World Festival of Animated Film /
3 to 8 June 2024
World Festival of Animated Film / 3 to 8 June 2024
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Thursday at Animafest Zagreb 2024

The day of the traditional festival picnic in Park Ribnjak will provide a short early afternoon break from the film program in SC and MSU, but not in Kinoteka where the Programme for Children and Youth reaches its peak with as many as three consecutive film competitions for children and youth. After works for ages 3-6 years (9:30 am) follow those for youth (15+ years) at 11:30 am. Agathe Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, Elise Debruyne and Flavie Carin (On the 8th Day) and Eirik Heggen (Pinea) will present their works, and the entire programme presents reflections on the world through ordinary and unusual questions. The dynamic Hottest Tokyo (Miho Kidoguchi) about hard-earned ice cream and the based on real events Magda (Adela Kaczmarek) about a young heroine of the Polish resistance movement from World War II are just some of the intriguing titles. Films for ages 11-14 will follow (2 pm), and Ester Kasalová, Silvana Roth, Julia Hazuka and Thomas Künstler will talk to the audience.

There is no respite for Kinoteka, because at 4 pm it shows the segment Focus on Czechia dedicated to contemporary animation, the success of which is largely based on student films. The authors are Vojtěch Domlátil (Waves and Retired), Dita Stuchlíková (I Would Be a Musician), Vojtěch Kočí (The XXXL Plumber Jack Dingbongs Her Tiny Skinpompom: Ep. 8), Marek Náprstek (The More I Know), Anna Podskalská (Red Shoes), Matouš Valchář (After), Barbora Halířová (Hide n Seek), Zbyšek Semelka (Advertising the Earth Radio – Stephen P. McGreevy’s VLF Cut-outs), Zuzana Čupová (Wedding Day) and Diana Cam Van Nguyen (Love Dad) whose masterclass we listened to yesterday.

The only opportunity to watch the GC Short Film 1 is today at Kinoteka at 6 pm. Premiering titles Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! by the Popović brothers and Tisja Kljaković Braić, Percebes by Animafest winners Laura Gonçalves and Alexandra Ramires about life and tourism in Portugal’s Algarve region, and On Hold by Delia Hess about urban alienation and longing, as well as Eirini Vianelli’s political-apocalyptic puppet satire Ready, an animated film reading of Henri Michaux’s text Miserable Miracle by Ryo Orikasa and the life story of swimmer Alfredo Nakache Butterfly by Florence Miailhe, painted in oil on glass, should not be missed.

Kinoteka will end Thursday in the best possible way with Isabel Herguera’s feature film Sultana’s Dream at 8 pm. The film is based on a longer story of the same name by the Bengali writer and activist Begum Rokeya Hossain, who in 1905 imagined a feminist utopia of inverse gender segregation in which men are confined to houses and women rule the world. A symbolically pregnant film with a meditative rhythm and a dream-like atmosphere mostly follows a Spanish animator who in India gets excited by the story and through art and various encounters embarks on an identity search for the author and the actualisation of her text. At the same time, it is also about the therapeutic search of a girl who very early experienced the threatening male gaze. Between imagination and reality, the Indian cultural imaginary, Spain and Italy, the eclectic Sultana’s Dream also features vocal interludes and cameo appearances by famous scientists Mary Beard and Paul B. Preciado. The film combines darker, hand-painted watercolours, collage, silhouettes and mehndi tattoo aesthetics with digital characters, achieving a certain transparency and a mise-en-scène layout that is both flat and multi-levelled, with plenty of detail in an ornamental depiction of a fantasy world. After the screening, we talk to director Isabel Herguera and editor and composer Gianmarco Serra.

At MSU, the star of the day is definitely the feature-length sci-fi anime Phoenix: Memory of a Flower (dir. Shojiro Nishimi), based on the original of the ‘manga god’ Osamu Tezuka. The film, scheduled for 7 pm (after a dose of satire from the theme humour programme at 5 pm), is a full-blooded and spectacular adaptation of the story from Tezuka’s unfinished Hi no Tori cycle, which the great master considered his life’s work. This is the second feature film for director Shojiro Nishimi, who gained his early experience on the classic Akira, and formed his style around attractive action scenes and extremely fluid animation. Like the original, Phoenix explores the topics of life, death, memory, and human relationships in the context of human and cosmic time. On the distant planet Eden, the Earthlings George and Romi find a new home, but after his death while finding water, she is left alone with her son Cain and the robot Shiva. Romi decides to enter a cryogenic sleep in order not to die of illness, and leaves her son in the care of a robot, but by mistake he sleeps for 1300 years instead of 13. Phoenix: Memory of a Flower is an emotionally demanding sci-fi story that in the second part turns into a fantastic journey with an ecological warning, criticism of contemporary civilization, fairy-tale archetypes and sumptuous depictions of truly alternative worlds. After Phoenix, MSU will dive into the night at 9 pm with the second part of the film retrospective of Phil Mulloy, winner of Animafest’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

At SC Cinema, the programme starts with Student Film Competition 1 at 15:30 and 3 at 17:30, with the participation of numerous filmmakers: Sébastien Helias (A Clock Trial), WeiFan Wang (Hey Dad), Eugen Bilankov (Windows from the South), Teresa Kovandova (Humanity), Alexis Mouron (See You Champion!), Nadja Tanno (Long Distance), Bianca Scali (It’s Just a Whole), Hadrien Maton, Quentin Wittevrongel, Arnaud Mege and Colin Thelliez (Stabat Mater) and Joanne Żybul (The Last Man on Earth).

SC’s prime time at 8 pm is traditionally reserved for the Grand Competition Short Film (4), and after the screening we talk to Bianca Caderas (Matta and Matto), Georges Schwizgebel (From One Painting... To Another), Inju Park (Reborn with You), Moïa ​​Jobin-Paré (Family Albums), Tomek Popakul and Kasumi Ozeki (Zima). We will only miss Nicolas Keppens (Beautiful Men). Matta and Matto is a grotesque dystopian story about a surreal traveling hotel where deep desires are manifested, and which, in reflection on pandemic bans, explores issues of closeness and intimacy, normality and madness. From One Painting... To Another, with a masterly artistic sensibility accompanied by guitar music, creates scenes that in some of the possible worlds could connect Édouard Manet’s Olympia canvases and Félix Vallotton’s White and Black. Reborn with You is a visual explosion of motifs of femininity, sisterhood and motherhood framed by floral and mythological details and an emotional voice over. Family Albums with atmospheric juxtapositions of layered depictions of landscapes, bodies and space in a hybrid of drawings, 2D, interventions in filmstrips and photographs points to the fragmentary nature of memories. Beautiful Men is a humorous puppet film about the experiences of three brothers in Istanbul while waiting for a hair transplant, with the problematisation of communication and masculinity burdened with insecurity and loneliness. Zima, inspired by the disjointed impressions of the author’s childhood, gives a magical-realistic, mosaic fresco of an island fishing village and the experience of a girl who meets Jesus, a village chase, alcoholism, violence and indifference.

It only remains to mention that after World Panorama 3 at the MM Centre (6 pm) we are talking to Cheyenne Canaud-Wallays, the author of My Very Own Footballer, and that the MM Centre will also show a rerun of the first segment of the theme humour programme dedicated to slapstick today (8 pm).