This year, Montenegrin cinematography is in focus of one of the most significant film festivals dedicated to East European film – the Film Festival Cottbus (Germany).
The programme section of the festival entitled “Spotlight: Montenegro”, includes seventeen short and feature-length films, both contemporary and older.
The programme encompasses the following films; “The Ascent” by Nemanja Bečanović, “The Black Pin” by Ivan Marinović, “Lowdown” by Pavle Simonović, “You Have the Night” by Ivan Salatić, “Neverending Past” by Andro Martinović and “Breasts” by Marija Perović.
In addition to the abovementioned films, considerable attention was paid to two authors: Živko Nikolić, whose retrospective will feature short films: “Bogeyman”, “Others”, “Builder”, “A Stamp”, “The Gorge” and the feature film “The Beauty of Vice”; and Momir Matović, who will be represented by films “Meters of Life,” “String of Life” “Delivery of a Nation,” “The Last Cinema Show,” and “Tam 4500.”
In the introductory text titled “The Cinema of Montenegro – Shaped by Contrasts”, the selector of the programme, Bernd Buder, among other things, points out: “Located between spectacular mountain ranges and the glamorous Adriatic coast, Montenegro, which gained independence in 2006, has always strived to develop an identity of its own that goes beyond its reputation as a “holiday paradise”. One of the results of sustained efforts is the domestic film industry. The year 2017 saw the opening of the Film Centre of Montenegro, which laid the foundation for transparent and sustainable film promotion, this following on from the remarkable success achieved by Montenegrin films at international festivals in recent years.
That brings us to this year’s Spotlight: Montenegro, which combines discoveries from film history with prospects for the future. Thus, the works of documentary filmmaker Momir Matović, exploring the fascinating landscapes of Montenegro and its people, this year reach the screens of Cottbus. Matović’s work follows the tradition of cult director Živko Nikolić, who in the 1970s and 1980s focused on cultural differences between rural mountainous regions and the urban south. With “The Beauty of Vice” in 1986 he paid tongue-in-cheek tribute to the contrast between traditional mountain villages and the libertarian nudist camps on the coast. Today, young directors continue the tradition that is absorbed in contrasts, which, although present elsewhere, are of particular intensity in Montenegro. The dark comedy “The Black Pin” by Ivan Marinović, for example, describes the relationship between a misanthropic, Orthodox priest who returned to his native village and locals, who never left. Despite all the pathos of the power of nature that dwells in it, Montenegro has long ago found its way into urban normality: in the lowlands in and around the capital Podgorica, thrillers such as “Lowdown” by Pavle Simonović or drama “Breasts” by Marija Perović closely reflect the interpersonal conflict situations as they occur around the world and yet in a way that is unique to Montenegro.”
Programme Spotlight: Montenegro is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection of the State of Brandenburg. The Film Center of Montenegro is a partner of the Film Festival Cottbus and Montenegrin Cinematheque provided support to the implementation of the programme “Spotlight: Montenegro”.
Film director, Marija Perović, is a member of the international jury for the main programme of the Film Festival Cottbus. Apart from her, the jury includes director Sergey Dvortsevoy, actress Luli Bitri, theorist Péter Muszatics, and director of photography, Peter Badel.
A new project by director and screenwriter Ivan Marinović titled “Forever Hold Your Peace”, was chosen for the film industry platform “Connecting Cottbus”, and was presented at the pitching session and the market. “Connecting Cottbus” stands out because of the great number of film producers, sales agents, distributors, and institutions that it regularly gathers, and prestigious panel discussions are organized each year.
At the panel discussion moderated by the renowned Simon Perry, Director of the Film Centre, Sehad Čekić presented novelties in financing and incentive measures in Montenegro, together with representatives of the Berlinale World Cinema Fund, the Polish Film Institute and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.