Joachim Lafosse’s Latest Film in PLUS Section

Zagreb Film Festival, this year celebrating its 16th birthday between 11 and 18 November, remains eternally young and energetic thanks to its focus on debut and second films. The best reflection of this is the PLUS competition section, oriented towards young audiences. Its fifth edition features five titles chosen by the high school selection committee for their generation and other interested audiences.

The selection of PLUS is forerun by Keep Going, the latest film by Belgian director Joachim Lafosse, an intelligent and exceptionally emotionally charged drama about a crisis in a mother-son relationship on a trip together. Like in his previous films (Our Children and After Love), Lafosse again focuses on cracks in family relations, but in this film he sets them against a backdrop of a modern-day western.

I Am Not a Witch by Rungano Nyoni is the biggest discovery of last year’s Cannes selection Directors’ Fortnight and a BAFTA Winner for outstanding debut. A modern-day fairy tale about an eight-year-old girl accused of witchcraft is an occasionally hilarious satire of African traditionalism, and occasionally a sad story about the oppression of African women. Rungano Nyoni found her inspiration in African witch camps serving to segregate ‘problematic’ women, but also as a tourist attraction.

Another PLUS section entry is the latest film by Swiss director Germinal Roaux Fortuna, the winner in the Generation 14plus section at the 68th Berlinale. A film about a girl migrant in a Swiss catholic convent is a combination of marvellous directing procedures and a gloomy tale that might just have a happy ending. Bruno Ganz, one of the greatest German-speaking actors, stars in the role of the priest.

I Am Júlia, a debut film by Spanish director Elena Martin, follows an architecture student on exchange in Berlin and her adaptation to the new environment. This outstanding portrayal of young people at a crossroads in their lives is stylistically impressive, thanks to cinematography, characters and vistas of East Berlin. Elena Martin, also appearing in the leading role, marvellously embodied the fears, tensions and confusion of the ‘Skype’ generation any young person can easily relate to.

The heroine of the German feelgood drama Rock My Heart is a 17-year-old Jana, born with a heart condition. Defying fate, Jana accepts every challenge and to the horror of her concerned parents embarks on every dangerous adventure. With heart-warming characters and a touching story, Rock My Heart conveys an ever young message of persistence and perseverance.

The best film in the program will be decided by a young jury consisting of five high school students. Anyone interested in being part of the five-member jury, age 15 to 19, can apply via the official Zagreb Film Festival website, zff.hr, by 12 October.

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