From November 13 to 22, the 33rd edition of exground filmfest will showcase independent cinema for live audiences at the Wiesbaden festival venues Caligari FilmBühne, Murnau-Filmtheater along with the Marktkirche church crypt and stream virtually online.
The Country Focus at exground filmfest this year takes a close look at Italy’s multi-facetted film scene. Keeping with tradition, the festival opens with a production from the current focus country – the Italian drama Bad Tales (Favolacce) from brothers Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo. In precise and visually seductive images, the film tells of humanity’s dark side and the tensions between residents of a sterile townhouse complex in the suburbs of Rome. The Brothers D’Innocenzo were honored with the Silver Bear for best screenplay at this year’s Berlinale for their second feature-length film.
The program for the Country Focus on Italy also features Chiara Malta’s fiction-feature debut Simple Women. The aspiring director Federica (Jasmine Trinca) wishes to make a film about her girlhood idol, actress Elina Löwensohn. Alas, the latter turns out to be an intractable diva, and more than a little rough around the edges. The chemistry between the two women, initially quite good, threatens to go sour, as the joint project increasingly becomes a battle of wills.
Other films on the program include Dinner in America (USA, 2020) by Adam Carter Rehmeier, in which volatile punk rocker Simon (Kyle Gallner) and quirky loner Patty (Emily Skeggs) fall in love unexpectedly and set off together on a crazy road trip through the decaying suburbs of the Midwest. Produced by Ben Stiller, this wild blend of anarchic humor and outsider romance celebrated its premiere at Sundance Film Festival.
With her documentary film White Riot (Great Britain, 2019), director Rubika Shah examines the “Rock Against Racism” movement of 1978. In light of the invigoration of the neo-Fascist party British National Front and a rise in racist violence, a great number of British bands, from The Clash to Joy Division and The Specials, took to the stage in protest. Aside from painting a detailed portrait of the movement, previously unreleased concert and interview footage featuring the protagonists of the era also reveals its perhaps unsuspected relevance for our current age.
Walchensee Forever represents a further documentary film in the program. Director Janna Ji Wonders’ work is an impressive recounting of the story of her family, a story that spans an entire century. Primarily focussed on the female perspective, Wonders takes us from a family-run café on Bavaria’s Walchensee via Mexiko to San Francisco’s “Summer of Love”, to Indian ashrams, a harem, and then back again and again to Walchensee.
Leonie Krippendorf’s film Cocoon (Kokon) has been selected for the program of this year’s exground youth days. At the center of the story stands 14-year-old Nora, who is trying to make her way towards adulthood in the summer heat of Berlin-Kreuzberg. An authentic Berliner coming-of-age story about budding feelings, sexual awakening and first true love.
A further highlight in the exground program is the screening of all of the competition films as well as the opening film from the program of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, which was only able to take place online due to the lockdown in May. 16 fiction feature and documentary films will be competing for the goEast Audience Award, which will be presented on the evening of 17 November 2020 at Caligari FilmBühne. The works on display include Ivana Mladenović’s absurd comedy Ivana the Terrible and Uta Beria’s Negative Numbers, which is set in a juvenile correctional facility in Georgia. Ivan Ostrochovský’s impressive neo-noir thriller Servants, which would have opened goEast Film Festival, will be screening out of competition.