Haigh, Petzold, and Almodóvar in the Great 5 program

This year, the selection of the BIG 5 will bring a cross-section of current films from the five largest European cinemas – French, Italian, German, British, and Spanish – providing an overview of current film trends on the European scene. This is done in collaboration with the Network of European Union National Institutes for Culture in Croatia (EUNIC).

The latest film by British director Andrew Haigh, All of Us Strangers, has already been hailed as a masterpiece and one of the best films of the year by critics (The Wrap). This surreal drama about a screenwriter visiting his hometown to find the parents he lost in a car accident is a reminiscence on the themes of love and loneliness. Simultaneously a love story, fantasy, horror, as well as a family drama and a sexy gay romance, All of Us Strangersis a subtle cinematic lament in which exceptional performances were delivered by renowned British actors Andrew Scott (Fleabag), Paul Mescal (Normal People, Aftersun, The Lost Daughter), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), and Claire Foy (The Crown).

The big screens of this year’s ZFF will also screen Afire, the new film by one of the most intriguing contemporary German directors, Christian Petzold, which received the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale. In the second part of the trilogy that began with the film Undine (ZFF 2020), we follow four young individuals trapped in the Baltic idyll when wildfires start raging in the area. Initially, the potentially catastrophic situation brings them closer, until moments when envy, desire, and sex prevail in their relationships.

The program also features a new short film by the legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, titled Strange Way of Life. Known for his focus on female characters and the fluidity of gender identities, this time Almodóvar tries his hand at the western genre, with well-known Hollywood actors in the lead roles, rising star Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Last of Us) and Hollywood veteran Ethan Hawke. Almodóvar’s first venture into the western genre, this short film is wrapped in queer attire, serving as an ode to the classic genre. It premiered at Cannes. The film’s production is co-signed by the fashion house Saint Laurent, marking their first foray into the world of cinema.