Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Golden Alexander

The 47th Thessaloniki International Film Festival has come and gone, and unfortunately, due to myriad events that conspired to keep me from attending, I did not get to watch even one film. It is really too bad, because this is my one chance a year to see foreign films, including a plethora of Greek movies, with English subtitles (I’ll hold back about the irony of U.S. movies being considered “foreign films” here, because I find it too hilarious). Maybe next year, I’ll get lucky.

This year offered a variety of interesting films, including a tribute to Wim Wenders (which basically meant they screened most of his more famous films at least once). The festival also featured a host of Greek tributes, along with a special focus on films with teenage angst/lust as the theme. It would have been a good opportunity to see some U.S. films that haven’t yet opened here, including The Fountain and Fast Food Nation.

Of course, the problem with pouring over schedules for a film festival of this type is lack of knowledge about most of the foreign films. Which one do you decide to see? Do you pick based on country, how well you like the title, what? I guess that might be the fun of it. Unfortunately, my stupid husband knows nothing about Greek cinema so aside from a few popular Greek movies, he isn’t much help when it comes to making choices. Next year, I might just make some executive decisions. Or at least put the schedule on the floor, close my eyes, and throw a coin at it.

For those of you who are always on the lookout for a good foreign film, you might want to check out this year’s winner of the Golden Alexander, GAJOKEUI TANSAENG (Family Ties) by Kim Tae-yong, from South Korea. The Silver Alexander went to ASRE JOMEH (On a Friday Afternoon) by Mona Zandi Haghighi, from Iran. The Best Director award went to SLAWOMIR FABICKI for Z Oszysku (Retrieval), Poland 2006. A full listing of all awards presented can be found at the official film festival site. The thing to note is that most of these movies have been screened at other film festivals throughout the year, so they may available in limited release in some areas in the next couple of years, or at the very least available for rent some day.

I’m preparing ahead for next year. I’ll put some cash away, take my zinc tablets and vitamins, and be ready to head off, perhaps to do some live blogging from the festival. Eh, no, probably not. I'm not that ambitious.

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