The Russian film Mishen (Target) by Alexander Zeldovich is a real science fiction movie set in the year 2020. In the future Russia as a nation has become something far more positive than what we would fear from our perspective today. Mishen is the story of a young elite that only has one problem: things have been too good for them for too long and deep boredom sets in. So the characters decide to fly to the desert in their private jet. There they find a paranormal, alien circle sunk into the ground that looks like a flat parabola antenna. Energy is concentrated there and if one stands in the middle, the aging process stops, one’s senses and abilities are sharpened. The film is really very beautiful, you have to let yourself go with the tempo – then one finds a remarkable, descriptive allegory for Russia.
Some feature films with celebrity participation such as También la lluvia (Even The Rain) deal with the politically pressing questions of our time. Do they communicate these issues in all their complexity, through multi-layered, unconventional plot structures?
También la lluvia directed by Icíar Bollaín is about the battle for water. The story is in fact multi-layered and everything is told on parallel levels. There is the film about the conquest of America by Christopher Columbus which is just about to be shot – a film-in-a-film structure -, while at the same time the Bolivian population has to fight for water. The water has been privatized and the villagers are denied access even though they have just built a new water pipe. In También la lluvia the story of the native inhabitants is repeated and multiplied – they’re stuck in the same predicament as back then: they are confronted with very powerful forces. Today, the former colonizers, the Spaniards who want to make the film, are do-gooders who want to portray history truthfully and with an awareness of guilt – but they repeatedly transform into cynics because they just have to get their film made.
New talents, new media and the resolution of differences
Looking at the newcomers in the programme, does one recognize an orientation towards role models or conventional working processes or have they been selected because they are able to convince with their own unique styles?
Rundskop (Bullhead) directed by Michaël R. Roskam has an extremely strong, unique style. On the one hand, the narration is very dry. On the other hand, an immense psychic pressure can be felt at all times. The story addresses the issue of hormone abuse in cattle farming. The main character of the film not only injects his animals with hormones, but also shoots them up himself. There is footage of the main character, which shows how he dopes himself and how his body slowly begins to become malformed – exactly like those of his cattle. Roskam’s narration is very multi-layered, using great, powerful images, while still retaining the dryness of Belgian cinema. As a viewer one has insight into a taciturn, hermetic male world. A very impressive first film.