The CineFest competition programme is out

2023.08.02. 10:35

From 1 to 9 September, CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival will present the greatest films of the year. The seventeen films in the competition program include the biggest hits from Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Berlin, Karlovy Vary and Venice, as well as the world premiere of a Hungarian film.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest star-packed sensation was shot in Hungary and comes to Miskolc straight from the Venice 2023 Competition program, which runs in parallel with CineFest. The Poor Things tells the incredible story of Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), brought back to life by the genius Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). With the help of a gruff and debauched lawyer (Mark Ruffalo), Bella escapes from the self-righteous scientist to embark on a magical journey across continents.

Barnabás Tóth returns to CineFest after the Oscar-winning Those Who Remain. The director’s latest film, Master Game, is inspired by Stefan Zweig’s Chess Story, but Tóth has set the action in 1956, on the last refugee train, creating a Hitchcockian tension. The film stars, among others, Gergely Váradi, Sára Varga-Járó, Károly Hajduk, Pál Mácsai and Bori Péterfy.

In the Finnish Fallen Leaves, a melancholy romantic comedy, the lives of a construction worker and a supermarket employee intersect in a shabby karaoke bar. Aki Kaurismäki, a living legend known for his distinctive directorial style and extremely dry humor, returned to Cannes in his best form after 12 years, winning the Jury Prize.

The new film by the legendary Wim Wenders, Perfect Days is a human tale set in present-day Tokyo. Although Hirayama’s life can seem difficult, boring, even humiliating at times, routine provides the framework for each day, and musing in the park, reading and listening to music provide the daily pleasure. The lead actress Kōji Yakusho deservedly won the Best Actor award at Cannes.

Giovanni, the well-known Italian film director, is about to make a political film about the impact of the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary on the Italian Communist Party. But with his marriage in crisis, his co-producer on the verge of bankruptcy and the troubles with the ever-changing film industry, everything seems to be working against him. Zsolt Anger plays one of the roles in A Brighter Tomorrow, which arrived from the Cannes Competition program.

The Animal Kingdom was the opening film of the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes this year. In the near future, part of the population has mutated into a human-animal hybrid. Among them are François and his 16-year-old son Émile (the excellent Romain Duris and Paul Kircher), who move from Paris to a small rural town where they have set up a center for the “Others”. Stunning visuals and intimacy form a natural blend in this emotive French film.

In The Nature of Love, Sophia has been in a trusting relationship with Xavier for ten years. When handyman Sylvain is hired to renovate their new holiday home, her world is turned upside down and she finds herself in a passionate relationship with him. How will the manual worker be received in a metropolitan environment that suggests superiority at every turn? This Canadian romantic film, laced with fine humor and eroticism, first swept audiences off their feet in the Cannes Competition section of Un Certain Regard.

The opening film of the 2023 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des cinéastes) and one of the year’s most significant films, The Goldman Case. In 1976, Pierre Goldman’s second trial divided France. The far-left activist was accused of four robberies, one of which resulted in two deaths. Goldman denied all along that he had anything to do with that case. French director Cédric Kahn is entering the delicate genre of courtroom dramas in a powerful way with his film version of this courtroom ordeal.

From the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight program, Blackbird, Blackbird, Blackberry is a romantic drama with an artistic sensibility that draws on the rich tradition of Georgian cinema. The film touches on pervasive themes of emancipation and the right to defy social norms with unusual lightness and humorous detachment.

The Slovak-Czech film Victim, screened in Venice, is a gripping drama about a woman torn between family and the righteous path in her search for the truth. When the son of Ukrainian immigrant Irina is attacked, the whole town stands in solidarity with the family and condemns their Roma neighbors who allegedly committed the crime. But soon a different truth begins to emerge.

It’s 1885, and the famous gourmand Dodin (Benoit Magimel) is being inspired by new culinary inspirations, regularly turned into reality by his faithful cook Eugénie (Juliette Binoche). Their perfectly balanced meals reveal more than a thousand gestures about their feelings for each other, but a proposal threatens her independence. Showing love in its purest form, The Passion of Dodin Bouffant won the Best Director prize at Cannes.

The Red Rooms, which premiered in Karlovy Vary, is the most innovative and disturbing film of the year. Ludovic Chevalier is accused of the brutal murder of three underage girls. Unlike most people, Kelly-Anne is fascinated by the man, becomes obsessed with him and attends his trial. The line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred for her.

In The Sweet East, screened in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight program, high school student Lillian (rising star Talia Ryder) leaves her class trip – and seemingly her old self – under dramatic circumstances. From there, she becomes who the people she meets on her aimless wanderings see her to be. One of the stars of the film is Simon Rex, a former CineFest guest.

Blaga is a seventy-year-old, recently widowed former teacher with strong moral principles. When phone swindlers steal the money she has set aside for her husband’s grave, her moral compass slowly starts to get lost. Bulgarian Blaga’s Lessons won Best Film and Best Actress at Karlovy Vary.

Coming from Cannes’ Un Certain Regard program, the Iranian Terrestrial Verses follows ordinary people from different backgrounds as they navigate the cultural, religious and institutional constraints imposed on them by various social institutions, from school teachers to bureaucrats. These humorous and touching portraits of life show the spirit and determination of people overcoming adversity.

In the chaotic days of the 1989 revolution, a police station in the city of Sibiu is attacked, which escalates into a bloody clash. Desperate to escape the siege, police captain Viorel is captured by the army and charged with terrorism. Tudor Giurgiu has already been at CineFest with his film Why Me? and now he is back with a powerful Hungarian co-production of a historical film, Libertate ’89 – Sibiu, which had its world premiere in Sarajevo.

The number one critics’ and audiences’ favorite romantic film of 2023, American Past Lives is a heartbreaking story of life choices, missed opportunities and true love. Nora and Hae-sung were best friends as children, but the moving away of the little girl has separated them. Twenty years later, they find each other again. Screened in the competition program of the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale, Rolling Stone called it “the best film you’ll see this year”.

In the coming weeks, the exact screening dates for each film will be revealed, as well as the line-up for the other programs, and advance ticket sales will begin soon.