Apocalypse, the main topic at this year’s TIFF

This year’s edition of the Transilvania International Film Festival is entitled “This is the End“.

The end-of-the-world psychosis that accompanied late 2012 inspired “This the End” theme of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) 2013, Cluj-Napoca, May 31 – June 9. The 12 films to compete for the FIPRESCI Award, speak on various tones about global or personal apocalypses.“Old age, death, relationships on the brink of collapse, diseases, worlds turned upside down or vanishing altogether. Willy-nilly, all the fuss surrounding the prophesized end of the world in 2012 translated in various obsession depicted in the films of the later years, the certainty that something or somebody has reached the end of the road. It’s a terminal vein that starts from Lars von Trier’s «Melancholia» (photo) and on to «Amour» by Michael Haneke, from global to personal apocalypse. This is what «This is the End» thematic section of the festival sets out to explore, says Mihai Chirilov, TIFF artistic director. “It’s not a very upbeat section, obviously, but there are films that speak about the end on a less somber tenor,” reads a press release from TIFF organizers. A combination of  morbid comedy and metaphysical  SF, in the vein of Andrei Tarkovski’s “The Stalker”, “Me Too“ (director Alexei Balabanov) sends several characters, all of them played by non-professional actors, in a bizarre, “tower of happiness” from where there is no coming back. The film was shown in the Orizzonti Section of the Venice Festival. La cinquième saison” (director Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, at TIFF-before with “Altiplano“, which also figured among Venice entries, speaks “about a mysterious natural calamity that turns everybody’s life upside-down somewhere in the Ardennes: Spring won’t come.

The Apocalypse is also approaching in “El Limpiador” (director Adrian Saba), as a strange and devastating disease besieges Lima.“The villagers in Panihida”, a hybrid between fiction film and documentary documenting burial rituals in a Bessarabian village, (director Ana Felicia Scutelnicu), led an old woman to her grave, a trip longer than they could take. Similarly decisive is the tough journey of five young jail breakers in „Los Salvajes“ (director  Alejandro Fadel), an entry at Semaine de la Critique of the Cannes Festival. Without any resources or clues, the five turn against all the others. “Living“ (director Vasili Sigarev), a film telling in surrealist and metaphysical touches  three different stories  about the pain of death and the power of imagination able to keep the loved ones among the living, was shown in  Rotterdam and got the Critics’ choice Award at the „goEast “Central and East-European Film Festival.

The young man in “Hors les murs” (directed by David Lambert), a troubling love story, throws himself head-first in a debilitating dependency relationship, and a married couple see their relationship going to pieces, slowly but surely “Lifelong“ (director Asli Ozge), makes the X-ray of a breakup against an elegant and carefully chosen yet atypical Istanbul backdrop. A fascinating essay about death seen thru the eyes of some teenagers roaming thru a forest, “Leones“ (director Jazmin Lopez) reminds of both Terrence Malick and Gaspar Noe. “36“, directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, is a Thai experimental film about memory gone lost. The film got the Pusan International Film Festival Trophy.The 12 entries include two documentaries “Forget Me Not” (director David Sieveking), a film about the director’s Alzheimer-sick mother who’s dying slowly shutting herself down  from the rest of the world, and  “The Last Black Sea Pirates“ (director Svetoslav Stoyanov), the story of the vanishing world of Black Sea pirates.

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