sets off on a trip around Poland. Her partner Pawel searches for her all over. During these two identical and separate journeys, they meet strange and fascinating characters along the way – people just like them, who cannot find their place in the world.

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