The Slovenia Times

Get Liffe Under Your Skin



Once again a series of films comes to theatres again that depict real life. These are stories about specific places and characters whose life seems fatally determined, trapped in a small environment, unable to escape their destiny. This is Liffe - an annual review of world cinema, a festival far from the glamour of Hollywood. "Somewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly, why then, oh why can't I", sang Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz. Maybe this place, over the rainbow is still too high for many of us to reach, and many filmmakers will never find the treasure hidden at the end of the rainbow. However one thing is certain, - at the end of the Ljubljana film festival one of them will be richer since they will have been awarded the Vodomec (Kingfisher) -- a statue of small bird -- which might be the first step to wider international recognition. And that is one of the main goals of the festival, to introduce films that were overlooked until now and directors, who are at the beginning of their career. On the other hand, the festival also offers films by directors who already receive international recognition but have never sold their souls to the commercialism of Hollywood. Their films still talk about real life and they never shy away from revealing a simple truth, namely that we are not living in a perfect world. These are films, which in their own narrative way, present the main characteristics of the countries and the cultures that they come from. However, The Ljubljana International Film Festival also brings us a whole series of new films in different sections, an overview of world cinema, and places Slovenia's capital city among the company of other important film festival cities. After all, Geraldine Chaplin will be this year Festival guest, which is a great boost for the organization committee as well as for the Festival. This year's festival will feature some 100 full length and short films from all over the world. The festival will open with a film by the Slovenian director Metod Pevec - Beneath Her Window. This year's special section is called Stories From Japan, featuring three films: Japanese Story, Stupeur et Tremblements and Lost In Translation, which occupy a common topic - the wonder and mystery of Japanese culture for Westerners. The festival will also present 17 films in a section called Perspectives - the official competition section for new directors competing for Mobitel's Kingfisher Award.. The winner will be chosen by the three members of the international jury: American critic and author Ron Holloway, Croatian film and theatre actress Lucija Serbedzija and Slovenian film and theatre director Janez Lapajne. Other sections include: Critic's Choice (4 films by new directors selected by Slovenian film critics), Avantpremieres (18 films - the first screening of top-quality films, mostly recipients of other festivals awards, that will later be screened as part of the regular program of our cinemas), Horizons (24 films - new creations by acclaimed directors competing for an Audience Award - 'The Golden Reel'), South by Southeast (6 films - selected film production from countries from the Alps to the Aegean Sea; the International Federation of Film Critics, Fipresci, will select the best film from this section), Against the Wind (7 films - original movies by internationally renowned directors). There are also other accompanying Festival sections that mostly have an informative or educational role - Extravagance (7 films - daring genre experiments), Tribute (3 films by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the widely acclaimed Turkish director) and Retrospective (6 films by a British screenwriter who has inspired the best directors). As the organization committee stresses, "the basic criterion by which the films are selected is the authorial expressiveness of the film and the quality of its production. The festival's goal is to support and nurture creativity in cinema and contribute its part in the development of innovative, perchance provocative, and unorthodox manners of expression". More information can be found on the festival and its program on the website:


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