On Friday evening, American actor Michael Madsen, who starred in several Quentin Tarantino movies, opened the 41th Belgrade Film Festival - FEST. The film to open the festival is the latest winner of Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nominee – the film Amour, directed by Michael Haneke. Until March 3, the audience will be able to see some 85 films at FEST.
Madsen is starring in a film entitled Along the Roadside, which was directed by Zoran Lisinac and produced by Vladimir Lisinac. The two are brothers from Kruševac, Serbia, who are living and working in the USA. Madsen told a press conference that he was happy acting in that movie. His co-star is Serbian actor Lazar Ristovski, in the role of a Serb who went overseas to make his American dream come true.
The selector of FEST, Borislav Anđelić, emphasized at the conference that, in addition to films by great directors, this year’s festival also featured many Academy Award nominees in various categories. The programme includes films such as Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper, To Rome with Love by Woody Alen, Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, Lincoln by Steven Spielberg, Flight by Robert Zemeckis, Silver Linings Playbook by David O’Russell, and many others. Interestingly, those attending the Belgrade Film Festival – FEST - will have an opportunity to see all the Academy Award nominees in the Best Actor category, namely Denzel Washington in Flight, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.
The aforesaid films fall within the Hollywood category, while other categories include Europe in Europe (the best European films), Europe outside Europe, a competition programme showing nine films from non-EU states competing for a prize of EUR 2,000 (films from Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Norway, Israel and Armenia), Panorama of the World Cinema, which features works by famous directors such as Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong), Takeshi Kitano (Japan) and many other important authors, from Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mozambique and China. Another category is dedicated to the South American cinema and there is also a programme of selected documentaries. Finally, in the Fest Presents programme, the audience will be able to see four Serbian feature films and a co-production as well.
Under the slogan Brave New World, the first Belgrade Film Festival – FEST was opened with Mash by Robert Altman on January 9, 1971. Originally conceived as an annual review of the best films of the season, FEST became the most important film festival and one of the most important cultural events not only in Belgrade, but in the then Yugoslavia as well. So far, FEST has been attended by four million people and has presented almost 4,000 films.