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goEast Wiesbaden 2014

Free Range
"Free Range — Ballad on Approving of the World"
(Veiko Öunpuu)

Why go East when you're in the West? For regulars at the goEast Film Festival, the answer is simple. For one week in Wiesbaden, you can change your perspective on the history of film, discover cinema's new waves, and immerse yourself in mesmerizing foreign cultures.

The 14th edition of the goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Film took place from April 9 to 15 in the Hessian state capital, located on the banks of the Rhine River. The festival, launched in 2001 and founded by the German Film Institute's chair Claudia Dillman, is focused on the cultural dialogue between East and West. goEast reactivated an earlier tradition in the Institute, which until the 1980s had regularly organized an Eastern European Film Week. The festival organizers honor this great tradition, while ambitiously exploring former socialist Europe in terms of boundaries of cinematic expression and subject matter.

This year's festival screened not only features, documentaries and shorts, but also experimental films and video art for the first time. Every film selected for the competition program was followed by excellent discussions at the Festival Center, situated in the lovely building of Wiesbadener Casino-Gesellschaft. An East-West Talent Lab was run to train and support young filmmakers, artists and students. The 2014 goEast Portrait was dedicated to Małgorzata Szumowska. During one of the most important panels, professionals had the opportunity to talk about the role of film culture in relation to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And as usual, the Beyond Belonging section sought to open up the festival to productions which were from countries outside Central and Eastern Europe, but which demonstrated a clear link to the region.

Speaking of regions, this year the festival was focused on contemporary Slovak Cinema. As guests of the festival, Polish film scholars and filmmakers (including the Polish New Wave master Krzysztof Zanussi) discussed the film-historical phenomenon of the Nouvelle Vague Polonaise. In the course of lectures and talks, certain films were identified as "documents of rebellion and subversion which created pop-cultural links between countries on either side of the Iron Curtain: a phenomenon that virtually cries out for a transcultural approach to film historiography."

Showing that they value the notion of a transcultural attitude to cinema, the FIPRESCI jury members — Anna Bielak, Ciprian David and Radovan Holub — gave the prize to Free Range — Ballad on Approving of the World (Free Range — Ballaad maailma heakskiitmisest), directed by Veiko Õunpuu. The main jury, composed of Nana Ekvtimishvili, Iván Forgács, Ivan Shvedoff, Dmytro Tiazhlov and chair Jan Harlan, chose Paweł Pawlikowski's Ida as best feature film and Eszter Hajdú's Judgment in Hungary as best documentary. For his film Blind Dates (Shemtkhveviti paemnebi), Levan Koguashvili received the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director. The goEast jury gave two special mentions, honoring Cristian Niculescu's brilliant production design for the Romanian drama Quod Erat Demonstrandum as well as the supporting actor in Blind Dates, Vakhtang Chachanidze. (Anna Bielak)

14th Festival of Central and Eastern European Film — goEast (Wiesbaden, Germany, April 9-16 2014, FIPRESCI jury: Anna Bielak (Poland), Ciprian David (Germany), Radovan Holub (Czech Republic). FIPRESCI Prize in the international competition section: Free Range — Ballad on Approving of the World (Free Range — Ballaad Maailma Heakskiitmisest) directed by Veiko  Õunpuu (Estonia, 2013, 104min). Print Source: LevelK (Gl. Kongevej 137 B, 3rd Fl., DK — 1850 Frederiksberg C, Denmark), Phn: +45 4844 3072, E-mail:, web:


Film Spaces in Eastern Europe and Beyond. At some point during my stay I realized that, when it comes to speaking about German cities, there is a pretty blunt but common unit of measurement which people tend to use. With a few exceptions, it is all about whether a place was bombed or not during World War II. Ciprian David's report. arrow.
Documentaries on the Illegible World. The main task for the FIPRESCI jury at this year's festival was to watch, discuss and evaluate feature films from the Competition section. The competition section consisted of two parts, feature and documentary. I would like to discuss the documentary section, which shared equal billing with the feature competition. Radovan Holub's impressions. arrow.
Sailing Through this Transitory Life. The works screened at goEast this year proved that radical choices are good, whether in terms of form or plot. Even though adolescence abounds with new experiences, the young hero's biography only takes up half a page; his life is now deprived of fairy tales, but the actual landmarks have yet to appear. Anna Bielak's report. arrow.



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Wiesbaden 2014

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Lesley Chow