During a Wednesday press conference, festival organiser Radek Lipka praised the festival not only for its lineup--which features over 120 screenings, including 65 features, 50 shorts--but also for its role in allowing for the “exchange of ideas”.
What’s more, the “Down With Walls!” theme--also the title of the accompanying Neimënster photo exhibition taking place over the course of the festival--roughly coincides with the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Lipka hopes the audience will ask the question of whether, even long after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the east-west divide in Europe still exists.
The festival has brought in a broader range of festival-goers each year, reaching over 10,000 in 2018. And this year’s festival is likely to do the same: 120 screenings, including 65 features and 50 shorts, will take place through 20 October in venues not only across Luxembourg, but a few in Saarbrücken as well at the Kino Achteinhalb.
The season starts off strong, opening with the tragicomedy “My Thoughts Are Silent” by Ukrainian Antonio Lukich. The film’s protagonist, Vadim, is charged with recording the sounds of birds, including a rare one indigenous to the Carpathians. It’s a film that should deliver a dose of irony as well as humour.
Also in the lineup is Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird”, which has been praised for its excellent cinematography, set in black and white. Based on a Jerzy Kosińki novel, it captures the perspective of a young boy as World War II is drawing to a close in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Recently selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the Academy Awards, the film has also been shown at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.
The biopic “Jan Palach” will also be screened on a special Czech evening--which may be of interest to locals, given there is a square in Luxembourg City named after this student who in 1969 took his own life.
A number of interesting documentaries are on this year’s billing too, including “Honeyland”, a 2019 Macedonia production following the last female wild beekeeper in Europe, as well as “Walk on Water”, a behind-the-scenes look at Christo’s 2016 “The Floating Piers” work on Lake Iseo, Italy--the environmental artist’s first large-scale project following the death of his wife.
Other special events
The “Down With Walls!” exhibition, which will be held at Neimënster, will include over 100 works by photographers ranging from Lithuania and Poland to the UK. Six projects zoom in on both visible and invisible barriers--from the Mexican border wall in Trump’s America to Cyprus, Ireland and more.
At Melusina on 4 October there will also be a Balkan party with Shantel and Bucovina Club Orkestra, plus a closing party on 19 October with Malaka Hostel and Baltic Balkan from Lithuania.
Debates, cine-concerts and other special evenings are also planned. For the full lineup, visit cineast.lu