Belgrade International Film Festival
Feb. 25- Mar. 6

About seventy films will be screen during the ten days of the Belgrade International Film Festival. The program includes several sections: The Lighthouse, for works by new directors; X-Files, a look at erotica and its role in modern art film, and Facts and Puzzles, a program of documentary film.

Also on the program, Objection of the Conscience, featuring intriguing works examining ethical dilemmas; Spiritual Territories, consisting of films by regional authors and new films from Scandinavia, and Slavic Package, featuring new films from the Balkans. A separate program, Roads, will feature films by contemporary director Abbas Kiarostami.


“Awakening From the Dead/Buđenje iz mrtvih”/ Dir. Miloš Radivojević
The story takes place in Belgrade and a provincial town in Serbia,
at the beginning of the U.S. bombing at the end of March, 1999.

Miki, who died at 40 as a disappointed senior lecturer in an art department, unrealized writer, discouraged Democrat and fired columnist, walks out of his own grave and re-enters his own life.

He visits his family, his old, terminally ill father, his friends and the one woman he always loved; the surreal contacts and conversations he has with them release them -- and him -- from illusions about the life he lived.

The things he failed to do during his lifetime, he is trying to do "during his death time". He takes care of that job quickly, clumsily, and stained with ink and blood, but with the conscience of a human being who, after the whole life of hesitation, irresolution and doubt, has decided to take action. Then he returns to his own comfortable, quiet, safe grave to spend his remaining time waiting until the end of an unjust and evil world.

“South by Southeast”
Sonya, once a popular Serbian actress who has settled in Slovenia, is on a short visit to Belgrade. She enters a police station in near-hysteria, claiming that her daughter Sofia has been kidnapped.

Then Sonya herself vanishes. Inspector Despotovic, assigned to the case, finally tracks Sonya down.

Now she claims that she made everything up, that she never had a child and therefore there was no kidnapping. Secret Service men approach Despotovic, and tell him that the story about the kidnapping is true, but that that is highly classified information -- the father of the child is the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Minister claims that the Secret Service has made everything up, in an attempt compromise him politically. Despotovic is puzzled. Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Who is crazy? And who is about to die?

He was a writer. He thought he was writing about the future, but he was actually writing about the past. In his new novel, every once in a while, a mysterious train leaves for 2046.

Everyone who goes there has the same intention: to recapture lost memories. It was said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knew for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back -- except for him.

In "2046," a writer (Tony Leung) is working on a book about a train that travels to the year 2046. He thinks he’s writing a science fiction novel, but as time passes, he begins to realize that it’s actually an autobiographical story.

A loosely-related sequel to “In the Mood for Love,” the film took nearly four years to produce, and shares something of the same style, including a lush visual palette of muted color and a characteristic melancholy. Although "2046" has many similarities to its predecessor, "In the Mood for Love," it’s more a variation on a theme, rather than an actual sequel.

"2046" takes the viewer on disorienting leaps in time between the present, past and future. The story is about memories of lost love; memories that crowd the head of one man, in a understated, affecting performance by Tony Leung, as the writer Chow Mo-wan.

Chow Mo-wan is a writer who has casual affairs with different women. The women always stay in hotel room 2046; he takes the room next door. In the novel he is writing, a train leaves at sporadic intervals to travel to the year 2046.

All the passengers have the same desire: to recapture lost memories. No one ever comes back. The writer is seemingly stuck in his past, fixated on an impossible love affair he had with a woman called Li-chun. His affairs are a desperate attempt either to forget her, or to reinvent the memory of her -- even the main character in his novel is like her. But when he, too, catches a train to 2046...

"2046" is a surreal visualization of desire and the inability to surrender to anyone but oneself; a dazzling, melancholy film about the inconstancy of memory, love and fate.

In the end, the film's message seems to support Chow's assertion that "it's no good meeting the right person either too soon or too late."

Shown/header image: "2046"

Find it: Sava Center
Majke Jevrosime 20
11000 Belgrade
Get info: (011) 33-46–946

Find film festivals in other cities, in the FEB/MAR 2005 issue of "Arte Six."