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Romania, Mexico and Turkey stand in line for the Golden Angel

Romania’s capital, the coast of Mexico and Turkish Istanbul – in those locations has place action of three films, which will be presented in an international competition ON AIR. All are debuts of very promising directors: Romanian Razvan Radulescu, Germans Melissa de Raaf, originating from Turkey Pelin Esmer and Mexican “citizen of the world” – Pedro González-Rubio.

We proudly present next films from the most important contest of Tofifest Film Festival, which starts on coming Friday in Toruń.

“First of All, Felicia” (“Felicia inainte de toate”, Romania 2009) is the feature debut of Razvan Radulescu and Melissa de Raaf Romanian-German duo. It is also the Polish premiere of the film.

“Subtle acting and emotional intensity” are the strongest part of “First of All, Felicia”, according to words of The Hollywood Reporter’s critic. The story talks about the alienated condition of a 40 year old woman who believed to have followed her passion and now doesn’t know anymore where she belongs. We are on Felicia’s departure day after the two week annual visit to her family in Bucharest. As the taxi drives through the jammed streets of Bucharest, Felicia and her mother realize they will never be in time for the flight. While trying to rebook her ticket, Felicia begins to understand she has to choose between two families – parents and son who has stayed at home.

“First of All, Felicia” is the first common work of the famous Romanian writer and German art curator Radulescu became famous as the author of the screenplay for “Mr. Lazarescu Death” which won at festivals in Cannes, Cluj and Bratislava. Melissa De Raaf occupies with the theory of art, philosophy and visual arts.

The second film, “10 to 11” (“11’e 10 kala”, Turkey, Germany, France 2009) is the feature debut of Pelin Esmer – Turkish documentary who is rewarded and highly regarded in the world. During Tofifest we are going to see a Polish premiere of this work. “10 to 11” is the story of a passionate collector Mithat and the concierge of the building, Ali, which takes place in the backdrop of the great Istanbul. For Mithat Istanbul is as vast as his collections and for Ali is nothing more than a few blocks around the building. When the neighbors decide to have the building rebuilt with the fear of earthquake and the wish for a more valuable house, Mithat’s most challenging struggle to save his collections begins. The building becomes the common destiny of these two men living alone.

The Variety’s critic wrote: “surprisingly charming intimate portraits of 83-year-old anal-retentive Turkish men. An unassuming quasi-documentary homage to both the director’s grandfather and the Istanbul around which the story purposefully wanders. The critic mentioned about grandfather because the director built Mithata’s figure based on memoir of Mithata Esmer – her own grandfather, who also starred in the role of the old collector.

“10 to 11” is a picture which won many awards. It was honored, inter alia, at the Istanbul International Film Festival (Best Direction), Middle East International Film Festival (Best Direction), Tromso International Film Festival (FIPRESCI Award), Cinema Novo Film Festival, Ankara Film Festival, IndieLisboa Film Festival (Jury Award) and the Rotterdam Film Festival where it received the prize for Best Film.

The third movie takes us to the ocean coast of Mexico. To the Sea” (“Alamar”, Mexico 2009) is is a debut of the Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio in the feature film genre. Image eludes unambiguous classification, because blurs the line between classic feature film and documentary. The movie cannot be classified explicitly as it blurs the line between feature and documentary film. It is a kind of a movie essay of an exceptionally pure and simple expression devoid of cheap sentimentalism. The movie resembles a kind of ethnographic album, filled with superb photographs presenting the unique ecosystem of Banco Chinchorro – a Mexican region enlisted on the World Heritage List.

The movie is not only a story about relations between people and nature but also a memorable tale about a father’s role and the meaning of fatherhood. The process of forming a delicate but strong bond between 5-year old Natan and Jorge, his father, helps the viewer understand the potential that is hidden in a conscious and mature fatherhood. “Alamar shows us that father/son relationship in a pure form – no external drama (…) just the moments of this father and son together. Just a father and his son” – wrote the critic of Hollywood.com.

“To the Sea” won many prizes – Tiger Award 2009 at Rotterdam International Film Festival; Jury Award at Miami International Film Festival; Audience Award and Best Film at Morelia International Film Festival; FIPRESCI Award at the Toulouse Latin America Film Festival. Pedro González-Rubio – the director of this film – is a “citizen of the world”. He was born in Brussels, lived in New Delhi of India, studied at a faculty of film in Mexico and at the London Film School. “To the Sea” is his first feature film.

We remind that in the ON AIR competition also take part movies like “Altiplano (co-production between Belgium, Germany and Netherlands), directors – Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth; “Women without Men” (“Zanan-e-bedun-e Mardan,” France-Germany) director – Shirin Neshat; “Street Days” (“Quchis dgeebi”, Georgia) director – Levan Koguashvili.

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