Cottbus Fest opens doors to Central Asia

Russia, Slovenia each have 2 pix competing; Viennale bows

BERLIN — With Afghanistan at the center of world public attention, Central Asia will be this year’s regional focus at the 11th annual Cottbus Film Festival, Germany’s cinematic window to Eastern Europe.

Although the fest, which runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, highlighted Central Asian pics last year, current events led organizers to again focus on the region this year with the screening of some 30 short and feature length films from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, including the German premiere of Kazakhstan director Dare-shan Omirbajev’s “Jol” (“The Road”).

Russian cinema is making a bigger splash this year, with two titles among the 11 films in competition: Sergei Bodrov Jr.s “Sestry” (“Sisters”) and “Moskwa” (“Moscow”) from Alexander Zeldovitch.

Slovenia also has two pics in the running, Danis Tanovic’s “No Mans Land” and Jan Cvitkovic’s “Kruh I Mleko” (“Bread and Milk”).

Other entries in competition include “Slogans” (Albania), “The Devil’s Tail” (Bulgaria), “I©Budapest” (Hungary), “Parallel Worlds” (Czech Republic), “Stuff and Dough” (Romania) and “Absolute Hundred” (Yugoslavia).

Viennale ventures forth

In Austria, meanwhile, the Viennale film festival opened Oct. 19 with this year’s Cannes winner, “La stanza del figlio” from Nanni Moretti.

Among the guests at the Vienna fest was French helmer Jean-Marie Straub, who presented his most re-cent film “Operai, contadini” as well as his 1991 pic “Antigone.”

Sweden-based German documentary filmmaker Peter Nestler received this year’s Viennale Tribute.

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