10. 5. 2017

Competition of films for youth

This year's International Film Competition of Films for Youth focuses mainly on serious topics of adolescence. This selection tries to balance these drama films with funny and easygoing stories. All films are about strong and courageous heroes, unique friends and with a touch of exotics.

One of those courageous heroes is the emerging football star Charlie. Sport world lies at his feet and his ambitious father already sees him playing for the best English clubs. His dreams are ruined by Charlie himself, who no longer wants to conceal his problem. He feels trapped in his body and, despite realizing all his consequences, he wants to come out. This complicated dramatic journey of the teenager and his closest ones is portrayed by the director Rebekah Fortune in the film Just Charlie (United Kingdom, 2017). Film emotions are enriched by the captivating visual aspect of the film as well as the unprecedented performance of Harry Gilby's. 

An unbearable toughness of being is shown by the director, Prithvi Konanur, in his drama Railway Children (India, 2016), the author of interesting Waves (2012). It was based on the facts about lost children and their personal memories. Incredibly authentic film balances on the edge of fiction and documentary film. Improvised dialogues and work with non-actors have contributed to an unforgettable experience. An experience that shows the story of the twelve-year-old Raja, a refugee from home, and then captive of the dirty microcosm of the train station and human greed. Prithvi Konanur is coming to Zlín to talk more about behind the scenes facts. For example, both children, non-actors with pitiful life background has been collecting lots of awards in India these days.

 Three films will play a bit lighter notes. The first one is the Goodbye Berlin (Germany, 2016), based on the award-winning Wolfgang Herrndorf´s novel "Tschick". German director, screenwriter and producer Fatih Akin gives us a glimpse into the life of 14-year-old outsider Maik.  Maik hanging around his parents' villa, wandering aimlessly at the periphery of Berlin, and dreaming of beautiful classmate Tatjana until he meets the eccentric Tschick. The adventurous classmate of Russian origin who can deal with every situation, will completely change Maik's life. Both guys set on a crazy trip that change their view of the world. The main character of Maik is played by Tristan Göbel, a fifteen-year-old, very promising and talented German who will attend Zlín Film Festival. 

The Edge of Seventeen (USA, 2016) is a film where lots of teenagers will see themselves like in the mirror. The great screenplay of debutant Kelly Fremon Craig, who is also the director of this film, and flawless acting performances add to the value of this extraordinary American teenage film. The centerpiece of all the events is funny, very spirited and alive, somewhat confused Nadine, whose best and only friend Krista starts to date Nadine´s perfect brother. It seems Nadine´s world is coming to an end and her private apocalypse takes all her beloved away. Hailee Steinfeld played as a fourteen-year-old in the Coens Brothers´ film True Grit and now she is doing fantastic job in The Edge of Seventeen. 

The "opening" movie of the youth section will be the British-American coproduction London Town (United Kingdom, U.S.A., 2016) by Derrick Borte. The story takes us on a tour around London in the 1970s and its musical scene ruled by the cult punk band The Clash. At fifteen-year-old Shay is excited by this discovery - the sense of rebellion and freedom. He meets an unconformed Vivian and by chance he encounters also Joe Strummer, the frontman of The Clash played by Jonathan Rhyse Meyers, whom the audience knows especially from the famous The Tudor series. The Czech premiere will be presented by Shay himself - Daniel Huttlestone, another promising young actor.  

The discreet charm hides inside the debut of Chilean director Claudio Huaiquimilla Bad Influence (Chile, 2016), which takes us to a small mountain community of Mapuche indigenious ethnicity, from which one of the main heroes, a shy, strange young man Cheo comes from. At school, he is an outsider and becomes the target of racist shouts of his classmates. Everything will change when a rebel Tano from town enters the school and Cheo´s life. Their friendship will bring them into battle not only with school bullies but also against the liquidation of Cheo's home, and will influence their lives. Bad Influence does not show its audience big gestures, but yet it comes with the dynamics of narration that attracts spectators' attention. 

At first glance the debut of Belgian director Kevin Meul's My First Highway (Belgium, 2016) seems to be a pleasant summer romance. However the story of sixteen-year-old Benjamin, who is completely crazy about one of the local girls during an annual family holiday in Spain, is gradually coming to an unexpected turn. Strongly emotional and visual film shows us  the fragility of the soul of a sixteen-year-old teenager who is forced to deal with the incident in which he was manipulated and with which he doesn´t agree. Aaron Roggeman who plays the lead role is known for example from the award-winning film Zurich (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, 2015), gives us a great performance, and he will present My First Highway together with the director Kevin Meul personally in Zlín. 

The unusual name of the movie, 1:54 (Canada, 2016), comes from to the track and field runner time limit for 800 meters, which must be met for qualifying for the national round. However, the film by director Yan England is not just about sports. It's a psychological drama about sixteen-year-old Tim, whose fight against school bullying and prejudice comes out of control. The main role of Tim is played by Antoine-Olivier Pilon. As a thirteen-year-old he debuted in the Frisson des collines, and soon he introduced himself as an ice hockey player in Pee-Wee: The Winter That Changed My Life. Both films were screened in in Zlín.