Wednesday, September 03, 2014

MWFF 2014: Awards




AWARDS -THE MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL 2014

Jury
President : SERGIO CASTELLITTO, director and actor (Italy)
RACHID BOUCHAREB, director (France-Algeria)
ANDRÉANNE BOURNIVAL, cinéma professional (Canada)
FRIDRIK THOR FRIDRIKSSON, director and producer (Iceland)
ANA TORRENT, actress (Spain)
JANE ZHANG, singer and actress (China)


FEATURE FILMS

Grand prix des Americas:
OBEDIENCIA PERFECTA (PERFECT OBEDIENCE) by Luiz Urquiza Mondragon (Mexico)

Special Grand Prix of the jury:
FUSHIGI NA MISAKI NO MONOGATARI (CAPE NOSTALGIA) by Izuru Narushima (Japan)

Best Director:
SOKONOMINITE HIKARI KAGAYAKU (THE LIGHT SHINES ONLY THERE) by Mipo O (Japan)

Best Actress:
RACHAEL BLAKE and LUCIE DEBAY for the film MELODY by Bernard Bellefroid (Belgium-France-Luxembourg)

Best Actor:
YAO ANLIAN for the film DA GONG LAO BAN (FACTORY BOSS) by Zhang Wei (China)

Best Screenplay:
UN RAGAZZO D’ORO by Pupi Avati, screenplay by Pupi Avati (Italy)

Best Artistic Contribution:
DAS ZIMMERMÄDCHEN LYNN (THE CHAMBERMAID LYNN) by Ingo Haeb (Germany)

Innovation Award:
TRAVELATOR by Dusan Milic (Serbia-Montenegro)


SHORT FILMS:

1st prize: HJONABANDSSAELA (CHUM) by Jörundur Ragnarsson (Iceland)

Jury Award: BAD HUNTER by Sahim Omar Kalifa (Belgium)

Special mentionRABBIT by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (France)


ZENITHS FOR THE BEST FIRST FICTION FEATURE FILMS 2014:

Members of the jury of the First Fiction Films:
Noboru Hirose (Japon)
Bahman Maghsoudlou (Iran-USA)
Martin Malina (Canada)

Golden Zenith for the Best First Fiction Feature film:
GONZALEZ by Christian Diaz Pardo (Mexico)

Silver Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film: 
L’ANNÉE PROCHAINE (NEXT YEAR) by Vania Leturcq (Belgium-France)

Bronze Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film: 
A BERNI KÖVET (THE AMBASSADOR TO BERN) by Attila Szasz (Hungary)


PUBLIC AWARDS

The public was invited to vote for the most popular films in different categories:

Public Awards for the most popular film of the Festival:
RASTRES DEL SANDAL (TRACES OF SANDALWOOD) by Maria Ripoll (Spain)

Public Award for the most popular Canadian Feature Film:
SWEEPING FORWARD by Patricia MacDowell (Canada)

Glauber Rocha Award for the Best Latin American Film:
OBEDIENCIA PERFECTA (PERFECT OBEDIENCE) by Luiz Urquiza Mondragon (Mexico)

Award for Best documentary:
NO LAND’S SONG by Ayat Najafi (Germany-France)

Award for Best Canadian Short Film:
TODAY, I DID MY LAUNDRY by Zach Patton (Canada)


FIPRESCI PRIZES

FIPRESCI Prize for a film in the World Competition:
DAS ZIMMERMÄDCHEN LYNN (THE CHAMBERMAID LYNN) by Ingo Haeb (Germany)

FIPRESCI Prize for a film in the First Films Competition:
LOS BAÑISTAS (OPEN CAGE) by Max Zunino (Mexico)


ECUMENICAL PRIZES

FUSHIGI NA MISAKI NO MONOGATARI (CAPE NOSTALGIA) by Izuru Narushima (Japan)

Special mention of the Ecumenical jury:
MELODY by Bernard Bellefroid (Belgium-France-Luxembourg)


OTHER AWARDS:

Special awards for their exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art:

CLAUDE LELOUCH
MICHAEL J. WERNER
ALAIN RESNAIS (posthumous)


Festival information courtesy MWFF.
Photo at the top © 2014 Nadia Slejskova

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

MWFF 2014: Cape Nostalgia - Prizes


Cape Nostalgia
Awards

Ecumenical Prize

Japanese film Cape Nostalgia won two prestigious prizes at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. In the afternoon of the festival's last day, the film was awarded the Ecumenical Prize.  Three members of the film's production team accepted the price, as seen on the picture below.




Special Grand Prix of the Jury

In the evening of the same day, at the MMFA Closing Ceremony, the film was awarded the Special Grand prize of the Jury. The prize was accepted by the two lead actors Sayuri Yoshinaga and Hiroshi Abe.



Each actor delivered a short thank you message.


At the end of the Award Presentation Ceremonies, Cape Nostalgia lead actors posed for a group photo with all those who won special recognition and received a prize at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014 closing night.





Before the Closing Ceremonies, the film's lead actors posed for the photo-taking session on the red carpet in front of the the Imperial Theatre as they arrived for the Awards Winning Ceremony.


Earlier that day, they briefly appeared at the pre-award closing night reception on the open terrace at the Montreal's Hyatt Hotel. 


Click on any image to enlarge it.

Cape Nostalgia has truly merited awards it received. Read more about this film here.

You can also read about the Special Event the Cape Nostalgia Production Team hosted at the MWFF 2014 festival here.


Click on images to enlarge them.

All photos in this article by Nadia Slejskova.
©2014 Nadia Slejskova

Sunday, August 31, 2014

MWFF 2014: Cape Nostalgia Special Event



Cape Nostalgia Japanese Film at MWFF 2014

In the evening of August 30, 2014, the Production Team of the Japanese film Cape Nostalgia hosted a special event to promote their film at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. The lead actors as well as directors and producers were present.



The main attraction of the evening were by far the lead actrice Sayuri Yoshinaga, and the lead actor Hiroshi Abe. They freely interacted with those present at the event answering many questions and comments. 

Sayuri Yoshinaga, with her true and quite surprising Japanese grace and gentleness, was the perfect choice to portray Ensuco, the main heroin from the novel by Akio Morisawa The Teahouse of the Rainbow Cape, on which the film Cape Nostalgia is based. She is also very photogenic, as you can see from the following photos.




The lead actor Hiroshi Abe projects an unusual combination of ruggedness, drama and inner gentleness. You can see this in the following photos. On one to the left he has a radiant, gentle and friendly smile. On the other to the right he was caught, even during a very tranquil reception, with a very intense, dramatic, and absorbed-introspective expression. That expression tells me he is capable of portraying real drama on the screen, and I only hope that some director will cast him for just such a dramatic role to reveal fully this actor's true talent and potential.



The evening also featured Japanese food.



And then there was a special Cape Nostalgia cake. The cake cutting ceremony was graced by the lovely Sayuri Yoshinaga.


Click on any image to enlarge it.

You can read about Cape Nostalgia film in my post here.

This film won two prizes at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. Read about it here.

Click on images to enlarge them.
Top image courtesy of MWFF.

All other photos in this article by Nadia Slejskova.
©2014 Nadia Slejskova

Saturday, August 30, 2014

MWFF 2014: Cape Nostalgia

CAPE NOSTALGIA
FUSHIGI NA MISAKI NO MONOGATARI / CAPE NOSTALGIA

2014, Colour, Japan, World Competition 

Production Team

Director: Izuru Narushima
Screenwriter: Masato Kato, Teruo Abe. D'apres le roman/Based on the novel: Niji No Misaki No Kissaten. De/By: Akio Morisawa
Cinematographer: Mutsuo Naganuma
Editor: Hideaki Cohata
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Hiroshi Abe, Yuko Takeuchi, Tsurube Shofukutei, Takeo Nakahara, Renji Ishibashi, Masakane Yonekura
Music: Goro Yasukawa
Film production and Sales: Prod. & Ventes/Sales: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Izuru Narushima, Riuko Tominaga, Toei Company Ltd., 2-17, 3-Chome, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8108 (Japon), tél.: (+81-3) 3535 76 21, dai_yashiki@toei.co.kp

Director

Born in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan in 1961, Izuru Narushima's debut feature, THE HUNTER, (2004) won him Best New Director honours at the 2005 Japanese Professional Movie Awards and the Yokohama Festival. His subsequent films include FLY, DADDY FLY! (2005), MIDNIGHT EAGLE (2007), LOVE FIGHT (2008), A LONE SCALPEL (2010), ADMIRAL YAMAMOTO (2011), REBIRTH (2011), winner of best director at the Japanese Academy, and A CHAIR ON THE PLAINS (2013). 

Official Synopsis

"Etsuko's café in her peaceful little seaside town is where everyone gathers to gossip and taste her famous brew. But the winds of change are beginning to blow."
The photo below shows members of the film's production team at the Montreal World Film Festival's press conference. In the centre is the lead actress and producer Sayuri Yoshinaga, on the right the lead actor Hiroshi Abe.


This film is an eye candy which warms one's soul and one's emotions. It portrayed life in a small Japanese town located in an-hour-and-a-half ride from Tokyo. This town represents a very different world from the busy capital city. In this sea-shore place, life is peaceful and even magical.


The film is based on the novel The Teahouse of the Rainbow Cape by the Japanese writer Akio Morisawa. The small café we see in the film is actually a real resto place in this real seaside town.

Etsuco (played by Sayuri Yoshinaga) is the owner of the café. All the people in the town and from far away gather at her small wooden house. They find there warmth and understanding. When there, the life burdens seem to melt away from their shoulders.

It is not only the Ensuco's gentle nature that brings people the inner peace, but also her special brew of coffee she offers to her clients. Each morning, she rides a boat across the bay, quite some distance from her house, to fetch water from a sacred spring. She calls this water 'alive' and takes great care it is not disturbed when gathered into containers or during transportation back to her house. From this water she brews her special coffee into which she further infuses the upward rising energy of well-being when reciting a phrase "Goodness arise". Without this short magic ceremony, the coffee does not taste the same to her clients. The heroin has truly found for herself some spiritual truths and strength, the effects of which she is able to pass onto the others, thus somehow organizing their lives to the better.

Ensuco also has a protector, who takes care of her. Koji,
her nephew, played by Hiroshi Abe, is a rough character on the surface. But inside he is a gentle soul. He helps Ensuco in creating the magic of that place and in taking care of her clients and other people in the town.

The scenery in this film is breathtaking. The shots across the bay show the vastness of the sea and the depth of the skies. They are wonderful to watch as these stunning scenes unroll on the screen. 

I highly recommend this film, especially if you feel down or depressed. You will come out feeling much better, even without having tasted a drop of Ensuco's coffee.

You can read about the special event hosted by the Cape Nostalgia Production Team in my following post here.

This film won two prizes at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. You can read about it here.

Top Image courtesy MWFF 2014 and the Director of the film.
All other photos by Nadia Slejskova.
© Nadia Slejskova

Friday, August 29, 2014

MWFF 2014: CHAGALL - MALEVICH



CHAGALL - MALEVICH

2013, Colour, Russia, World Greats 

Production Team

Director : Alexandre Mitta
Screenwriter : Alexandre Mitta
Cinematographer : Sergei Machilsky
Editor : Alla Strelnikova
Cast : Leonid Bichevin, Anatoly Belyy, Kristina Shnayderman, Semyon Shkalikov, Dmitry Astrakhan, Aleksay Ovsyannikov, Darya Pashkova, Filipp Zohloba
Music : Alexei Aygi
Film production and Sales : Prod.: Larisa Schenidermann, Alexandre Mitta, 'ShiM-Film, Marksistskaya Street h.14/16, bld. 1, Moscou 194147 (Russie), tél.: (+7-495) 620 48 58, llaverna@mail.ru Ventes/Sales: Intercinema Agency, Druzhinnikovskaya Street 15, Office 305, 12342 Moscou (Russie), tél.: (+7-499) 255 90 52, post@intercinema.ru 

Director

Born in Moscow in 1933, Alexander Mitta graduated from the celebrated VGIK film school in 1960 and went on to garner numerous honours for his films over the years. Selected filmography: MY FRIEND, KOLKA! (1961), NO FEAR, NO BLAME (1962), THE GIRL AND THE BUGLER (1965), BURN, BURN, MY STAR (1969), MOSCOW, MON AMOUR (1974), HOW CZAR PETER THE GREAT MARRIED OFF HIS MOOR (1976), AIR CREW (1979), A TALE OF WANDERING (1982), MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE (1988), LOST IN SIBERIA (1991, shown at the MWFF) and HOT SATURDAY (2002). 

Official Synopsis

The story of Bella’s selfless love for her husband, the great painter Mark Chagall, unfolds against the background of his duel with his brilliant contemporary and total opposite, Kazimir Malevich. It is further complicated by an even more desperate struggle for Bella’s heart with her former childhood friend and now a Soviet Commissar, Naum. The film is about two geniuses which were caught up by fate in Vitebsk in 1918-1921, an account of their uneasy relationship and Malevich’s struggle for young minds. 
"Chagall and Malevich are two opposite figures both in terms of humanity and regarding attitude to their students. The story has many sharp turns. Chagall takes care of his students, just like Mikhail Romm once cared for us, his students. Malevich treats them like soldiers, who have to punch the ideas of abstract art. He perfectly understood who he was, whereas Chagall was an intellectual." -- Alexander Mitta 

The film portrays the two great Russian painters, Chagall and Malevich, who at the beginning of the 19th century captivated the international artistic scene. It shows the differences those two painters had in art philosophy and purpose, as well as in their totally different approach to the teaching of art to students.

The film elaborates on the relationship Chagall had with his wife Bella. It also portrays Chagall's great undertaking when establishing the Art School in his native city Vytebsk just after the revolution, and where he invited Malevitch to be a teacher. The differences between those two artists become painfully clear when Malevich succeeds to persuade the scool's art students that his Suprematism is more conducif in portraying the new revolutionary ideas that the figurative art of Chagall. This leads to the sudents deserting Chagall's classes, and mowing en mass into the studios under Malevich supervision.

This is a great film which helps to understand the creative impulse of those two famous artists, to understand their relationship, how they contributed to Art, and how they created new art theory, styles and movement at the turn of the 19th century.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MWFF 2014: The Summer House



DAS SOMMERHAUS / THE SUMMER HOUSE

2014, Colour, Germany, World Competition 

Production Team

Director: Curtis Burz
Screenwriter: Curtis Burz
Cinematographer Andreas Gockel, Peter Sebera
Editor Curtis Burz
Cast: Sten Jacobs, Anna Altmann, Jaspar Fuld, Nina Splettstöber, Stephan Bürgi, Natascha Zimmermann
Music Bastian Schick
Film production and Sales: Prod. & Ventes/Sales: Focusingfilms, Behmanstrass. 65, 10439 Berlin (Allemagne), tél.: (+49-30) 7153 06 56, curtisburz@hotmail.com

Director

Born in Mediasch, Romania in 1970, Curtis Burz immigrated to Germany as a child and studied acting and directing at the Bremen Theatre Institute. He began making short films in 2002 with Mark Morrisroe – Polaroids 1959-1989 and feature-length films in 2006 with EDUCATED PEOPLE. Among his other works: Virginia (2006), Adoleszenz (2006), Homeland Stories (2010), WILL MCBRIDE - BOYS STORIES (2011), I NEVER TOLD YOU WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING (2011), GIVE ME ANOTHER YEAR (2012), his first fiction feature, and NORA (2013), the last two shown at the MWFF. 

Official Synopsis

"When family man and successful architect Markus meets the 12-year-old son of his colleague, he feels an immediate affection for the boy." 

The photo above shows several production team members just before the press conference at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. From left to right: actor Stephan Bürgi, actrice Anna Altmann, Director and Screen writer Curtis Burz, cameramen Peter Sebera and Andreas Gockel. Below are the film's official poster and actrice Anna Altmann.


Curtis Burz, the director of the film, is a professional psychologist - it is what he does for living when not shooting films in his spare time. This is his third film. It deals with exactly the same very difficult issues that he faces with his clients in his professional practice. The film is not easy to watch as one realises in what type of a personal hell live some very respectable-looking people with prestigious jobs and equally successful positions in the society. 

As one watches the film it become painfully obvious that regardless of the respectful veneer, these people are quite empty, not even capable of any interesting or meaningful conversations or utterances. Their attention is focused on themselves, to large extend on their sexual needs and desires, probably because sexual gratification and the variety it offers (like swapping partners, group sex, or desiring adolescent or child partners of the same sex to fulfil their sexual appetites) makes them feel more fulfilled and probably even more alive.


Yet it is clear these types of sexual pursuits do not make them happier but spiral them into bigger and bigger mess, drawing into an inescapable vortex all those who surround them. The direction of the spiral is downward. There is a progressive personal degradation which brings on the abuse of others, of children, not only sexually but also when letting a child to observe the drama of a grown-up's despair (the attempted hanging by the girl's mother).


One can only conclude that the apparent emptiness of those people stems from the fact that their lives are only based on material circumstances and on the fulfilment of their personal needs. There is no spiritual dimension to their lives, no higher values or understanding of their existence. This film shows that the modern society has robbed people 
of their true core, of their spiritual dimension, the higher meaning of which would have structured them spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, as well as energetically in such a way as to establish a solid base on which to build their lives and relationships, leading to much greater and more real personal fulfilment.

Although a discussion of personal problems in a psychologist's office might bring a temporary relief from inner tensions, and a person might learn not to act on his or hers urges, those urges would not go away. No amount of talking with a psychologist would bring a permanent solution and a true healing unless the person succeeds in recapturing and re-establishing his own higher spiritual essence which would restructure his being in an upward spiral.

This film had a budget of only 700 Euro. There was no pre-written script, only a synopsis of the story line was given to the actors. Before every scene the director told the actors what was required of them to portray, and the scenes were improvised, which in itself is quite remarkable.


Top Image courtesy MWFF 2015 and the Director of the film.
All other photos by Nadia Slejskova.
© Nadia Slejskova

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MWFF 2014: Steppe Games



TALYN NAADAN / STEPPE GAMES

2014, Colour, Russia, First Films World Competition 


Production Team

Director : Bair Dyshenov
Screenwriter : Bair Dyshenov
Cinematographer : Gleb Stepanov
Editor : Bair Dyshenov, Egor Belskikh
Cast : Solbon Endonov, Bayarma Boboeva, Chimit Dondokov, Bilikto Dambaev, Oksana Lodoeva, Zhargai Lodoev, Erdeny Zhaitsanov, Aldrar Bazarov
Music : Battulga Galmandakh
Film production and Sales : Prod.: Bair Dyshenov, BuryatKino Cinema Studio, Khotsa Namsaraeva Street 7a, Office , Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia 670034 (Russie), tél.: (+8-3012) 46 64 37, buryatkino@yandex.ru


Director

Born in Zakamensk, Russia in 1966, Bair Dyshenov studied at the Leningrad State Insitute of Theatre, Music, later attending the Plekhanov Academy of Economics. After a stint as an actor at The Buryat Drama Theatre, he served as a director at the Buryat Puppet Theatre, then founded what is now the BuryatKino Cinema Studio. He made his directorial debut in films with a short, Buddha's Smile, in 2008, and followed that in 2001 with The Order of Mother. STEPPE GAMES marks his debut in feature films.


The photos below show the film's official poster and the film's director Bair Dyshenov at the Montreal World Film Festival 2014 Market Place premisses.




Festival's Official Synopsis

"Three stories of the vast Russian steppe. Three warriors, three horses, three songs and one steppe." 

This film intrigues the viewer from the start by weaving, in a parallel fashion, three separate stories. Yet all those stories reflect on each other, intensifying each others' context and meaning, thus creating a unity that is perceived as a single story. This technique is very unique and makes the film to stand out, especially since one of the stories is not placed in the present times as the other two, but happens 400 years ago. The historical dress and the warrior apparel of those past times, the manner of conducting an arrow combat and a horse pursuit, all intensify the understanding of the present day straggle for meaning, and how one deals with problems, desires and conflicts. In this context, the historical battle, the way it was fought, appears to be much more colourful and even nobler than the modern fist fights and aggressive resolve of tense situations.



This weaving of the three stories into one complex whole gives the film a unique depth and a thee-dimensionality. The luscious scenery of the steppes is truly breathtaking. The camera shows the width and depth of the steppe scenery with great precision and artistry. Just to watch those steppe scenes is a true marvel: they draw you in, they are hypnotic.

There are three stories, three warriors, three horses, and three songs which all together create and complete this visual poem.

This is the first feature film of the Buryat film director Bair Dyshenov, and it truly is a great success! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

MWFF 2014 - Tangerines



MANDARIINID / TANGERINES


2013, Colour, Estonia, Georgia, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands, Focus on World Cinema 

Production Team

Director: Zaza Urushadze
Screenwriter: Zaza Urushadze
Cinematographer Rein Kotov
Editor: Alexander Kuranov
Cast: Mikheil Meskhi, Giorgi Nakashidze, Elmo Nüganen, Raivo Trass
Film production and Sales: Prod.: Ivo Felt, Zaza Urushadze, Allfilm, Tallinn (Estonie) / Cinema24 (Géorgie) / Artur Veeber, Tatjana Mulbeier

Director

Born in 1966, Zaza Urushadze is a Georgian film director and screenwriter. He graduated from the Georgian State University of Theatre and Film in 1988 and headed the Georgian National Film Centre in 2002-04. His features include: HERE COMES THE DAWN (1998), THREE HOUSES (2008, shown at the MWFF), STAY WITH (2011), THE GUARDIAN (2012). 


Official Synopsis

"War in Abkhazi, 1992. An Estonian man Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. After a bloody skirmish two wounded men are left at his door. But they are enemies." 

This is a remarkable film. A piecefully-looking, protected valley in Caucasion maountains, where large tangerines are ready to be picked from the fertile trees, used to be an Estonian village enclave. But now it is invaded by solders and gun shots. Most of its former inhabitants have left to return back to Estonia. Only two neighbours Ivo and Marcus remain. Ivo has only photos in his house that tell us about his family. One day the fate brings to his door two wounded solders, two enemies who battle on the opposite sides of the war, and who hate each other when fighting. Ivo takes care of both of them, and nurses them both back to life. There is a slow but sure transformation happening in both solders, where they melt away the layers of hatered for the "enemy" and become simply two human beings who are almost brother-like, living under the same roof of their protector Ivo. Ivo's strength of the character, his straight-forward fearless stance and level-headedness, melt the hard core of two enemies and turn them into friends, who are ready to battle for the other's life.

This film shows clearly the futility of hateread and wars, where armed battles seem to be fought for some abstract causes, and where the humanity and the unity of all human beings is totally lost. The film poses one real question: what are the real human values, and how we should treat each other and our neighbours.

I highly recommend to see this film, it is very powerful in its simple, tempered way.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Master of the Universe: Documentary 2013



Master of the Universe


PRODUCTION TEAM:

Director: Marc Bauder
PRODUCERS: Marc Bauder, Nikolus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser, Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Borres Weiffenbach
EDITING: 
Rune Schweitzer, Hansjorg Weilbrich
SOUND: 
Michel Klöfkorn
MUSIC: 
B. Flesihmann
LANGUAGE: German
SUBTITLES: 
English
COUNTRY: 
Germany, Austria
YEAR: 2013
RUNTIME: 88 min.
Production Company: Bauderfilm, NDF Geyrhalterfilm, Hessischer Rundfunk, Sudwestrundfunk, arte
International SalesAutlook Films

The film won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize at the Locarno festival.



This is a very powerful documentary with only one protagonist, a former investment banker Rainer Voss who talks about the financial system and his career in an empty and eerie office tower in Frankfurt's financial district. An initial reaction of many people to this type of a topic would be a disinterest. They might think such a film could not be artistic and would be simply boring. Yet this is certainly not the case of Master of the Universe. This film's way of presenting its subject, its stark cinematography, as well as the choice of sound and music, frame perfectly the subject matter and the protagonist. All of these elements reveal to the viewers a world they have never believed is as sordid as it is. All film's elements help little by little to reveal the dark side of the banker's financial stratosphere, a universe of its own, completely devoid of any social reality or responsibility, a predatory world only concerned with growing its wealth and profit. The film also reveals the protagonist's inner struggle with himself and his past, of which he does not seem at first to be aware.



I question whether Reiner Voss had agreed to be filmed and interviewed as a means to exorcise his inner "financial demons". At the beginning of the film he speaks at times quite boisterously and even with some degree of pride about his financial life and success, about his sky-rocketing career which assured him making 100,00 Euros per month. But the energetic notes eventually fade away, especially in the last third of the film. Whereas at first the spectator might have marvelled at the man's meteoric success, climbing up so quickly and accomplishing so much, towards the end of the film the same spectator will start to understand how the rarefied, sterile, and impersonal world of high finance has moulded this man into becoming an anonymous peg in the huge financial machine so he would serve and promulgate this quite absurd and unreal monster-machine into the never-ending growths and expansion. The financial world has used Voss, has chewed him up and made him do what it wanted, and than it spat him out (he was downsized), thus finally leaving him to face his own humanity and his personal troubling consciousness. In a sense, it seems that participating in the film has helped him to come back to his inner human core faster, and to come face to face with the deep remorse and sorrow he has held hidden inside him.



The last third of the film is the most fascinating. It is stated there that nobody really has a total overview of everything that is going on in a single financial institution such as a bank, and nobody therefore takes a responsibility for the financial outcomes that might shake up the whole world. The blame for some failure is often passed on to the lower echelons of the institution, such as a trader, and the management comes out of it clean. Therefore, nobody really has an overview of the financial system that is running our collective lives. Moreover, what is indeed quite horrific, some financial instruments even such as bonds are set up in such a way that they can be used improperly and even destroy the financial base of entire countries. There is an allusion to that in the film's Trailer bellow. My only regret is that the film does not explain more in detail how that destruction and robbing of the countries is made to be legal,  how is it possible to buy a bond for only a fraction of the price and demand from the impoverished government such as Greece to pay more than 3 times of what was invested, to pay back the 100% face value of the bond. Who approves such bond transactions knowing their destructive power? Are only German banks profiting in such a shady way with bonds, or some other institutions and even private individuals as well?  

The insufficient explanation of the above subject might be due to some legal concerns. Right at the beginning of the film it is stated that both parties - the film makers and Mr. Voss - had consulted their lawyers as to what can be discussed in the film and what should be avoided, as not to bring any harm to themselves and others. 

Film's Trailer




To see - à voir:  

The film will be show as part of RIDM's Docville series at the Cinéma Excentris in Montreal on February 27, 2014, at 8 pm.

http://cinemaexcentris.com/Docville-Master-of-the-Universe