CANNES: The 72nd Cannes Film Festival held 14-25 May 2019 awarded its top prize to Parasite / Gisaengchung (South Korea) directed by Bong Joon-ho. The much anticipated Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (USA) directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio went home empty handed but still managed to stir up controversy over the film’s portrayal of Roman Polanski as a character in the film.

CANNES: Forever Hold Your Peace by Ivan Marinović from Montenegro won the Krzysztof Kieślowski ScripTeast Award  2019 for the Best Eastern European Script at Cannes on 21 May 2019.

CANNES: Marketa Santrochova, Deputy Director of the Czech Film Center, has been elected as the new president of European Film Promotion. She replaces Martin Schweighofer, who served in the post for four years.

BERLIN: Israeli director Nadav Lapid has scored a slot in the main competition at Berlinale with his third outing Synonyms/ Synonyme, a French, Israeli, German coproduction.  The semi-autobiographical story has its roots in Lapid’s own experiences in trying to integrate himself into the French and more specifically Parisian culture and opens up a highly relevant questions about identity, immigration and fitting into a new and different culture.

BERLIN: Macedonian director Teona Strugar Mitevska has put his country on the European film map with Macedonia / Belgium / Slovenia / Croatia / France coproduction God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya which has scored a slot in the main competition at this year’s Berlinale. Mitevska is not newcomer.  This is her fifth feature and her previous outing When the Day Had No Name premiered in the Panorama two years ago so she is no stranger to Berlinale either. But this is her most focused and successful film to date and the main competition slot is well deserved.

BERLIN: Veteran Polish director Agnieszka Holland delivers a strong Berlin competition entry with Mr Jones a Polish, UK, Ukrainian coproduction that is sure to draw widespread attention because of the true story it’s based on as well as the renown of its director.

BERLIN:German director Angela Schanelec’s Berlin Golden Bear contender I Was At Home But/ Ich war zuhause, aber is a small scale domestic drama about a middle-class family in crisis.  The Berlinale main competition slot will bring more followers to this director whose previous films have already done the rounds of the festival circuit. But a German female director in the main competition in the Berlinale is already a reason to focus attention on a film that is sure to divide critics and audiences between those who will consider it pretentious and those who are ready to see a more profound meaning behind its basic storyline.

BERLIN: German Turkish director Faith Akin has scored a slot in the competition lineup with The Golden Glove, a grim, violent story that reconstructs the case of 1970s serial killer Fritz Honka.  Akin is a favourite with festival audiences and a winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear in 2004 with his film Head-On but this unremittingly dark story based on Heinz Strunk’s 2016 crime novel, about a socially depraved, violent criminal, driven by misogyny, sexual greed and sentimentality will leave many of Akin’s fans scratching their heads and wondering where the humour, charm and irony of his previous films has gone.

MOSCOW: The Secret of a Leader (Kazakhstan) directed by Farkhat Sharipov took home the Golden George for Best Film at the 41st Moscow International Film Festival, but there was no doubt that the star event of the festival was the gala screening of Ralph Fiennes’s Nureyev biopic White Crow with the director in attendance.

CANNES: Films from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland were selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation competition. Majority and minority coproductions from Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina were selected for Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, and also for France’s Association for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema (ACID).

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