FEDEORA jury at the International Love Film Festival in Mons, Belgium, held from February 24 to March 2 2012, awarded Let My People Go! by Mikael Buch. The jury was delighted to give the prize to a comedy, a genre that is often neglected at festivals. Read all the festival reports by: Ronald Bergan, Blagoja Kunovski and Maja Bogojevic on www.fedeora.eu"

Let My People GoLet My People Go

Ronald Bergan
American Jewish comedian Mort Sahl, invited by producer-director Otto Preminger to a preview screening of his 200-minute epic Exodus (1960), stood up after three hours and cried, "Otto, let my people go!" No such plea was necessary by audiences at 29-year-old Mikael Buch's first feature, which moves rapidly for an entertaining 96 minutes.

Let My People Go! (the monolingual title) was one of 11 films in the European First Feature competition, all of which fell under the rather wide definition of films d'amour. They included love between father and son (The Mole /Kert/ – Poland), parents and son (Shelter /Podslon / – Bulgaria), two adolescent girls (She Monkeys /Apflickorna/ – Sweden), and surrogate father and son (Martino's Summer /L'estate di Martino/ – Italy). Let My People Go! is much closer to a true film d'amour, being 'boy loves boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy'. The lovers are Ruben (Nicolas Maury) and Teemu (Jarkko Niemi), the former is French and the latter Finnish, although Ruben's family insist on calling him Swedish


Let My People Go Let My People Go

Wherever I go, I know what to expect from a certain festival. It was also the case of FIFA/Mons Festival, even more so because they show films inspired by and dedicated to – Love!, a fact that I saluted at the closing Ceremony in Mons when we presented our FEDEORA Prize. "Vive L'Amour!"

Apart from the Best First European Feature and the International Competition, the festival had parallel programmes: Les Autres Films (Other Films) and Regards Croisés (Crossed Views) or a Meeting of Minds. (Not all the 16 films presented films were the best from the latest world production and festivals, but This Must Be the Place by the Italian director Paulo Sorrentino, from last year's Cannes Competition, is one of my favourites). Then the programme Lumières D'Ailleurs (Lights From Elsewhere) – among 9, the Moroccan film The End by Hicham Lasri, was surprisingly good, especially visually, thanks to the cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, who shot it in black and white in a very dynamic way.


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This year's Mons Festival of Film d'amour exhibited a variety of first films within the section of the European Competition, focusing on the subject of love (search) and its multiple facets. Although diverse and even contrasting in their approaches to the complex layers of different realities and human relationships, one common theme predominates in most of them: motherless families and a strong bonding with and/or search for a father. Except in this year's Fedeora winner Let My People Go! directed by Mikael Buch, Shelter (Podslon) by Dragomir Sholev and Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få meg på, for faen) by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, the mother is either dead, dispensable or simply absent. The preoccupation with the father-children relationship permeates many films, and in some of them, the father figure is usually caring, tender and devoted to sons/daughters – most explicitly shown in the excellent The Mole (Kret), directed by Rafael Lewandowski, and less intrusively in En ville by Valérie Mréjen & Bertrand Schefer; She Monkeys (Apflickorna) by Lisa Aschan, The Phantom Father by Lucian Georgescu and Martino's Summer (L'estate di Martino) by Massimo Natale. Surprisingly and quite refreshingly, the father seems to have become a new mother.


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