Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Mastercard OFF CAMERA 2024: Main Competition “Making the Path”. We know the first films

ABOUT Andrzej Wajda Krakow Film Award and 25 thousand Ten films compete for dollars every year. We have just announced the first five titles. What kind of movies are these? German-Iranian production “Empty Nets”a Ukrainian-Dutch film “Forever-forever”a Brazilian-French-Uruguayan painting “Power Alley”Czech “She Came at Night” and “The Hypnosis” – co-production from Sweden, France and Norway.

The next nominated films will be announced at the beginning of April, and in March, viewers will get to know the films shown in the Polish Feature Film Competition.

The international competition for the Andrzej Wajda Krakow Film Award is one of two main competitions Mastercard OFF CAMERA Festival. As every year, the audience in Poland will be the first to see the debuts and second films of creators who are currently discussed around the world; films that delighted audiences at the largest film events, including festivals in Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam and Sundance. The winner of last year's 16th edition of Mastercard OFF CAMERA was director Tonia Noyabrova and her film “Do You Love Me?”.

The organizers presented the first five of ten films.

“Empty Nets”
Amir and Narges – a young, loving couple from Iran – encounter obstacles related to the class divisions of society. Amir, coming from a poorer family and working first as a waiter and later in a fish processing plant, struggles with financial problems to gain the acceptance of Narges' father. Meanwhile, Narges tries to postpone the arranged marriage forced upon her.
Behrooz Karamizade's feature debut is a realistic drama in which a love story intertwines with criminal and thriller plots. The director shows his two main characters forced to face tradition, hierarchy and social divisions, as well as a corrupt reality in which feelings are not the best currency.
Awards: Adelaide International Film Festival – Best Film; Pingyao IFF – Honorable Mention; Munich Film Festival – Young German Cinema Award.

In the 1990s in Kiev, Tonia, a shy student, changes schools and tries to find her way in her new surroundings. He quickly becomes friends with a group of teenagers and attracts the attention of Zhurik, a witty boy, and Sani, a dark dealer. The heroine enters a complicated love triangle in which the secret of her past intertwines with gender prejudice in the brutal post-communist reality.
Director Anna Buryachkova skillfully uses the conventions of initiation cinema, setting them in a specific historical context. Her film is a kind of ode to post-Soviet teenagers, struggling not only with the dilemmas and violent emotions typical of their age, but also with the difficult realities of systemic transformation.
Awards: FF in Cottbus – Best film.

“Power Alley”
Before a crucial volleyball match that could ensure her team's participation in the national championship, 17-year-old Sofia learns that she is pregnant. In a country where abortion is banned, the girl decides to have an abortion, despite obstacles, including an attack by fundamentalists. Sofia doesn't give up easily, thanks to the support of her team and friends.
Lillah Hall's feature debut premiered at last year's prestigious Semaine de la Critique section in Cannes. The director uses the conventions of initiation cinema and abortion drama to show with passion and commitment the social and gender injustices that her heroine experiences at every step. At the same time, her film portrays the steadfastness and power of girls' solidarity.
Awards: Cannes IFF – FIPRESCI Award; Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival – Best Director, Best Editing; Palm Springs International Film Festival – Best Latin American film.

“She Came at Night”
Jirka and Aneta, previously living peacefully and without rush, suddenly have to face the chaos brought to their lives by the unexpected visit of Jirka's despotic mother, Valerie. Her presence tests the limits of their relationship, and what was supposed to be a short visit turns into a long stay because Valerie has no plans to leave.
Directorial duo – Jan Vejnar and Tomáš Pavlíček presents a story full of dark humor about a parent's toxicity. By juxtaposing the conventions of realistic drama, situation comedy and tricks taken straight from horror films, they make viewers realize that sometimes the worst nightmares and monsters lurk right next to them and take on a tame and innocent form.

“The Hypnosis”
Vera and Andre, both a couple in life and partners at work, are working on an application to improve the reproductive health of women in developing countries, inspired by Vera's private experiences. Before an important project presentation, a stressed Vera uses hypnosis to quit smoking, which leads to her losing her social restrictions and unleashes a series of comical and problematic situations.
In his feature debut, Ernst de Geer offers viewers a penetrating satire, full of accurate and sharp dialogues, on the reality ruled by social media, technological innovations and excessive ambitions. At the same time, it exposes the paradox and irony of the modern world, which seemingly values ​​individualism, but excludes and punishes any attempts to break established behaviors and conventions.
Awards: Karlovy Vary IFF – Best Actor (Herbert Nordrum), FIPRESCI Award, Europa Cinemas Label Award; Haifa IFF – Honorable Mention; FF in Rome – Honorable Mention.