When we introduced the East of Eden section last year, the aim was to showcase the best short films from countries with similar themes and production circumstances to those in the region of former Yugoslavia. With this idea, we presented several short films from Eastern Europe, of various genres and forms.
This year we are going both wider in the geographical sense, and narrower in the thematic and formal aspect.
Why limit ourselves to Eastern Europe when there are wonderful films being made everywhere, including places where it is even harder to make them than in the Balkans? This has inspired us to imagine future programmes that could be called Middle East of Eden and Far East of Eden, and this selection is the first step in this direction.
This year our selection also has a theme: daughters, and all five films are fiction. It is a result of both convenience and need, and is, in our opinion, also an elegant way to address the global #metoo phenomenon that has been since unavoidable not only in the media, but in all our heads, since last FeKK.
Two of this year’s winning shorts from Cannes, Chinese film A Gentle Night which won Palme d’Or, and the Greek Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year, which won the Critics’ Week, have daughters as a more or less direct subject matter. In the former, a film directed by a man, Qiu Yang, it is daughter who is absent, and in the latter, directed by Jacqueline Lentzou, the protagonist is not only a daughter, it is one of the functions of the multi-faceted character.
In the Cypriot film Aria, again directed by a woman, Myrsini Aristidou, a father-daughter relationship is framed by migrations of the modern world, in which the least expected places become humanistic and ideological battlegrounds where various economic interests collide.
In The Silence, a similar background is as a set-up for a deeply touching but also disconcerting treatise of a mother-daughter relationship. Co-directed by the Iranian man-woman team Ali Asgari and Farnoosh Samadi, with Kurds as protagonists, the film was shot in Italy, which takes us back to why we are doing this programme in the first place: a perfect fusion of theme and production circumstances.
And to refresh both the thematic focus and the tone of the programme, we have included a student film from Slovakia, which deals with parents and sons rather than daughters: Michal Ďuriš’s Warm Comedy about Depression, Madness and Unfulfilled Dreams.