Film Festival Celebrates Diversity
Published: September 11, 2013 (Issue # 1777)
The St. Petersburg International Film Festival, now in its second year and run as part of the International Cinema Forum, is set to begin on Friday and run through Sept. 22. Screenings will be spread across four venues including the Aurora, Dom Kino, Rodina and Angleterre cinemas, and will include works by world-class filmmakers alongside the debut films of lesser-known new directors.
This year’s festival is set to open with a screening of “Jobs,” American director Joshua Michael Stern’s biopic of Steve Jobs, Apple Computer’s recently deceased guru, starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role alongside Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, Lesley Ann Warren, James Woods and Matthew Modine. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology — and the world — forever and will be screened at a private gala opening on Friday.
The competition portion of the festival consists of 14 films from around the world. Selected by organizers from recently produced films that have been making waves on the festival circuit, the films selected for the competition cover very different themes. A large number, however, touch on the subject of teenage angst. The French film, “The Apaches,” and “Concrete Night,” which was co-produced by Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and the German “Shifting the Blame” all address teen brutality. The subject gets a lighter spin in the Mexican film “The Golden Cage,” which focuses on teenage hopes and dreams about building a better society.
A screening of “Big Sur,” based on Jack Kerouac’s 1962 novel; “Loving,” a family drama out of Poland; “Of Snails and Men,” a utopian comedy based on real events; and Michael Winterbottom’s “Everyday” are also included in the competition. Recent history also makes a strong showing with the Czech film-noir “In the Shadow” and the Serbian film “The Whirpool,” which addresses how three different characters dealt with the political situation in the Balkans in the 1990s. The only Russian film to be presented as part of the competition is “Kicking Off,” a harrowing look at a group of football hooligans that is also based on real events.
– “I think all of these films are similar in that they tell stories about people — about their fate, about the worries and concerns that people face everywhere in the world, and about questions of morality, love, death and choice which are all sooner or later faced by everyone,” said festival director Maria Auerbach speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. “At the same time, we have the opportunity to see these stories within the context of the geographical kaleidoscope of the festival.”
The films in competition will be vying for a statuette of a golden angel on a pedestal, the symbol of the festival.
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