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Fribourg Winners

The FiFF Fribourg International Film Festival has been annulated. We present a selection of movies that have been shown there or were planned to be shown

The Last Friday (2012)
Yahya Alabdallah
Jordan
89′
Since gambling away everything he used to own, Yousef has lived alone in humble conditions, working as a taxi driver. In order to scrape together the money for an upcoming operation at the hospital, he turns to his boss for help and re-establishes contact with his son and now wealthy ex-wife after a long period of estrangement. Much is therefore in motion on the eve of the surgical procedure. A Knight of the Mournful Countenance in the city of Amman: Yousef deals with everyday adversities with silence and stoicism. He secretly steals his electricity from a neighbour. He reacts to getting a parking ticket with a shrug of his shoulders. He endures his employer’s degradations and double-dealings. When female customers talk of their annoyances regarding their fiancées or other men, he simply doesn’t listen. He’s also come to terms with being the only one around without a mobile phone. It is only the impending operation and his concern for his truanting son which leads him to take control of his life. This carefully photographed film casts a laconic and occasionally humorous gaze on the relationship between father and son, men and women, rich and poor and stagnation and change.
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Prix du Jury
Madagascar (1994)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
48′
"I dream exactly what I live every day," a professor, bored with her mundane life, tells her therapist. But the visual evidence on screen at the start of "Madagascar" suggests that dreams are never that banal. Bicyclists crowd the street, riding to work in slow motion in a haunting, shadowy blue dawn. The 50-minute "Madagascar" has the resonance and eloquence of the best poetry, as it deftly turns an adolescent's search for identity into a metaphor for post-revolutionary Cuba. Laura is a professor at a shabby, stultifying college. Her daughter, Laurita, stops going to school, wishes to move to Madagascar and quickly races through several phases. One day, she looks like a heavy-metal fan, another like a bohemian who weeps at poetry and art. Slowly, she crosses the line from ordinary adolescent confusion to intense neurosis and beyond, finally becoming so obsessed with religion and good works that she brings 10 homeless children into the cramped house she shares with her mother and grandmother. The film's director, Fernando Perez, creates graceful scenes linked by the merest narrative thread. His compressed episodes make it clear that Laura and Laurita, pre- and post-revolutuonary women, share a desperate search for some purpose in life. When Laura looks wistfully at a photograph of herself in May 1969, it is a rare reference to her political dreams, yet Mr. Perez has created an extraordinary meditation on the lost promise of youth and revolution. (Caryn James, in The New York Times)
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Grand Prix du Festival 1995
The Other Bank (2010)
George Ovashvili
Georgia
89′
Twelve-year-old Tedo lives with his young mother in Keto in an isolated hut on the outskirts of Tiflis. Tedo and Keto are refugees from Abchasia. The civil war has claimed everything they ever owned, including Tedo’s and Keto’s hopes for a bright future as an intact family unit. Tedo was just four years of age when they were obliged to flee from Abchasia. At the time, they had to leave behind Tedo’s father - his weak heart made it impossible for him to take on such a strenuous journey. Tedo is now an apprentice at a car repair shop and Keto is working as a sales assistant. Tedo gives the few pennies that he earns to his mother so that she no longer has to be nice to strange, unfriendly men. It pains the young boy agreat deal that he cannot earn more of a living for them; moreover, his mother’s moral conduct begins to weigh heavily on him. One day, when he discovers that she has a lover it becomes all too much for him and he decides to return to his father in Abchasia. Perhaps he will find the solution to all his problems there. Tedo meets many people on his journey - and suffers many a blow. He is by no means welcome everywhere. As his journey comes to an end he has acquired many an insight - such as the realisation that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.
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Grand Prix “Le Regard D’or” 2010

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