THE BELT AND ROAD FILM WEEK
Films release of the BELT AND ROAD FILM WEEK
HEAVEN WITHOUT PEOPLE（Lebanon）
CROSSROADS: ONE TWO JAGA（Malaysia）
FOAM AT THE MOUTH（Latvia / Poland / Lithuania）
CAPERNAUM（Lebanon / France / USA）
PITY（Greece / Poland）
THE MANSLAYER / THE VIRGIN / THE SHADOW（Estonia / Lithuania）
MIRACLE（Lithuania / Bulgaria / Poland）
MADEMOISELLE PARADIS（Austria / Germany）
Finalists of the BELT AND ROAD FILM WEEK
(In alphabetical order of countries’ name initials)
GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY（China）
KISS ME NOT（Egypt）
NAMME（Georgia / Lithuania）
THE SEEN AND UNSEEN（Indonesia / Netherlands / Australia / Qatar）
DAUGHTER OF MINE（Italy / Germany / Switzerland）
ARRHYTHMIA（Russia / Finland / Germany）
Films release of the BELT AND ROAD FILM WEEK
Directed by: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
The stories in the film are based on news items. Death often comes unexpectedly - what happens the day before is usually ordinary: all the little things that make life worth living. In Bangkok, friends celebrate their graduation, siblings meet again, a couple separates, an actress is waiting to be called on set… The film is a sweet, melancholic and philosophical reflection on the fate and the ephemerality of life.
Directed by: Ilian Metev
Set in the suburbs of Sofia, this film follows an astrophysicist Todor and his two children. Todor, a single father, pays more attention to the rings of Saturn than his two children, the adolescent Niki and his teenage sister Mila. Mila is a gifted pianist, but she always feels frustrated about her lacking confidence. Meanwhile, her naughty brother Niki distracts her for the absurd and adolescent antics all the time, which makes her feel disturbed. The film is a genuine portrait of a normal family, struggling to find meaning during their last summer together before Mila departs for an important piano audition in Germany.
Directed by: Saskia Diesing
Coco is a chaotic young woman, who is embroiled in a hopeless affair with Hans, recently divorced and in his fifties. She has no idea what to do with her life, until she discovers her mother is seriously ill. Wholeheartedly, she embraces this new purpose in life and moves in with her to help, ignoring their distant relationship, as well as her mother's desire to be left alone.
Directed by: Iulia Rugina
After the tragic death of his cameraman, which he indirectly caused, reporter Alex Mazilu has to make an in-memoriam reportage covering his life. However, Alex actually wasn’t very close to the cameraman although they are colleagues. Three days before Christmas, in a small town on the Black Sea coast, Alex puts together puzzle pieces of this man’s life, all seen through the eyes of his troubled 15-year-old daughter. Trying to redeem the dead father, he slowly starts taking his place.
HEAVEN WITHOUT PEOPLE
Directed by: Lucien Bourjeily
Josephine, the matriarch of a sprawling family is delighted to gather everyone for Easter lunch for the first time in two years. While they all share a joyful meal, an incident ignites underlying tensions between the family members and leads them gradually into chaos. A compelling drama centered on a family celebrating Easter Sunday lunch at the home of their matriarch, Josephine. As with most intimate family gatherings, a multitude of opinions are expressed, political viewpoints are passionately argued, and countless laughs are shared over authentic food and traditions. However, things take a dramatic turn when an unexpected incident pushes them all into an all out truthful confrontation. As deeply restrained feelings and malicious intentions are suddenly unveiled, and passions are ignited, the family function concludes with a chaotic sequence of events.
CROSSROADS: ONE TWO JAGA
Directed by: Nam Ron
In the outskirts and back-alleys of Kuala Lumpur, several individuals with money problems struggle to get their lives straight. Indonesian immigrant Sugiman, a single parent, whose sister is in trouble, has a bad dream featuring violence and blood. Rico, a Filipino fixer, is under constant pressure to send money home to his mother. The corrupt policeman Hassan, married with two small kids, money is always short. Suddenly, they find their paths unexpectedly intersecting–with fatal results.
FOAM AT THE MOUTH
Directed by: Janis Nords
Country/Region: Latvia / Poland / Lithuania
After losing his leg, ex-cop Didzis focuses on training his three beloved police dogs. His estranged wife Jana, a doctor at the local sports school, seeks romantic fulfillment with Roberts, a 17-yearold student and a promising swimmer. After a secret rendezvous, Jana hits a rabid wild boar with her car and eventually spreads the virus to Didzis’ dogs. The accident ignites dark suspicion and jealousy in Didzis. Busy with finding and punishing Jana’s secret lover, Didzis overlooks the ever-growing strangeness and aggression in his now infected dogs. Just as the love triangle becomes toxic, the dogs escape and threaten the local town. Facing both personal and professional fiasco, Didzis decides to take matter in his own hands.
Directed by: Hossein Namazi
Due to severe abdominal pain, Zari and her husband, Reza, go to the hospital. However, Zari’s insurance ID has expired and they are forced to borrow her friend Leila Attarod’s ID. Eventually, she undergoes appendectomy using Leila’s ID and the staff at the hospital suspect about this matter. Due to this, they are forced to switch roles to convince hospital staff that the ID belongs to Zari. However, many unfortunate events take place in the process…
Directed by: Roland Vranik
Wilson came to Hungary as a refugee, but since then he has found a home and job for himself; he works as a security guard in a supermarket. He wants to become a Hungarian citizen; however, he repeatedly fails the basic constitutional studies exam. His life takes an unexpected turn when his colleague recommends her sister Mari to him, a teacher specialized in Hungarian and History. During their private lessons a mutual attraction unfolds between the married teacher and her student. Meanwhile, Wilson meets Shirin, a Persian girl who fled the refugee camp. The compassion and empathy towards Shirin forge a strong, trusting bond between the two refugees. However, Shirin’s true status is kept hidden from Mari. Once everything comes to light, the relationship between Wilson, Shirin and Mari gets more and more complicated, and Wilson contemplates his original dream for becoming a Hungarian citizen.
Directed by: Nadine Labaki
Country/Region: Lebanon / France / USA
Capernaum is a city of ancient Palestine, near the Sea of Galilee. It is the centre where Jesus began to preach in Holy Bible. This film tells a miserable suffering about a 12-year-old boy Zein, who sues his parents because they just give him life but have no capability of bringing him up. So the story goes, and questions the legitimacy of his existence. This poor little boy has no identification and encounters cruel torture. Through his effort, he hopes to struggle and voice on behalf of those poor people who lack basic rights, education, health and love.
Directed by: Babis Makridis
Country/Region: Greece / Poland
A man of about 45, the lawyer, lives with his teenage son in a well-off home. His wife, however, has been in a coma and has been in a private hospital for some time following an accident. The sadness caused by this event has become the Lawyer’s main and most vital element of life, giving him a sense of pleasure that becomes an addiction. His grief has also suddenly made everybody have compassion towards him. His life has never been better than it is now. Then one day, his wife wakes up from the coma. Sadness is now replaced by joy and he is overwhelmed by a yearning to go back to the previous, mournful state. He begins to invent ways to attract the pity that he has come to enjoy so much, at first as part of a master-plan, but gradually with more frivolity and naiveté he totally loses control of himself.
THE MANSLAYER / THE VIRGIN / THE SHADOW
Directed by: Sulev Keedus
Country/Region: Estonia / Lithuania
The film consists of three chapters. The MANSLAYER takes place more than a hundred years ago. The leading character Maara is a young bride who is about to start her life in her new family. THE VIRGIN, set in the spring of 1949, tells the story of a young woman called Elina, who has been deported from Ingria into Estonia during the previous war. THE SHADOW moves in the present, on the border of real life and fantasy. The main character, Luna Lee, has decided to flee from home. Is there anything besides emptiness somewhere? The common link between the three short stories is the leading character: Maara, Elina and Luna Lee are all played by the same actress. THE MANSLAYER / THE VIRGIN / THE SHADOW won Best Cinematography for 2017 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
Directed by: Siddharth Malhotra
HICHKI is a story about a woman who turns her most daunting weakness into her biggest strength. Naina Mathur is an aspiring teacher who suffers from Tourette Syndrome. After several interviews and numerous rejections, she lands her dream job as a full-time teacher in one of the most elite schools in the city. However, she soon realizes that the class she has been assigned comprises of defiant and impish students who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Despite a few initial hiccups, Naina must do whatever she can to ensure that her students realize their true potential, and defy all the odds against them.
Directed by: Egle Vertelyte
Country/Region: Lithuania / Bulgaria / Poland
It is 1992 and Lithuania has shifted from communism to capitalism, leaving the small nationalized pig farm managed by Irena, in dire straits. With the farm on the brink of closure, a handsome American, Bernardas, arrives, claiming that the pig farm once belonged to his parents, who were forced into exile during World War II. He buys the farm, promises a new start and assures Irena that she can stay. Bernardas stays true to his word and his investment sees life with the village improving; but as his popularity grows, the villagers no longer want to listen to their old boss. Suspicious of his real intentions, Irena starts spying on Bernardas and catches him frantically digging up the foundations of the farm. When confronted, he tells her his family secret: his parents buried a trove of treasures before being forced to leave. Falling for his charms, Irena agrees to help Bernardas dismantle the farm in search of the treasure, only to discover there is no gold, just trinkets, photographs and memories. With the farm destroyed, Bernardas dreams of riches are at an end, but for Irena, life promises a new twist…
Directed by: Frank Berry
The film tells the story of Michael McCrea, an impressionable eighteen-year-old boy who lives with his grandfather Francis in a Dublin housing-estate. Michael’s life is changed dramatically when he is caught holding a bag of drugs for his friend’s older brother, and is sentenced to three months in prison. Inside, Michael is befriended by an older drug dealer, and is exposed to violence and intimidation. Researched and workshopped with former prisoners from the Irish Prison Service’s Pathways Programme, the story of MICHAEL INSIDE is an expression of many real-life experiences. The film takes a realistic look at the circumstances that lead to Michael’s conviction, his time in prison, and how prison has affected his thinking and his behavior when he gets out.
Directed by: Barbara Albert
Country/Region: Austria / Germany
Vienna, 1777. Maria Theresia Paradis (Resi), 18 years old, is blind, and a pianist of remarkable talent. Resi lost her eyesight literally overnight when she was three. After countless failed medical experiments, her overprotective parents seek out a controversial “miracle doctor”, Franz Anton Mesmer, as their last hope for a cure. For Dr. Mesmer, the chance to successfully treat the young girl could lead to fame and fortune. Resi moves into the estate of the doctor and his wife, where in the company of other patients she tastes personal freedom for the first time. And Mesmer’s treatments seem to have almost immediate success. However, Resi soon notices that as her sight is beginning to return, her musical virtuosity is declining. She becomes aware that being part of society as a seeing person comes at too high a price if it can mean the loss of her inner world of music.
Directed by: Mikhail Red
Country/Region: The Philippines
As a violent war on drugs is waged in present day Manila, a notorious vigilante death squad recruits a teenage orphan named Toto. The orphan soon forms a maternal relationship with the vigilante group’s matriarch Irma, who also works as a pest exterminator during the day. Irma and Toto’s loyalties are ultimately put to the test when one of the targets in their kill list turns out to be a familiar face.
Directed by: Yury Kovaliov
During a solar eclipse, an ordinary boy Vitko finds himself a thousand years back, in Kyivan Rus, in the midst of a decisive battle between good and evil. With help of a magic stone which gives him power, and the strong knights whom he knew only from books by his side, he is facing black magic and an army led by the giant rock monster. Now only the boy’s bravery will decide if the light overthrows darkness and if the future turns out the way we know it today.
Finalists of the BELT AND ROAD FILM WEEK
(In alphabetical order of countries’ name initials)
GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY
Directed by: YANG Mingming
Ending the previous relationship, Wu rents an apartment in Beijing Hutong with her royalty and is hopeful about her new single life. However, Wu’s mother suddenly appears and requests to move in. The unexpected move-in of her mother leads to the endless chaos in the house. Wu can’t tolerate her mother’s ridiculous living habits and thoughts, but at the same time she can’t avoid being influenced by her. The two women, both of whom lack of sense of security, start mutual repulsion, hatred, and harm in every moment of life. When the war reaches the climax, they cannot face each other. At this point Wu and her mother both start a new relationship, which loosens the tensions between them temporarily. However, the fruitless relationships bring back the disordered and chaotic life. Like everyone else living in the Hutong, knowing all the details about each other, Wu and her mom continue the love-and-hate relationship day by day.
KISS ME NOT
Directed by: Ahmed Amer
Fajr is a famous female sex symbol and the leading actress in the feature film directorial debut of a young director. She refuses to shoot a kissing scene in the film, which drives the director crazy and annoys the producer. They all try to reach a middle-ground to get out of this quandary and complete the film, all that is being filmed by another young documentary director, who is making a documentary film about his friend’s film by conducting interviews with the filmmakers and trying to understand the justifications that control their attitudes. KISS ME NOT tracks the rise and fall of the kiss in Egyptian cinema through archived scenes and interviews with famous filmmakers including late director Mohamed Khan and director Khairy Beshara.
Directed by: Zaza Khalvashi
Country/Region: Georgia / Lithuania
Ali’s family has inherited a mission – taking care of a local healing water and treating sick fellow villagers with it. Three sons are skeptical about the water, only the young daughter Namme stays as the guardian of family traditions. The village has a mixed Muslim and Christian heritage. Namme meets Merab. Closeness and sympathy is developing between them. A hydro power station is being constructed locally, which might be a cause for environmental changes. One day the spring water starts to disappear. Father remembers the old tradition, according to which the water will not return unless the sacrifice is made… NAMME is a super beautiful film, and was nominated for Tokyo Grand Prix of the 2017 Tokyo International Film Festival.
THE SEEN AND UNSEEN
Directed by: Kamila Andini
Country/Region: Indonesia / Netherlands / Australia / Qatar
Tantri and Tantra are twin-born sister and brother. Tantra loves to steal eggs offered at shrines for his sister to cook. When they eat the eggs, Tantri eats the albumen and leaves the yolk for her brother. Tantra has an intracranial lump that oppresses the brain, which hampers his nerve system. The hospital proclaims that he will gradually lose his sight and hearing, and finally all his senses. When Tantra is hospitalized, Tantri secretly brings his dog as a companion. At night Tantra stages a shadowpuppet show behind the curtain of the hospital bed for his sister. Tantri chats with her brother, listens to his music, and helps him plant rice seedlings. However, the worsening of Tantra’s condition leads to a woeful ambience at home, and the mom cries frequently. With the hope that Tantra will get better, the family tries multiple ways: the mom plays the instrument to Tantra; Tantri dances with him and prays in various patterns. Unfortunately, the miracle doesn’t come for Tantra.
DAUGHTER OF MINE
Directed by: Laura Bispuri
Country/Region: Italy / Germany / Switzerland
10-year-old Vittoria’s summer will be one of two mothers to challenge, to hate, to love and to forgive. Shy Vittoria has a close relationship with her loving good mother Tina. But their quiet Sardinian life will be upset when the young girl discovers that local party girl Angelica is her birth mother. When Angelica is forced to move away because of financial troubles, she asks to become acquainted with Vittoria. Tina agrees, comforted by the idea that the woman will soon be leaving town. Searching for something deep and inexplicable, Vittoria and Angelica spend more and more time together against Tina’s will…
Directed by: Piotr Domalewski
Adam returns home to Poland. He drops by for a brief time to spend Christmas Eve with his family and share the news that his child will soon be born. Just after that he goes back to the Netherlands to get on with his life. He is not the first member of the family to leave the country to earn a living. His father lost his health as a construction worker in Germany, and his uncle worked in Belgium for years. They both came back, with money that was supposed to glue together broken family bonds. Adam wants to avoid their mistakes and has a plan for how to do it. But the family Christmas Eve dinner will thwart his dreams.
Directed by: Boris Khlebnikov
Country/Region: Russia / Finland / Germany
Oleg is a young gifted paramedic. His wife Katya works as a nurse at the hospital emergency department. She loves Oleg, but is fed up with him caring more about patients than her. She tells him she wants a divorce. The new head of Oleg’s EMA department is a cold-hearted manager who’s got new strict rules to implement. Oleg couldn’t care less about the rules – he’s got lives to save; his attitude gets him in trouble with the new boss. The crisis at work coincides with the personal life crisis. Caught up between their patients, alcohol-fueled off-shifts, and an evolving health care system, Oleg and Katya have to find the binding force that will keep them together.
Directed by: Tolga Karaçelik
Cemal, Kenan and Suzan are the children of Mazhar, but they are not close to each other. Now, after being 30 years apart, their father calls them back home to their village of Hasanlar. They don’t know why. When they arrive to Hasanlar, they realize that their father is dead and in his will he asks to be buried when the butterflies come to the village to die; one of the many strangeness of this village. Three siblings who neither know each other nor anything about their father will have to kill time in this village while waiting for the time of the butterflies. As they start to find out more about their father and about each other, they also start to know more about themselves.