Disappearing Act V – full film line-up

1395 Days Without Red (1395 dana bez crvene), directed by Sejla Kameric, Anri Sala

UK, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2011, 70min, no dialogue; original English version

Presented thanks to support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding

Cast: Maribel Verdu

Official Selection – Locarno Film Festival, Manchester International Festival

A cinematographic art project, 1395 Days Without Red is a collaboration between Bosnian artist Sejla Kameric and Albanian artist Anri Sala, who conceived the work together, resulting in two distinct films (presented here is the film by Sejla Kameric). The siege of Sarajevo lasted a brutal 1,395 days. The filmmakers recreate a woman’s daily journey through the city, walking and running between safe and dangerous spaces, desperately trying to avoid the deadly “snipers’ alley.” Atmospheric and deeply affecting, the film is shot completely without dialogue, the only companion on the journey being Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique, rehearsed by an orchestra somewhere in the city.


Attenberg, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari

Greece, 2010, 97min, in Greek and French

Presented by the Onassis Foundation (USA) and the Consulate General of Greece. A Strand Releasing release.

Cast: Ariane Labed, Evangelia Randou, Yorgos Lanthimos, Vangelis Mourikis

Official Selection – Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival

A prime example of the new Greek cinema, Attenberg centers on a crucial moment in the life of a young woman parting with her beloved, terminally ill father and welcoming a man as a lover into her life. However, the latter seems less like a romantic encounter than a study of human sexual behavior out of one of Sir David Attenborough’s animal kingdom documentaries.The attempts of the heroine’s best friend to educate her in matters of sex dominate the storyline, but the film’s most affecting motif is the emotional growth of a young adult who is losing ground in sight of a major loss. Yorgos Lanthimos (director of Dogtooth) makes an appearance in the role of the curious lover.

Corpo Celeste, directed by Alice Rohrwacher

Italy, France, 2011, 98min, in Italian

Presented by the Italian Cultural Institute. A Film Movement release.

Cast: Yle Vianello, Salvatore Cantalupo, Pasqualina Scuncia, Anita Caprioli

Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival, Director’s Fortnight; New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival

“A quietly impressive debut feature,” Screen Daily wrote. A “startling” first film, said Film-Forward. These were the kinds of kudos that welcomed the arrival of Alice Rohrwacher on the cinematic scene. Corpo Celeste is an assured impressionistic study of a young girl’s coming of age set against the background of a relocation from Italy’s “modern” north to the country’s religious south. A mother moves with her two daughters back to the town of their birth, which brings about changes within the family, but most of all befuddles the younger daughter when she is forced to confirm to local Catholic traditions and undergo the rite of passage of confirmation.

Diamond Flash, directed by Carlos Vermut

Spain, 2011, 128min, in Spanish

Presented by Pragda as part of Cineart Spain, with additional support from Spain Culture New York

Cast: Eva Llorach, Angela Villar, Angela Boiz, Rocio Leon, Maria Victoria Radonic

An underground hit that became a sensation in Spain in spite of its DIY distribution via alternative screening venues, streaming and DVDs, Diamond Flash exemplifies the tendency of young filmmakers to take their careers into their own hands and produce their projects independently, without support from the state. In his feature directorial debut, Carlos Vermut expertly leads an excellent cast of theater professionals. Impossible to classify, the film straddles genre between mystery and personal drama, with hints of fantasy, while using an accomplished cinematic style. The story follows five women connected through one man, a mysterious character who forever changes all of their lives.

(trailer with no subtitles)

Dreileben, Parts 1–3

Germany, 2011

Presented by the Goethe-Institut New York

Official Selection – Berlin International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival

This film trilogy, shot in the distinctive styles of German directorial talents, Christian Petzold, Christoph Hochhaeusler, and Dominik Graf, reveals chapters of a larger narrative from three unique perspectives and genres.

Beats Being Dead (Etwas Besseres als den Tod), directed by Christian Petzold

88min, in German and Bosnian

Cast: Stefan Kurt, Jacob Matschenz, Luna Mijovic

“A convicted killer, released under police custody to pay his last respects to his late mother, escapes from a country hospital at the start of director Christian Petzold’s genre-bending, wonderfully unpredictable Beats Being Dead. But the film soon comes to center on the story of two star-crossed lovers: Johannes (Jacob Matschenz), a shy young hospital orderly, and Bosnian refugee Ana (Luna Mijovic), whom Johannes nobly rescues from the clutches of her abusive biker boyfriend. In the background, a police manhunt proceeds apace, while in the foreground Petzold reminds us there is sometimes nothing as dangerous as first love.” – New York Film Festival

Don’t Follow Me Around (Komm mir nicht nach), directed by Dominik Graf

89min, in German

Cast: Jeanette Hain, Susanne Wolff, Misel Maticevic

“In the trilogy’s second chapter, Jo (Jeanette Hain), a big-city police psychologist, arrives in Dreileben to aid in the ongoing investigation, whereupon she finds herself greeted cooly by the local authorities but welcomed with open arms by Vera (Susanne Wolff), a college friend who lives nearby with her husband, a pretentious author. As the girlfriends reminisce about bygone days and discover they were both once in love with the same man, director Dominik Graf deftly juxtaposes their personal drama against the search for a killer, a police corruption scandal, and a possible case of interspecies transmutation—all underlining the trilogy’s recurring themes of false appearances and deeply hidden truths.” – New York Film Festival

One Minute of Darkness (Eine Minute Dunkel), directed by Christoph Hochhaeusler

90min, in German and English

Cast: Stefan Kurt, Eberhard Kirchberg, Imogen Kogge, Timo Jacobs

“The Dreileben trilogy comes to a nail-biting close with director Christoph Hochhaeusler’s expert thriller, which also brings escaped felon Molosch—a peripheral character in the first two parts—into sharp focus. Hot on the killer’s trail, grizzled police inspector Marcus (Eberhard Kirchberg) tries to put himself inside the mind of the criminal, even as he begins to wonder if the condemned man really is guilty as charged. Meanwhile, as Molosch (brilliantly played by Stefan Kurt) flees deeper into Dreileben’s possibly enchanted forest, he has an unexpectedly tender encounter with a young runaway girl—scenes that echo the Frankenstein story and transform One Minute of Darkness into a dark, memorably strange fairy tale.” – New York Film Festival

Feed Me With Your Words (Nahrani me z besedami), directed by Martin Turk

Slovenia, 2012, 88min, in Slovenian and Italian

Presented by the Embassy of Slovenia and the Slovenian Film Centre

Cast: Sebastian Cavazza, Jure Henigman, Boris Cavazza, Masa Derganc, Miranda Caharija

Official Selection – Sao Paulo International Film Festival

Walking a fine line between mystery, thriller and psychological drama, Turk’s debut feature follows an estranged father and his older son on an anguished trip. The son answers a call from his father after 10 years of avoiding contact with him. He learns that his younger brother disappeared while on a research trip to Italy, leaving behind his mother, who suffers from dementia. Although their relationship is palpably tense, the two men try to solve the mystery of the disappearance, doing their best to ignore whatever happened between them in the past. For the development of his quiet and deliberately paced film, director Martin Turk received support from Cannes Cinefondation Residence and development labs of Rotterdam and Locarno festivals.

Flower Buds (Poupata), directed by Zdenek Jirasky

Czech Republic, 2011, 91min, in Czech

Q&A with the director

Presented by the Czech Center New York

Cast: Vladimir Javorsky, Malgorzata Pikus, Marika Soposka, Miroslav Panek

Official Selection – Czech Film Academy Award for Best Film

Breaking through with his feature film debut and receiving numerous awards from the Czech Film Academy (including Best Director and Best Film), director Jirasky narrates the story of a blue-collar family in a small town. The family finds itself on a brink of a breakdown with each member going in a different direction: the daughter plans to go away, knowing that neither the town nor her parents’ home can bring her the opportunities she yearns for; the son blindly follows his heart against all circumstances; and the mother, though still very much in love with her husband, finds her only solace in the companionship of old friends and nostalgia for the happy days of her youth. The father is a train wreck, whose addiction to slot machines puts his entire existence at risk.

(trailer with no subtitles)

Kuma, directed by Umut Dag

Austria, 2012, 93min, in German and Turkish

Q&A with actress Nihal G. Koblas

Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York

Cast: Nihal G. Koldas, Begum Akkaya, Vedat Erincin, Murathan Muslu

Official Selection – Berlin International Film Festival

“Kuma” is the Turkish word for a woman who lives with a married man and his family, a frowned-upon custom in Turkey as much as in the rest of Europe. In Dag’s emotional film, a Turkish family in Vienna decides to resolve their precarious situation by taking in a second wife for the family’s aging patriarch. The young and beautiful bride marries the patriarch’s son in a traditional wedding staged in the bride’s Turkish village. Even before the family returns to Austria, though, emotions run high between the children and their new “mother,” while the wives themselves create a strong bond. Their love for each other, however, is put to a challenging test.

(trailer with original subtitles)

Living Afterwards (De leur vivant), directed by Geraldine Doignon

Belgium, 2011, 95min, in French

Presented by the Belgian Tourist Office – Brussels Wallonia

Cast: Christian Crahay, Mathylde Demarez, Yoann Blanc, Jean-François Rossion

Official Selection – Montreal World Film Festival, Sao Paulo International Film Festival

Meeting at their mother’s funeral, three adult children of a small hotel owner – two brothers and a sister – struggle with their hurt feelings when their father fails to attend. They plan to sell the property to run away from the painful memories of their beloved mother, yet each of the three is facing personal troubles with relationships and career choices. The father is overcome by grief and unhappy with his children’s plan. When a pregnant woman appears at the hotel’s doorstep seeking a room, she becomes a means to mending the family’s broken relationships and finding a way to bring everyone together.

Lena, directed by Christophe Van Rompaey

The Netherlands-Belgium, 2011, 119min, in Dutch and Polish

Presented by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands

Cast: Emma Levie, Niels Gomperts, Jeroen Willems, Agata Buzek

Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival; Les Arcs European Film Festival (Best Actress Award)

The titular Lena is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her single mother, a Polish immigrant. Because of her appearance and the poor home she hails from, she feels like an outsider, but she lacks neither the strength  nor the will to fight for her dream. A little overweight – a source of constant nagging and arguments with her mother – she radiates a sense of calm and happiness in spite of her innate shyness. When an attractive boy sets his eyes on her and invites her to move in with him and his single dad, Lena happily leaves her disapproving mother to start her life anew. But the rapid action quickly takes a wrong turn as things turn out not to be as rosy as they seemed.

Made in Ash (Az do mesta As), directed by Iveta Grofova

Slovakia, Czech Republic, 2012, 80min, in Slovak, Czech and German

Presented by the Consulate General of Slovak Republic and the Slovak Film Institute with additional support from +421 Foundation

Cast: Dorotka Billa, Silvia Halusicova, Robin Horky

Official Selection – Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Torino Film Festival

In her feature film debut, Iveta Grofova follows a high school graduate as she journeys from her native Slovakia to the westernmost town of the neighboring Czech Republic. The 18-year-old Roma  is searching for work, independence and an exciting life, which she was missing back in her village. Finding work in a textile factory, she’s confronted with the mundane life the women lead in the factory and adjoining dorms, spiced up only by visits from their “German princes,” equally lost men from across the border. The Slovak young woman soon finds a “prince” of her own, but when she loses her job, she has to decide whether marrying an older German is better than going back home to her family and the boyfriend she left behind.

Mushrooming (Seenelkaik), directed by Toomas Hussar

Estonia, 2012, 93min, in Estonian

Presented by the Consulate General of Estonia

Cast: Raivo E. Tamm, Elina Reinold, Juhan Ulfsak

Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival; Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

A black political comedy, Hussar’s film satirizes the far-too-frequent cases of corruption and abuse of political power for gain in Europe. When a journalist learns too much about his financial misconduct, a high-level politician sets out on a mushrooming trip with his wife. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a pompous rock idol. Through a mix of bad luck and arrogance, they get lost, and when they encounter a rude local redneck, all hell breaks loose.

Play, directed by Ruben Ostlund

Sweden, France, Denmark, 2011, 118min, in Swedish

Q&A with the director. Opening night film selection.

Presented by the Consulate General of Sweden

Cast: Kevin Vaz, Johan Jonason, Abdiaziz Hilowle, Yannick Diakité, John Ortiz, Nana Manu

Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival – Directors’ Fortnight; Rotterdam and New York Film Festival; winner of numerous awards

A meticulously shot, constructed and rehearsed piece of cinema, Ostlund’s film is based on real cases of bullying, in which a group of teens robbed other children by using an elaborate scheme verging on a theatrical play. Although no physical violence is exerted, the victims find themselves trapped, give up any attempts to escape, and go along with the scammers’ demands, while adults fail to intervene on multiple occasions. In his third feature, Ostlund employs an exquisite filmmaking style while unnerving the viewer with a moral tale that challenges our thinking. Where in his earlier work he studied the influence of the group on the behavior of an individual, here he observes the interactions between two groups against the backdrop of contemporary European society.

Rose (Roza), directed by Wojciech Smarzowski

Poland, 2011, 94min, in Polish and German

Presented by the Polish Cultural Institute New York

Cast: Agata Kulesza, Marcin Dorocinski, Malwina Buss, Kinga Preis

Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival

The director of the acclaimed contemporary drama The Wedding (in competition at Locarno IFF in 2004 and winner of numerous Polish Academy Awards the same year), brings another foray into Polish society. But this time he turns his attention to a seldom-explored theme from post-WWII European history. This is no historical glossy tableau. Relying more on raw imagery than dialogue, Smarzowski tells the tale of a fight for survival by a widowed Masurian woman. Her life and farm are attacked from all sides, by looters from the Soviet Army as well as the new Polish establishment, until rescue comes in the form of a man who fought in the war on the opposite side of her husband, whose brutal death she had to witness. http://cosmopolitanreview.com/roza/

Small Crime (Mikro eglima), directed by Christos Georgiou

Cyprus-Germany-Greece ,2008, 88min, in Greek

Presented by the Consulate General of Cyprus with the kind support of the Cyprus Federation of America

Cast: Aris Servetalis, Viki Papadopoulou, Rania Ekonomidou, Erricos Litsis

Official Selection – San Francisco International Film Festival; Thessaloniki International Film Festival

On a small Greek island a young police officer is frustrated with his mundane tasks – chasing local kids speeding on the dirt roads and hounding naked tourists off the beaches. So when a local drunk, a former soccer star, is found dead at the foot of a steep hill, the officer is convinced it’s a homicide. The investigation leads him to a beautiful TV anchor who hails from the island and makes everyone proud whenever she appears on screen. It doesn’t take long before romantic feelings develop between the two, but the truth behind the mysterious death still needs to be resolved. Exceptionally beautiful cinematography adds another dimension to this cheerful, lighthearted comedy.

Stars Above (Tahtitaivas talon ylla), directed by Saara Cantell

Finland-Iceland, 2012, 101min, in Finnish

Presented by the Consulate General of Finland and the Finnish Film Foundation

Cast: Elin Petersdottir, Meri Nenonen, Irina Bjorklund

Director Saara Cantell chronicles Finnish society and its changing attitudes towards women through the lives of three generations set in 1942, 1978, and the present, depicted in vivid period detail. The film follows three women who settle on a family farm as they struggle with themselves and their relations with men. In all three cases, the farm serves as a refuge: first to the casualties of war, then as a place to restart one’s life, and finally as a place of escape from the outer world.

Summer Games (Giochi d’estate) directed by Rolando Colla

Switzerland-Italy, 2011, 106min, in Italian

Presented by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York

Cast: Armando Condolucci, Fiorella Campanella, Alessia Barela, Antonio Merone

Official Selection – Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival

On summer vacation, everyone tries to be on their best behavior. But it doesn’t take long before the pretense vanishes. So goes the relationship of a blue-collar couple on the brink of divorce because the husband can’t control his violence.  It turns out that their son can’t control himself either, as he rules over a group of children at the summer campsite. When he meets a girl in pain because her father has abandoned her, they build a bond and emotional fortress by pretending that nothing can ever enter their world.

The Almost Man (Mer eller mindre mann), directed by Martin Lund

Norway, 2012, 80min, in Norwegian

Q&A with the director

Presented by the Norwegian Consulate General

Cast: Henrik Rafaelsen, Solvei Grimen Fosse, Janne Heltberg

Official Selection  – Karlovy Vary Film Festival (winner Best Film and Best Actor)

Having just acquired their first home, a thirty something couple  are expecting their first child. Yet their interactions—loaded with jokes and wisecracks as a way to avoid “serious talk”—suggest a yearning to preserve the freshness of their earlier, carefree days’. The young man (the excellent Henrik Rafaelsen, lead in the remarkable 2010 comedy Happy Happy) is more prone to escapism, and when his kindhearted partner invites friends and colleagues over for a pleasant evening with wine, he runs off to join his high school buddies for a night of wild drinking and making out with single women. On his return home, he has to face the core reasons for his immature behavior.

The Boy Who Was A King (Momcheto, koeto beshe tsar), directed by Andrey Paounov

Bulgaria-Germany, 2011, 90min, documentary, in Bulgarian and English.

Q&A with the director

Presented thanks to support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding

Official Selection – Toronto International Festival; River Run International Film Festival (Best Documentary Feature)

In the words of the filmmaker: “Royalty meets Reality: the biography of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the exile boy-king who gloriously returned as a republican politician to fall from grace in one of the greatest experiments of democracy today.” In his characteristic filmmaking style, Paounov (The Mosquito Problem) continues to study contemporary Bulgarian society and its 20th-century past. This time he scrutinizes the unique life of King Simeon II, who was crowned as a 6-year-old after the sudden death of his father, only to be dethroned by the Communists at age 9, and finally becoming Bulgarian prime minister some 50 years later. Through his excellent choice of rich archival footage and perfectly crafted staged scenes, Paounov expertly follows a typically European style of creative documentary making.

 The Exam (A vizsga), directed by Peter Bergendy

Hungary, 2011, 89min, in Hungarian

Q&A with screenwriter Norbert Kobli

Presented by the Hungarian Cultural Center

Cast: Zsolt Nagy, Janos Kulka, Peter Scherer, Andras Balogh, Gabriella Hamori

Official Selection – Karlovy Vary International Festival, Montreal World Film Festival

In the territory of secret agents, it’s never easy to know who is watching whom, who is the hunter and who is the hunted. In 1950s Communist Hungary, the secrets and enemy sides were aplenty and the stakes as high as they come. Loyalty to the state had to be proven and counter-revolutionaries uncovered, especially if they came in the form of a beautiful seductress. But who will be the last one left standing remains to be seen.

The Taste of Creme Brulee (O Sabor do Leite Creme), directed by Hiroatsu Suzuki and Rossana Torres

Portugal, 2012, 74min, documentary, in Portuguese

Presented by the Embassy of Portugal and Instituto Camoes

Official Selection – DocLisboa (main competition)

The filmmakers devote their film to the passing of time in a house occupied by two elderly sisters. Looking out from their old house to the street and the school where they both used to teach, the sisters share their unhurried life tending to the house, their garden, and each other. Only the garden reveals the passing of time and changing seasons as the film quietly observes what life brings in old age, through the sublime, affecting camerawork of Hiroatsu Suzuki.

still 1 O Sabor do Leite Creme

Tilva Rosh (Tilva Ros), directed by Nikola Lezaic

Serbia, 2010, 99min, in Serbian

Q&A with the director

Presented thanks to support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding

Cast: Marko Todorovic, Stefan Djordjevic, Dunja Kovacevic

Official Selection – Sarajevo International Film Festival (winner Best Film), Locarno Film Festival

The story is set in Bor, Serbia, once the pride of Yugoslav industry as the largest copper mine in Europe, now just the biggest abandoned hole in the ground. Two best friends kill time during their first summer after high school by enacting Jackass-like stunts and recording them on video to share with the world. Their friendship starts to unravel over their romantic interest in the same girl and tension due to the fact that only one of them has enough money to go to university. But the rising union protests in town bring them back together.  Traveling the worldwide festival circuit, director Lezaic is making his first New York public appearance with his debut feature at Disappearing Act.

Tomboy, directed by Celine Sciamma

France, 2011, 82min, in French

Presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. A Dada Films release.

Cast: Zoe Heran, Malonn Levana, Jeanne Disson, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy

Official Selection – Berlin International Film Festival (winner of Teddy Award)

Winner of numerous festival awards, Tomboy tells a story of finding one’s sexual identity. A 10-year-old girl takes advantage of her family’s move to a new neighborhood to present herself as a boy to her new friends. Her potential love interest, soccer teammates, and finally her parents find out what has been going on, but what ensues is one of the most tenderly resolved situations seen in the coming-of-age and LGBT film genre.

Tuesday, After Christmas (Marti, dupa Craciun), directed by Radu Muntean

Romania, 2010, 99min, in Romanian

Presented by the Romanian Film Initiative. A Kino Lorber release.

Cast: Mimi Branescu, Mirela Oprisor, Maria Popistasu, Dragos Bucur

Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard

Radu Muntean is one of the filmmakers whose works gave birth to the Romanian New Wave. In a signature style, his films are carried out with careful attention to every word uttered and every moment of silence experienced with his characters. Never simplistic morality tales, the sympathies towards each character shift from one to the other as more details about their lives are revealed. So it is with this story of a middle-aged man in love with two women: his wife and mother of his only child, and his younger new lover. He’s set on leaving one of them before Christmas, and with every minute of the film the atmosphere gets heavier as the crucial moment draws near.

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