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    17th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema 2007

    By Ron Holloway | August 18, 2008

    With a record turnout of 16,000 spectators, the 17th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema (6-10 November 2007) under its enterprising director Roland Rust confirmed its status as a leading event on the international circuit.

    Iglika Trifonova’s Razledvane (Investigation), a Bulgarian-Dutch-German coproduction, was awarded the Grand Prize. A Cain-and-Abel crime drama, Investigation features a strong performance by Svetlana Yancheva as the woman investigator required to determine who may be more guilty than others in a murder of a man by his own brother.

    Vera Storozheva’s Puteshestvie s domashnimi zhivotnymi (Travelling With Pets) (Russia), the festival’s leading award winner, received five of the available 13 prizes. Awarded the Special Prize for Best Director by the international jury, Storozheva also received the FIPRESCI Critics Prize, the Ecumenical Prize, and the Don Quixote Film Clubs Prize – in addition to the Special Prize for Outstanding Artistic Contribution awarded to lead actress Zhenia Kutepova in Travelling With Pets.

    Another Cottbus highlight was the After YU focus on films produced in the new independent republics of the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, no film takes the pulse of the times better than Croatian director Rajko Grlic’s Karaula (Border Post), a coproduction of Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, and UK. Shot in the spring of 1987 on the Yugoslav border to Albania, Border Post captures the absurdity of the times as mirrored in the debauched life led by soldiers in a border brigade.

    – Ron Holloway

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