Ex Oriente Film
Projects selected for the 2010 Ex Oriente Film (listed alphabetically by country):
Djangarchi , Croatia, 52 min, Music
Djangarchi is a film about Oleg Mankuev, one of four throat singers, the Djangarchi, from Kalmikija. Kalmikija is an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation and the only Buddhist country in Europe. Djangar is an epic poem that has been sung since ancient times. This poem is the carrier of national pride and identity of the people of Kalmikija throughout generations. Djangarchi has also been called ‘the carrier of eternity‘. Conceived as an exciting road movie documentary, the film follows Oleg's journey from Kalmikija to Croatia, in search of his own identity and new musician friends. By singing this old epic poem, Oleg is about to leave his motherland Kalmikija and is about to go to Rijeka (Croatia) to cooperate with Damir Martinovic, the frontman and the producer of Let 3, a famous and surely the most eccentric Croatian band.
Mechanical Figures , Croatia, 70 min, Animated, Art and Culture, Science and Technology
Inspired by Nikola Tesla, this visually intriguing animated/interactive documentary guides the viewer through the creative process. Twirling around the world, from Zagreb, through London, Paris, Budapest, New York, Tokyo and New Zealand, capturing the present, the future and the past of technological and social development initiated by some of Tesla's inventions, from alternating current to radio, the film questions the synergy of creation and sustainability through a story about art, science and technology, featuring Laurie Anderson, Terry Guilliam, Marina Abramovic, Andy Serkis and Hiroshi Matsumoto, amongst others.
Chatařství , Czech Republic, 57 min, DVD, HD, Art and Culture, Creative, Docu series
The art documentary film Summerhouses will capture the rapidly disappearing, specifically Czech phenomenon, the architecture of summerhouses. It is about summerhouses in which the striking personality of their builder – in the negative or positive sense – is reflected. They are the embodied form of human dreams, for these buildings create their own worlds which are an escape from the reality of the everyday. They are not emergency shelters; they are the architecture of an abstracted human happiness. The changes in society are reflected in them under the pressure of the time, the fettered human longings, opinions, a certain type of ‘trampish Romanticism‘, a longing for nature, for freedom, but also for community and creativity, linked with a do-it-yourself instinct, and a relative absence of religion. In the Czech countryside they are impossible to overlook and at the same time rapidly and irretrievably disappearing.
Dobré mravy , Czech Republic, 80 min, HD, Current affairs, Social issues, Society
Good Manners is a cinematic essay about decency. Everyday banal situations that bring to light those dark places in us that unveil the thin border separating the normal from the abnormal and the forces causing the failure of the multicultural social model. Janov, a neighbourhood of the Czech town of Litvínov, gained notoriety last year after a violent clash between nationalist extremists and local Roma inhabitants. The conflict was profusely medialized, inspiring several television reports. The focus of our attention, however, is neither the open conflict, nor the dramatic encounters between the two sides. We are not interested in extremist speeches and clashes but in the platitudes of everyday life. We want to see how the residents of Janov live and how they perceive themselves, what they consider standard and how they define for themselves the concept of decency.
Czech Republic / Slovakia
Nový život rodinného alba , Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 57 min, Digi Beta, Creative, Personal view
My film takes place in Slovakia where the model of the traditional family continues to be a very strongly held value in society. For the younger generation, however, this model would seem to be a thing of the past, and their entire perception of the issue is changing. Lately, I have also been witness to a change in attitude among parents in their middle age, with many abandoning their families and leaving behind the past they once shared. Could this behavior be the result of our traditional family heritage? In order to find out, I decided to film my family – mainly my five younger sisters – after our father left, causing a large Catholic family to suddenly collapse. What does it mean for us? Will we be able to move on?
Family Business , Germany, 90 min, 35 mm, Social issues
The film shows the life of two families, brought together by an emergency. In a German family, grandma becomes a nursing case. Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a mother leaves her family in order to help the German. A film about the economies of families in the Western and Eastern parts of Europe. Carefully, from both sides, the film delves into the subtle texture of everyday drama, brought on by the situation: the daughter‘s irritated look to her mother, who allows herself to be stroked by the foreign woman; the helpless anger over a bland Polish meal because the ingredients are missing; the unintentional comedy of co-existence with two different languages. It is a trade, but no easy trade. Money and feelings cannot be swapped unopposed. While the German family ‘imports‘ a missing family member and regains some balance, the Polish family loses its centre: the mother.
Phantomschmerz Mladic , Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Serbia, 90 min, HD, Personal view, Politics, Society
Ratko Mladic, son of a Yugoslav partisan, former general from Bosnia, Serbian nationalist, responsible for systematic rape, expulsion and incredibly brutal murder...a free man. The Court of Justice in The Hague will be closing the files on Mladic in 2011 at the latest. It is hard for me to think about the man described above and that he still is on the loose. In mid-October I will be giving birth to a son. An alleged murder and war criminal has no place next to baby socks and hats. Or maybe it is exactly the right moment for me to think about the values I want to pass along to my son. My film project Phantom Pain Mladic focuses on the topics of humanity, reconciliation, and justice. The film shows how individuals and their children and even more generations have been suffering under brutal power politics.
Dzimis Rīgā , Latvia, 75 min, HD, Art and Culture, History
Escaping Riga is a cinematic journey, a docu-fiction trying to find answers to the question how the history of the 20th century has influenced people from the same place to lose their childhood illusions of comfort and become totally disillusioned. The main characters of the film are two world-class 20th century geniuses, the British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin and the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein who were born in the city of Riga around a hundred years ago. Blending small everyday episodes of the lives of the two personalities and narrated by the director, the film is a personal interpretation of their life stories in the time period from their first meeting at the beginning of the 20th century to their second and last meeting after two world wars in 1945.
Bracia , Poland, 80 min, HD, Creative
The film is a journey through Stalin gulags and European Union salons. It is a story about determination, dreams, obstacles and the power of fraternal love. The film will tell the story of an unusual life of two brothers and their complicated relationship. A pragmatist and a dreamer, water and fire. One painted great maps and the other one – great paintings. Alfons is a painter and an acrobat; the archetype of artist. Mieczyslaw is a cartographer, looking after the house and trying to simpilify his brother’s grand plans.The film revolves around a dream – before he dies, Alfons would like to present his paintings in Brussels. However, on his return from Brussels, Alfons finds out that his paintings had been destroyed in a fire. Once again they are homeless and they have to start all over again. Will they succeed?
Witamy w klubie bogatych , Poland, 55 min, Digi Beta, Culture, Ecology
Papua New Guinea, Sandaun province. Interior covered with impenetrable forest. A film about the secret murder of wives of the chieftain leads us directly to a conflict of two tribes. Imbiniss people are clearing their virgin jungle and they work with a Chinese corporation to start an oil palm plantation here. They want to have shoes, money, the road and normal houses as people of the modern world. Neighbouring Ossima maintains the traditional lifestyle like thousands of years before. A dispute about the border piece of the jungle is breaking out, and in the background – a dispute over values. Let us see from close up how another fragment disappears from the tropical forest, let us get to know the hopes and conflicts of people who are behind this decision.
Poland / Russia
A Lifetime Is Not Enough , Poland, 90 min, 35 mm, Art and Culture, Portrait
The protagonists are three film studios: in Russia (Mosfilm), in Poland (WFF nr1) and in Belarus (Belarusfilm) and three film directors: Vyrypayev, Żuławski and Kudinenko who currently work there. These were the three most important film studios in the former Eastern bloc. They were the birthplace for a generation raised in a controlled distribution of culture, socialist economy and permanent oppression. One day, the system collapsed and so did the studios. Twenty years later, the three film studios and countries represent three different worlds: from Lukashenko’s communist museum through post-economic crisis in Mosfilm to Poland planning in 2010 to put an end to the last so-called ‘film institutions‘. A new generation of filmmakers enters the old studios. Xawery Żuławski, Andriej Kudinenko and Ivan Vyrypayev are among the most talented directors of their generation. They share the same passion but face very different realities.
Poland / UK
Dust Dream , Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, 60 min, Digi Beta, Adventure and Sport
Charismatic coach Jagdish Singh and his boxing protégées have garnered success and awards, including the first Olympic medal for India, placing the dusty Indian city of Bhiwani firmly on the international sporting map. Yet controversial training methods remain under scrutiny by suspicious sports authorities with Coach Jagdish excluded from key champion fights. Dust Dream charts Jagdish’s fight for official recognition alongside the personal journey of three of his students – including one of the first female Indian recruits – as they dedicate their lives to the demanding regime of the Bhiwani Boxing Club and the promise of a better future. As Jagdish Singh prepares his boxers to compete at London 2012, he is simultaneously fighting for the recognition of his own name and that of his boxing club.
The Devil's Choice , Romania, 52 min, Digi Beta, HD, Social issues
How can you best understand a town – Copsa Mica – that by the end of the year 2008 was considered the most polluted town in Europe? I presume that through the people of the place and through their inheritance: their children, a lot of scrap iron, chronic diseases, the Romanian government that’s one-sided when it comes to the factory’s owners, lead and cadmium in the soil, in the street dust and inside the inhabitants’ bodies, but also a lot of music, parties and prayers for a better life, the strong, collective hope that the factory will reopen one day. A portrait of a town still coming to terms with the end of communism and especially with the implementation of capitalism in Romania; a town with a murky past, an uncertain future and a present with a big collective wish that the Nonferrous Metallurgical Plant should reopen.
Unfortunately, one of the Ex oriente projects will not make it to this year`s East European Forum.
Ma Lo , Poland, 52 min, Digi Beta
The film is set in Thailand, by the border with Burma. The Karen tribe (Burmese escapees) are famous all over the world for their giraffe-women. With metal rings, coiling round their necks, they are a tourist attraction. Ma Lo, the heroine of the film, a young woman in her early twenties, gets rid of the rings and makes a decision to build her own village, that would not depend on the Thais. But the Ma Lo’s initiative is against the interest of the bosses of the tourist villages. They put it bluntly: Ma Lo will die if her village does not disappear…