During the month of April Filmatique presents Young Womanhood, a series of five films from diverse regions that all focus on young female protagonists who exist in the liminal space between youth and adulthood.
The titular protagonist of Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu's Anishoara traces a delicate coming-of-age in the beautiful but vanishing world of the Moldovan countryside. In Klaudia Reynicke's Il Nido (The Nest), 19-year old Cora returns to the place of her youth only to witness the community torn asunder by the unearthing of a long-buried crime. Two young Brazilian actresses embark on a journey to Moscow to study Stanislavski's method in Charly Braun's narrative-documentary hybrid Vermelho Russo (Russian Red), while Viesturs Kairiss' The Chronicles of Melanie portrays Stalin's purges of the Baltic states through the real-life letters of a young female journalist. Amanda Kernell's astonishing Sámi Blood considers the question of indigenous identity via the story of a young female reindeer breeder who travels to Uppsala in search of a normal Swedish life.
Featuring three debut narrative features from female directors, the first Brazilian-Russian co-production and Latvia's official entry to the 90th Academy Awards, Filmatique's Young Womanhood Series reflects upon the textures of love and loss, of leaving and returning home, and of negotiating one's origins with one's dreams.
Anishoara, Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu / Germany-Moldova, 2016
Anishoara is a 15-year old girl living with her grandfather and younger brother in a small village among the rolling green hills of Moldova. Her life is marked by the quotidian rhythms of country life; in summer she feels the overwhelming sensation of first love when on a trip with friends to the melon harvest. In autumn a strange German tourist disrupts her otherwise calm existence. In winter she travels for the first time to the sea alongside the young man with whom she fell in love. In spring she longs for her lover's return, but when that moment comes it's not what she expected.
Tracing the last year of a young girl's childhood before she embarks on her adult life, Anishoara depicts the cadences of nature, and of relationships, in a vanishing world. Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu's debut feature film premiered at Munich, San Sebastián, Seattle, Thessaloniki, Tallinn Black Nights, Guadalajara and Vancouver, where it won Best Cinematography.
Il Nido (The Nest), Klaudia Reynicke / Switzerland-Italy, 2016
Cora is a 19-year-old woman who has recently returned home for a gap year. Her father is the mayor of Bucco, a town whose livelihood depends on the tourism of Christians who believe in the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. While busy organizing the celebration of the Virgin of Bucco, an annual event that attracts numerous pilgrims, Cora notices a mysterious man whose presence will slowly rupture the tranquility of the town and her nascent adulthood.
Starring Ondina Quadri (Arianna) in a piercing role, Klaudia Reynicke's debut feature captures the unraveling of a young woman's notions of ethics, religion and community when her hometown is confronted with a long-buried crime. Il Nido (The Nest) premiered at Locarno, São Paulo, Lima and Santa Barbara.
The Chronicles of Melanie, Viesturs Kairiss / Latvia-Czech Republic-Finland, 2016
In the early morning of June 14, 1941, Melanie and her 8-year-old son Andrejs are, along with over 40,000 people from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, arrested and dispatched to permanent exile in Siberia. Ignorant of her husband's fate, Melanie moves into the barracks and begins forced labor; she writes Aleksandrs hundreds of love letters that are never sent, since his address remains unknown. After 16 years, Melanie is released and returns to Riga, a place she hardly recognizes.
Based on the life of journalist Melānija Vanaga, The Chronicles of Melanie documents the Soviet purges of the Baltic states by resurrecting the voice of a singular female victim. Viesturs Kairiss' third narrative feature premiered at Tallinn Black Nights where it won Best Cinematography, and Prishtina International Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. The Chronicles of Melanie was selected as the Latvian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.
Vermelho Russo (Russian Red), Charly Braun / Brazil-Russia, 2016
Marta and Manu are actresses and best friends who decide to travel from Brazil to Russia to study Stanislavski, the pioneer of the acting method. A quest for reinvention— both artistic and personal— ensues against the backdrop of a majestic and complicated Russian winter: blizzards, quarrels, passions, and liters of vodka. In the end, acting becomes a means by which the girls transcend both their characters and themselves, driven by a strict instructor who brings them to their limits.
Charly Braun's second feature floats between documentary and fiction with the adventurousness and abandon of its young protagonists, exploring the nuances of female friendship and artistry in a foreign land. Vermelho Russo (Russian Red) is the first ever Brazilian-Russian film co-production and premiered at Ourense, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where it won Best Screenplay.
Sámi Blood, Amanda Kernell / Norway-Denmark-Sweden, 2016
Elle Marja is a 14-year-old indigenous Sámi girl living in the north of Sweden. She and her sister attend a boarding school where they are exposed to biology examinations as well as taunting by the local boys for their inferior ethnicity. To escape all this, Elle Marja travels to Uppsala where she assumes the identity of an average Swedish girl. She soon learns, however, the cost of leaving her family and culture behind.
Examining a rarely-considered chapter of Scandinavian colonialism through the eyes of a strong young woman, Sámi Blood is weighted in its naturalism, both in astonishing performances from its unprofessional actresses and its treatment of the subtle forms of racism that pervade systems of indigenous oppression. Amanda Kernell's first feature film premiered at Venice's Giornate degli Autori, where it won the LUX Prize and Best First Film; Tokyo, where it won Best Actress and the Special Jury Prize; Newport Beach, where it won the Audience Award; Santa Fe, where it won Best Narrative Feature; Seattle, where it won Best Actress and the Grand Jury Prize; and Göteborg, where it won Best Nordic Film and Best Cinematography.