Our review of Tereza Nvotová’s The Lust for Power for this month’s issue brings out a tension within contemporary cinema that is becoming more and more grating. On the one hand, filmmakers are trying to instrumentalize cultural origins as distinctive features that make them stand out on the festival circuit. On the other hand, too great a local specificity risks making stories unrelatable to foreign audiences. The solution currently favored appears to be to have the cake and eat it. Thus the original title of Nvotová’s film is simply the protagonist’s last name (“Mečiar”), which is known to local audiences, while the international title tries to reinvent this particular biography as manifesting a general tendency of a “lust for power”. Though filmmakers are hereby obviously responding to a systematic problem, it is still sad to see that they do so by choosing the homogenizing method of “neither and nor” rather than opting for truly universalist approaches, or even acknowledging that local problems, however specific, are relatable to anyone if communicated in the right way, i.e. by embracing rather than relativizing their specificity.
Zoe Aiano’s review of The Lust for Power can be accessed through our Perspectives section. Zoe also saw Enticing, Sugary, Boundless or Songs and Dances about Death, an unequal trilogy on the theme of death. Jack Page reviewed Marita, Cristi Iftime’s latest feature about a dysfunctional family, while Alice Heneghan revisits Wiktor Grodecki’s 1994 feature Not Angels But Angels about male prostitutes in Prague. Finally, Ana Grgić reports from the Thessaloniki IFF with interviews with Gjorce Stavreski and Kazım Öz.
We hope you enjoy our reads.
Konstanty Kuzma & Moritz Pfeifer