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Day 4 Treats With Variety’s Ten Euro Directors to Watch: 48th Karlovy Vary Int. Film Festival

A crushing or mediocre review from this film trade magazine institution can certainly sink a film, but Variety’s Ten Euro Directors to Watch (now in it’s 16th year running at Karlovy Vary) certainly comes across as a hallmark card to new European talents and in need of a little extra love. And while this curated series won’t prevent the films from slipping the cracks (of the ten, I believe only a pair have U.S. distribution), the filmmakers, producers attached to the 10-pack are deservingly getting one more final push. Day 4’s catch was a fresh, unique, ballsy and brave one beginning with Tokyo Film Fest selected NINA from Italian helmer Elisa Fuksas features the unbelievably cute actress Diane Fleri playing the titular character on a duel journey: one about finding herself and finding a match. This wickedly different viewpoint of Rome is exquisitely shot – I adored the repetition of shots, the cityscape isolation, how Fuksas dresses down each frame but still manages to make the collection of sequences come across like a more sophisticated Amelie-like quest for love. In the Q&A below, Fuksas elaborates on whether there are biographical elements found in the character, how she lucked out on having an “empty” Rome at her disposal, her decision to cast the non-Italian looking Diane Fleri (in one sequence she sings perfectly in French), how she reflects on the film, and addresses the fact that while her parents are both famous architectures – she owns up to her love/hate rapport with it.

Set in the 90’s and offering a bleak view of adulthood, womanhood but a blood thicker than water view of sisterhood and girl power, filmmakers Nana Ekvtimishvili & Simon Gross provide a dismal and often painful look at teenage Georgiana women with In Bloom. The Berlin Film Fest selected title is mostly shot indoors, the confines of family spaces (expertly detailed by 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days Oleg Mutu) with the few selected outdoor shots acting as treacherous waters with a certain degree of tension. Kidnapping, forced marriage and post-war violence are some of the inserted themes. In the post Q&A Ekvtimishvili details how she might not have suffered some of the atrocities of her characters, but was witness to some of, discusses the forced marriage sequence and the long take dance featuring first time actress Lika Babluani and looks back on Georgia of the past and Georgia of today.

Featuring Dogtooth‘s Christos Stergioglou in a stellar performance as a self-imposed exile or kidnapping depending on how you frame it, this is about a former television news celeb who literally goes off the deep end, holes himself in an abandoned hotel and who strategies his eventual return. A deceptively sophisticated film packing some of Greece’s economics woes personified in a fragmented soul,  The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas announces the arrival of another Greek helmer worth keeping tabs on with Elina Psykou. I had to jet from the Q&A, but in the first question, Psykou addressed the odd coincidence of the film foreshadowing the Greek government’s controversial decision to shut down the state owned television station, and how the script might have changed after having won the Works-in-Progress award at 2012’s Karlovy Vary.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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