Box delivers a winning punch

Romanian film wows critics.

by Richard Mowe

Fipresci winner Box at Karlovy Vary: “ “Brilliantly depicts contemporary Rumanian society.”
Fipresci winner Box at Karlovy Vary: “ “Brilliantly depicts contemporary Rumanian society.” Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

As the 50th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival winds down to its gala awards ceremony later this evening (11 July) the organisers have announced some of the early awards.

The International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI) has been bestowed on Box, a co-production between Rumania, Germany and France and directed by Florin Serban. The citation said the film “brilliantly depicts contemporary Romanian society.”

It is a portrait of the relationship between a talented 19-year-old boxer named Rafael, for whom a session in the ring is everything, and Cristina, an attractive, 30-something mother who finds herself at a critical moment in her life.

Bob And The Trees: Ecumenical jury prize for “simplicity, truth and honesty.”
Bob And The Trees: Ecumenical jury prize for “simplicity, truth and honesty.” Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

The Ecumenical Jury award went to a US film, Bob and the Trees by director Diego Ongaro. “The film is simply told, but with truth and honesty. Bob, the main character in the film, is played by Bob Tarasuk himself, who in real life is a logger, not an actor,“ said the jury. Special mention was made of Song Of Songs (Ukraine).

The FEDEORA award by the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean for the best film from East of the West competition section is shared by two films: Heavenly Nomadic (Kyrgysztan), directed by Mirlan Abdykalykov and The Wednesday Child (Hungary, Germany) by Lili Horváth.

“Heavenly Nomadic is a film in the great tradition of ecological masterpieces, it depicts a family in a far-off country trying to survive the encroachment of so-called civilisation with humor, warmth and perception. The Wednesday Child's narrative arc, sure-handed directorial controls and persuasive characterisations from the two leading actors lifted this fine film well-above its recognisable storyline,” says the jury.

The recipient of the EUROPA CINEMAS LABEL award for the best European film in the Main Competition or the East of the West Competition was Babai (Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France) directed by Visar Morina. “Babai is a moving yet brutally honest story of a ten year old boy searching for his father, who has abandoned him for a new life in Germany,“ was the jury’s citation.

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