Featuring films from first- and second- time feature directors, Screen staff preview the seven official titles and four special screenings in Critics’ Week.
Chris The Swiss (Swi-Cro-Ger-Fin) - dir. Anja Kofmel
Drawing on the same topic as her diploma short film Chris, Swiss-born debut feature director Kofmel presents a part-animated documentary drawn from her own life. In 1992, when Kofmel was aged nine, her admired older cousin Chris, a young journalist, was found dead in the midst of the Yugoslav wars. Now as an adult she investigates the mysterious circumstances of his death. Zurich-based Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion produces in co-production with Croatia’s Nukleus Film, Germany’s Majade and Finland’s IV Films.
Contact: Urban Distribution International
Diamantino (Por-Bra-Fr) - dirs. Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
This screwball feature debut by US-born, Lisbon-based directing duo Abrantes and Schmidt focuses on a fading football star who faces several challenges after he adopts a refugee kid who is not what he seems. Production is by France’s Les Films du Bélier and Portugal’s Maria & Mayer in co-production with Brazil’s Syndrome Films.
Fugue (Pol-Cze-Swe) - dir. Agnieszka Smoczynska
Written by and starring Gabriela Muskala, Fugue tells of a woman whose memory loss frees her from the slog of everyday family life, letting her rebuild herself as a free spirit. Two years later, she is returned to the life she forgot — as a wife and mother — but her family no longer recognise her as the woman they once knew. This is the second feature from Smoczynska. Her first, The Lure, premiered at Sundance where it won a special jury award for unique vision and design.
Contact: Alpha Violet
One Day (Hun) - dir. Zsofia Szilagyi
Academy of Film and Drama of Budapest graduate Szilagyi makes her feature directing debut with a drama about a 40-year-old woman juggling a career, husband, children and financial pressures. Agi Pataki and Edina Kenesei produce for Budapest’s Filmpartners in co-production with Sparks, Prop Club and with backing from the Hungarian Film Fund.
Contact: Films Boutique
Sauvage (Fr) - dir. Camille Vidal-Naquet
France’s Vidal-Naquet makes his feature debut with this story about a 22-year-old rent boy (120 BPM’s Félix Maritaud) who hits the road seeking new direction in his life. Les Films De La Croisade’s Emmanuel Giraud produces with La Voie Lactée’s Marie Sonne-Jensen, and Pyramide Distribution will release in France. Sauvage was supported by CNC, Région Grand Est and Eurométropole Strasbourg.
Contact: Pyramide International
Sir (Ind-Fr) - dir. Rohena Gera
The first fiction feature from Gera follows her well-received documentary about marriage in modern India, What’s Love Got To Do With It?. Indian indie stalwart Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding) stars in the Mumbai-set film that explores romance across class. Shome plays Ratna, the maid to Ashwin (Vivek Gomber), a middle-class man left reeling after his wedding is cancelled. The pair develop feelings that are at odds with their social stations.
Contact: mk2 Films
Woman At War (Ice-Fr-Ukr) - dir. Benedikt Erlingsson
Halla leads a double life as a mysterious environmental activist, known only as ‘The Woman of the Mountain’. Her target is the aluminium industry, and her actions escalate from mischief to full-scale industrial sabotage in order to thwart the new smelting plant scheduled to be built in the Icelandic Highlands. This is the second feature from Erlingsson following 2013’s Of Horses And Men, which won a multitude of awards and six Icelandic Oscars.
Contact: Beta Cinema
Guy (Fr) - dir. Alex Lutz
This follow-up to actor and stage director Lutz’s 2015 debut feature Thanks To My Friends is about a journalist (regular Lutz collaborator Tom Dingler) who discovers that his real father is a once-famous singer (Lutz himself), and decides to follow the old man, docu camera in hand, as he hits the comeback trail. Elodie Bouchez, Marina Hands, Brigitte Roüan and one-time Truffaut muse Dani lend prestige support.
Our Struggles (Bel-Fr) - dir. Guillaume Senez
Following teenage-parents drama Keeper, which played at Locarno and Toronto in 2015, Brussels-born Senez presents his follow-up about a husband and father (Romain Duris) who faces stressful times when his wife walks out of the family home. Belgium’s Iota Production and France’s Les Films Pelléas produce in co-production with Belgium’s Savage Film. Haut et Court distributes in France.
Contact: Be For Films
Shéhérazade (Fr) - dir. Jean-Bernard Marlin
France’s Marlin makes his feature debut with this drama named after the famed character in One Thousand And One Nights. Made with non-professional actors, the film follows 17-year-old Zachary who gets out of juvenile detention and hangs out on the streets of Marseilles, where he meets the titular Shéhérazade. Grégoire Debailly produces for Geko Films, while Ad Vitam has distribution for France.
Contact: Films Boutique
Wildlife (US) - dir. Paul Dano
The directorial debut of US actor Dano premiered at Sundance in US Dramatic Competition. Set in 1960s Montana and adapted from the Richard Ford novel of the same name, Wildlife stars Carey Mulligan as a young woman frustrated with where life has taken her, who cannot stop confiding in her teenage son — played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as the boy’s father. Dano adapted the screenplay with Zoe Kazan. IFC has US rights.