Fifteen titles compete for the Golden Frog Award at this week’s Camerimage International Film Festival. Since the event began in 1993, the Golden Frog has traditionally been awarded to feature films in which the visual image significantly contributes to the way a story is told, emphasizing the contribution of its cinematographer to the work.
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “13 Minutes” (Germany) offers a tense drama about George Else, a German carpenter whose attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler and several high-ranking Nazis in 1939 only narrowly missed its target. Also based on real-life events, Patricia Riggen’s “The 33” (Chile, U.S.) tells the story of 33 miners who were trapped underground in the San José mine for 69 days in 2010.
John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” (Canada, U.K., Ireland, 2015) is based on Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same name, in which a young Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) makes her way through 1950s New York. Set at a similar time is Todd Haynes’s “Carol” (U.K., U.S.), a lesbian love story based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith in which a married woman (Cate Blanchett) falls for a shopgirl.
Marc Abraham’s “I Saw The Light” (U.S.) offers a warts-and-all biopic of country music western Hank Williams, who died at the tragically young age of 29. George Miller continues his apocalyptic sci-fi series with this year’s frenetic Cannes opener “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Australia), while Anti Jokinen’s “The Midwife” (Finland) offers a look at the Lapland war, fought in the dying days of WW2.
Drama and dry comedy co-exist in Rams by Grímur Hákonarson (Denmark, Iceland), about two elderly brothers who have spent their entire lives tending to their sheep in the Icelandic provinces. Marcin Kosalka’s “The Red Spider” (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland) concerns two infamous Polish serial killers of the ’60s, one real, the other possibly an urban myth.
Lenny Abrahamson’s TIFF Audience Award-winner “Room” (Ireland), about a mother and son trapped in a single room for several years, continues its sweep across the festival circuit, followed closely by Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario” (U.S.). Starring Emily Blunt, this cartel drama is the story of an FBI agent who finds herself drawn into the CIA’s ongoing war on Mexico’s drug trade.
A word-of-mouth hit at Cannes, Laszlo Nemes “Son of Saul” (Hungary) is an extraordinary first-person account of the Holocaust, from the point of view of a Jewish man recruited to the Sonderkommando. Sarah Gavron’s “Suffragette” (U.K.) also micro-manages history, with Carey Mulligan as a London laundry woman who becomes involved in the fight for female emancipation in 1912.
Rounding out the selection is Jan Komasa’s “Warsaw 44″ (Poland), a story of love and friendship during the brutal 1944 Warsaw Uprising, and Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Wolf Totem” (China, France), in which a young urban student is sent to live with Mongolian herders during China’s Cultural Revolution.
The festival is running in Bydgoszcz, Poland until Nov. 21.