Day 7 19 September 2019.
Academy Award-winning director, Asif Kapadia is well known for his investigative documentaries with which he works toward uncovering the absolute truth. After Senna and Amy, Kapadia turns to another legend: Diego Maradona. The extraordinary portrait, that is screened at 2:30 PM in the Uránia room, shows us everything: the moments of incredible determination, the highs and lows of being an international superstar, the life of the God of Napoli, his relationship with gangsters and the moments of his downfall.
The Spanish competition film The Realm starts at 3:45 PM in the Pressburger room. The hero of the film, Manuel is an influential, charismatic politician with a good chance of rising from regional vice president to presidential position in the party. His perfect life, characterized by high-end restaurants and luxury yachts, is threatened when a leaked tape exposes his high-end dirty dealings to the public. His fellow party members select him as the scapegoat for the whole mess, but Manuel isn’t the type to “take one for the team”, not to this degree. The party’s golden boy needs to save himself before the press reveals everything.
After the mixed reception of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Academy-award winning director Ron Howard turns to a topic that bounds to succeed. A film on the life and work of opera legend Luciano Pavarotti equals the jackpot even if it doesn’t do anything else then showing us the legend’s greatest performances. That could be satisfying in itself, but Howard does so much more. He shows us Pavarotti, the man. Pavarotti runs as part of the CineDocs program at 4 PM in the Zukor room.
At 5 PM in the Uránia, Who Saw Her Die featuring one of the Lifetime Achievement Award winners of this year, George Lazenby is screened. A serial killer finds a new victim in the red-haired daughter (Nicoletta Elmi) of a renowned sculptor (George Lazenby) in Venice. After several attempts the veiled “black widow” strangles the girl and throws her corpse in the river when the father is meeting his love at his apartment. The father, overpowered by guilt, tries to deal with the tragedy together with his estranged wife (Anita Strindberg). When the police is incapable to find the killer, the father sets out to do his own investigation. In his cult-giallo the Italian director Aldo Lado recalls the special features of the genre together with the free-flowing pictures of Antonioni. Ennio Morricone’s scorching soundtrack adds a lot to the thrill.
At 5 PM in the Béke room we have a chance to meet the nominees of this year’s Dargay-prize. With Irén Henrik, Attila Dargay’s widow and creative partner, Melinda Kiss animation designer and head of the Department of Animation at METU, Anna Ida Orosz, curator of the Primanima Festival and animation referent of the Hungarian National Film Archive, József Fülöp, the rector of the MOME and Oscar-nominee Géza M. Tóth, manager of the Kedd Animation Studio, former rector of the University of Theatre and Film as its members, the jury chose four applicants as nominees of the CineFest’s 1 000 000 HUF Attila Dargay-prize in 2019. The nominees in alphabetical order are: Olivér Hegyi, Tamás Ivády, Tina Orosz and Lili Tóth.
At 6 PM in the Béke room the repetition of Tehran: City of Love is screened. Mosaics from Tehran where everyone wants to find happiness. The receptionist fighting against kilos, the former bodybuilder and the accidental wedding musician share the same goal. They want to find The One. A great Iranian tragicomedy with an exceptional cast and witty humor.
CineFest pays tribute to this year’s Ambassador of the European Cinema, Franco Nero by screening Django at 6:30 PM in the Pressburger room. This Spaghetti Western depicts the hardships of a lonely man with bitter irony and harsh realism. The veteran Django played by Franco Nero tries to run away from his past: he fought in the Union forces in the American Civil War, even though he is from the South. The Sergo Corbucci directed film became an international blockbuster and later a cult picture. The character of Django became so popular that it inspired numerous follow-ups and art films. Today the film is regarded as a classic like Leone’s Westerns.
Laika was a stray dog in the streets of Moscow until she has been chosen to be the first living being in space on board of Sputnik-2 and thus to certain death. According to a legend, she returned to Earth as a ghost and has roamed the streets of Moscow ever since. The film, Space Dogs is screened at 6:30 PM in the Zukor room as part of the CineDocs competition program. It is a meditative tribute to all four-legged beings who participated in the Space Race and also a rare treat because of the formerly unseen archive materials woven into the story. The film is accompanied by its makers to the CineFest, so the screening is followed by Q&A.
At 7 PM in the Uránia the Our Home- Miskolc program returns with Cremona Violins, Miskolc-based Musicians. The film is directed by László Kerényi returning to CineFest once again. His newest film is about Cremona and Miskolc’s musical connection, and a special guest performance. Egressy- Erkel Music School’s Youth Symphonic Orchestra (conductor: Péter Pál Gergely) was invited to perform in Italy, Cremona in 2017. Cremona is the homeland of very famous violin makers; currently 160 of them are working there trying to follow in Stradivari’s tracks. Miskolc’s Young musicians were contacted by Cremona-based Hungarian violin maker, István Kónya, who is known by locals as Stefano Conia. The 2017 concert’s specialty was that the orchestra’s stringed instruments (cellos and violins) were constructed by Cremona’s master violin makers. The film is followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.
The Open-Air Cinema at the Népkert is a joint program of the CineFest. Népkerti Vigadó és Söröző (Görgey Artúr út 23.) hosts the program. At 7:30 PM Pécsi szál is showed. The film examines the question of how Pécs became the center of the Hungarian popular music. Kispál és a Borz, Halott Pénz, Punnany Massif, 30Y, Eszter Takács and the Junkie Jack Flash – to name just a few of the bands who started their career in Pécs. What is the secret of Pécs? Not sparing himself or the band from Pécs, Simon Szabó tries to reveal the mistory. Balázs Lévai’s film is an investigation turned backstage party with the greatest starts of the Pécs pop scene. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Balázs Lévai director, scriptwriter.
As part of the Shanghai International Film Festival presents program the Festival offers three fresh Chinese movies. One of them is the A First Farewell starting at 8 PM in the Béke room. According to Variety it is a beautifully composed movie about children who have to face difficulties due to their faith. The film played by amateur child actors won Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale in the Generation Kplus program. The screening is followed by Q&A.
At 9 PM the Pressburger room welcomes the Hungarian premiere of Barnabás Tóth’s Those Who Remained. The film had its world premiere in Colorado, at the legendary Telluride Festival and the news arrived recently that the Hungarian Oscar Selection Committee enters it to be considered for nomination in the “Academy Awards – Best International Film” category. A lyrical story of a teenage girls and a middle-aged man finding comfort in the company of each other in post World War II Hungary. They both lost a lot and want to start a new life in the midst of the Rákosi-regime. If those who remained hold onto each other could they survive the tragedies of the past and the future? The screening is followed by Q&A.
At 9:15 PM in the Uránia room a new competition film The Lodge premieres. Richard and Grace are getting married. Richard’s two children are not so enthusiastic about it since they do not see how Grace is going to fit into the role of their mother. When Grace is left alone with the kids at a remote holiday village they do not fail to express their hostility. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place. With their earlier art-thriller ‘Goodnight Mommy!’ the Austrian directors, Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, have been part of CineFest’ competition program in 2015, so they are among our returning filmmakers this year.
One of the greatest craziness of this year’s Festival, the two-and-a-half-hours long Indian movie Gully Boy starts at 9:15 PM in the Zukor room. It is a gripping coming of age story from the ghettos of Mumbai, with lots of music and emotions. We watch how Murad Ahmed, the poor university student turns into Gully Boy, the rapper. The most famous director of Bollywood, Zoya Akhtar (now taking on the Western style of filmmaking) came up with the Indian version of “A Star Is Born”. The result matches any American super productions.
At 10 PM in the Béke room starts the repetition of the American Saint Frances. The American Bridget Jones (yes, the name is Bridget) is 34. Identity and midlife crises attack in full force. She never wanted to have kids but becomes a babysitter. A small girl makes her realize that life is a series of responsible decisions. The winner of the Audience Award at SXSW is a heartwarming piece of work.
At 11 PM in the Pressburger room Fred Zinneman’s classic Julia from 1977 is screened as a tribute to Vanessa Redgrave, recipient of this year’s ’Ambassador of the European Cinema’ award. The successful American playwright, Lillian remembers her friend, Julia who she attended university with in Oxford. While Lillian is building her career Julia fights against the rising Nazism in a group of resistance fighters. When Lillian tries to help her friend she learns that Julia has been killed by the Nazis… Julia, directed by the legendary Fred Zinnemann, is based on a chapter from Lillian Hellman’s book Pentimento about the author’s relationship with a lifelong friend, “Julia,” who fought against the Nazis in the years prior to World War II. The film stars Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Hal Holbrook, Rosemary Murphy, Maximilian Schell and Meryl Streep (in her film debut).
As part of the CineDocs program at 11:30 PM in the Uránia room starts the repetition of Hi, A.I. –Love Stories from the Future. Isa Willinger’s film introduces us to the world of humanoid robots and A.I. in a masterfully composed and humorous way. While Chuck starts his romantic journey with his newly assembled robot partner, Harmony, in the U.S., in Tokyo grandma Sakurai gets a cute robot grandchild named Pepper from her son. Although our main characters are separated by a world, their goal is similar: they want company. After several international film festivals (e.g. HotDOCS, Sheffield Doc Fest), in Hungary, the audience of the CineFest will be the first to marvel at the life-changing role artificial intelligence can play in our lives.
In 2016 the CineNewWave program has been established as the competition program for short features and animations by young Hungarian filmmakers. The program aims to introduce the young directing talents to the Festival’s audience. The repetition of the first block of the program starts at midnight in the Béke room with Dániel Füzes’ The Buzz, Eszter Makláry’s Kata, Petra Pantyi’s My Breakfast is Your Dinner, Fábián Balogh’s Our House, Flóra Anna Buda’s Entropia (screened at this year’s Berlinale as well), and Panni Gyulai’s Broken Things.