goEast, take twelve
by Bénédicte Prot
18/04/2012 - The 12th goEast Film Festival kicks off today at the Caligari-FilmBühne in Wiesbaden, one of Germany’s most beautiful cinemas, and will continue until April 24. As has been custom since the festival was first founded by Claudia Dillmann, now president of the German Film Institute, the event is again headed by a woman, Gaby Babic, as both director and artistic director of the festival for the second year in a row since her arrival. The event, which follows on from an East European Week held until the 1980s to give people from West Germany an idea of what was happening on the other side of the Iron Curtain, has for 12 years aimed at fuelling real dialogue, not only between Eastern and Western Europe through a young generation of directors, but also between professionals and the public, as well as professors and students.
goEast will open to the amused and ironic tone of Four Suns (photo) by Czech director Bohdan Sláma (Country Teacher [trailer, film focus]), a film that follows the absurd misfortunes of a father who has just moved with his family to the countryside. He is fired for smoking a joint in the factory toilets, his adolescent son regularly skips school with a Punk friend, and his wife is cheating on him with one of his son’s teachers. The advice he receives from his best friend only adds to the bizarre chain of events.
Four Suns is one of the ten fiction features and six documentaries selected for the festival’s competition, from among which an international jury headed by Romanian director Cristi Puiu will choose the winners of four awards (total value of €29,500) and the FIPRESCI Award. Other contenders include European co-production Practical Guide to Belgrade With Singing and Crying by Serbian filmmaker Bojan Vuletić, made up of four promisingly entertaining episodes, 2011 Cannes contender Avé [trailer, film focus] by Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov, and Adalbert's Dream in which Gabriel Achim recreates a day in 1986 Romania, after the victory of Steaua Bucarest against FC Barcelona, an event immediately used by the communist regime for propaganda.
Besides the student competition, special sections to stimulate discussion, meetings for young professionals, and an exhaustive symposium on Lenfilm, the very first Soviet film studio, a programme on the theme of revolt will bring together classics (including the Man of Iron by Andrzej Wajda) and other recent titles. The Highlights section will gives the public the occasion to discover unmissable productions, like Czech director Václav Havel’s Leaving, while the Hommage section will retrace the work of Russian director Sergei Loznitsa, who became famous worldwide in 2010 for the violent My Joy [trailer], selected for the Cannes competition, and winner of the Grand Prix at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
(Translated from French)