South-East European Film Festival: Lesbian Documentary & War Drama

Hopsctoch Kostana Banovic
The Blacks Zvonimir Juric
Kostana Banovic's Hopsctoch (top); The Blacks' filmmaker Zvonimir Juric (bottom)

The 2010 edition of Los Angeles' South-East European Film Festival (website) continues this evening with screenings of three US premieres beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut in the Mid-Wilshire Area: Kostana Banovic's Ploha / Hopscotch, Mariá Takács' Secret Years, and Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic's The Blacks.

Bosnian filmmaker Banovic's autobiographical documentary Hopscotch traces her journey, accompanied by her teenager daughter and son, from the Netherlands to Sarajevo, the city of her birth. Cultural conflicts ensue as a result of their Dutch sojourn.

Mariá Takács' Hungarian documentary Secret Years documents the experiences of lesbian living under communism. Interviewees include women between the ages of 45 and 70, who reminisce about what it was like to live under a hostile, anti-gay regime. Millions of gays and lesbians around the world can still relate to their plight – not just those in North Korea.

Following the screening there'll be a q&a with USC Asst. Prof. Aniko Imre on “gender, sexuality, and post-socialist transitions.”

In Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic's Croatian war-set drama The Blacks, a special ops squad follows their leader's orders despite the squad members' misgivings about his ethics – or lack thereof.

The Goethe-Institut is located at 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 100.

South-East European Film Festival Website

Photos: South-East European Film Festival

Nik Xhelilaj Alive! Artan Minarolli
Nik Xhelilaj in Artan Minarolli's Alive!

South-East European Film Festival: 'Alive!'

Goodbye, How Are You? Boris MiticThe 2010 edition of Los Angeles' South-East European Film Festival kicks off this evening with a screening of Arnold Schwartzman's one-minute “photo-documentary” The Wall, about the bit-by-bit destruction of the Berlin Wall, at 7 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut in the Mid-Wilshire Area.

Schwartzman, the Oscar-winning director of the documentary feature Genocide (1982), will be present to introduce his film.

The Wall will be immediately followed by an intriguing double-bill: the US premiere of Boris Mitic's Serbian documentary Goodbye, How Are You?, and the Los Angeles premiere of Artan Minarolli's Albanian social-drama-cum-thriller Alive!. Minarolli will be present for a q&a after the screening.

Mitic's Goodbye, How Are You? is described as a quirky look back at the last 40 years of Serbian history. And that's one place in the world where history has been moving in all sorts of directions at lightning speed.

According to the festival's website, Mitic's film features “a nation's oral tradition of sardonic response to conflict and corruption. The beautifully selected and wittily juxtaposed images, meanwhile, form an insightful, compelling portrait of daily existence in all its banalities, extremes and ironies. With shades of Patrick Keiller and Chris Marker, this collage of ideas is both thought-provoking and darkly comic.”

Minarolli's drama Alive! is a critique of that country's “traditional family value” of blood feuds. In the film, a young student returns to his rural village in the Albanian mountains to attend his father's funeral. Once there, he discovers that he has unwittingly placed himself smack in the midst of a generations-old war between rival clans. Now, the student must find a way out of that “family tradition” quagmire in order to remain alive.

Alive! plays at 8 p.m. tonight.

The Goethe-Institut is located at 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 100.

South-East European Film Festival Website

South-East European Film Festival: Lesbian Documentary & War Drama © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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