Special Report: Göteborg Film Festival, 2006, Report 2

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
This year's Göteborg Film festival which ran Jan 26-Feb 6 was attended by several directors who gave Master Classes about their work. The veteran Canadian independent director Larry Kent discussed his latest film The Hamster Cage a film about a man who wins the Nobel prize and havoc breaks out in his family. The British documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto was invited to Göteborg too. She focuses on the conditions of women around the world and one of her films includes Runaway about a 10 year old Iranian girl. The Canadian director Jean Marc Valée visited the festival to discuss his film C.R.A.Z.Y , a coming out story about a young man in Quebec in the 1960's—and the most popular film at the festival. Chinese director Bingjian Zhang came during the middle of Chinese New Year to Sweden. His film Suffocation, starring the popular actor Ge You is the first psychological thriller made in China. Zhang spoke about working conditions in film after the Chinese Revolution. The Danish director Per Fly was also at the festival who, discussed his trilogy on class - The Bench, about low bottom alcoholics, Inheritance about a man who inherits his father’s steel plant and his latest Manslaughter, about a teacher who protects his student and lover in a robbery shootout. The Göteborg festival prides itself on presenting an informative and inspirational mix of filmmakers and their work and this year the seminars were top class.

One special seminar I was asked to moderate was about the film Smiling in a War Zone a new documentary from Denmark made by Magnus Bejmar/Simone Aaberg Kaern. The film was inspired by an article written by the Danish journalist Carsten Jensen a few years ago regarding a visit he made to Afghanistan. Jensen discussed how the roles of women were changing since the topple of the Taliban. One young women told him her dream was to become a fighter pilot and defend her country. Simone read the article and became inspired. She decided to fly to Kabul to give the woman a flying lesson. She bought a 40 year old Piper Colt and began preparations for the flight and could only take along 40 kilos and her boyfriend. Simone sought permission from the various authorities to land on the way to Kabul. She met with opposition with the US Air force who told her that despite her "cultural mission" there was no room for "pleasure trips" over "their airspace". Risking their lives, the two fliers made their way to Kabul, landing in 33 airstrips on the way including Iran and Turkey. Simone sees the skies as a canvas and her plane as an artist's brush. When they landed in Kabul Simone not only took the Afghani up in the sky, she arranged for lessons with two Afghani fighter pilots –two sisters. But to this Farial backed out, and Simone lets her disappointment show on camera. The discussion took up the artist’s right to self-expression - a provocative seminar.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm Sweden

More Information:
Göteborg Film Festival, 2006, Report 2