Posted by: viewfromtheriva | September 12, 2009

XIV Split Film Festival Begins

This year's program

This year's program

The XIV Split International Film Festival kicked off today with a series of documentaries from Brazil, Bolivia/Japan, Mexico and India followed by the Grand Opening Ceremony and Andrzei Wadja’s Sweet Rush.

Released earlier this year, Sweet Rush a quiet, eloquent film about love, loss and death in post-WW2 Poland.  It stars Krystyna Janda, an astonishing actress who made her debut in Wadja’s Man of Marble more than 30 years ago.

Wadja,  still going strong at 81, is an uncompromising filmmaker whose movies always provoke.  Katyn, his brutal account of how the Russians massacred more than 20,000 Polish troops in WW2, caused a firestorm of yeas and nays from all over the world when it came out in 2007.

Sally Potter, whose 1992 gender-bender Orlando is being reprised on Sunday, is represented with her new work Rage, which will be screened on Monday. 

Orlando, played by the always amazing Tilda Swinton, has some of the most fabulous cinematography I have ever seen (the movie was shot in four or five different countries),  The ballet-like choreography of the skating scene on a frozen Russian pond is just one of many stunning visual moments.

The multi-talented Potter, who starred in her often overlooked gem The Tango Lesson, even wrote the music for the film. Orlando also features a dashing Billy Zane as The Lover and an over the top performance of the aging Queen of England  by Quentin Crisp.

While the ending is a bit too surreal, overall the movie remains a vivid commentary on a woman’s place in an essentially man’s world.

With less than 20 feature films, the Festival is small but ambitious.  There are 10 documentaries and five separate “short film competitions” each lasting from 75 to 80 minutes (five or more films in each competition).

Amazingly, admission is FREE.  Films are screened at the Karaman Theatre just before the Fish Market (take a right off Marmontova) and at the wonderful Zlatna Vrata on Diocletianova ul, right near the North or Golden Gate in the Palace.

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog


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