Countess Bathory to Drink Blood at Art Film Fest!

The famous myth of the bloody countess Elizabeth Bathory has always intrigued.  It also achieved a record turnout in our cinemas with Juraj Jakubisko’s film.  Thus it is certain that a huge amount of attention will be brought to Art Film Fest by the Franco-German co-production The Countess, which was premiered at the most recent Berlinale.  It relates the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, countess of Čachtice. And at the 17th Art Film Fest, you will be the first to find out whether director and renowned French actress Julie Delpy’s look at this murderess of young virgins differs from Jakubisko‘s, who attempted to un-demonise her.In comparison with Jakubisko’s spectacular version, Delpy chose a different perspective, on the whole a quite familiar and conventional one. Still, her rendition is fascinating and certainly appealing.We are taken back to the beginning of the 17th century. Countess Elizabeth Bathory is the most powerful woman in the country. What’s more, she is beautiful, intelligent and refuses to accept that the world is ruled by men alone.  At a celebration she acquaints herself with the young nobleman Istvan Thurzo, and both succumb to passionate love.  Due to the considerable difference between their ages, Bathory resolves to preserve her youth eternally. Does the blood of virgins help her? Without a doubt, Mika Kaurismäki is one of the most recognised Finnish directors, known around the world. Art Film Fest will present his latest release Three Wise Men, in which the viewer experiences an entertaining and harrowing journey to the depths of the male psyche.
Matti is a paranoid father-to-be. Erkki confronts an unnamed disease and is emotionally frustrated by his alienation from his little son.  Raun is an unsuccessful actor who tries to re-establish a relationship with his twenty-something son.
It’s Christmas, a time when families are together. But these three men are unable to connect with their loved ones, so they form their own family of sorts, and a karaoke bar becomes their venue for unexpected revelations, emotional outbursts and possible redemption. The starring trio were awarded at the 2008 festival in Talinn. Paper Soldier, a film from the highest-regarded of the new generation of Russian directors, Alexei German, Jr., takes us back to the 1960s, when the Soviet Union’s attempt to conquer outer space reached its peak.
The story’s hero, the military doctor Daniel, tries to answer the question if it is permissible to risk human life in the name of his motherland’s supremacy in space.  The picture is set against the gloomy backdrop of a Kazakh cosmodrome.
“I was trying to reconstruct the "warming" era of USSR [Krushchev’s Thaw], during the early 60s. At that time the country was struggling to get over Stalin’s heritage and therefore was setting up some truly great and romantic goals. For me, this film is about how easily a delicate and fragile human mechanism can be shattered,” explained Alexei German, Jr..
At last year’s festival in Venice the picture received the Silver Lion for Best Director as well as an award for best cinematography. Also from Russia, the picture Morphine features a screenplay by Sergei Bodrov, Jr., a cult personality among Russian youth, who won renown as an actor, director and screenwriter, and died tragically in 2002.  The direction of this story, based on an autobiographical novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, was taken on by Aleksey Balabanov.
In Spring of 1917, a young doctor from the capital city arrives in the Russian countryside, the middle of nowhere. Right on the first night, his professional skills are tested.  He saves a person’s life. Before long, he successfully treats additional serious cases.  But in the heat of safeguarding his own health, he administers himself a dose of morphine, and gradually becomes quite addicted.  This powerful story about the gradual disintegration of personality, social relationships and fateful moments received the Special Jury Prize at the 2009 festival in Wiesbaden. With a 2009 Oscar nomination, three awards from the most recent Berlinale and seven other international prizes, the Austrian film Revanche will also appear at our festival cinemas.
The cinematic language of director Götz Spielmann will call to mind the work of his renowned colleagues and compatriots Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl, which means you should be prepared for an original, challenging and naturalistic tale about crime and punishment that cannot leave you cold.
It sounds like an old, played-out song: Alex, a former petty thief, decides to rob a bank, planning on using the stolen money to buy his Ukrainian girlfriend out of her circle of debt and forced prostitution. Clearly, things don’t turn out well. The aptly-named 33 Scenes from Life, from Polish director Malgoska Szumowska, was awarded with the Special Prize of the Jury at Locarno 2008, as well as five prizes at the 2008 Polish Film Festival in Gdańsk. Everything seems to be out of a fairy-tale. Young Julia is happy in her personal and professional life. Her career as a photographer is making progress, she loves her husband and she has a good rapport with her sister and her parents.  Her family is bound by reciprocal love and respect.  But one day this idyllic period comes to an end. Her mother is diagnosed with cancer. And this news turns everything on its head. Julia painfully observes that none of her loved ones can come to terms with this situation. Her father begins to drink, her sister avoids her family and her husband devotes himself to his work even more.  Julia, who sees the gradual disintegration of her family, discovers the only solution: Spontaneous, crazy, hysterical laughter, with which she forcibly attempts to overcome her grief.
“I had to share this feeling of absurdity and a need for laughter, even in moments that seemed inappropriate,” said the director Malgoska Szumowska. Also to be screened in the section European Corner is the ambitious political thriller Fifty Dead Men Walking from director Kari Skogland. It displays the harsh reality that Northern Ireland euphemistically calls “the troubles”. The story, based on real events, is distinguished by its courageous and precise focus on personal human drama against the backdrop of a major societal conflict.
Little Soldier
will arrive at Art Film Fest from Denmark. This Annette K. Olesen picture portrays Lotte, a soldier who, mentally and physically worn out, returns home from a foreign mission.  Because she cannot find normal work, she accepts her father’s offer that she work as his driver. And thus Lotte begins driving Lily, one of the prostitutes who her father employs.  A bizarre relationship between the women ensues. The film received the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival in 2009. ———————————————————————————————————– Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA Production House Co-Organizers: the Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the Town of Trenčín, Health Spa Trenčianske Teplice The Festival is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.

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