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The International Film Festival is just beginning to warm up, but the student competition has already started on Sunday, as well as the press conference with the legendary Hungarian director Marta Meszaros was held, her film “The Unburied Man/ A Temetetlen halott” was presented and a series of films, which have already become the international event, were shown out of competition. For more on these events see in the review of Re:plika.
At the opening ceremony of the 46th KIFF “Molodist” the worldwide renowned director from Hungary Marta Meszaros has been already awarded the prize for contribution to the world cinema. In her arsenal there are a lot of awards from different international festivals for all her long creative activities (including the Golden Bear and the Silver Bear at the Berlinale and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival). Despite her venerable age, the director came to Kiev to take part in the festival - not only to obtain the honorary prize, but also to present her only historical film “The Unburied Man/ A Temetetlen halott” (2004) as part of the program “Hungarian Rhapsody” and slightly lift the veil on her new film.
At the press conference dedicated to her prize distribution Marta Meszaros said that she had never been interested in historical subject matter as a source of inspiration for her films (as opposed to her first husband, the director Miklós Jancsó, who directed many historical films). But “The Unburied Man” was inspired by the story of her friend who had been searching for her father for a long time to arrange his burial. The film tells the story of the last years of life of the Prime Minister Imre Nagy, who became a symbol and inspirer of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, brutally suppressed by the Soviet army.
As the “Special Event” at the film festival there was a premiere of the new documentary by Sergei Loznitsa “Austerlitz”, showing tourist visits to former Nazi concentration camps in black and white. Without changing his documentary research technique - static camera in several places of the location under study - Loznitsa again falls back on colorless visualization of what is happening. In “Austerlitz” this technique is particularly strong because it removes from attention all the colors, distracting and blurring the focus, and brings it to the main point – relations between dynamic (flow of people) and static (memory of the place) matters.
Being talented documentary filmmaker, Loznitsa accurately builds anthropological play from a great number of hours of video footage as follows: museum entrance, walking around its main places, culminating near the crematoria and leaving museum through the gate, periodically placing accents with the help of passages from excursions of multilingual guides about horrors and atrocities that were happening in this place. Thereby, the viewer is involved in this process and does not forget why this place is memorable.
However, without moralizing conclusions and excessive editing the director presents the viewer what is happening in such a way that you involuntarily understand: in such a place standard tourist behavior with clicking cameras and all kinds of selfie on the background of former crematorium or at the museum exit look not simply inappropriate, but even sacrilegious. Collective unconscious flow appears before us. Mass customary actions reveal the unconscious exactly where the realization should be our primary reaction – those horrible events should never be repeated again.
Perhaps this massive involvement has effaced the boundaries of the possible and appropriate realization. And we, the audience, cannot guarantee that if we suddenly find ourselves in this flow of people, we would not be affected while wandering through the places where our skin crawls with fear and everything else stands still in silence due to horror and understanding. We are those who enter cinema hall with burger and fries from McDonald's during such-like movie screening.
Also as part of “Special Events” it was shown the owner of the Grand Prix of Odessa International Film Festival this year - British tragicomedy “Burn Burn Burn”, directed by Chanya Button, tickets for which were bought in the blink of an eye. This road-movie tells the story about two friends who travel on their car in order to scatter the ashes of their best friend Dan, who deceased due to cancer, and follow his detailed video instructions. The film touches by its sincerity, warmth and feeling. Plus, such a movie is a breath of fresh air against the background of a series of festival films, most of which reveal the problems of society or a person in the sense of pessimism.
Photographs by the author and press-service of KIFF “Molodist”