Beast Festival of Eastern European cinema returns to Porto with 37 films in competition

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The Beast – International Film Festival returns to Porto from September 27 to October 1, continuing to focus on Eastern European cinema, including 37 short films in competition and a focus on Slovenia.

The sixth edition takes place in five different theaters in Porto under the theme “no happy ever after” and is the first under the artistic direction of Teresa Vieira, programmer, journalist and film critic.

“It reflects an (increasingly pressing) collective awareness of the bankruptcy of utopias, of the destruction of fairy tales. A motto which, however, is proposed along the lines of the notion of continuity,” the program booklet reads.

There will be a total of 37 short films in competition, from 22 different countries, divided into four sections: fiction, documentary, experimental and the new animation section, with a jury made up of directors, producers, screenwriters and curators Ewa Szablowska, Francisco Moura Relvas, Ieva Norviliené, Matevz Jerman, Ruben Sevivas and Xu Moru.

The country in focus for the sixth edition is Slovenia and one of the highlights of the program is the screening of the first Slovenian feature film, “In the Kingdom of the Goldhorn”, by Janko Ravnik in 1931.

Here, it will be presented on the 28th, at Batalha – Centro de Cinema, in a cine-concert, with sound artist Ivo São Bento.

Video art from that country is also present, as well as a performance by the artist Pauline Maure, and the opening session of the festival, in Batalha, at 9:15 p.m. on the 27th, which brings together three films.

“Granny’s Sexual Life”, by Urska Djukic, reflects on the impositions on women’s identities and bodies, “Steakhouse”, by Spela Cadez, maintains the feminist tone by looking at patriarchal discourse, and “Sisters”, by Kukla, “highlights the importance of this community of women – cis and trans – to survive, to exist”.

“These three films are about (all!) women’s lives. Telling us something about the struggles of the past and present, from the point of view of different generations, resulting in a communal cinematic embrace of looking – together – towards a better future,” reads the presentation of the session.

On the 29th, at Cinema Trindade, the documentary “LGBT_SLO_1984”, released in 2022 by Boris Petkovic, launches a retrospective of 35 years of the LGBTQIA+ movements in Slovenia, in a focus that also includes a retrospective around Karpo Godina.

A key figure in the ‘black wave’ of Yugoslav cinema, Godina has eight short films on show at the Beast, from the 1960s and 1970s, at the Casa das Artes, one of them ‘his’ “I miss Sonja Henie” (1971).

Among the parallel cycles is a ‘queer’ program, as in previous editions, created in collaboration with the Slovak Queer Film Festival and Sunny Bunny, with two sessions, one with Slovenian films and the other with Ukrainian ‘shorts’.

The Polish festival Post Pxrn, from Warsaw, “calls for resistance, the rediscovery of pleasure as a fundamental right, and freedom, free from impositions and religious narratives”, screening films created between 2021 and 2023 in Poland at Beast, in a context marked by strong social and political protests in these years, in particular pressure on the LGBTQIA+ community.

In the returning “Socialist cine-geography – Africa-Eastern Europe”, the documentary “Incursion in Africa” by Traian Cocos and Razvan Marchis looks at the links between Romania and African nations between 1965 and 1989, and the Visegrad Film Hub explores the work of Ester Krumbachová, a leading figure in the Czech New Wave.

This category will also feature “Nightsiren”, a film by Tereza Nvotová that in 2022 won a Golden Leopard in the Cineasti del Presente section of the Locarno festival.

The program also includes an animation workshop for children aged eight to 12, talks on cinema, parties, a “performative gastronomic experience” and the exhibition “In Orbit” by Flaviu Rogojan.

Organized by OKNA – Associação Cultural, Beast is supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the Porto City Council and takes place at Batalha – Centro de Cinema, Casa Comum da Universidade do Porto, Casa das Artes, Cinema Trindade and Passos Manuel.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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