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VILNIUS 2019

Vilnius Film Festival reserves a special place for the bravest films

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- The 24th edition of Vilnius Film Festival “Kino Pavasaris” has anticipated the arrival of spring by revealing its line-up and turning its attention to Claire Denis and Djibril Diop Mambéty

Vilnius Film Festival reserves a special place for the bravest films
Leto (The Summer) by Kirill Serebrennikov

The upcoming edition of the Vilnius Film Festival (21 March-4 April), the biggest in Lithuania, which has been bolstered by a recently renewed team of programmers, will see 170 films screened across five sections: Festivals’ Favourites, Discoveries, Critics’ Choice, Masters and European Debut Competition. They include such sure-fire hits as Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto (The Summer) [+see also:
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, scheduled to open the festival, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Palme d’Or winner, ShopliftersNadine Labaki’s Oscar-nominated Capernaum [+see also:
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, and more recent fare, like May el-Toukhy’s Queen of Hearts [+see also:
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, featuring yet another fearless turn from Trine Dyrholm, this time playing a woman embarking on an affair with her teenage stepson.

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New local titles will be represented as well, with screenings of Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s Acid Forest [+see also:
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Marija Kavtaradzė’s Summer Survivors [+see also:
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 and Aistė Žegulytė’s unusual documentary Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things) [+see also:
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interview: Aistė Žegulytė
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– the last two making it into the European Debut Competition, where they will be competing alongside the likes of last year’s Golden Bear winner, Touch Me Not [+see also:
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interview: Adina Pintilie
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, the animated take on Ryszard Kapuściński’s book Another Day of Life [+see also:
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interview: Raul de la Fuente
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 and the frankly bonkers Diamantino [+see also:
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 by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, whose irresistible combination of fluffy, pink clouds and giant poodles has already earned it the Grand Prix in the Cannes Critics’ Week.

“I am extremely happy that a couple of years ago, we decided to discontinue two competition programmes, among which was New Europe New Names, focusing on Eastern and Central European debuts. It was reinforcing this very old-fashioned division,” clarifies programmer Aistė Račaitytė. “Opening up the competition allowed us to create a more diverse and interesting type of programming. Now we can concentrate on debuts that look for a way to break free from existing norms, instead of repeating them. Movies like Ray & Liz [+see also:
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by Richard Billingham or Sauvage [+see also:
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by Camille Vidal-Naquet – films with a very bold cinematic style. We will show traditional narratives, but also experimental, documentary and animated forms, which might make the jury’s job a little complicated,” she jokes. “This formal diversity continues to be a central part of our programme. We are trying to provide a new perspective on the future of European cinema.”

With new team members on board, also including Alessandra Pastore as head of industry, there are many novelties to come – such as Screen 9. “It was our new curatorial idea  – to create a special place for the bravest films in our programme,” senior programmer Mantė Valiūnaitė explains to Cineuropa. “We decided to dedicate it to films that are brave in their stylistic decisions and the retrospectives. As our programme is big and diverse, we are hoping to create a small oasis for people whose tastes lean towards more experimental titles. This way, they will know where to find something that has been curated just for them.” The screening room will open with Jeremy Shaw’s Quantification Trilogy, followed by a conversation with the Canadian-born artist, who will be attending the event. 

Screen 9 will also accommodate the two newest shorts by Ben Rivers and Julien Faraut’s documentary John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection [+see also:
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, as well as a special screening dedicated to Jonas Mekas – a Lithuanian-American filmmaker who sadly passed away in January. “As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty is the essence of documentary cinema coming to life,” argues programmer Gediminas Kukta, a self-confessed fan of the genre. “I am delighted that we have succeeded in getting such strong documentary films for different sections. They are interesting because of the themes they explore, the forms they take, or because they rethink and expand the entire genre,” he adds, his excitement shared by Mantė Valiūnaitė: “I am also very happy about our two retrospectives [dedicated to] Claire Denis and Djibril Diop Mambety,” she says. Both of these filmmakers expanded film language and created a unique way of speaking about important issues, such as the consequences of living abroad or losing one’s place. We will show nine films by Claire Denis, from her debut, Chocolat, to her newest outing, High Life [+see also:
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, and most of the movies will be shown from 35 mm prints.” Djibril Diop Mambéty’s retrospective will include two features: Touki Bouki and Hyenas.

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