18 Great Films at the 25th Sofia International Film Fest

18 Great Films at the 25th Sofia International Film Fest

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25 years after its beginning, Sofia Film Fest has established itself as one of the most important international festivals, which continues to introduce us to tons of quality cinema at least once a year.

This year’s jubilee 25th edition impresses with an exclusive program in a hybrid format – over 129 films in Sofia cinemas and at least 70 more ONLINE. Apart from a retrospective of the Danish genius Thomas Vinterberg and special screenings of masterpieces from past editions (such as In the Mood for Love and Cold War), SFF is literally teeming with a super rich competition program with foreign and Bulgarian feature, documentary and short premieres, selected new festival hits and many more.

So we looked at the entire program of the festival and answer the question of what to watch with a quick selection of 18 interesting titles:

Kamen Kalev’s latest film opened the SFF on the back of participation in half a dozen festivals, an official selection of the canceled festival in Cannes and a one-minute teaser that does not reveal much of the story. February follows the life of the same man (Ivan Nalbantov) when he is an 8-year-old boy, a young man of 18 and an adult man of 82. The path seems predestined and monotonous, but at all times it seems as if an invisible force is present in existence – the one that makes us move forward. In Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture (March 11) and the Cinema House (March 16)

The melancholic comedy The Living Man competes for the prize in the Balkan competition with a story about an aging rocker, who runs away from a dozen family disappointments and the annoying monotony of everyday life. He restores lost freedom and old glory but falls into an uncontrollable whirlwind of sex and drugs on the border between life and death. Aging is not an easy job. In Odeon (March 12) and Cinema House (March 22)

Greek director Christos Nikou recreates a familiar feeling in Apples – a story of a global pandemic that causes sudden amnesia. A middle-aged man is involved in a recovery program to help him build a new identity in a modestly furnished apartment, armed with a Polaroid and daily tasks, as he has to take pictures. This year’s Greek nomination for an international Oscar is not only an analogous attempt to rediscover the individual and a surreal journey into the crisis of collective identity but also as an elegant critique of the digital age that has engulfed our attention. In Odeon (March 14) and Cinema House (March 24)

The documentary Wim Wenders: Desperado contains previously unseen archival footage and unusual meetings and stories about this pioneer of the new German and contemporary cinema by his colleagues and supporters such as Francis Ford Coppola, Willem Dafoe, Patti Smith, Werner Herzog and others. From Düsseldorf to Paris and all the way to the Texas desert, the film tells the story of iconic places and key moments in the work of Wenders (Wings of Desire, Buena Vista Social Club, Paris, Texas) as a director, producer, photographer and author. At the French Institute – Cinema Slaveykov (March 12) and Lumiere Lidl (March 23)

Gunda is one of those visual masterpieces that should be seen on the big screen. Viktor Kosakovskiy’s film is a silent documentary about the daily lives of several farm animals – a sow, two cows and a chicken with one leg. However, the unusual plans of the shots make them almost alien heroes. Although shot in three different countries (Norway, Spain and the UK), the film looks as if everything is happening on the same farm. Gunda is not just a documentary about observation, but work with a message about the cruelty in the brutal treatment of animals and wildlife on our planet. Can you guess why Joaquin Phoenix is ​​one of the executive producers? At the French Institute – Cinema Slaveykov (March 17) and G8 (March 19)

After being nominated for a Golden Globe Award at the Venice Film Festival, Vanessa Kirby has stepped up to the Academy Awards with her role in Pieces of a Woman  – Kornél Mundruczó’s last film about the long-standing in the isolation of women who lose their babies and cannot get help from others to deal with such a horrific tragedy. Especially if they are in a family of Holocaust survivors. How do people manage to deal with tragedies in general, and what imprint do they leave on their souls and on their children? In Lumiere Lidl (March 19)

Stephen Fry describes it as magnificent, fun, charming and truly wonderful, so we can’t miss this journey through magnificent French nature, presented with a lot of warmth and a specific British sense of humor. The Man in the Hat (Ciarán Hinds) travels in his Fiat 500 in the company of a photograph of an unknown woman, chased by five angry men in a Citroën Dyane. Attempts to escape his pursuers meet him with stories of lost love, great music and mysterious and very eccentric strangers. This fantastic silent comedy is the work of veteran documentary filmmaker John-Paul Davidson and composer Stephen Warbeck. Only online HERE

Gorbachev. Heaven is a meeting between Russian director Vitaly Manskiy and the 90-year-old former Soviet leader at his house near Moscow, where they can discuss difficult topics while Gorbachev takes a look back on his life. At the center of the conversation are the reforms that Mikhail Gorbachev carried out in the second half of the 1980s, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet empire. Gorbachev’s personal life. In Lumiere Lidl (March 18) and Cinema House (April 2)

The directorial debut of actress Robin Wright is a touching story about a woman who seeks the meaning of life in the vast and harsh American nature. After experiencing a tragic event, Wright’s heroine in Land remains unable to keep in touch with the surrounding reality and retreats to the magnificent but harsh wasteland of the Rocky Mountains. However, a local hunter’s rescue forces her to find a way to live again. In Lumiere Lidl (March 23)

Actress Emerald Fennell has earned over 150 nominations, 70 awards, much critical acclaim and some sporadic and slightly misleading accusations of reverse sexism with her feature-length directorial debut, the provocative dark comedy Promising Young Woman. A stylized story of harassment and revenge revolves around the incredibly smart, nervously calculating and permanently depressed Cassie (the great Carey Mulligan), who leads a double life at night to overcome a deep trauma from her past. In Lumiere Lidl (March 27)

Cheers to Shane McGowan, but really Julien Temple is the perfect person to direct a full-blooded portrait of the Irish musician, songwriter and vocalist of the band The Pogues, which went down in history with the most famous Christmas song and the combination of traditional Irish music and energetic punk rock. In Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan there are unseen archive footage, animation by legendary illustrator Ralph Stedman and toasts from singers, movie stars (Johnny Depp is among the film’s producers) and rock hooligans are at the heart of this moving work. In Lumiere Lidl (March 13), Vlaykova (March 19), Odeon (March 20 and 31), Cinema House (April 2)

In a stagnant rural town, a community of Jehovah’s Witnesses was attacked by an extremist group. At the height of the conflict, the world of Yana, the wife of the community leader, slowly began to fall apart. Her inner dissatisfaction grows as she tries to make sense of her desires. The Georgian-French co-production Beginning was directed by Dea Kulumbegashvili and came into view in January, along with its inclusion in Mubi and apparently intense cinematography. In Vlaykova (March 18), Odeon (March 27) and Cinema House (March 28)

A masseur from Eastern Europe appears in the lives of wealthy residents of a boring and isolated community. Despite their wealth, the inhabitants are possessed by inner sadness and longing. The hands of the mysterious stranger heal and his eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a distant memory of their seemingly carefree childhood. Premiered at the Venice Film Festival Never Gonna Snow Again by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert is an unusual hybrid between Twin Peaks and Pasolini’s Theorem and Poland’s nominee for a foreign Oscar. The people of the Seville Film Festival described it as a purifying social satire with hints of humanism and poetic surrealism. At the Cinema House (March 26), Lumiere Lidl (March 27) and Odeon (March 28)

Another wonderful combination of Mads Mikkelsen with director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt) tells about an unusual, but in fact very logical for the Danish alcohol culture experiment – to change your boring life as a school teacher and a sluggish husband with a field test of the true theory of how you can function better with a higher blood alcohol content. Another Round is not satisfied with being a simple provocation to the place of alcoholism in modern life, nor just a heavy existential view of the crisis of middle age, but instead prefers to enchant as a sobering and very pleasant tragicomedy about aging, awakening, second chances and true friendship with arguably the strongest film finale of 2020 – a well-deserved favorite at the European Film Awards. In the House of Cinema (March 12), Lumiere Lidl (March 16), Vlaykova (March 23) and Odeon (March 26)

British director Sally Potter confides in Javier Bardem for the role of Leo, who lies, confused and lost in thought. People around him no longer take him seriously. His caring daughter is inseparable from this mentally handicapped man, who no longer knows her name, but whose thoughts wander in parallel versions of his life. The Roads Not Taken is an ephemeral picture of the mosaic of alternative lives that the protagonist could live. In Lumiere Lidl (March 12), Odeon (March 18) and Cinema House (March 31)

Suzanna Andler (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who has been married for years to an unfaithful millionaire, visits a spacious villa on the French Riviera, where she will meet her new lover. Alas, the 40-year-old magnetic lady has hesitations not only about the house but also about the important decisions for the future that she must make before eating herself into a lie. Director Benoît Jacquot’s new film is an influential adaptation of the play by his patron Marguerite Duras. In Vlaykova (March 16), House of Cinema (March 21) and Lumiere Lidl (March 23)

Tove by director Zaida Bergroth tells part of the story of the artist Tove Jansson, better known for her children’s books, although she has also published a large number of short stories and novels for adults, as well as many excellent illustrations. The end of World War II brought a sense of creative inspiration, but Jansson’s quest for freedom was put to the test when she met theater director Vivica Bandler. Her love for the Finnish woman is strong and all-consuming, but also clearly unshared. As she struggles with her personal problems, her creative endeavors take her in a different direction to a side project (melancholic and scary tales she tells the children in the bomb shelters) that gets a life on its own. In Lumiere Lidl (March 14) and Odeon (March 23)

The winner of the Jameson Award for Best Bulgarian Short Film (Trains from 2011) is one of the talented young directors who love to experiment and do not stop working in cinema. Pavel Vesnakov’s feature debut is a Bulgarian-German co-production, which tells the story of two days in the life of a middle-aged man who lost his identity and decided to emigrate from Bulgaria. Only a day before he leaves, however, Nikola (Julian Vergov) desperately tries to re-establish his relationship with all his loved ones. Lessons in German participates in the competition program of the 25th SFF after the world premiere of the Cairo Film Festival, where it received the award for the best male role. In Lumiere Lidl (March 13)

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