An homage to Walerian Borowczyk at Slovakia’s Febiofest
by Martin Kudláč
- The Slovakian film festival is spotlighting Borowczyk, Helena Třeštíková and Albert Serra, among others
A Slovakian film festival aimed at promoting arthouse cinema will honour the tenth anniversary of the passing of Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk in a single retrospective section; the director left us in 2006, having made a body of provocative films using the dominant aspects of fantasy and eroticism. “Vehemently against categorisation of any sort, this programme encompasses each and every facet of Borowczyk’s artistic output: short films, animation and live action. Taken individually, Borowczyk's films may appear quite different. Nevertheless, when seen together, as this retrospective permits, they form a coherent whole,” says Daniel Bird, one of the curators responsible for the retrospective. Among the selected films are notorious Borowczyk titles such as Goto, Island of Love, Immoral Tales, Blanche, The Strange Case of Mr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne and The Beast, but also the lesser-known shorts The Phonograph, Scherzo Infernal, Rosalie and others.
The organisers changed the name of the gathering from the Febiofest International Film Festival to the International Festival of Film Clubs Febiofest for the upcoming 23rd edition. “This year’s festival will be an homage to arthouse cinema – not only contemporary films but also older ones. The focus on film clubs enables us to present the essence of the work of ‘clubbers’… Above all, they represent a willingness to look at the world through the prism of contemporary cinema, to share experiences from screening films with other viewers, and to discuss, learn and search for opinions and stories on the big screen that help us to understand today’s world,” said the festival’s artistic director, Přemysl Martinek, who was appointed to the position last year. The gathering will showcase productions from the Visegrad region, chiefly in the “In the Middle of Europe” main short-film competition, while keeping an eye on arthouse fare destined for film clubs.
This same special treatment is also being applied to domestic cinema in the “Slovak Film Country” section, which will unveil ten Slovakian films as domestic premieres. Among them is 5 October, the medium-length directorial debut by Slovakian photographer and cinematographer Martin Kollár, which was world-premiered at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam – the movie is a visual diary of the director’s brother’s struggle with disease. Other titles featuring in this section are Marek Mackovič’s bicycle-focused documentary Okhwan’s Mission Impossible (read the news), a collaborative effort by Czech and Slovakian documentarians Filip Remunda and Robert Kirchhoff, and Steam on the River, a documentary jam session about three musicians. The programme of fiction features includes the Polish-Czech-Slovakian co-production The Red Spider [+see also:
interview: Marcin Koszalka
film profile], the feature debut by Polish documentarian and cinematographer Marcin Koszałka, inspired by mass murders in Krakow in the 1960s, and the Berlinale-premiered existential drama based on the life and death of a woman who killed eight people in an act of revenge against society, I, Olga Hepnarová [+see also:
interview: Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
film profile]. The programmers have prepared two tributes to domestic filmmakers: one is for the revered director Dušan Trančík, who was most active in the 1970s and 1980s, and the other is dedicated to Vladimír Mičúch, known under the moniker Aramisova, who unexpectedly passed away last year while preparing his feature debut, Kids from the East (read the news).
In a special sidebar entitled “Personalities of Club Film”, the festival will welcome Georgian-French director Otar Iosseliani, Catalan auteur Albert Serra, Czech documentarian Helena Třeštíková and Czech director Petr Zelenka, who recently won the Czech Film Critics’ Awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay (read the news) as well as the Czech Lion for Best Screenplay. Besides screening titles from their filmographies, Třeštíková, Serra and Iosseliani will hold master classes, alongside producer Katarzyna Siniarska and film scholar Daniel Bird.
The International Festival of Film Clubs Febiofest runs from 17-23 March in Bratislava.