Films that roused Cannes’ audiences from their seats, including one that left the French Riviera with the Palme d’Or in tow, will soon arrive at Art Film Fest for their exclusive Slovak premieres. The festival has managed to acquire a remarkable number of successful films from this year’s Cannes: nine brand-new releases to be screened at our 19th edition, held from June 17 to 25 in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín.
"To offer nine brilliant titles from Cannes’ official programme just days after the festival’s end is a truly momentous occasion for us in Slovakia. I’m enormously delighted to present them, and I hope Art Film Fest’s visitors appreciate them as well," says Art Film Fest’s director Peter Nágel, who personally attended Cannes.
In an exclusive Slovak premiere, Art Film Fest will screen this year’s winner of Cannes’ Palme d’Or – "The Tree of Life" from enigmatic American director Terrence Malick. Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, this family saga set in the American Midwest was declared Cannes’ most anticipated film and was favoured to win the grand prize. Audiences had waited years for this most personal and complex cinematic epic yet from Malick, a filmmaker shrouded in legend. Upon its world premiere at Cannes, the film instantly achieved mythic status.
"The Tree of Life" begins in the 1950s, focusing on eleven-year-old Jack, one of three sons in an average American Midwestern family. Idyllic at first, his life begins to transform into a complex labyrinth, entering adulthood as a lost soul. The film seeks answers to life’s deepest questions of meaning and faith.
Art Film Fest’s audiences will get the chance to witness Kirsten Dunst’s award-winning performance in "Melancholia", a film from controversial Danish director Lars von Trier which earned its star the Best Actress Award at this year’s Cannes. Trier unfortunately lost his chance at the grand prize due to a remark about Hitler, which provoked widespread outrage and led to his dismissal from the festival.
This mysterious drama, set mere moments before the world’s possible end, begins with an opulent wedding. It tells the story of two sisters, the younger of which is the expecting bride, played by Kirsten Dunst. The wedding celebration is held in an antiquated country estate, but the high spirits are interrupted by a sudden threat, spelling certain doom for the Earth.
This year’s Cannes also featured the highly anticipated latest film from Spain’s renowned Oscar-winning Pedro Almodóvar – "The Skin I Live In" (La piel que habito), a spellbinding, genre-bending picture starring Antonio Banderas as a merciless plastic surgeon in search of the man who raped his daughter, planning merciless revenge in the form of surgery. The film is a melange of styles, from film noir and thriller through sci-fi and even horror.
Another long-awaited film premiered at Cannes was "The Beaver", directed by and starring the Oscar-winning Jodie Foster alongside Mel Gibson. The film marks Foster’s return to film direction after a hiatus of over fifteen years. The comedic drama focuses on the clinically depressed director of a toy company (Gibson), who receives a stuffed beaver as a gift and begins to treat it like a living thing.
Art Film Fest will be graced by the latest picture from yet another renowned director, Finland’s Aki Kaurismäki. Fresh from official screening at Cannes, "Le Havre" is the story of a former writer and bohemian who retreats into satisfied, self-imposed exile. But one day his life of ease is altered deeply when he meets a child refugee from Africa.
Among Art Film Fest’s greatest spoils is Austrian director Markus Schleinzer’s "Michael", coming straight from Cannes’ main competition into our International Competition of Feature Films.
At Cannes, Schleinzer personified "le rêve américain" as it were – a debutant who made waves in the tranquil Mediterranean waters by making it all the way to the festival’s main competition, even being favoured to win the Palme d’Or. The film is a chilling chronicle of a little boy’s last five months of captivity at the hands of his molester, Michael.
Two more pictures from Cannes will be included in Art Film Fest’s International Competition of Feature Films. "The End of Silence" (La fin du silence), the feature debut of French director Roland Edzard, was featured in the festival’s Quinzaine des realisateurs section.
The film begins with a violent quarrel in a remote mountain home. The family’s younger son Jean is thrown out of the house, subsequently joining a group of hunters, who teach him to kill…
Director Bakur Bakuradze’s intimate Russian drama "The Hunter" (Ochotnik), screened in Cannes’ Un certain regard section, tells the story of Ivan, a farmer whose mundane life is changed by two workers from a local prison.
Art Film Fest’s Cannes roundup will be topped off by "Elena" from director Andrei Zvyagintsev, famous for his 2003 film "The Return". A modern drama about a woman who struggles to survive at any cost, addressing timeless questions of life and death along the way, "Elena" is the latest work from one of contemporary Russian cinema’s most distinctive voices.