Screening Women; Recent Films from the New Europe


Five features by highly talented women directors from Central Europe and Russia available for booking Nov 2005 through May 2006 ONLY.

PREMIERE at High Falls Festival, November 12 & 13,2005:

SOME SECRETS by Alice Nellis
HOW I KILLED A SAINT by Teona Strugar Mitevska

The past 15 years in these regions have seen dramatic changes and these films are from the first generation to grow up after Communism. Each film portrays personal stories of contemporary life, family relations, romance, a little history and politics – often with wit and a touch of irony, made with impressive intelligence and affection for the lives of their characters.


MILA FROM MARS (2004, color, Bulgaria, 95 min)
Directed, written by Zornitsa Sophia

Richly contrasting old and new ways of life in Bulgaria, Sophia’s first feature is a hot-wired portrait of punk orphan Mila who passes her unwanted pregnancy in the company of the aged villagers of a remote town. Furnished by the octogenarians with a large house and catered to in every way, Mila gradually unwinds in this apparently healthy environment. Actually, the old folk are harvesting marijuana for Alex and are all a little stir crazy. Mila’s baby, born on Christmas day, is called Christo and hailed as a small miracle at about the same time a muscular Buddhist rock-climber turns up to add the masculine affection she was lacking.
Selected for the Sarajevo and Thessaloniki festivals, and featured in New Directors New Films in 2004, VARIETY credits both director and actress for her tough-edged performance in the nearly wordless main role.

HOW I KILLED A SAINT (2003, color, Macedonia-Slovenia-France, 82 min)
Directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska

Mitsevska’s first feature presents a slice of Macedonian life in 2001, the year the former Yugoslav republic skirted civil war with its ethnic Albanian citizens. Presenting an affecting story of a brother and sister who love each other but have to bridge different political ideas and personal agendas effectively captures the tension of the time. Viola (Labina Mitevska, who played the young Albanian girl in “Before the Rain”) returns from college in the U.S. moody and withdrawn. Guns are being fired and bombs exploding in Skopje, the city where her family lives. Her brother Kokan engages Viola as a cover in one of his pick-ups and their trip to the Albanian border to get a bag full of money turns into a harrowing homeward journey through police inspections and land mines. About the same time, Viola tells Kokan her secret: She has a baby daughter she left behind with a diplomat’s family when she left for America.
Nominated for a Tiger award at the Rotterdam festival in 2004, and subsequently screened at several other festivals, Mitsevka has been praised by VARIETY as a talented young director and someone to watch.

GUARDIAN OF THE FRONTIER (2002, color, Slovenia-Germany, 100 min)
Directed by Maya Weiss

Zana is to spend the summer holiday canoeing down the Kolpa River with party animal pal Alja and more conservative college roommate Simona. The girls are soon sunbathing nude and spending their evenings slinging raunchy sex talk. Things turn vaguely sinister when Simona encounters an oddly intense fisherman and is apparently seduced by him. Later, as the trio stumbles across a seemingly bucolic folk festival, the angler lets slip his thin veneer as smooth rural politico of the title, and reveals a raging nationalist bent in defending traditional Slovenian values.
Weiss and co-scripters have cleverly woven regional politics and social identity into their story. With ravishing cinematography and music, the film shared Berlin fest’s third Laser Video Titrages/Manfred Salzgeber prize for “innovative European feature film”.

SOME SECRETS (2002, Color, Czech R., 100 min)
Directed by Alice Nellis

A dark and absurd road-movie comedy in which Grandmother fulfills her dream, Mother stops
treating her daughters like kids, the daughters stop treating their husbands like idiots and
father’s ashes get spread all over the country.
Setting out to dispose of grandfather’s ashes in his Slovakian homeland, moments of neat visual humor abound, as when the mother warns granny to mind her eyes when drinking a cocktail with sticks in it. Scenes at the Czech-Slovak border, where the group is refused passage with the ashes, sharply satirize the absurd bureaucracy that has sprung up after the breakup of former Czechoslovakia. The movie also finds room for observations on the darker side of human nature.
A prizewinner at San Sebastian, Thessaloniki, Tribeca (NY) the film has been invited to numerous other international festivals.

27 MISSING KISSES (2000, Georgia, Color, 96 min)
Directed by Nana Djordjadze

Carefree fourteen-year-old Sybilla arrives for summer vacation in a sleepy eastern town, and falls for middle-aged widower Alexander. She promises his fourteen-year-old son Mickey, who is besotted by her, one hundred kisses, of which he receives only seventy-three. Scripted by Irakli Kvirikadze, who knows well the absurdities of socialist life, particularly its notoriously hidden libido, 27 Missing Kisses is a tragi-comedy about sex and life in the former Soviet Union
Screened at numerous international festivals, KISSES was lauded by Moving Pictures as “stunningly photographed by Phedon Papamichael …during the summer of the magical eclipse.”

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