• Mezipatra Queer Film Festival has revealed this year's program.
  • Tickets for screenings of all the 64 films are on sale from Wednesday, 19th October.
  • Austrian Tomcat (Kater) will open the festival on Thursday, 3rd November. 

Mezipatra Queer Film Festival has disclosed the program of this year's 17th edition today. The ticket sale for the opening ceremony and all other screenings has started as well. The festival will present sixty-four live-action and documentary films altogether, and ten of them will compete for the main award for the best feature film. 

“Both the live-action and documentary films we are presenting this year prove that the topic of this year's festival – Limits of Liberty – is not only contemporary, it is omnipresent and timeless,” thinks the festival's program coordinator, Sandra Hezinová. “Moreover, the prevalent number of European films in the feature films competition shows what distinctive and remarkable films have come to life in this location during this and last year. The selection is truly diverse and presents the most significant films from major festivals,” she adds.


The alluring main competition

The Prague part of the festival will open on 3rd November with Tomcat (Kater), an Austrian drama which won this year's Teddy Award for the Best Feature Film at Berlinale. The intimate study of a crumbling relationship relies on the excellent performances of Lukas Turtur and Philipp Hochmair in the leading roles. The director Händl Klaus, who is well known also as an actor and writer of prose as well as radio and theatre plays, will be one of the guests of this year's Mezipatra.

“Tomcat is one of the most powerful films of this season. We were immediately sure about including this award-winning drama in the program, its undoubted qualities and relation to the topic were a clear argument for making this the opening film,” explains Sandra Hezinová.

Other powerful attractions of this year's program include It's Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde), directed by Canadian Xavier Dolan, which won the Grand Prize of the Jury at this year's Canes IFF. The intimate drama about a successful writer's return home builds on Dolan's characteristic charm and the exceptional performances of the five protagonists: Gaspard Ulliel, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye, Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux.


The best from Europe

Remarkable pieces of current European cinema are represented in the competition for example by French Staying Vertical (Rester vertical). The film by Alan Guiraudie (his Stranger by the Lake was very successful at Mezipatra two years ago) combines the atmosphere of legends and myths, unexpected plot twists, and an explicit view on sexuality unrestricted by conventions.

The Ornithologist (O Ornitólogo) was co-produced by Portugal, France and Brazil, and directed by the distinguished João Pedro Rodrigues. The visionary, cinematically breathtaking essay follows the journey of ornithologist Fernando through the wild Portuguese nature, working with homoerotic elements as well as Catholic symbolism and references to the lives of saints. The jury at Locarno IFF awarded the film for the Best Director.


Slightly different coming-of-age

Italian cinema in the competition will be represented by Arianna – a film set in the enchanting area of the Bolsena lake, which follows a girl's search for the secrets of her past and her own identity. The director Carlo Lavagna cast Ondina Quadria in his feature debut, and the starting actress was awarded at last year's Venice IFF for her role of the intersexual Arianna.

Kim, Momo and Bella are three best friends who must face bullying at school; they find solace during their meetings in a greenhouse where they grow flowers. When a peculiar plant grows from a mysterious seed one day, they find out its nectar can turn them into boys. However, the spell lasts just one night and Kim realizes that such a short time is not enough... Girls Lost (Pojkarna), a fairy-tale for adults directed by Swedish Alexandra-Therese Keining, offers a novel approach to the classical coming-of-age story and search for identity.

Barash is an Israeli romance which also focuses on the issue of growing up when the life of the protagonist, Naama, turns upside down thanks to her trendy and provocative classmate, Dana. The fresh, spontaneous picture follows the story of first love, sexual experiences, and drug parties against the backdrop of Israeli reality which includes for example running from the obligatory military service. Mezipatra will be visited by the film's director, Michal Vinik, and Daphna Keenan, who wrote the music.


Three faces of America

You'll Never Be Alone (Nunca vas a estar solo) is a Chilean drama which represents Latin America in the main competition. It follows the story of Juan – an unambitious yet hard-working man whose chance for a promotion is thwarted by a brutal attack against his son. He thus has to come to terms both with his only child being assaulted, and his homosexuality, which is still frowned upon in the Chilean society. The popular musician Alex Anwandter's film debut is inspired by a true story, and won the Teddy Jury Award at this year's Berlinale.

Independent American production, popular with the viewers, is not missing in the program either. Lovesong by So Yong Kim is a romantic drama which follows the relationship of two friends – a young countryside mother named Sarah and impulsive Mindy. The film featured at this year's Sundance IFF and enchanted the audience with its poetic visual style and acting performances of Riley Keough and Jena Malone.

The experienced director Chris Kelly, who also works as a supervisor for Saturday Night Live and is the executive producer for Broad City, presented his feature debut in Sundance as well. Other People is a partly autobiographic dramedy which follows the scriptwriter David who is coming from New York home to Sacramento to take care of his mother (Molly Shannon), whose cancer is in a terminal stage. The film successfully avoids clichés and spices up tragic scenes with black humour.


Four times retro

As usual, the festival's retrospective section returns on screens films which helped to write the history of queer cinema. The oldest one this year is Victim from 1961. The noir social drama, directed by British Basil Dearden, follows a married lawyer who investigates the death of a young man who used to be his secret lover. At that time controversial, the film was banned in the USA at first, but it helped decriminalize homosexuality in the UK.

There are two films to represent the 1990s. Strawberry and Chocolate  (Fresa y chocolate) by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío from Cuba portrays an unusual friendship of two men – a student passionate about the Communist regime, and a homosexual dissident. The film premiered in 1993 and was nominated for Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film.

Aimée & Jaguar from 1999 was the second feature film by German Max Fäberböck. It is an adaptation of Erica Fisher's successful novel which was based on a true story of forbidden love between a Jewish partisan and the wife of a Nazi officer during World War II. The epic film was successful at Berlinale at that time and was also nominated for Golden Globe and Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film.

The retrospective section is concluded by John Cameron Mitchell's fifteen-year-old film,  Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The adaptation of a popular musical about a rock star from East Germany who negates the usual gender categories has become as iconic as the original show itself. The main role is excellently portrayed by the director himself, Hedwig's lover, rocker Tommy, is depicted by young Michael Pitt. 


Special screening

Hustler White (1996) was directed by a legendary Canadian director and photographer, Bruce LaBruce, who is a key guest of this year's Mezipatra and one of the judges of the main competition, together with the American director Rick Castro. The film combines explicit sex scenes and pulp aesthetics with New Queer Cinema approaches, resulting in a timeless satire about the world of male prostitution and Hollywood porn industry.


Visuals 2016 – photo Michaela Karásek Čejková, graphic desing Marius Corradini / Side 2


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