The Magnificent Seven @Belgrade (SER)

Another magnificent selection for Belgrade’s 7-only documentary film festival, including new work by Gary Tarn and an insight into the intimate life of Nobel laureate José Saramago

Still image from Gary Tarn's "The Prophet"

The 8th edition of European Feature Documentary Film Festival – The Magnificent Seven takes place in Sava Center, Belgrade (Serbia), from January 25-29.

The festival was created in 2005, under the banner of “New European Cinema”, bringing each year a selection of 7 of the best European feature documentary films. Its main goal is to give documentary film the glamour which usually accompanies only feature films. The limited number of screenings adds exclusivity to each film.

This year, the audience in Belgrade welcomes back two directors who were showcased at the festival’s previous editions. Gary Tarn opens the programme with his new feature “The Prophet”, that includes material shot in Belgrade, when he was there with his ”Black Sun”. The Lithuanian master Audrius Stonys, who was previously featured with ”The Bell”, this year introduces ”Ramin”, a tale of a retired Georgian wrestling champion.

The festival is accompanied by Masterclass Workshops for young film talents and film students. The day after a screening, each guest/author holds a masterclass in which they lay out their approach to making documentary films. The author can show excerpts from their other work, and discuss artistic and production challenges with the participants of the workshop. The masterclasses support the festival’s goal of promoting and supporting the development of creative documentary filmmaking in Serbia.

The Prophet (Great Britain, 2011)
75 min
directed by: Gary Tarn

“The Prophet” is a new documentary venture by the author of the cult film “Black Sun.” Gary Tarn once again creates a fascinating visual essay inspired by the free camera of Dziga Vertov and famous documentaries of Chris Marker and Werner Herzog.

Jose e Pilar (Portugal, 2010)
117 min
directed by: Miguel Gonçalves Mendes

This dynamic and modern documentary, which invites us to the intimate universe of the Nobel-laureate José Saramago, enjoyed immense success in Portugal during its five-month continuous run in theaters. In Brazil, it became the most watched Portuguese film of all times, having been screened in eleven cities. The film received the greatest cinematic honor of being elected as the official Portuguese contender for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category, a privilege which all countries up until this year reserved strictly for fiction feature films.

Ramin (Latvia, Georgia, 2011)
58 minutes
Directed by: Audrius Stonys

One of the most important European filmmakers, Andrius Stonys from Lithuania, reveals with his piercing poetic style the vibrant world of Georgia, a world of mythical heroes and deeply rooted traditions. Ramin, an elderly champion in traditional wrestling, became a legend after defeating seven opponents in no more than fifty-five seconds. Stonys invites us into Raminʼs world without any introduction or explication, allowing the images to be testimonies in their own right.

Vol Spécial (Switzerland, 2011)
100 minutes
directed by: Fernand Melgar

The story of unwanted asylum-seekers, which unfolds as a dramatic thriller, reveals the cruelty behind the supposed humanity of one of the worldʼs best-developed state systems.

El Bulli – Cooking in Progress (Germany, 2010)
108 minutes
directed by: Gereon Wetzel

A process, undocumented as of yet, in the alchemic laboratory of the worldʼs most exclusive restaurant, and an encounter with passion and creativity of its creator, Ferran Adrià, one of the most famous and innovative chefs of today.

La Vie Au Loin (France, 2011)
81 minutes
directed by: Marc Weymuller

Invisible threads connect peopleʼs inner worlds and mystic landscapes into a philosophical essay, characterized by sophisticated auteurist approach and spellbinding cinematography.

Whores’ Glory (Austria, 2011)
119 minutes
directed by: Michael Glawogger

Disturbing as much as it is fascinating, the latest film of one of the founders of the modern theatrical documentary is a revealing triptych about the phenomenon of prostitution recounted through images form Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico.

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