The 21st International Film Camera Festival “Manaki Brothers”, 27th of September – 01st of October 2000, Bitola
Which Was What at the International Film Camera Festival “Manaki Brothers” 2000?
A festival can (and should) compare with itself; to draw the energy for the creation of its own authenticity and particularity, also by itself; and also – to build its own tradition, with patience and wisdom, onto the cultural identity within it dwells, again by itself.
As Mr. Freddie Frances, this year’s Laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Life Achievement said: “There are three kinds of photography – good photography, bad photography and the real photography”… So as the Festivals can be – just a thought: good, bad and real… Real – for the exact time and place when the cultural tradition and the new achievements interlace in the name of all generations – respecters of the art. And in the name of a profession: the masters of the camera, cameramen – professionally called directors of photography, 21 years ago began with their hopes, energy and enthusiasm to write with the film camera, to create the lights and the shadows, and in all this years founding their place, but this time not in the backstage, but up-front the film stage, in Bitola. So, this International Film Camera Festival in Bitola, practically is one of the oldest Film Festival who treats film photography and camera-operating skills, which is the reason for some special respect towards this festival that is living the 21st year of its life.
This 21st International Festival is – again – dedicated to the film photography, its aesthetics and language. Therefore – dedicated to all of those creative sensibilities: cameramen, who through the eye of the camera create, everyone for himself, his own reflection. The reflection that makes us – the spectators from the other side of the screen – sweetly deceived, enchanted, excited and put in thought!
Part of it could be felted during the five festival’s days of this 21st edition of the Festival.
Duration: 27.09. – 01.10.2000;
Location – traditional: The Culture Dome and the “Macedonia” Cinema Theatre in Bitola.
On the Official Competition…
The main mark of any Film Festival, as of this one, is the film selection in the Official Competition for the highest, traditional Awards of the manifestation. They represent the “aorta” of the whole festival’s “organism” that provides the pulse, the dynamics and the rhythm of the entire event.
This year, the selector of the Festival made a selection of 15 films that offered wide variety of genres & styles, richness of director & cameramen’s creative energies that reflect into their film products. Also, this year – judging by the film photography’s aesthetics and by extremely non-standard forms it showed, as by the experimental spirit onto the refined old and good tradition, “Brothers Manaki” Festival showed a desire to be in function of the relevant reflection of the most specific and the most characteristic trends in the film photography today, and confirming with that – again – the visual competence of the director of photography, and his high contribution in the film-making, as well.
Talking about the films shown on the Festival, one can’t skip the film shown on the Opening evening: it is the latest film (out of competition) of the director who always knows how to take you on some unusual, or at least – mysterious travel: David Lynch, who, this time in a tandem with the grand master of the film photography as his director of photography: Freddie Frances (in his 80’s today and with the exceptional sparkling spirit), made The Straight Story – a story about love, unselfishness, self-sacrifice and about the wisdom that could be found only in those above mentioned human values. Is the meaning of life in the final goals that we give to ourselves, or in the distance we must travel to achieve those? A simple story, but as deeply-layered as more simplified. A film “extract” like this, most probably, only the tandem Lynch-Frances can achieve. Unfortunately and little ironic, the 80 year old Richard Farensworth, the leading actor in the role of the old Straight – nominated for the Oscar for the best male actor at the Academy Award in 2000 – recently, took his own life…
The other, by many things – very specific feature, in the Official Competition, is the film Julien Donkey Boy, the first independent US Dogme-film by the director Harmony Korine and the director of photography Anthony Dod Mantl (Spirit Award Winner for the best American D.O.P.), unofficially known as the “Dogme-king”, one of the “founders” of the Dogme-manifest, which says: “… the soul is what matters, not the style…”. Julien Donkey Boy is not stereotypical by many aspects: it deals with the extremely stigmatized theme – the schizophrenia, and yet succeeds in creating convincing and exciting portray on the film screen. The film is recorded with digital camera and without much of a – previously and formally – prepared script.
Two German projects were presented – by two different film generations: The Legends Of Rita, directed by the veteran of the German cinematography Volker Schlцndorff, with the D.O.P. Andreas Hцffer – who gain the Prime Award at this Festival – The Golden Camera 300. This film story is situated in the years before & after the fall of the Berlin wall; realistic and convincing, it shows the impact of those fibrillating times upon some of the young Germans, especially Rita. The second film is from the newest independent German cinematography today, and it’s a synonym of a hit-film: Run, Lola, Run – made by the young, but well-known tandem Tom Tykwer, director, and Frank Griebe, D.O.P. A very few wouldn’t fall on this: original, urban, innovative, cool-crazy and especially intellectual film, this partly-animated feature film experiment, and above all – this, now – already a cult movie. This year the Bronze Camera 300 wasn’t awarded, but the Special Award for photography by the jury, was given – namely – to Frank Griebe for this film.