After announcing the nominees of the World Soundtrack Awards earlier this month, the 44th Film Gest Gent now reveals its lineup of the official competition. The selection consists of twelve films, including world premieres of 'The Butcher, The Whore & the One-Eyed Man' by János Szász and first feature 'Zagros' by Sahim Omar Kalifa. Followed by various Benelux premieres of international festival favorites such as 'Call me by your Name', 'A Ciambra', The Killing of a Sacred Deer' & 'Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri'.
This year’s competition offers a sharp selection of the best that international cinema currently has to offer. Two prizes will be awarded by an international jury: The Grand Prix for Best Film and the Georges Delerue Award for Best Music or Sound Design, worth a total of 70,000 euros in prizes.
Film Fest Gent’s artistic director Patrick Duynslaeghercomments on the selection: "The international competition will showcase the latest work of established arthouse directors such as János Szász, Luca Guadagnino, Yorgos Lanthimos, Joachim Trier but mainly focuses on young, upcoming or undiscovered talent. Despite their differences, all selected films have one thing in common: the passion and enthusiasm with which the filmmakers tell their stories. In the appropriate cinematic form and with the right emotions they excite, move, amuse and amaze the audience."
The jury will choose between these twelve films:
- '1945' - Ferenc Török (Benelux premiere)
A black-and-white drama based on Gábor T. Szántó’s short story ‘Homecoming’ that takes place just after WWII. While the inhabitants of a Hungarian village prepare themselves for a marriage, two mysterious men dressed in black appear. Their presence causes anxiety and speculation in the village.
- 'The Butcher, The Whore and the One-Eyed Man' - János Szász (world premiere)
A raw Hungarian crime film about a voracious love triangle. In 1925, butcher Ferec Kudelka was cruelly slaughtered and cut up in his own abattoir. The perpetrators, a former gendarme and his wife (an ex-prostitute) had to settle an account with Kudelka.
- 'Call Me By Your Name' - Luca Guadagnino (Benelux premiere)
During the hot summer of 1983, seventeen-year-old Elio meets his father’s new assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). They connect and a strong relationship develops between them. A touching tale about first love and sexual awakening. The film was very well-received at the last Berlinale and will be screened at TIFF in the Next Wave section.
- 'A Ciambra' - Jonas Carpignano (Benelux premiere)
Carpignano’s second feature film (after ‘Mediterrea’) which premiered in the Quinzaine section of Cannes, revolves around Pio, a Romani boy who unwillingly becomes the family’s breadwinner after both his brother and father get arrested. Moving Italian neo-realism, exec produced by Martin Scorsese.
- 'The Fixer' - Adrian Sitaru (Belgian premiere)
A portrait inspired by the rue events of a Romanian trainee reporter, Radu, who aspires a career at a French television station. When two missing girls are found, Radu makes every effort to interview one of them – whatever the costs are. He loses his sense of responsibility gradually, which results in a dangerous balance between reporting and sensation.
- 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' - Yorgos Lanthimos (Benelux premiere)
With this mysterious thriller and Cannes winner for Best Screenplay, Lanthimos tells the story of a family challenged by vengeance and debt. When the sixteen-year-old Martin loses his father, surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) decides to take the boy in. A decision which involves sinister consequences for the family.
- 'A Man of Integrity' - Mohammad Rasoulof (Benelux premiere)
A take on corruption and injustice in modern Iran. Reza lives with his family in the countryside, where he runs a fish farm. When he finds a handful of dead fish, he realizes that political and economic powers are aiming for a piece of his land. Winner of the 'Un Certain Regard' competition at the Cannes film festival.
- 'La nuit où j’ai nagé' van Damien Manivel & Kohei Igarashi (Benelux premiere)
A taking portrait of the relationship between a fisherman and his six-year-old son, set in a snow-covered Japan. When the boy finds it impossible to fall back asleep after his dad has left for the town market, he draws a picture. On his way to school the next morning, he strays off the path, still drowsy, and wanders into the snow.
- 'Tesnota' (Closeness) - Kantemir Balagov (Benelux premiere)
Debut feature by Russian director Kantemir Balagov and winner of the Fipresci critics award in Cannes this year. It follows a Jewish family whose youngest son and his fiancée are kidnapped. The only way to ever see them again is to pay a large ransom.
- 'Thelma' - Joachim Trier (Benelux premiere)
A Norwegian supernatural horror-thriller by Joachim Trier (‘Louder Than Bombs’) about Thelma, a Norwegian girl who goes to school in Oslo where she falls in love with the mysterious Anja. She discovers that she has supernatural powers.
- 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' - Martin McDonagh (Benelux premiere)
Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bald move when no one has been arrested following the death of her daughter. She produces three controversial billboards along the side of the road, to draw the police’s attention. The film will close the BFI London Film festival during the same period as the competition of FFGent.
- 'Zagros' - Sahim Omar Kalifa (world premiere)
Sahim Omar Kalifa’s (‘Bagdad Messi’ and ‘Bad Hunter’) debut feature tells the story of Zagros, whose young wife Havin is accused of infidelity. Together with her daughter Rayan, she flees from Kurdistan to Belgium. Convinced of her innocence, Zagros follows her to start a new life together. But once arrived in Brussels it seems Havin hasn't been completely truthful…
Despite their differences, all selected films have one thing in common: the passion and enthusiasm with which the filmmakers tell their stories. In the appropriate cinematic form and with the right emotions to touch, move, divert and amaze the audience."
At the end of the festival the jury will also select the Best European Short. Other prizes that will be award during the festival are: The National Lottery Award for Best Belgian Student Short, The ACE Image Factory Audience Award for Best Student Short, the Port of Ghent Public Choice Award, Canvas Audience Award, Explore Award and of course the Word Soundtrack Awards.
The 44th Film Fest Gent takes place from 10 to 20 October at Kinepolis Ghent, Studio Skoop, Sphinx Cinema, Vooruit, KASKcinema and Capitole Ghent. The full line-up will be announced on 21 September in Ghent, Belgium.