Festival winners

Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
89′
The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector. The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing - to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers - and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)
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Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
136′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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Dogman (2018)
Matteo Garrone
Italy
99′
Marcello, a small and gentle dog groomer, finds himself involved in a dangerous relationship of subjugation with Simone, a former violent boxer who terrorises the entire neighbourhood. In an effort to reaffirm his dignity, Marcello will submit to an unexpected act of vengeance.
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with bonus
Félicité (2017)
Alain Gomis
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
124′
Bonus: Interview with Alain Gomis (in french)
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
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Lerchen am Faden (1969)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
94′
Larks on a String is a Czech film directed by Jiří Menzel. The movie was banned by the Czechoslovak government. It saw release in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. Menzel tells the stories of various characters considered bourgeois by Czechoslovakia's communist government in the 1950s, who have been forced to work in a junkyard for the purposes of re-education.
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On Body and Soul (2017)
Ildiko Enyedi
Hungary
116′
Two introverted people find out by pure chance that they share the same dream every night. They are puzzled, incredulous, a bit frightened. As they hesitantly accept this strange coincidence, they try to recreate in broad daylight what happens in their dream.
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Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
151′
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that "something new and different" will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
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Ray & Liz (2018)
Richard Billingham
United Kingdom
108′
On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break social taboos as they muddle through a life decided by factors beyond their control. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humor, three episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat.
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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
Michail Kalatosow
Russia
91′
Veronika and Boris come together in Moscow shortly before World War II. Walking along the river, they watch cranes fly overhead, and promise to rendezvous before Boris leaves to fight. Boris misses the meeting and is off to the front lines, while Veronika waits patiently, sending letters faithfully. After her house is bombed, Veronika moves in with Boris’ family, into the company of a cousin with his own intentions.
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The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
Claudia Llosa
Peru
94′
When her mother dies, Fausta is forced to face her fears, that she got as ababy with the milk of her mother. Fausta now sets out on a journey - a journey that will lead her out of her fear and into freedom. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s film addresses a dark era of her country’s history. It won the Golden Bear in Berlin and was nominated for the Oscars in 2010.
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The mirror - Zerkalo (1975)
Andrei Tarkowski
Russia
107′
Alyosha, a 40-year-old filmmaker, falls seriously ill. He remembers his past and collects the memories that marked his life: the house of his childhood, his mother waiting for the improbable return of her husband, the poems of his father, his wife and his son that he has not seen for a long time, the tumult of the Second World War.
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Wolf And Sheep (2016)
Shahrbanoo Sadat
Afghanistan
87′
In rural Afghanistan, people believe in the stories they invent to tell each other, explaining the mysteries of the world, they don’t understand. Shepherd children own the mountains. Even though there are no grown ups around, they know the rules very well; the main one is that boys and girls are not allowed to be together, they have to be separated. The boys practice with their slings to fight the wolves should they attack the flock. The girls smoke dried branches of wheat secretly and play wedding, dreaming of getting a husband soon. They gossip about every one and everything, but mostly about Sediqa, 11, an outsider among the shepherd children. They think she is cursed, as an evil ghost disguised as a snake bewitched her grandmother. Sediqa picks up her sheep and goats every morning and drops them in the owner’s house every evening. She dreams of having a sling and learn to swing it like the boys and hit a wolf. Qodrat, 11, becomes the gossip topic of everyone after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. He prefers to be alone in the most isolated parts of the mountains. This is where he meets Sediqa and they become friends until Qodrat’s mother has to send him away.
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