Body and Spirit: On dramaturgy of the 3rd Central European Films

Beden ve Ruh

For the third time Visegrad-Turkish Culture Festival celebrates the cinema of Hungary, Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia. Within this year’s “Body and Spirit” theme, we explore the inner world of human nature in relation with Body, Mind and Spirit and bring “levitating” stories from V4 countries to Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. Curated and coordinated by Agata Trojak Saribas. With the partnership of Pera Museum.

The program journeys through captivating stories investigating the physical and the intangible notions of existence. “Body and Spirit” spans over several decades and salutes master filmmakers as well as young directors well received recently on international festivals.

Among the Visegrad masters, we present a bizarre dark comedy of Jan Švankmajer Conspirators of Pleasure where beneath the “sexual perversion” of the protagonist lies the desperate loneliness of today’s man, and the provocative Věra Chytilová’s Daisies, a key director of Czech New Wave, who explores the misadventures of two free spirit youngsters.

The Polish masters selection is represented by the surreal Escape from the Liberty Cinema by Wojciech Marczewski, a political satire on the communist censorship where actors abandon their roles during the film screening. Well recognized abroad and loved by nationals The Garden made by Martin Šulík in 1995 is a charming tale about searching for inner peace featuring beautiful Slovakian countryside.

Visegrad cinema has a good passé in recent years. Our selection includes films of new generation of directors awarded on various International Festivals. Hungarian On Body and Soul directed by Ildikó Enyedi about reoccurring dreams was a discovery at 2017 Berlinale, winning the Golden Bear, while the black and white, visually stunning story delving into Olga Hepnarová’s psyche, who murdered a group of people in Czechoslovakia by driving a truck into them, directed by Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb, is another festival gem.

The powerful Goat by Ivan Ostrochovský tells the story of the former Olympic boxer Peter Baláž and his touching struggle for a decent life. Featuring the outstanding performances of non-professional actors and blurring the lines between representation and presence, Goat is a powerful and haunting challenge to the concept of authenticity.

The hallucinative Free Fall of György Pálfi, the winner of Karlovy Vary 2014 is an ironic reflection on modern society with body/mind oriented matters through the eyes of the old lady who commits suicide, when the genre mixed Hungarian debut of Virág Zomborácz – Afterlife in an unusual art house ghost story about a diffident man who starts to see his father’s ghost.

Another hybrid coming of age Little Harbour by Iveta Grófová is a warm insight into the world of adults through the eyes of children, crossing the line between the world of fantasy and the harsh reality of life.

Our selection includes remarkable documentaries: the excellent debut of Anna Zamecka – Communion, nominated for the European Film Award is a documentary about a teenage girl who takes care of her dysfunctional father and autistic brother. The film reveals the beauty of the rejected and the complex of family bonds and received acclaim at various festivals this year.

Photon, the experimental lecture by visual artist Norman Leto is a sort of a summary of the human knowledge about life and evolution. The unusual, exceptional and moving film visualises what we know today about the history of the universe and creation of human beings. We end the programme with a contemplative and powerfulFive October, created by Martin Kollar – a silent and spiritual journey of the director’s brother Ján, who finds himself in a critical life situation.

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