Eponymous Characters and Sensitive Portraits
Last year the film titles suggested an examination of spaces and places. This year they appear to indicate an intimate look into the lives of individuals: Lotte, Wer ist Oda Jaune? (Who is Oda Jaune?), LIEBMANN, Valentina, TORO...
Yes, these are all stories which are carried by strong characters and yet which relate something above and beyond them. Lotte (Karin Hanczewski) is, in the film of the same name, a young nurse whose impulsiveness epitomises a contemporary phenomenon: many young people don’t want to grow up, don’t want to commit themselves, want to keep their options open
In Wer ist Oda Jaune? director Kamilla Pfeffer tries to get to the bottom of the artist behind her work. No easy task because to show art in the making is really a contradiction in terms, as Oda Jaune says herself, and she’s not the only one to believe that. Liebmann, on the other hand, is in France and tries to escape his past but he must ultimately confront his trauma in order to carry on. It is a story which can also be interpreted as being representative of a collective trauma.
Valentina, a little girl who lives with her family of 12 in the poor quarters of a Roma neighbourhood in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, is a true eponymous heroine. She takes us into her life, tells us the story of her family and, in doing so, also paints a self-portrait. At the same time, the film deals with the question of how it is possible to get near to people whose lives seem so far removed from our own. The camera is Valentina’s roaming companion, always on an equal footing with her.
The young Pole Toro, who is actually called Piotr, has been living in Germany for ten years and earns his money as an escort for upper middle-class women. He stashes his savings in a punchbag and wants to use them to open a boxing school in Poland. He has a clear goal, whereas his friend Victor prostitutes himself simply to feed his drug addiction. In this tragic story, Martin Hawie tells of an unequal friendship. We are screening this film on the 50th anniversary of the Hof International Film Festival and in doing so are establishing another connection to the Retrospective which, under this year’s heading “Germany 1966 – Redefining Cinema”, is actually bringing together some of the directors who, in the 50 years since 1967, have presented their work at Hof. The founder and festival director for many years, Heinz Badewitz, has consistently given new filmmakers a place to this day and I'm delighted to be welcoming him as a guest.