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44. IFF Karlovy Vary - Searching for a secure space in the Forum of Independents

Festivals 2009-04-21
One of the festival's most popular sections documents a non-mainstream look at the world, and this year it will include a noteworthy trio of debuts.

One of the festival's most popular sections documents a non-mainstream look at the world, and this year it will include a noteworthy trio of debuts. The Belgian film Liar (Menteur) by Tom Geens presents a vivid portrait of an unsuccessful young man who tries in vain to live up to his family's idea of "making it." As a result, he ends up weaving a tangled web of lies. This unostentatious, formally-austere film will be screened at the festival as an international premiere.

Just as eagerly awaited is Oren Gvili's medium-length film Secure Space (Merkhav mugan). Set against a backdrop of concrete historical events in Israel, Gvili offers a message of the importance of family and love. The film takes place in Haifa during the 2006 Lebanon War, and employs a graciously subtle tone to depict preparations for a wedding in an underground shelter. As the members try to solve practical, personal, and family problems, bombs are dropping outside.

While that conflict lasted 34 days, the protagonist of Adulthood returns to a world which is still at war. Sam (Noel Clarke, the director of the film) lives within sight of West London's romantic Notting Hill neighborhood, in a demimonde of thugs, drugs, and gangs. Sam left six and a half years earlier when he was convicted of murder at age 15. He left pain and bitterness in his wake, and now he has to confront a new generation of tough kids who have claimed the streets. Sam must find forgiveness from those he hurt, while trying to survive the revenge they still seek to exact upon him. The movie, driven by the rhythms of rap, is an authentic picture of a reality in which adulthood is the only path survival.