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Fribourg Winners

The FiFF Fribourg International Film Festival has been annulated. We present a selection of movies that have been shown there or were planned to be shown

Compañeros - La noche de 12 años (2018)
Álvaro Brechner
Uruguay
117′
1973. Uruguay is governed by a military dictatorship. One autumn night, three Tupamaro prisoners are taken from their jail cells in a secret military operation. The order is precise: "As we can’t kill them, let’s drive them mad." The three men will remain in solitary confinement for twelve years. Among them is Pepe Mujica - later to become president of Uruguay.
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Prix du Public, Prix spécial du Jury, Prix du Jury œcuménique 2018 - Alavro Brechner is Jury member 2020
Prix FICC et Mention Spéciale du Jury Oecuménique, Fribourg 2004
The Last Friday (2012)
Yahya Alabdallah
Jordan
89′
Since gambling away everything he used to own, Yousef has lived alone in humble conditions, working as a taxi driver. In order to scrape together the money for an upcoming operation at the hospital, he turns to his boss for help and re-establishes contact with his son and now wealthy ex-wife after a long period of estrangement. Much is therefore in motion on the eve of the surgical procedure. A Knight of the Mournful Countenance in the city of Amman: Yousef deals with everyday adversities with silence and stoicism. He secretly steals his electricity from a neighbour. He reacts to getting a parking ticket with a shrug of his shoulders. He endures his employer’s degradations and double-dealings. When female customers talk of their annoyances regarding their fiancées or other men, he simply doesn’t listen. He’s also come to terms with being the only one around without a mobile phone. It is only the impending operation and his concern for his truanting son which leads him to take control of his life. This carefully photographed film casts a laconic and occasionally humorous gaze on the relationship between father and son, men and women, rich and poor and stagnation and change.
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Prix du Jury
Madagascar (1994)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
48′
"I dream exactly what I live every day," a professor, bored with her mundane life, tells her therapist. But the visual evidence on screen at the start of "Madagascar" suggests that dreams are never that banal. Bicyclists crowd the street, riding to work in slow motion in a haunting, shadowy blue dawn. The 50-minute "Madagascar" has the resonance and eloquence of the best poetry, as it deftly turns an adolescent's search for identity into a metaphor for post-revolutionary Cuba. Laura is a professor at a shabby, stultifying college. Her daughter, Laurita, stops going to school, wishes to move to Madagascar and quickly races through several phases. One day, she looks like a heavy-metal fan, another like a bohemian who weeps at poetry and art. Slowly, she crosses the line from ordinary adolescent confusion to intense neurosis and beyond, finally becoming so obsessed with religion and good works that she brings 10 homeless children into the cramped house she shares with her mother and grandmother. The film's director, Fernando Perez, creates graceful scenes linked by the merest narrative thread. His compressed episodes make it clear that Laura and Laurita, pre- and post-revolutuonary women, share a desperate search for some purpose in life. When Laura looks wistfully at a photograph of herself in May 1969, it is a rare reference to her political dreams, yet Mr. Perez has created an extraordinary meditation on the lost promise of youth and revolution. (Caryn James, in The New York Times)
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Grand Prix du Festival 1995
The Other Bank (2010)
George Ovashvili
Georgia
89′
Twelve-year-old Tedo lives with his young mother in Keto in an isolated hut on the outskirts of Tiflis. Tedo and Keto are refugees from Abchasia. The civil war has claimed everything they ever owned, including Tedo’s and Keto’s hopes for a bright future as an intact family unit. Tedo was just four years of age when they were obliged to flee from Abchasia. At the time, they had to leave behind Tedo’s father - his weak heart made it impossible for him to take on such a strenuous journey. Tedo is now an apprentice at a car repair shop and Keto is working as a sales assistant. Tedo gives the few pennies that he earns to his mother so that she no longer has to be nice to strange, unfriendly men. It pains the young boy agreat deal that he cannot earn more of a living for them; moreover, his mother’s moral conduct begins to weigh heavily on him. One day, when he discovers that she has a lover it becomes all too much for him and he decides to return to his father in Abchasia. Perhaps he will find the solution to all his problems there. Tedo meets many people on his journey - and suffers many a blow. He is by no means welcome everywhere. As his journey comes to an end he has acquired many an insight - such as the realisation that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.
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Grand Prix “Le Regard D’or” 2010
Foxtrot (2017)
Samuel Maoz
Israel
113′
The news of the death of their son Jonathan, who was doing his military service, throws the life, psyche and marriage of Michael and Dafna off track. Driven by deep sadness and lack of understanding, a storm of raging anger develops in Michael, marked by uncertainties and traumas.
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Prix du Jury Oecuménique 2018
You Will Die At 20 (2019)
Amjad Abu Alala
Sudan
102′
Sudan, province of Aljazira, nowadays - When Muzamil was born, a prophecy by the holy man of the village predicts that he will die when he is 20 years old. Muzamil’s father cannot stand the doom and travels away from home. Sakina, as a single mother, raises her son with over protection. One day, Muzamil turns 19.
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Liyana (2019)
Aaron & Amanda Kopp
Swaziland
76′
LIYANA is a story born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The film follows the children, Zweli, Sibusiso, Phumlani, Mkhuleko, and Nomcebo, as they collaborate to tell the original tale of Liyana, a fictional character whose early life bears remarkable similarities to their own. The world that the children imagine for Liyana is brought to life in an innovative style of animated artwork. This hybrid film weaves documentary scenes together with the animated adventure. LIYANA is executive produced by British-Zimbabwean actress, Thandie Newton, with artwork from rising Nigerian talent, Shofela Coker. Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, the children transform their darkest memories and brightest dreams into fuel for their fairytale. After an idyllic early childhood, Liyana’s world is shattered when her father contracts HIV and both of her parents die. Inspired by a recent real-life robbery, the children decide that there will be a frightening attack at Liyana’s family homestead. In the aftermath of this terrible night, the girl and her trusty sidekick, the family bull, embark on a dangerous, beautiful, and often humorous quest into the wilderness. Hunger, wild animals, and treacherous terrain stand between Liyana and an uncertain fate. As our young storytellers move their fictional character forward through trial and temptation, we periodically return to intimate documentary scenes of the children’s lives in Swaziland - nightly rituals, herding cattle, and a trip to a local clinic for an HIV test. The children’s creative journey is echoed throughout the film by allegorical scenes of the group hiking down a steep ravine in search of a mysterious river. These intertwining narrative strands work together to draw connections between Liyana and the children. As the real and imagined worlds begin to converge the children must choose what kind of story they will tell - in fiction, and in their own lives.
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