Zud set to be showcased in Berlin’s Generation section
by Dorota Hartwich
- After making a splash with her documentary shorts, Marta Minorowicz will unveil her debut feature-length fiction film at Berlin
Having won awards at such gatherings as Clermont-Ferrand, Leipzig and Lodz with her documentary shorts, Marta Minorowicz will unveil her debut feature-length fiction film, Zud [+see also:
film profile], as a world premiere in the Generation Kplus programme of the 66th Berlin Film Festival (11-21 February 2016).
The director is fascinated by nature – which she had already placed centre stage in her best-known film, A Piece of Summer (winner of the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand in 2011) – and she has made it her main focus once again in Zud. As she has explained, this single-word title refers to a phenomenon whereby nature suddenly and uncontrollably takes over the lives of people and animals.
Shot over more than three years on the steppes of Mongolia, Zud (the screenplay for which was written by the filmmaker together with Kenneth McBride) revolves around Sukhbat, an 11-year-old boy who has to take on an adult’s task. He must tame a wild horse and win a horse race, as the fate of his entire family depends on it. "At the outset, as we went to Mongolia, I was thinking about making a documentary with my crew,” explained Minorowicz. “But the stories of the nomads started to evolve towards a fictional tale that we eventually created a long time afterwards, at the editing stage." Interestingly, the lead roles in Zud were entrusted to people who lived on the steppe (Sukhbat Batsaikhan and his father, Batsaikhan Budee), and the rest of the cast comprised nomads.
The critics have established a parallel between Minorowicz’s style and the films of Sergei Dvortsevoy, and the director also acknowledges the influence of Andrei Tarkovski, even though it is impossible to draw direct analogies.
A co-production between Poland and Germany, via Anna Wydra for Otter Films and duo Ann Carolin Renninger and Thomas Kufus for Zero One Film, Zud was supported by the Polish Film Institute, Eurimages, the FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Medienboard Berlin–Brandenburg and the Media programme. International sales are handled by Manuela Buono for Slingshot Films.
(Translated from French)