31st Helsinki International Film Festival: It is a great event, but…

Article written by Gloria De Felice 


From the 20 to the 30th  of September I had the opportunity to visit The International Helsinki Film Festival “Love and Anarchy” (Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa). It´s always a remarkable experience since it gives me the prospect to evolve my cultural and cinematography perspective.  I discovered new films from all over the world and most available with English subtitles. In this edition, the festival gathered around 60000 visitors and brought on stage different genres of films, held interviews with several guests and directors and organized events to engage a larger and diverse audience.

In this article, I will present to you five films that were screened which are very intriguing. In addition, I will conclude this article with a personal opinion of the event and what I think it could be improved.

 

Tigers are Not Afraid by Issa López (2017) 

“The director was able to transmit  the same anguish and fear thousands of miles away”

The film Tigers Are not Afraid (Vuelven) exploited the scenario of thriller and horror to tell a story of vital concern: The disappeared people in Mexico. The director was able to transmit, through the experiences of the young protagonists, the same anguish and fear thousands of miles away, through the power of the screen and special effects that horror and ghost stories are able to frighten you. Appreciated by Stephen King, “Tigers are not afraid” will definitely move you.

 

The Load by Ognjen Glavonic (2018)

 

“The weather, the silences, and the landscapes will take you through those atrocious years”

The Load (Teret ) tells about a journey by truck from Kosovo to Belgrade. The main character is Vlada,  a truck driver during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.

The film exhibits excellent camera work. Although some details are not relevant, overall the film displays important information about life, the word, and the feeling and anguish of living during that time.

The weather, the silences, and the landscapes will take you through those atrocious years of the war in those countries of former Yugoslavia.

Yomeddine by A.B. Shawky (2018)

“Yomeddine” means “the day of judgement” in Arabic .

 

It is a moving story of a journey along the Nile. The protagonists are a former leprosy sufferer, and a child, orphaned by parents. They start a journey from their village to look for the family of the man main character.

The film is one of Egyptians´choice for the Oscars 2019 foreign films. It will drag you to different areas of Egypt, making you know people who are marginalized and those who are not.

The power of love encloses this film. Also, there are wonderful landscapes as part of the cinematography which help to better understand the marvelous land of Egypt.

 

The Insult by Ziad Doueiri (2017)

“An excellent film to learn about this topic through a fictional movie”

 

It was a candidate for the Oscars 2018. This film is a masterpiece. One day two men, a Christian a Palestine refugees have a small emotional misunderstanding in a residential area in Beirut, Lebanon. After that, they will go to court and bring the issue on a national and world level.

The story is told during 2006 when Christians and Palestine refugees of Islamic religion lived in Lebanon.

The dispute is between two people of different religions and cultures. It portrays realities that have really happened in the history of Lebanon. It is an excellent film to learn about this topic through a fictional movie.

 
Boys Cry by Damiano & Fabio D´Innocenzo  (2018)

“It shows the wrong side of their life, why those are bad choices to take, encouraging young people to not follow the same kind of life path.”

Boys Cry (La Terra dell´Abbastanza) is a film by the twin brothers Damiano D’Innocenzo and Fabio D’Innocenzo about two teenage best friends living in Rome. Their lives changed from a car accident. The person who they accidentally killed was a repented of the Pantano´s clan, who were criminals of the area. Through the encouragement of one of their fathers, they started taking part in the clan and work for it.

This changed their faith completely.  The story reminds me a lot the new  Roberto Saviano´s book “Gangs of Children” (La Paranza dei Bambini), where young teenagers start getting involved in dangerous local clans to earn more money.

The film has some particularity that makes it very appealing.

It shows the daily life of the two young protagonists. The relationship with the parents is also highlighted as part of the story. The mother of one, who is getting worried about the situation of her son. The father of the other boy, that behaved completely wrong, encouraging his son to take the wrong and fatal direction of life.

Also, the area of the film is a residential area, very calm and not the typical, dangerous place where people are involved in crimes.

It displays the wrong side of their life, why those are bad choices to take, encouraging young people to not follow the same kind of life path.

 

What to improve in this festival 

 

“We need to be more specific to the international terms. If the possibility is offered to a wider audience to be involved in an event, it should be kept in line with all events, or with an information notice before the event begins”

This festival is one of my favorite events happening in Helsinki.

Also, most of the workers are volunteers and ticket prices are cheaper than the usual ones.

Anyway, I do have a criticism.

Now that I have been going there for three years, I have to say that some things have never changed, and I think they should have to be improved in order to attract attention to a larger audience and involve it.

The Interviews of Finnish films are most of the time held in Finnish without taking care that the festival is international, and the public may not understand.

We need to be more specific to the international terms. If the possibility is offered to a wider audience to be involved in an event, it should be kept in line with all events, or with an information notice before the event begins.

I do not like to go to watch Finnish films for the possibility that they offer to put subtitles in English, and then have to keep the entire interview in Finnish without a previous notification.

Just to be clear: I speak, and I understand Finnish, but as a journalist perspective, it is frustrating to see people leave the room because they don’t understand.

Always with regard to the interviews, even with foreign people, one should have been better prepared.

One example is during the Innocenzo’s brothers interview, the theme that they faced in their film was of great importance. At least there was the possibility of widening the theme and offering the microphone for the interview to more competent people who can be interpreters with the guests for a more complete explanation.

Watching a film is also a means to confront, open a discussion and offer information.

If you have the opportunity, you should make the most of it.

I hope these suggestions will be welcomed in the next editions of the festival, to propose greater and better options to entertain and educate a wider audience.

Contact:

Text: Gloria De Felice

E-mail: info@nur.fi

Photo: Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa Press kit 2017, Imdb

 

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