IFF ERA NEW HORIZONS is the biggest and one of the most important film events in Poland. Last year, all festival films were enjoyed by 127 thousand spectators.
This year, the festival will present about 550 films from 45 countries in 11 days (including 250 full-length films with more than 600 screenings). 150 of them will have their Polish premieres in Wrocław.
The festival will be opened with the Austrian film The White Ribbon (Das weiße Band) by Michael Haneke, winner of the Golden Palm at this year's Cannes festival. The screening in Wrocław will be the Polish premiere of this film.
The White Ribbon refers to the origins of the 20th-century totalitarian systems. The film is impressive for the precision in reconstructing reality of one hundred years ago, it is like a black-and-white photo that has come to life. The film is set before WWI in a small town in northern Germany and it speaks about young members of a church choir, children from different milieus. They become witnesses, victims and probably also culprits of fatal events that shake the town's community.
The other film screened on the day of the opening ceremony will be Nymph (Nang mai), shown this year in Cannes in the section Un Certain Regard. This piece by Pen-ek Ratanaruang, one of the leading representatives of the new wave in Thai cinema, is a hypnotic walk in a tropical forest, a film about ghosts of atmosphere very similar to the prose by Edgar Allan Poe.
The festival's closing film will be this year's winner of 7 César awards, the prestigious awards of the French Academy of Film: the French and Belgian film Séraphine by Martin Provost, a story about a simple woman of extraordinary talent, who becomes a star of the arts world.
The important attraction of the festival will be the screening of the latest film by Pedro Almodóvar, Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos). Several of his previous films have premiered in Poland at ENH and this time Almodóvar has offered the festival to present his latest production starring Penélope Cruz along with one of his favourite films, which was his inspiration for making Broken Embraces. This is the British film noir Night and the City (1950) directed by Jules Dassin. The festival participants will be the first in Poland to check the proportions in Almodóvar's latest film, combining the world we know from the director's earlier productions and a tribute to the extraordinary genre of film noir.
The most important part of the festival are the competitions which evoke a lot of emotions.
The NEW HORIZONS International Competition is a selection of 14 premieres of personal and often provoking films from all over the world. This year the programme includes the French film A Lake (Un lac) - a sinister archetypical story by Philippe Grandrieux whom the ENH audience knows for his Sombre and A New Life (La vie nouvelle) and Helen - a brilliant feature-length debut of the British team Joe Lawlor / Christine Molly. Another British film in this section will be the multiple-award-winning film debut of the famous visual artist Steve McQueen Hunger. The Russian director Ivan Vyrypayev (Euphoria - Eyforiya) will present his latest film Oxygen (Kislorod) starring Karolina Gruszka. Iréne is the latest creative documentary by the French master Alain Cavalier.
Mock up on Mu by the American artist and performer Craig Baldwin - compiled of fragments of commercial S-F films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, is one of the most exciting examples of found-footage cinema of the past few years.
This year, the first FILMS ABOUT ART International Competition will be held. It will present 12 full-length, original documentaries inspired by different domains and trends in old and contemporary art. The programme includes an autobiographic collage The Beaches of Agnes (Les plages d' Agnes) by Agnes Varda and Rembrandt's J'accuse!... by Peter Greenaway, where the director once again - like in his previous film, Nightwatching - refers to Rembrandt's painting of 1642, The Night Watch, proving the illiteracy of contemporary culture, incapable of coding messages, to preserving premonitions and hiding passions as excellently as it was done in Rembrandt's times.
The NEW POLISH FILMS Competition will present 13 feature films made during the past year. Miracle seller (Handlarz cudów) produced by Bolesław Pawica and Jarosław Szoda, Rebound (Hel) by Kinga Dębska and Forest (Las) by Piotr Dumała will have their world premieres at the festival. (Mall Girls) Galerianki by Katarzyna Rosłaniec and My Flesh, My Blood (Moja krew) by Marcin Wrona are waiting for their cinema premieres. Some of the films have already been screened in cinemas: Before Twilight (Jeszcze nie wieczór) by Jacek Bławut, The Scratch (Rysa) by Michał Rosa, Unmoved Mover (Nieruchomy poruszyciel) by Łukasz Barczyk and 33 Scenes from Life (33 sceny z życia) by Małgorzata Szumowska.
The programme will also include the regular festival sections loved by the audience, e.g. the Panorama of Contemporary Cinema - films by recognised masters and interesting debuts, winners of international festivals and films neglected by juries, e.g. the American Rachel Getting Married by Jonathan Demme, Shirin by the Iranian Master Abbas Kiarostami, Palermo Shooting by Wim Wenders, 12 Lotus - a picturesque flirt with the popular culture by one of the most important Asian filmmakers recently, Royston Tan and True and Tender Is the North (A Corte do Norte), a sophisticated story-in-the-story by the Portuguese master, Joao Botelho.
Also the section Midnight Madness has rare wonders for the audience. This year - Ozploitation, the Australian form of the exploitation cinema, independent generic production of the turn of the 1970s and 1980s. In the repertoire there will be the legendary Roadgames by Richard Franklin, Patrick by the same and Long Weekend by Colin Eggleston.
This year's festival will focus on Swedish cinema, represented by the latest Swedish production and a retrospective of Jan Troell: a classical film-maker, who is hardly known in Poland (e.g. the two-part film saga The Emigrants - Utvandrarna and The New Land - Nybyggarna). Troell is a universal artist - he directs, writes screenplays, he is a cinematographer and editor. This section will be enriched by special events related to another Swedish master - Ingmar Bergman. During the festival, there will be an exhibition of photos by Bengt Wanselius presenting the famous director in passing years, a retrospective of documentaries about Bergman and a special screening of his legendary last film Saraband.
Other national cinematography we will discover this year will be Canadian cinema: we will screen almost 20 of the latest productions from this country, made after 2000. A separate retrospective will be devoted to the Canadian eccentric and surrealist, Guy Maddin.
We will admire a special programme prepared by Hungarian film critics and presenting the achievements of the Hungarian New Wave of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including a mini-retrospective of Miklós Jancsó.
Another retrospective will present the controversial Taiwanese Tsai Ming-liang, one of the most recognised and honoured directors of original cinema. Stretching from space to time, from spiritual melancholy to sensuality of the body, Ming-liang creates ambiguous narratives about loneliness in crowded Asian metropolises.
In Wrocław you will have an opportunity to watch films by the experimenter from New York - Jennifer Reeves, who hand-paints her films. The director's retrospective will include a set of hand-made short films, but also her feature-length debut The Time We Killed, which was appreciated by the audience at the 4th IFF ENH and her latest project When It Was Blue with live music performed by excellent musicians: Skúli Sverrisson and Anthony Burr.
This year's Polish retrospectives will be dedicated to: the master of many generations of young filmmakers, the classical artist Krzysztof Zanussi; and the inventor of a unique animation technique, author of deep existentialist animations inspired by European literature - Piotr Dumała.
For the third time, everyday at 10:00 p.m. there will be screenings at the Market Square, allowing not only the festival participants but also the inhabitants of Wrocław to experience film art in the picturesque city centre.
Wrocław will host more than 450 film directors, actors, producers and distributors from Poland and abroad (including the artists in focus of the retrospectives: Guy Maddin, Jan Troell, Tsai Ming-Liang, Krzysztof Zanussi and Piotr Dumała).
Screenings will be complemented by meetings with directors, critics and artists, by installations and expositions, as well as by published books (this year, there will be 9 of them).
SILENT FILMS WITH LIVE MUSIC
24th July (Friday), 7:00 p. m., Wrocław Opera:
Brand Upon the Brain! by Guy Maddin (Canada, 2006) will be screened with its soundtrack created live by American foley artists, with a performance of the narrator (this part by Gosia Dobrowolska) and an orchestra of more than ten musicians.
29th July (Wednesday), 10:00 p. m., Wrocław Market Square
Special screening of Filmoteka Narodowa to celebrate one hundred years of Polish cinema:
Mogiła nieznanego żołnierza (1927) by Ryszard Ordyński, the oldest full-length monument of Polish cinematography that has been preserved in its entirety. The film will be screened with live music performed by a 17-person chamber orchestra conducted by the composer Rafał Rozmus.
30th July (Thursday), 7:00 p. m., Wrocław Opera
The British composer and multi-instrumentalist will play hammer dulcimer music for the oldest (preserved) full-length animation in the history of cinema: The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) directed by Lotte Reiniger (Germany, 1926).
1st August (Saturday), 7:00 p.m., Wrocław Opera
The screening of the film Sir Arne's Treasure (Herr Arnes pengar) by Mauritz Stiller (Sweden, 1919) will be accompanied by music composed by Leszek Możdżer and performed by the Polish and Swedish Trio of Leszek Możdżer.
THE FESTIVAL CLUB AT THE ARSENAL
For the second time, the Festival Club will be hosted by the Wrocław Arsenal. Last year, the festival audience loved both the selection of performers and the place where concerts were held. This year in 11 days there will be performances by as many as 25 bands and projects created specifically by the festivals. The Festival Club will be dominated by artists of the countries in focus of film retrospecitves: Canada, Sweden and Hungary. This will be a unique opportunity to hear (for the first time in Poland in many cases) the best Canadian DJs, leaders in Swedish experimental music or Hungarians of astonishing originality.
Representatives of the American and British independent music scene will be present at the Arsenal, too. Kostas Georgakopulos who is in charge of the club's programme assures that artists will offer various sounds: from dance and electronic music to rock and acoustic art. Among the most interesting musicians performing at this year's festival will be Venetian Snares, the Canadian artist who creates electronic music in one of its extreme forms. I'm from Barcelona is a 20-person Swedish indie-pop project. In July they will come to Poland for the first time. Junior Boys - the famous Canadian duo. Their excellent, intelligent and popular compositions have earned them the status of probably the most important electro-pop group recently. Lydia Lunch is one of the most influential figures on the American independent music scene. She creates music, but also writes, makes photos, acts in avant-garde films. The wonderful British artist Mark Stewart and the Mafia will perform for the first time in Poland. The German collective Jazzanova plays refreshing and unpredictable music which blends electronic sound with classical tones. With their original compositions, they were quickly recognised outside Germany as well. At the festival, they will play in the complete, concert configuration - among the band's artists there is also the iconic vocalist Clara Hill.
Specifically for the period of the festival a kindergarten will be opened for kids of film-loving parents at the Fairy Tale Travel Agency at ul. Kiełbaśnicza 6 in Wrocław. Its slogan is Film Babysitting, or Parents at Cinema and Kids at Fairy Tale Set. Children aged 3 to 10 will have an opportunity to stay there from 24th July to 2nd August between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., supervised by experienced animators. The number of places is limited, so the intention to leave a child has to be declared in advance, we accept declarations from 23rd July at +48 71 346 10 94, active from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• online sale of passes and tickets for concerts at the festival club has already started
• the festival programme is available on the website from 1 July
• online sale of tickets from 6 July
• sale of tickets at Mediateka (Plac Teatralny 5, Wrocław) - from 20 July and from 24 July - at the festival venues
More information about the festival's programme, tickets, accommodation - www.enh.pl
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For the fourth time, the main patron of the festival is the city of Wrocław.
For the seventh time the festival's main sponsor is
Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, the operator of ERA telephony.