Festival Reports

38th Warsaw International Film Festival

Mrudula Saturday November 12, 2022


A still from the award winning film Ademoka - Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan,France)
A still from the award winning film Ademoka - Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan,France)


The NETPAC Award Jury for the 38th Warsaw International Film Festival consisted of two members, Viera Langerova (Czech Republic) and Panagiotis Kotzathanasis (Greece), since the third member never appeared, for reasons we are not sure of. We watched the films in the two venues of the festival, Multikino and Atlantic, from the 14th to the 21st of October.

The competing films varied significantly, as they included both documentaries and fiction, and from regions that ranged from Palestine to Australia, and essentially, everything between. One Chinese film, “Where Nothing Grows” was pulled at the last minute from screening at the competition, for unknown reasons, although it had previously screened in Busan. The only country that was represented with more than one film was Japan, with “New Religion” and “The City”. 

The films eligible for the NETPAC prize were as follows: 

Carbon - Niobe Thompson (Australia,Canada)

Wait For Me - Sari Azoulay Turgeman (Israel)

Ademoka - Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan,France)

Till Love Do Us Part - Ran Li (China)

The City - Katsuki Kuroyanagi (Japan)

Fury - Shlomo Slutzky, Tomer Slutzky (Israel, Argentina) 

Trio - Battumur Dorj (Mongolia) 

New Religion - Keishi Kondo (Japan)

Mediterranean Fever - Maha Haj (France, Germany, Palestine, Cyprus)

New - Normal Jung Bum-shik (South Korea)

Feast - Brillante Ma Mendoza (Hong Kong SAR China, Philippines)

A number of movies left an impression, although for different reasons. Katsuki Kuroyanagi in “The City” tried to experiment with form and immersed his narrative in tension, in a title, though, that was quite difficult to follow. Keishi Kondo in “New Religion” tried to reinvigorate the J-horror genre by including symbolism and intense imagery. In “Trio”, Battumur Dorj tried to combine the issues people with Down Syndrome face with the ancient death rituals of the country that are gradually disappearing. In “New Normal”, Jung Bum-shik incorporated ironic and rather smart humor in order to make a number of pointed social comments. 

A still from the film Mediterranean Fever - Maha Haj (France, Germany, Palestine, Cyprus)
A still from the film Mediterranean Fever - Maha Haj (France, Germany, Palestine, Cyprus)


The two films that truly stood out for both of us, however, were Maha Haj’s “Mediterranean Fever” and Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s “Ademoka”. The first one because of its intelligent sense of humor that was highlighted through the differences of two quite different men who end up becoming friends, and for its impressive transition from comedy to drama and vice versa, including a rather shocking end. The latter, which got the award in the end, also featured a very smart and even self-deprecating sense of humor, but also exhibited an astonishing minimalism, particularly in the set design, which also became part of the narrative. The antithesis of the titular character (played by the director’s niece, while the woman who plays her mother is her actual mother) who barely speaks, and Ahab, who never stops talking, also worked excellently.  It is easy to say that “Ademoka” is a masterclass on how to shoot with no budget, even in lockdown circumstances.  Our citation, which had to be one sentence, was as follows: “For its intelligent satire and the rather artful visual and narrative approach rooted in local culture, we present the NETPAC award to Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Ademoka’s Education” In general, and although our choice in the end was relatively easy, the selection was on a very high level, both in terms of quality and diversity.  To conclude with a personal comment, I have to say that it was a pleasure watching films in cinemas with the audience once again, particularly since the venues of the festival were top-notch. Hospitality was excellent, and the crew of employees and volunteers took care of our every need. In general, the whole thing was a very pleasant and rewarding experience, also because I got to know Viera. 

By Panagiotis Kotzathanasis (Greece) – NETPAC Member


Supriya Suri's Interview with Muhiddin Muzaffar

Director Muhiddin Muzaffar (1) 2 Min

1. I entered the cinema through the theatre. I was an actor in our local theatre called Kanibadam, named after Tuhfa Fozilova. After working for five years, I decided to do a theatre director course. I graduated with honors and became a director. We successfully staged performances at international festivals.


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