New Order, dir. Michel Franco
23/09/20

Hits from the Venice and Toronto festivals at the 20th New Horizons

11th American Film Festival: America and Americans as we’ve never seen them "The World to Come" will open 11th American Film Festival

Five exceptional films, awarded by juries and appreciated by audiences of the Venice and Toronto festivals, will be part of this year's New Horizons program. They include Aida (Quo Vadis, Aida?)directed by Jasmila Žbanić - from the main competition in Venice, The New Order (Nuevo Orden) by Michel Franco - Winner of the Silver Lion, The Disciple by Chaitanya Tamhaneaward - winner of Best Script and the FIPRESCI Prize, The Night of Kings (La Nuit de rois) by Philippe Lacôte - winner of the Amplify Award in Toronto, and the Greek-Polish production Apples (Mila) by Christos Nikou - the opener of the Orizzonti section in Venice. The complete program of the Wrocław festival will be announced on October 20 and tickets for individual screenings go on sale October 22. This year, New Horizons will be combined with the American Film Festival - enjoy the 20th IFF NH and 11th AFF on November 5-15.

The Polish premiere of Quo Vadis, Aida?, shown in the main competition in Venice, will be one of the highlights of the 20th New Horizons. In this moving drama, Jasmila Žbanić delves into one of the darkest pages of modern European history, the Srebrenica massacre. The main character (played by the extraordinary Jasna Duričić) is a translator - someone who, between the lost pages, is trying to unite a world on its way to destruction. It is a film that will sear itself into your mind, cut to the quick and claw at your heart without using shock therapy. Instead, it works subtly, thanks to a well-thought-out structure, sensational directing (this is the director's best film since the success of Grbavica: The Land of my Dreams in Berlin), and brilliant editing by Jarosław Kamiński. This film should be shown in schools as required curriculum. 

One of the most expressive voices of contemporary Latin American cinema, Michel Franco (Desire for LoveThe Guardian), electrified audiences at the Venice festival and left Lido with the Silver Lion (Grand Jury Prize). The New Order (Nuevo Orden) is a dystopian vision of a world where enormous class differences lead to massive riots, killings and kidnappings. Pushed to the margins of society, people take up arms and ruthless revenge. Franco's film is a brutal, shocking, perfectly staged thriller. The most striking thing about the director's vision is that we are dealing not with a fantasy story, but a highly probable vision of the near future. 

The first Indian film in a Venetian competition in two decades left Lido with the award for Best Screenplay and the FIPRESCI prize. The Disciple, directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, echoes the cinema of the great Satyajit Ray. Everyday life is mixed with poetry, great music with the sounds of an unbearable existence. It is a magnetic, melancholic cinema about striving for perfection, about loneliness on the way to fulfill your dreams, about disappointment with authorities. All of it is caught on tape by the patient cinematography of Michał Sobociński. A film that must be seen at the movies.

The Night of Kings (La Nuit de rois) presented in theOrizzonti section and awarded (together with The Disciple) the Amplify Award in Torontoreminds us that a story is a powerful force. A well-conducted narrative can lull or awaken, remind or distort, reinforce or overthrow the ruler. And on that one night, with the red moon shining over a prison in Ivory Coast, the kingdom is at stake. Referring to the griot tradition, pulsating with rhythm, the dancing and meandering film by Philippe Lacôte is a political allegory, but, above all, a phenomenally told story, with irresistible power.

Are we that which we remember? That which we have forgotten? Or maybe that which we would like to forget? Christos Nikou's Greek-Polish production Apples (Mila), which opened the Orizzonti section, offers surprising answers. Seemingly contemporary, but set somewhere outside of time, the story takes us to an Athens stricken by an epidemic of amnesia. One day, Aris left home and got on a bus. Once he reached the terminal, he no longer knew who he was, where he lived, or what he had experienced—the only thing he could remember was the taste of apples. People like him are given a chance: they can create a new identity and new memories for themselves. Oblivionresounds with traces of the Greek Weird Wave and echoes with the voice of Orwell's Big Brother. Juxtaposing intimacy and flair, tenderness and distance, amnesia becomes both a personal drama and the choice of entire nations.

Gutek Film is the Polish distributor or Aida and The New Order. The Night of Kings and Apples aredistributed by the New Horizons Association. For more details, visit www.nowehoryzonty.pl.


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