Cannes Victors ‘Son of Saul,’ ‘High Sun,’ ‘Treasure’ to Compete in Sarajevo

Six out of the 10 competition films are directorial debuts, including 'Son of Saul'

Son of Saul Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

LONDON — Laszlo Nemes’ “Son of Saul” is one of several award winners from the Cannes Film Festival that will compete for the Heart of Sarajevo Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

The Holocaust drama, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes and has been selected as Hungary’s entry in the foreign-language film category of the Oscars, is the first feature film by Nemes.

The Sarajevo festival, which is Southeast Europe’s leading film event, selected several other Cannes winners. These include Croatia’s “The High Sun,” an era-spanning triptych of love stories from writer-director Dalibor Matanic, which won the jury prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

Another Cannes title at Sarajevo is Romania’s “The Treasure” from Corneliu Porumboiu, which received Un Certain Regard’s Talent Award. The humor-filled film reflects on the greed and consumerism pervading contemporary society.

Turkey’s “Mustang,” which won the Europa Cinema Award for the European film in the Directors’ Fortnight program at Cannes, also competes at Sarajevo. Deniz Gamze Erguven’s film, which is set in a Turkish village on the shores of the Black Sea, focuses on five young sisters. The film deals with the demonization of female sexuality and the powerlessness of women in a traditional society.

Serbia’s “Panama,” which premiered in Cannes’ Special Screenings section, is Pavle Vuckovic’s debut feature. The film examines questions of sexuality and intimacy as it follows the main protagonist over a summer that he spends engaging with countless girls until he meets the one girl who might be special.

Also in the Sarajevo competition section are Austria’s “Superworld,” which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and Greece’s “Chevalier,” which played in competition at the Locarno Film Festival. Karl Markovics, the director of “Superworld,” is a past winner of the Heart of Sarajevo prize. “Superworld” focuses on a housewife whose life is shaken after God starts speaking to her. Athina Rachel Tsangari’s third feature “Chevalier” deals with the issues of control, and the limits and nature of friendship.

Debut feature films dominate the competition program. Six out of the 10 films in the section are their directors’ first features. These include Andrei Cohn’s “Back Home.” The Romanian film deals with a group in their 30s who reunite in their hometown after a decade-long period of separation. The main protagonist leads an apparently happy life in Bucharest while his childhood friends and his teenage sweetheart have remained trapped in the parochial world of their native village.

The protagonists in Bosnia’s “Our Everyday Life,” directed by first-timer Ines Tanovic, are examining their life achievements, but they are also struggling with the legacy of war. A family is rift apart, but is reunited after the mother falls ill.

Turkey’s “Entanglement,” Tunc Davut’s first feature, talks about love. It tells the story of two brothers living in a wooden shed in a forest isolated from the rest of the world. The older brother is in a relationship with a woman who brings a breath of fresh air into their lives, while the younger brother falls deeply in love with her. Davut contrasts the protagonists’ unusual love story with the nature that surrounds them.

“Our Everyday Life” and “Entanglement” are world premieres, and “Back Home” is an international premiere.

The festival runs Aug. 14-22.

“Our Everyday Life,” director: Ines Tanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia), first feature, world premiere
“Entanglement,” director: Tunc Davut (Turkey), first feature, world premiere
“Back Home,” director: Andrei Cohn (Romania), first feature, international premiere
“Chevalier,” director: Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece), regional premiere
“The High Sun,” director: Dalibor Matanic (Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia), regional premiere
“Mustang,” director: Deniz Gamze Erguven (Turkey, France, Germany, Qatar), first feature, regional premiere
“Panama,” director: Pavle Vuckovic (Serbia), first feature, regional premiere
“Son of Saul,” director: Laszlo Nemes (Hungary), first feature, regional premiere
“Superworld,” director: Karl Markovics (Austria), regional premiere
“The Treasure,” director: Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania, France)

For the complete festival program click here.