The International competition
Iran, 2022, 84 min.
The film deals with Elaheh, who is filming a day before her marriage for her friend, Sara, who is based abroad. She’s filming her family, friends and even neighbors. Elaheh believes this the last day of her difficult life and that after the marriage all her wishes would come true; however, an incident changes her fate.
Singapore, 2022, 99 min.
Set in Singapore, ILO ILO chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many other Filipino women in search of a better life. The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship. Still, Teresa and Jiale, the young and troublesome boy she cares for, soon form a bond. Their unique connection continues to develop and soon she becomes an unspoken part of the family. But this is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is starting to be felt in all the region…
Tajikistan, 2022, 82 min.
Nur is 13 years old. When his mother falls ill, Nur goes to the other end of the country to a gold mine in the hope of earning money for her treatment. On the road he meets Аssо, who promises to teach him how to survive in this world. Asso’s lessons are more like a swindle, for which both of them have to pay. After a fight, Nur falls ill. Asso puts him into a passing car and runs away. Once he has rested at the house of complete strangers, Nur continues his way. He reaches the mine and tries to find work, but nobody wants to take him on as assistants, except for Saido, an old and lonely gold-digger. Nur manages to find a single slice of gold, and he loses hope of earning money here. Tired of his lonely life, Saido does not want to die in the mine and asks Nur to take him home. Here Saido finds out that he is not so lonely after all; he no longer wants to die, and keeps part of the money for his funeral while giving the rest to Nur. Nur hastens back to his mother. On the road he meets Asso again, who robs him.
Turkey, 2021, 75 min.
At the end of every summer, Hasanpasa, a village in the Burdur district of southwestern Turkey, holds a traditional shepherding contest. The contest involves shepherds herding their entire herd of sheep, one by one, through a pool of water. An elderly shepherd, known by the nickname ‘Takmaz’, has been reigning champion for the last eight years. Takmaz and the village’s younger shepherds are sifting fragments of local red rock to obtain a powder dye which they use to mark the fleece of the sheep for the contest. But they have problems obtaining the red rock, when a mining company opens a vast marble quarry on the site of the rock deposits. One of the younger shepherds, Ali, buys some readymade dye from the city and the villagers use this to colour their sheep. But Ali fails yet again to win the contest. Fed up with shepherding, he finds a job as a driver in the marble quarry. With his new boss Ali goes deer stalking. His boss shoots a deer and takes away the antlers as his trophy. Ali makes a pair of wooden antlers, believing that this will allow the animal to be reborn and takes them to the animal’s carcass. On his way back, he stumbles across an undiscovered bed of red rock. This rock will provide the dye to colour the village’s sheep in future contests.
Germany, France, Georgia
2022, 102 min.
The early 1990s in Tbilisi, the capital of the newly independent Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country is facing violence, war on the Black Sea coast (Abkhazia) and vigilante justice that plague society. But for Eka and Natia, fourteen-year-old inseparable friends, life just unfolds; in the street, at school, with friends or the elder sister. Although they are already dealing with men’s dominance, early marriage and disillusioned love, for these two girls in bloom life just goes on.
Kazakhstan, 2022, 95 min.
The nine-year-old Erken lives alone in this small mountain settlement. His father is on a long business trip, his mother has died five years ago, and the brother studies in the city, but he will come soon. Erken hopes that, with the brother’s arrival, he will find warmth, love and support. The meeting with the brother fills Erken with a sense of pleasure and happiness, but the brother turns out to be cold and callous. Little Erken does not notice his weaknesses. He gives him all the money he has earned. For the brother this money is not enough, and he forces Erken to borrow more from the neighbours. One day the brother learns from the local children that their father is not on a business trip, but lives in the next settlement with another woman. An exchange between the brothers brings to light that Erken has refused to live with the father’s new family. In the end, the older brother leaves, and Erken stays alone.
Henri, a man in his fifties of Italian origin, runs a little restaurant, “La Cantina”, near the Belgian city of Charleroi with his wife Rita. Once the customers have gone home, Henri meets up with his buddies, Bibi and René, a regular couple of barflies. Together they kill time over a few beers, chatting about their shared passion: homing pigeons. Then Rita dies suddenly, leaving Henri lost. Their daughter Laetitia suggests that Henri gets some help with the restaurant from a “white butterfly”, as the residents in a nearby home for the mentally handicapped are known. Rosette is one of them. She is upbeat, kindly and doesn’t see the evil nature of humankind. She is only mildly handicapped, and is really just a bit “odd”. She yearns for love, sexuality, and normality. With Rosette’s arrival, a new life takes shape.
France, Belgium 2022, 107 min.
Italy, 2022, 100 min.
Irene lives alone on the coastline outside Rome. To her father and her married lover, she’s a student. In reality, she often travels to Mexico where she can legally buy a powerful barbiturate. Working under the name of Miele (“Honey”), her clandestine job is to help terminally-ill people to die with dignity by giving them the drug. One day she supplies a new “client” with a fatal dose, only to find out he’s perfectly healthy but tired of life. Irene is determined not to be responsible for his suicide. From this point on, Irene and Grimaldi are unwillingly locked in an intense and moving relationship which will change Irene’s life forever.
Saudi Arabia, Germany 2021, 97 min.
Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself. At first, Wadjda’s mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to realize what’s going on. And soon enough Wadjda’s plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to the memorization and recitation of Koranic verses, and her teachers begin to see Wadjda as a model pious girl. The competition isn’t going to be easy, especially for a troublemaker like Wadjda, but she refuses to give in. She is determined to continue fighting for her dreams...
Kyrgyzstan, 2022, 84 min.
A young girl has a rich, elderly lover, who has a wife and grown-up children. One day she leaves him for a young man. But, disappointed in the young guy, she soon comes back. The elderly man is glad about her return. The girl is pregnant. The girl’s mother comes to find out about the situation. The girl does not want to talk to her mother. The mother turns to her former lover, the girl’s father, to take care of his daughter. The girl’s father only now finds out that he has a daughter.
Russia, 2022, 90 min.
Between the numerous fjords of the Kola Peninsula there lies a remote settlement where the families of submariners and border guards live. The base is about to be closed down, and all the inhabitants worry about their future. In the settlement there is a young woman, Lena, who has just married the submarine captain Lieutenant Pavel Komlev. She has married not out of love, but wishing to change her life. During the last journey the submarine suffers an accident.
Germany, France 2022, 88 min.
How should you spend your time if your days are numbered? This is the question facing Linda, a young woman suffering from a congenital heart defect. Contrary to her doctors’ expectations she has managed to survive and celebrate her thirtieth birthday, but with an operation looming, Linda nonetheless feels a deep need to spend what might be her last weekend with her two sisters: Katharina who is older, and Clara who is younger than her. Linda must use their journey, which begins at their family’s weekend house and ends in Paris, to examine the ways in which her family has been fundamentally affected by her illness; she must also consider how much she can expect from herself and her sisters – faced as they are with the possibility of her death.