New movies by Petzold, Sorogoyen and Muccino in the Great 5 program

Every year, ZFF’s popular The Great 5 side program presents outstanding recent features from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, the largest European film makers who produce more than 50% of European movies. We already know three movies from this year’s edition of the Great 5: Germany will be represented by Undine, directed by the famous Christian Petzold, the Spanish representative will be Madre by the master of tense film storylines, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and Italy will be represented with a warm drama about love and friendship, The Best Years, directed by Gabriele Muccino.

One of the most well-known modern German directors, equally loved by audiences and critics, Christian Petzold is known to ZFF’s audience by intimate stories of protagonists set in dark periods of modern German history (Phoenix – ZFF 2015 and Transit – ZFF 2019). His latest movie, Undine, is a modern fairy tale inspired by a myth that has inspired artists for centuries, and known to us as a story about a little mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, Disney, and Neil Jordan. Undine (Paula Beer) is a historian and a young urban woman working in a museum. When her lover, Johannes, leaves her, Undine must submit to an ancient myth: if a lover betrays her, she must murder him and return to the water. Berlin also plays an important part in the movie. We get to know it through seductive shots of Petzold’s regular associate, Hans Fromm, and Undine’s lectures about the urban development of the city which, like Undine, grew out of a swamp. The film premiered at Berlinale where it won the FIPRESCI award and Paula Beer received a Silver Bear for best actress.

Spain is represented in the Great 5 by Madre, a new film by the master of political and criminal thrillers, Rodrigo Sorogoyen (The Realm – ZFF 2019, May God Save Us – ZFF 2017). Madre is a sequel to Sorogoyen’s 2017 short film of the same name, nominated for the Academy Award, and which reminds us of every parent’s worst nightmare: a Spanish woman Elena (Marta Nieto) receives a terrifying call from her six-year-old son, who was abandoned at an unknown beach in France. The boy’s mobile phone is impossible to locate and his battery is nearly out… The film picks up on the story ten years later after the boy’s disappearance, while Elena is living and working on that same beach. Her ostensible inner peace is shattered when she meets Jean, who reminds her of her lost son. Marta Nieto won the award for best actress at the Horizonti Festival in Venice in 2019.

Gabriele Muccino is an Italian director, screenwriter, and producer most known for his Hollywood films Seven pounds (2008) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), both of which starred Will Smith. In the Great 5 program we’ll be seeing his latest film, The Best Years, a saga about four friends and their relationship, told over the course of 40 years. Italy, 1980. Sixteen-year-old idealists Paolo, Giulio, and Riccardo are close as brothers and share everything. There is also Gemma, Paolo’s girlfriend, who becomes a part of the squad. But life is unpredictable and our young friends will go about their different paths.

Their stories, hopes, successes and failures intertwine in touching and amusing stories about friendship and love, thereby creating a rich tapestry of Italy and different eras of its modern history. One of the main roles is played by Pierfrancesco Favino who was the lead actor in The Traitor by Marco Bellochio (ZFF 2019).

The 18th Zagreb Film Festival will be held from 8 to 15 November at Kino SC, Kino Tuškanac, Croatian Music Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art and online.