The second part of “SFF 25” includes films by
Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Volker Schlondorff,
Goran Paskaljevic, Hugh Hudson, Ted Kotcheff ,
Wim Wenders and Roman Balayan
On the occasion of the jubilee of the festival here are 25 exceptional filmmakers who have personally received the Sofia Award of the Sofia Municipality at the Sofia Film Fest editions over the past 25 years. The presence of such stars of the world cinema at the festival is one of the reasons why Sofia was declared one of the Creative Cities of Cinema of UNESCO. Most of the films in this anniversary program will be presented personally by their authors with video messages that can only be watched in cinemas. Some of the films have been digitally restored and can be seen only in the cinemas and the program of the 25th Sofia Film Fest!
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Terry Jones is one of the great friends of Sofia Film Fest, whose relentless loss shook the world of cinema in 2020 and broke another link of the legendary British group of artists, the famous “Monty Python”. Sofia Film Fest has had the honor and privilege to welcome as special guests in different years Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones has visited three times in the recent history of the House of Cinema and Sofia Film Fest. It is only natural that they are presented to the public in 2021 with Monty Python’s Life of Brian – an iconic work that has become a canon “classic British satire with comedic elements.” As in any spectacular work in the genre, Monty Python not only attacks and insults the object of its satire – the fanaticism and hypocrisy of institutionalized religion and politics – in its unique way, but also offers an alternative: be individual, think for yourself don’t let others lead you… The film will be presented with a special video by the outstanding actor and screenwriter Michael Palin.
Another legendary member of Monty Python will take an active part in the 25th Sofia Film Fest. Terry Gilliam will receive the FIPRESCI 96 Platinum Award from the International Federation of Film Critics and will give a special master class moderated by leading British film critic Derek Malcolm – this will take place on March 13 and the event will be broadcast live on social media and on the festival sites and FIPRESCI. Thus, the first Saturday of the festival – March 13 – is dedicated to the work of the two great Terry with the participation of no less great Michael: the master class begins immediately after the screening of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and immediately after the end of the live video connection with London, the audience at the Cinema House will have the opportunity to see on the big screen the remarkable classic of Terry Gilliam Brazil.
Volker Schlondorff will be represented with a digitally restored copy of The Tin Drum (1979)
The legendary work won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1979, the Oscar for a foreign language film and will be shown in March in its director’s version. Little Oscar receives his long-awaited gift – a tin drum and makes a decision that changes the next 18 years of his life. Seeing the duplicitous behavior of his German-Polish family, Oscar decides to stop growing – the days go by and Oscar remains untouched by time. Forever with his drum, he beats him mercilessly whenever something makes him angry …
Goran Paskaljevic will be represented with Despite the Fog (2019)
The Serbian director and friend of the festival was supposed to personally present his latest film in the program of the 24th Sofia Film Fest – but his journey on Earth was interrupted by fate half a year ago. His work is dedicated to the global problem of emigration – according to Interpol, more than ten thousand minor refugees without parental care roam the roads of Europe. Half of them are in Italy. The story introduces the audience to Mohammed – a boy who finds shelter with a family that has lost its child. His new parents began to face resistance from both those around him and their own relatives, who did not accept their decision to keep the boy. This is a story from the present in our world, which is sinking more and more into the xenophobic fog.
Hugh Hudson will be represented with Chariots of Fire (1981)
The film, which won four Oscars, three BAFTAs, a 1982 Golden Globe and an Acting Cannes Prize in 1981, is an iconic tale of the true story of Eric Liddle and Harold Abrahams, who overcome their personal problems and competed for an Olympic gold medal in 1924 for Great Britain and Scotland, respectively. The deeply religious Liddle stands at the start, although it falls on a Sunday, and the Jew Abrahams has to face anti-Semitism. The screenings are dedicated to the memory of the actor and friend of Bulgaria Ben Cross.
Ted Kotcheff will be represented with the epochal Rambo: First Blood
The film starring Sylvester Stallone has gained cult status in the last 40 years. John J. Rambo is a former US Special Forces soldier haunted by the memory of the events in Vietnam. When he came to Washington to see his friend, a serious conflict arose between him and a local sheriff. Rambo goes to jail, escapes, but a colonel, Rambo’s commanding officer, must intervene in the chase with law enforcement to save both him and the sheriff’s office before things get out of hand.
Wim Wenders will be represented with Alice in the Cities (1974)
One of the world’s legendary filmmakers is an exceptional friend of Sofia Film Fest and Bulgaria, having visited Bulgaria several times over the years. His works are invariably present in various programs of the festival, in an attempt to convey the wisdom and exceptional finesse of his films to several generations of movie buffs. In the “SFF 25” section, Wenders is presented with a digitally restored copy of one of his first films from the 1970s. In it, a German journalist falls into a creative crisis and decides to return to Germany; while trying to book a flight, he meets a German woman and her nine-year-old daughter, who are also looking for plane tickets. In addition to the joint care, the three become friends and the mother asks the writer for a favor – to temporarily take care of Alice. It soon becomes clear that the two will have to spend more time together than they expected, traveling around Europe in search of Alice’s grandmother…
Roman Balayan will be represented with We Are Here We Are Close (2020)
The latest film by the Ukrainian director tells the story of the experienced surgeon Alex, who makes a mistake in the diagnosis of his seven-year-old godson. After the boy’s death, the devastated doctor resigned. The events unfold in an amazing way and become a stunning story of how a misdiagnosis, not only from a medical point of view, can complicate and corrupt life, but also bring bliss from enlightenment.
The Sofia Award for overall contribution to world cinema is a joint initiative of Sofia Municipality and the Sofia Film Fest. It was presented for the first time in 2005 by the mayor of Sofia, under whose patronage the festival is held. To date, 56 personalities from world and Bulgarian cinema have been awarded this prestigious award. The plaque is the work of the famous Bulgarian sculptor Georgi Chapkanov – Chapa and is an image of his statue of St. Sophia, which decorates the center of our capital.
Sofia Film Fest is realized with the support of Sofia Municipality.