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54th Thessaloniki IFF - Balkan Survey 20 years
15 October 2013
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Celebrating its 20th consecutive year, the Balkan Survey section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF), programmed by Dimitri Kerkinos, will pay tribute to key films presented during these two decades. A special bilingual edition will be published to accompany the tribute, with original essays and film reviews. The Balkan Survey core program, showcasing a selection of the most important Balkan films of the year, aims to create a communication platform between films and filmmakers of the area and international audiences. This year’s Balkan Survey main program consists of 15 films, both shorts and features. Directors in attendance include Reha Erdem (Turkey), Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania) and Vinko Brešan (Croatia) -whose new films will be screened in addition to their films included in the anniversary tribute-, as well as Romanian Cristi Puiu and Bulgarian Liudmil Todorov.

The Priest΄s Children


The Balkan Survey main program presents the latest and most notable works by renowned filmmakers of the region as well as promising newcomers. Some of the films that will be screened this year are:

Corneliu Porumboiu’s new film, When Evening Falls In Bucharest or Metabolism, filmed in 35mm and made up of only 17 shots, is the story of a film director who fakes an illness to make his lead actress fall in love with him. Porumboiu, fascinated by the mechanics and syntax of cinema and the mise-en-scène, turns a deceptively simple premise on its head, creating a wholly modern work of cinema. Also from Romania, Radu Jude’s short Shadow of A Cloud follows a priest praying on the side of a dying woman, while The Japanese Dog by Tudor Cristian Jurgiu indicates a major new talent in the country’s roster, with the delicate story of a lonely old man reuniting with his son after two decades. 

In Jin by Reha Erdem a young Kurdish girl abandons a team of guerilla fighters and seeks solace in the woods, surrounded by an almost magic landscape and wild animals. Actress Deniz Hasgüler’s superb performance is the powerful center of a film that works both as a hymn to nature and an indictment of violence and war.  Also from Turkey, the charming, black-and-white Thou Gild’st the Even by Onur Ünlü transports the viewer to an Anatolian village inhabited by fantastical creatures, while Nobody’s Home, the feature debut of Deniz Akcay Katiksiz, is an insightful family drama exploring gender roles and changing balances in a family left headless after the father’s death. 

In Serbian Milos Pusić’s Withering, a typical generational clash between a mother and a son masterfully reveals the dying of an old, rural world trying to survive in the face of the harsh realities of the modern world; and in first-time Modavian director Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu’s Panihida (which means “wake”), the infinite cycle of life and death is presented in all its beauty and sadness through the funeral of an old woman.



Jin, Reha Erdem, Turkey, 2013, 122’
Nobody’s Home (Köksüz), Deniz Akcay Katiksiz, Turkey, 2013, 81min
Panihida, Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu, Germany/Moldova, 2012, 61min
The Japanese Dog (Câinele Japonez), Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, Romania, 2013, 85min
The Priest’s Children (Svećenikova djeca), Vinko Brešan, Croatia, 2013, 93min
Thou Gild’st the Even (Sen aydinlatirsin geceyi), Onur Ünlü, Turkey, 2013, 107min
When Evening Falls In Bucharest or Metabolism (Cand se lasa seara peste bucuresti sau metabolism), Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2013, 89min
Withering (Odumiranje), Milos Pusić, Serbia, 2013, 110min


Balcony (Ballkoni), Lendita Zeqiraj, UNMI Kosovo, 2013, 20min
Ica Riding Hood, Eva Pervolovici, Romania, 2013, 15min
Kolak Mirković, Nikola Ivanda, Croatia, 2013, 23min
Rabbitland, Ana Nedeljkovic & Nikola Majdak, Serbia, 2012, 7min
Shadow of A Cloud (O umbra de nor), Radu Jude, Romania, 2013, 30min
The Blue Identity (Nasnameyek heşin), Mumin Baris, Germany/Turkey, 2012, 20min
The Lament (Ağit), Aydin Ketenag, Turkey, 2012, 30min

BALKAN SURVEY, 1994 - 2013

The Balkan Survey section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival commemorates its 20th anniversary with a tribute showcasing 17 films and directors that illustrate its journey throughout the years. These films, with which almost all countries of the Balkan region are represented (with the exception of Montenegro and UNMI Kosovo), construct a complex social, political and cultural portrait of the region; they both deal with the past and are concerned with the contemporary realities of their countries. They also illustrate a rich and varied cinematic production that, for the past two decades, has garnered accolades and become more and more visible in the international film map. Separately, each of these films constitutes a significant milestone in the recent history and development in the collective production of the region.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

On the question of a unified Balkan cinema, Nuri Bilğe Ceylan has said: “I think there is a Balkan sensibility. I feel it. Maybe I cannot express it well, but when you say Balkan, I visualize something, a kind of personality, a kind of soul, a spirit…Instead of geographic togetherness or commonness, there is spiritual kinship”. 


The Oak (Le chene), Lucian Pintilie, 1992, Romania/France
Don’t Lean Out of the Window (É pericoloso sporgersi), Nae Caranfil, 1994, Romania/France
Emilia’s Friends (Priatelite na Emilia), Ludmil Todorov, 1996, Bulgaria
How the War Started On My Island (Kako je počeo rat na mom otoku), Vinko Brešan, 1996, Croatia
Innocence (Masumiyet), Zeki Demirkubuz, 1997, Turkey
The Small Town (Kasaba), Nuri Bilğe Ceylan, 1998, Turkey
Slogans, Gjergi Xhuvani, 2001, Albania/France
A Midwinter Night’s Dream (San zimske noći), Goran Paskaljević, 2004, Serbia & Montenegro
Mirage (Iluzija), Svetozar Ristovski, 2004, FYROM/Austria
Gravehopping (Odgrobadogroba), Jan Cvitković, 2005, Slovenia
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Moartea domnului Lazarescu), Cristi Puiu, 2005, Romania
Grbavica, Jasmila Zbanić, 2006, Bosnia/Austria/Germany/Croatia
Sut, Semih Kaplanoğlu, 2008, Turkey/France/Germany
White, White World (Beli beli svet), Oleg Novković, 2010, Serbia/Germany/Sweden
  12:08 East of Bucharest
  The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
  Times and Winds
  Midwinter Night`s Dream
  White White World
  California Dreamin` (Endless)
  Esma's Secret
  The Priest's Children
  When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism
  The Oak
  How the War Started on My Island
  The Small Town
  Thou Gild`st the Even
  Nobody`s Home
  The Japanese Dog
  Liudmil Todorov
  Cristi Puiu
  Cristian Nemescu
  Corneliu Porumboiu
  Radu Jude
  Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  Semih Kaplanoglu
  Jan Cvitkovic
  Reha Erdem
  Goran Paskaljevic
  Oleg Novkovic
  Jasmila Zbanic
  Zeki Demirkubuz
  Vinko Bresan
  Lucian Pintilie
  Svetozar Ristovski
  Nae Caranfil
  Dimitris Kerkinos
  Onur Unlu
  Deniz Hasguler
  Milos Pusic
  Deniz Akcay
  Tudor Christian Jurgiu
  Balkan films at 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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