MAGNIFICIENT SEVEN 2007 - European feature documentary film festival - Belgrade

by MagnificentSevenFestival | created - 20 Feb 2013 | updated - 14 Jan 2014 | Public

One should go for innovation but also honour roots and tradition - this is what we do in Belgrade year after year with a festival that carries the name of a mainstream American movie but has its focus on poetry and independent, personal storytelling.

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1. Black Sun (2005)

Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary

Gary Tarn's remarkable, award-winning documentary, BLACK SUN, investigates this through the story of Hugues de Montalembert, a New York-based artist and filmmaker who was blinded by a vicious attack in 1978.

Director: Gary Tarn | Star: Hugues de Montalembert

Votes: 324

French painter and filmmaker Hugues de Montalembert had never even met a blind person when suddenly, violently, he became one. This artist living in New York, suffered vicious assault in his own apartment by two men looking for money. After one of the attackers threw a vial of paint thinner in his face, he could feel his sight fading almost at the same moment. “Black Sun” is a unique cinema experience, one that resonates long after viewing. As a film about loss, perception, memory and faith, its insights are offered with simplicity, lightness and beauty. Filmmaker Gary Tarn takes the notion that de Montalembert was making films in his mind. So Tarn spins these visions into a fluidly impressionistic flow of imagery, sometimes powerful, other times intentionally banal. The film is also an aural masterpiece. Since the director started as a composer “Black Sun” was also his sound experiment with integrating spoken word with orchestral scores. The problem of blindness is often depicted in the movies, but rarely in such poetic and truthful way.

2. Ine svety (2006)

74 min | Documentary

People from the region of Saris have been often called crazy Easterners. The OTHER WORLDS are following six of them to the end of the world, to the end of the world. They're a product made in Saris.

Director: Marko Skop | Stars: Ignac Cervenak, Ján Lazorík, Fedor Vico

Votes: 56

Saris in the East of Slovakia is a very specific border region between Eastern and Western Europe. Borderline between rational individualism of the West and expressive emotionality of the East. The territory in the foothills of Eastern Carpathians has always been strongly traditional, but also a crazy mix, a „little Babylon“. Europe has started its transformation again and life is changing rapidly. This film is trying, by tracking down the traces of globalizing process, to reveal how it effects individual lives and stories of the people. Getting closer to six depicted characters, different by their origin and environment, we discover numerous unexpected, dramatic and often comic changes in small communities of Sarisans, Ruthenians, Jews, Romanies. Traditional diversities are vanishing among young people, but economic stratification shows drastic differences. A unique product with a label “made in Saris”.

In a Paris suburb, Epinay-sur-Seine, in the neighborhood called “la Source”, Ali’s grocery store is the only shop still in business of the decayed shopping center. This small shop is like a haven where all the neighbours meet up. How customers arrive, one after the other, under the happy gaze of Ali, the charismatic owner, who sings once in a while, we see bits and pieces of their personal stories and everyday problems as signs of rough and grey life in the suburb. Mediterranian world, Africa and overseas countries, all that is represented through people of different races and origines in this neighborhood built of grey concrete buildings. That new world, with some of the French, tries to preserve the colourfulness and joy of life, The film shows us the importance of the small shop “around the corner”: a space, where you can find human warmth, laughter and conviviality in spite of the difficult conditions.

This is a story about the quest for one’s origin that turns into exciting “road movie” full of unexpected twists. Kirsten Blohm leaves Denmark traveling to the place of her birth – to the place where the American prison in post-war Germany was. This traveling takes us to the space of once torn and divided Europe just after the Word War II and this family story becomes universal. Series of dramatic events with unpredictable consequences builds this story that takes our breath away, as the most exciting thrillers. Turns and colourful details are interlaced in this investigation full of black holes and surprises, pleasant and unpleasant. This is the film that shows the heaviness of facing important questions that have no answers any more. Facing the emptiness and secret.

5. Dreaming by Numbers (2006)

75 min | Documentary

In the narrow streets of Naples a lottery parlour has been run by one family for a few generations. Each and every customer has their favourite numbers and theories as to what brings good luck and how to interpret dreams using numbers.

Director: Anna Bucchetti | Stars: Giuseppe Imbucci, Salvatore Marra, Angela Nioli, Maria Nioli

Votes: 62

A film about the Neapolitan belief in numbers. Naples is one of the places in the world where numbers have a different meaning, where they assume identites that are connected to the culture of a people and to ancient traditions. Up there, numbers are records of important events, images that leave profound impressions. Numbers take the form of memories, people and become something intimate. Behind seemingly sterile and abstract numbers tragedies and dreams lie, and also everyday life, the struggle to survive under the most difficult circumstances. Numbers represent the conviction that things can change. When the lotto game became popular in Italy in the 17th century in Naples the occurrence of a special event, like a thunder in the summer storm, was interpreted as a sign of Fate and was translated into a number. During very long time fifty tousand words got unbreakable binding with numbers in the old dream-book La smorfia Napoletana. This book bacame a manual for lotto game, a game which with all its rituals is a paradoxical expression of the unfulfilled need for stability and protection, an escape from reality with all its cares and uncertainties.

6. Vikarien (2006)

85 min | Documentary

A substitute teacher working in the suburbs of Stockholm finds himself increasingly disillusioned about his job. He calls his mentor, a 75-year-old veteran, who travels to Stockholm. ... See full summary »

Directors: Åsa Blanck, Johan Palmgren | Stars: Folke Silvén, Max Wejstorp

Votes: 127

Painful memories of the past and uncertainty for the future are parcels of the lives of young teenagers with foreign backgrounds. At a school where they are the majority a young teacher, Max tries without much success, to teach “New Swedes” who are more interested in their cell phones than their schoolbooks. That’s way he asks for the help his much older colleague, Folke, who prefers the old fashioned educational principals. Surprisingly, that old fashioned way has a positive effect on the class. This film deals with problems of people in political asylum thorn with the constant threat of deportation to countries of their origin; problems of different languages and cultures; problems of not belonging.

7. Exile Family Movie (2006)

93 min | Documentary

An Iranian family living in political exile in Europe and America decides to organize a secret meeting with the rest of the family still living in Iran whom they haven't seen for nearly two... See full summary »

Director: Arash T. Riahi | Stars: Hamid, Parvin, Arash T. Riahi

Votes: 64

An Iranian family living in political exile in Europe and America decides to organise a secret meeting with the rest of the family still living in Iran. They haven't seen each other for nearly two decades, but other than that they are a normal big family: sweet grandfather, smart grandmother, beautiful aunts, loud cousins. Despite all the dangers, the long awaited, tearful reunion takes place after 20 years of separation in Saudi Arabia, in a small hotel room. The family members living in exile pretend to be Muslim pilgrims in order to be allowed to enter the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. This is entirely personal story about the director himself and his family: “I had to make this film, despite the dangers involved with shooting, and regardless of the dangers the finished product would represent for me. The film is a product of the inner compulsion, born of a need to continue struggling for humanism, as my parents have done their entire lives, with the means available to me in order to honor them and others like them in the process.”

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