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KVIFF 2012: East of The West Competition

World premieres in this regional competition include Piotr Mularuk’s Czech feature Yuma.

Až do mesta Aš / Made of Ash / Až do města Aš
Director: Iveta Grófová
Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, 2012, 84 min, World premiere
This noteworthy social drama from young Slovak director Iveta Grófová concerns a Romany girl named Dorota, who leaves her native Slovakia after graduating from high school for a job in the Western Bohemian town of Aš. Thanks to authentic shots and the use of nonactors, the director achieves marked rawness and maximum punch.

Bez wstydu/ Shameless / Beze studu
Director: Filip Marczewski
Poland, 2012, 80 min, International premiere
Eighteen-year-old Tadzik arrives at the home of his elder half-sister Anka for vacation. It soon comes to light that the feelings the young man entertains for his sister overreach socially accepted norms. In his feature debut, director Marczewski develops the topic of his successful short film Melodrama, which was nominated for a 2006 student Oscar.

Dom s bashenkoy / House with a Turret / Dům s věžičkou
Director: Eva Neymann
Ukraine, 2011, 81 min, European premiere
The plot of this small-scale wartime drama unfolds in Soviet Russia over the course of a winter’s day. Through a young boy’s eyes, we witness the state of a society exhausted by the interminable war and persistent food shortages, benumbed by ever-present death, and indifferent to the suffering of others. The movie is dominated by expressive black-and-white camerawork and a natural performance by the lead actor.

Keep Smiling / Keep Smiling / Keep Smiling
Director: Rusudan Chkonia
Georgia, 2012, 91 min, World premiere
In Tbilisi, a beauty contest to find “Georgian Mother of the Year 2010” will get underway in just a few short weeks, and the winner will receive an apartment and a substantial sum of money. Debut director Rusudan Chkonia’s psychological drama offers a realistic look at life across the social spectrum in contemporary Georgia.

Ljudi tam/ People Out There / Lidé na okraji
Director: Aik Karapetian
Latvia, 2012, 90 min, International premiere
The protagonist of this raw Latvian drama is twenty-something Jan, who lives in a dreary housing complex on the outskirts of town. He and his best friend Cracker just hang out smoking weed, occasionally making a little cash on the side through petty theft. Then Jan’s mundane life gets thrown for a loop when he meets the beautiful Sabina. The desire for love and a better life pulls him from his resignation and goads him to fight against the hopelessness of his situation.

Poupata/ Flower Buds / Poupata
Director: Zdeněk Jiráský
Czech Republic, 2011, 93 min, International premiere
“Is that our dream? There’s no way around it!” cleaning lady Kamila says to her husband, who works as a railway dispatcher. Of course, people like them have a hard time fulfilling their dreams – first they have to take care of the necessities of daily life. This sensitive social drama took the Czech Lion for Best Film.

Praktični vodič kroz Beograd sa pevanjem i plakanjem / Practical Guide to Belgrade With Singing and Crying / Praktický průvodce Bělehradem za zpěvu a slz
Director: Bojan Vuletić
Serbia, Germany, France, Hungary, Croatia, 2011, 87 min, International premiere
Set against the backdrop of a pro-European, modern Serbia, this collection of mini-romantic comedies uses intelligent humour, insight and lightly subversive irony to describe love in contemporary Belgrade in four different ways.

Seenelkäik/ Mushrooming / Houbaření
Director: Toomas Hussar
Estonia, 2012, 95 min, World premiere
Politician Aadu and his wife Villu decide to go pick mushrooms; in the forest they meet guitarist Zak and all sorts of other mushroom hunters. A tragicomedy with a wisp of thriller anchored to a model story: Through the behavior of the individual protagonists, the plot gradually reveals their inability to “survive” in an unknown environment that lays their characters bare.

Undeva la Palilula / Somewhere in Palilula / Kdesi v Palilule
Director: Silviu Purcarete
Romania, 2012, 141 min, International premiere
A young pediatrician named Serafim arrives in Palilula, a small town somewhere off the map, where he is to start his first job after graduating from medical school. But he soon realizes that his dream of practising medicine in this town, a place where time has stopped, will not be fulfilled – and not merely because it’s been ages since a child was born there.

A viszga/ The Exam / Zkouška
Director: Petér Bergendy
Hungary, 2011, 89 min, International premiere
A year after the 1956 uprising, Hungary is still in the grip of fear. Young Agent Jung undergoes a test of loyalty but he also has trials in his personal life. Will he stand the test? The movie, which hovers somewhere between a psychological story and a spy piece, successfully demonstrates that even a modestly dramatic plot can bring out strong emotions.

Yuma/ Yuma / Yuma
Director: Piotr Mularuk
Poland, Czech Republic, 2012, 105 min, World premiere
It’s the beginning of the 1990s but the situation along the Polish-German border hasn’t much changed since the fall of the Iron Curtain. So 20-year-old Zyga and his friends decide to brighten up life in their sleepy, gray town by bettering themselves and their fellow citizens. Debut director Piotr Mularuk’s compelling drama is deftly interwoven with Western motifs.

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