Bangkok 2008, Main Competition
Alice in the Land
Alicia en el País
Esteban Larraín, 2008 – Chile
Alice in the Land tells the improbable and admirable story of a Quechua girl who at the end of 2004 marched 180 kms. From Soniquera, her home village in the south of Bolivia, to go to work at the touristic town of San Pedro de Atacama, in the north of Chile. Constrained by the hard situation of her family, Alice embarks on a trip of unreal characteristics, walking trough magical domains and her own memories, following the invisible path which thousands of others Quechua lead for centuries. The film, based on actual facts and played by the real girl, proposes an oneiric travel where the rhythm, the silence, the landscapes and the music conform the magic interior world of Alice, world which the girl crosses trough until reach the frontier of her own adulthood.
Özcan Alper, 2008 – Turkey
Onur Saylak, Megi Koboladze, Gulefer Yenigul, Serkan Keskin, Nino Levaja.
Sentenced to jail in 1997 as a university student aged 22, Yusuf is released on health grounds 10 years later. He returns to his village in the eastern Black Sea region, where he’s welcomed only by his sick and elderly mother. It turns out that his father died while he was in jail and his older sister got married and moved away to the city. Economic factors mean that it’s almost exclusively old people who live in the mountain village, and the only person Yusuf sees is his childhood friend Mikail. As autumn slowly gives way to winter, Yusuf goes with Mikail to a tavern where he meets Eka, a beautiful young Georgian hooker. Neither the timing nor circumstances are right for these two people from different worlds to be together. For all that, love becomes a final desperate attempt to grasp life and elude loneliness – for Yusuf at least.
Shivajee Chandrabhushan, 2007 – India
Danny Denzongpa, Gauri, Skalzang Angchuk Gultuk, Yashpal Sharma, Raj Zutshi, Aamir Bashir, Shakeel Khan, Denzil Smith, Sanjay Swaraaj, Sonam Stobgias Gorky, Manish Mathur, Anuradha Baral, Shilpa Shukla.
This is a touching and somber journey of Lasya, who lives with her father Karma and younger brother Chomo in a remote village in the Himalayas. Pristine snow capped mountains surround their tiny hamlet and barren harsh land stretches for miles into nowhere. One day the army moves in, settles a hundred yards across their doorstep. The last bit of comfort the family draws from their familiar surroundings changes into a harsh ceaseless irreversible conflict. The film depicts the life of this family whose dream like existence is interrupted by inevitable odds, one after the other.
Francis Xavier Pasion, 2008 – Philippines
Baron Geisler, Coco Martin, Flor Salanga, Angelica Rivera, Carlo Mendoza, Jc Santos.
Jay, a gay schoolteacher, is brutally murdered in an apparent sex-crime. Even before his family hears about it, a TV producer—also named Jay—and his camera crew are inside their house to document their shock and grief. The TV producer convinces the family to let him shoot the dead man’s wake and funeral for a “reality show”. This will help them to ferret out the truth about the crime, find the killer, and bring him to justice, he says. However, it soon becomes clear that this concept of “truth” owes much to the entertainment value of the material being shot, and the expectations of the television audience. Skillfully orchestrating this “reality show” is the dead man’s namesake—a “journalist” who knows that the “truth” is whatever works on camera.
Mong-Hong Chung, 2008 – Taiwan
Chang Chen, Kwai Lun-mei, Leon Dai, Chapman To, Jack Kao, Peggy Tseng, Lin Kai-jung.
On Mother’s Day in Taipei, Chen Mo makes a date for dinner with his wife, hoping to bring their estranged relationship back together. While buying a cake on his way home, a car unexpectedly double parks next to his car, preventing his exit. For the entire night, Chen Mo searches the floors of a nearby apartment building for the owner of the illegally parked car, and encounters a succession of strange events and eccentric characters: an old couple living with their precocious granddaughter who have lost their only son, a one-armed barbershop owner cooking fish head soup, a mainland Chinese prostitute trying to escape her pimp’s cruel clutches, and a Hong Kong tailor embroiled in debt and captured by underground loan sharks. After many hardships, Chen Mo finally gets his car out of the parking space, and, with new friends riding beside him, advances toward a new horizon in life.
Spiros Stathoulopoulos, 2007 – Colombia
Daniel Páez, Hugo Pereira, Alberto Sornoza, Merida Urquia.
Shot in one, continuous take, PVC-1 is inspired by the true story of an innocent woman’s struggle for survival after she is fitted with a collar bomb. In Colombia, a woman and her family became the victim of an unusual act of terrorism. Unable to pay a ransom, the mother is turned into a human time bomb and is now trapped in a physical and mental circumstance from which she and her family try to break free.
Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy, 2008 – Belgium
Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Philippe Martz, Clément Morel, Bruno Romy.
Fiona and Dom are primary school teachers and a happy couple in the countryside. They share the same passion for Latin American dancing and are very much in love. At the weekends, they take part in regional dancing competitions. Their house abounds in trophies. One night, after a glorious dance competition, they swerve to avoid a suicidal man on the road and crash their car into a wall; Fiona loses a leg, Dom, his memory. With their newfound handicaps, a truckload of slapstick and a bevy of circus-style stunts, the duo find comedy abounds in their tragic situation. They fall, get back on their feet, fall again, get back on their feet again, and fall again. Rumba is about how optimism and humor can overcome fatality.
The Elite Squad
Tropa de Elite
José Padilha, 2007 – Brazil
Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira, André Ramiro, Maria Ribeiro, Fernanda Machado, Fábio Lago, Milhem Cortaz, Fernanda de Freitas, Paulo Vilela, Marcelo Valle, Luiz Gonzaga de Almeida, Bruno Delia, Marcelo Escorel.
Rio de Janeiro in 1997. Police officer Nascimento is in charge of an elite commando. He finds himself in a quandary when he is assigned to lead a rapid response force that has been given the task, on barest of pretexts, of maintaining law and order in a favela ruled by drug dealers. Unable to come up with a suitable successor for his job, he has no choice but to carry out the assignment himself. The fact that his wife Rosane is about to give birth to their first child and pleads with him every day to stop putting his life on the line, doesn’t make things any easier. This double burden weighing on Nascimento only makes him feel the pressure more keenly. In the midst of his predicament he receives an emergency call. There has been a shoot-out at a party in another favela and Nascimento and his group rush to the aid of two young policemen. The two young cops are so impressed by the professional way in which Nascimento’s squad help them to break free, that the pair – Neto and Matias – immediately sign up as trainees in the elite commando. The commitment of these two young men is soon on everyone’s lips. One of them is well-known for his daring, and the other for his intelligence. If Nascimento could only manage to forge these two qualities in one person then he would have found his successor.
Dixia De Tiankong
Zhang Chi, 2008 – China
Luo Deyuan, Li Chen, Huang Xuan, Zheng Luoqian, Gong Qiya, Zhou Xiang, Guan Siting.
In three interrelated parts, the film progressively focuses on individual members of a family living in a mining town in western China. The episodes follow on from one another chronologically, although they do not simply trace the continual development of a single family. In the symbolic way their lives are bound together, the protagonists—namely, the daughter who has to choose between her dreams and a suitable marriage, the son who is about to start life down the mine, and the father who has just retired—represent the universal lot of men and women from mining towns, which stands in stark contrast to their aspirations. The film does not seek to severely criticise the given situation, nor are the environment and heroes portrayed for effect; on the contrary, they seem natural, displaying a sense of immediacy, and are consistent with the perception of ordinary Chinese people, who, by their own admission, are not ones to complain. In its subtle presentation and treatment, the film becomes a delicate celebration of ordinary life, without seeming critical or conciliatory, and is thus all the more authentic and eloquent.
Naghi Nemati, 2007 – Iran
Yousef Yazdani, Dariush Ghazbani, Esmail Movahedi, Javad Saremi, Akbar Mansouri, Fatemeh Mir Soleimani Far.
In a freezing winter day, three soldiers leave their military training course without permission. They confront a group of smugglers near the border and to save their own lives, the soldiers get their offered fur hats and overcoats. They are lost in a foggy and chilly weather and gradually the tired men start to fight each other. They see a pregnant woman who’s been passed illegally through the border and left alone in a nowhere land by a human smuggler. The woman, unwished, accompanies the runaway soldiers and they all try to survive against the hunger and coldness, however, they face a very difficult destiny by the end.
23 Settembre 2008