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Movie projections organised by EasternXpress

From The Heart of Odessa

Posted by easternxpress on September 25, 2009

alec kopytFrom the Heart of Odessa

Documentary by André Schreuders

60 minutes • Color • Stereo • 2007

Music : Alec Kopyt

Alec Kopyt, a musician from Amsterdam returns to Moldavanka – the former Jewish neighbourhood of Odessa – his place of birth and the cradle of old-time Russian Mafia songs (Blatnyak). He is looking for musicians to play together these songs in the restaurant of an old friend. While strolling along the picturesque yards of the ruinous slums, we meet colourful Odesits who resemble the ancient heroes of the street songs we hear. A touching portrait of a neibourhood, its music and performers.

The film is a musical wandering to the cradle of the old Odessa bandit songs. With their humoristic and brutal texts and fiery melodies the Jewish bandit songs reflect the soul of Odessa.
“In Odessa you are not born a Jew, you become one”, says Ivan, one of the people we meet by accident when we follow the pensioner Vladimir on his stroll along the yards of Moldavanka.
All Odessits seam ready to sing a little refrain in front of the camera.
But Alec Kopyt performs most music. The protagonist is born in Odessa but currently living in Amsterdam. An old friend invites him to come back to Odessa to play in his new opened restaurant. Alec has to find the right musicians to play with. This search for musicians in fact brings him back to the places he left some 25 years ago.
With Alec we walk in the characteristic yards of Moldavanka where he is born. Beautiful old places but without water and toilets and with a harsh social structure that made life not too easy for a Jewish boy. We also visit the butcher hall at the market where his father used to work. There we meet Yuri, a former colleague of his father and uncle, who above the bloody meet is teaching us about the history of Holland. At the same time we witness the cutting into pieces of a cow’s head.

The search for the heart of Odessa goes deeper and deeper in the back yards. We see that the brutal world that appears in the song texts of the 1920’s is still there. We are entering the world of the street kids sniffing glue and torturing little dogs. Some of the yards are completely ruined and nobody seems to care about it. In one of the yards we find ourselves in an illegal shop of ‘moonshine’ the popular home made vodka. There the pensioner Vladimir finally succeeds to seduce the filmmaker to drink 100 grams with him. We meet old granny Vera who is not so much interested in the camera but wants the filmmaker to help her fixing the light. And with tramp Sacha we visit his ‘home’ in a totally dark moistly basement, where he tells us that he saw the Light.
Finally Alec has found four strong musicians to accompany him to play in the joint. Their passionate rehearsals already let us feel the heart of the music. But a concert we will never see. When they gather and go to the place where the joint should be, they just find an empty spot with a metal fence.
Afterwards Alec sits at home in Amsterdam, just like in the beginning of the film. He plays his favourite song: the melancholic “Dark nights”, as if he never left his home and all we heard and saw was just a private concert in his living room.

About the project
From the heart of Odessa looks like an adventurous tour through the backsides of Odessa. And it was. The whole project in fact was an adventure. We worked with a very low budget, completely independent from producers or TV companies. We decided that independence and speed for this project would be more important, than a big budget and thorough investigations on the subject. We chose it to be more important that the film would catch the atmosphere of Odessa street-life, than to give a lot of theoretical or historical stories.

This free and independent attitude is felt all the time in the film. The film breathes the joy of filmmaking. Finding special people and astonishing situations by accident, by fate or sometimes half organised. Being surprised about the beauty and richness of people even if their material wealth is very low. A lot of the situations that are seen in the documentary never would have happened if the director/cameraman wouldn’t have been alone there in his search. Because of the one to one contact between cameraman and personages and the modest way of using the camera in this contact, a pure and equal relation developed. So the personages are not becoming an object, and the audience feels it’s taking part in this tour.

For the main person, Alec Kopyt, it was the first return to his hometown after 15 years, the first time after the soviet times. That was also an adventure. Especially because his memories were not positive at all, and the stories he had heard about the current situation in no way encouraged him to go there, if it wasn’t for this film. So for him there were a lot of personal moments. Some very pleasant, some sad, some painful. We decided not to focus on this side of the visit, not to make the person of Alec the subject of the film. Our subject is the music, the Odessa street songs. Alec, is important as our guide and interpreter, but his voice tells us enough to understand he is a man with a past.

From the heart of Odessa is the first hour length documentary of director Andre Schreuders. His earlier works are mainly poetic and philosophical shorts. For some of his films he works together with a rather big crew. But this film he created almost alone, being director, cameraman and editor. This makes it a personal film, reflecting the directors’ ideas of aesthetics, but even more his attitude towards life.

Produced by AS Film.

World Sales : JMT Films Distribution.

Screening at EasternXpress festival 2009


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New Polish Animations

Posted by easternxpress on September 24, 2009


New Polish Animations

Presentation of selected movies awarded at Ofafa festival 2008. 50min.

  • ŚWIADEK 1919-2004 (Witness 1919-2004) (2008)


by Krzysztof Kiwerski, prod. PA Camera Kraków, 9’00”

  • STUDNIA (The Well) (2008)Wujek

by Andrzej Gosieniecki, prod. Studio Mansarda Poznań, 9’00”

  • WUJEK (Uncle) (2008)

by Maciej Sznabel, prod. Serafiński Studio Graficzno-Filmowe, 8’00”

  • DRZAZGA (Splinter) (2008)Drzazga

by Wojtek Wawszczyk, prod. ANIMA-POL sp. z o.o. Łódź, 15’40”

  • MR F (2008)Powrot

by Szymon Łukasik, prod. Akademia Sztuk Pięknych Kraków, 7’35”

  • POWRÓT (The return) (2008)

by Anna Błaszczyk, prod. Se-ma-for Produkcja Filmowa Łódz, 7’30”

In collaboration with Ofafa festival and Polish Institute.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

Posted in EasternXpress festival, Movie projections | 1 Comment »

On Phenomena & Existencies no3

Posted by easternxpress on September 19, 2009


On Phenomena & Existencies no3

Video Installation 4′, 2006. Russia/Holland.
directed by André Schreuders.

An absurd story about the so-caller fluid thinking of the Russian writer Daniil Kharms, seen through the eyes of the young philosopher Danya. Two guards on the roof of the State Publishing House in St Petersburg maintain order in the city. They closely follow the Rules for the Guard that were formulated in the 1930s by Daniil Kharms. One of the guards is the young philosopher Danya. He has a special, almost friendly, relationship with the dead Kharms. He thinks about his work and tries to envisage how words can break a permanent gaze.

Based on a short story by the Russian absurdist writer Daniil Kharms (1905-1942), this is a film about fluid thinking in a multilayered mixture of animation, poetry, documentary & fiction…


  • Danya : Anton Matveev
  • Max : Maxim Kudryavtsev-Nevzorov

Produced by Marc Thelosen / Serious Film.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

on Phenomena & Existences no. 3

director’s statement & synopsis

Daniil Kharms (1905-1942, St Petersburg, Russia) is a writer of absurd stories. Most of them are written in a black humoristic style. Often they are full of paradoxes. But they are not only funny. All writings of Kharms are experiments of form. In the 1920s Kharms is part of the Russian avant-garde. Daniil Kharms searches for a new language, which would lead to what he calls ‘fluid thinking’. ‘Fluid thinking’ is the opposite of logical thinking. It is a way to break our common fixed concepts of reality, to let us see reality instead of our concepts. ‘Fluid thinking’ is a paradox. With our thinking we try to understand and so to grasp and control the chaos we experience. But the fluidity is the opposite of grasping: let the chaotic reality flow as it flows. ‘Fluid thinking’ is a way of thinking like a river, like a stream, streaming as reality is, beyond ideas.

The film is based on two texts of Kharms. The inspiration for the story line comes from I was on the roof of the State Publishing House…. This text contains a list of rules for the guards on the roof of the state publishing house in St Petersburg to maintain order in the city. Danya, the main character in this film is one of the guards on the roof. But in reality he is also a philosopher and interpreter of Kharms. He tells about his interpretation of ‘fluid thinking’. He also he recites a text of Daniil Kharms about ‘fluid thinking’ which is called: 11 Assertions by Daniil Ivanovic Kharms. This philosophical and poetical text is almost not understandable. Maybe only if we succeed to think fluidly. The clear, open and surprising images of this film attempt to give a direct access to the deeper meaning of the work of Daniil Kharms.

André Schreuders

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Once upon a time, when the wind was still fiery

Posted by easternxpress on September 18, 2009

once upon a time

Once upon a time, when the wind was still fiery

3 min, dv cam, 2005. Holland.
directed by André Schreuders.

A man walks with his metaphysical axe through the endless winter forests of life.


  • René Castelijn

Produced by AS Film.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

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The Final Sacrement

Posted by easternxpress on September 10, 2009

The Final SacrementThe Final Sacrement

short fiction, 43 min, 2005. Croatia.
directed by Ivan-Goran Vitez

Hang him high.

Croatian countryside. Middle of the night. Darko, owner of the local agricultural discount-shop, wakes up the vicar of the small parish church to reveal his own dark secret to him. But that’s not the only thing Darko is planning to reveal to the vicar.


  • Darko:Ivo Gregurevic
  • Priest:Ivan Glowatzky
  • Ljudevit:Dean Krivacic
  • Lemac:Ivo Lemac
  • Andrija:Zlatan Zuhric Zuhra
  • Ivo:Pjer Menicanin
  • Joza:Dragutin Nusshol


  • Dani hrvatskog filma 2006. Croatia – best script award
  • IFF of film and video Dugo Selo 2006. Croatia – best film, best script, best director, best film photography, best editing
  • Zagreb film festival 2005. Croatia – competition Kockice – best film award

Produced by Kinorama.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

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Photo Atelier (Foto Atelje)

Posted by easternxpress on September 9, 2009

Photo Atelier (Foto Atelje)Photo atelier

experimental film, 10min, 2008. Croatia.
directed by Lukas Nola.

Victims de-victimised on the net.

Photo atelier used to be the place at which memories were chosen. Today, with the presence of the media, that choice is no longer personal. How objective is the personal choice of one’s memories? And what is personal?

Produced by Kinorama.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

Posted in EasternXpress festival, Movie projections | 1 Comment »

Dog Hotel (Hotel za pse)

Posted by easternxpress on September 9, 2009

Dog Hotel (Hotel za pse)Dog hotel

experimental film, 7 min, 2007. Croatia.
directed by Miranda Herceg.

“I have moved to a new address.
I don’t meet my neighbors at all.
All I hear is dogs barking.
I don’t know anyone here; I only know the
apartment numbers.
There is no identity here, no friends or intimacy.
All the tenants are like hotel guests – just numbers.”

They feel safe behind closed doors.
They only communicate with dogs.
So they become dogs.
All alone, left in the dog hotel.
The transformation from man to dog is represented by the change in the shooting
formats from 35mm through Mini DV and digital camera to cell phone. This is because
dogs have relatively poor eyesight. In parallel, the sound intensifies over the course of
the film to symbolise the acute sense of hearing that dogs possess.

Produced by Kinorama.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

Posted in EasternXpress festival, Movie projections | 1 Comment »

Three Love Stories

Posted by easternxpress on September 9, 2009

Three Love Stories3 love stories

Short feature film, 25min, 2007. Croatia.
directed by Snježana Tribuson.

This is a black-humor story about three women who are abused by their men, each in her own way. The first part speaks of a woman who was kept locked by her jealous husband, first in the house, and then in a cupboard, until she fled to a safe-house.  This part of the movie is interlaced with the introductory elements of the story about a woman who ended up in prison for having cut off the hand of her abusive husband. Despite the evidently bad relationships in both these cases, the men claim they still love their wives.  The third love story is a story about an elderly woman who is finally living in the long-desired harmony with her husband, now that he is bed-ridden and mute after a stroke…


  • Ljiljana Bogojević
  • Judita Franković
  • Dragica Srećković


Dani hrvatskog filma – national festival in Zagreb – Octavian award – critic’s award for the best film

Produced by Kinorama.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

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The Drought (Suša)

Posted by easternxpress on September 9, 2009

The Drought (Suša)The Drought

short fiction, 14 min, 2002. Croatia.
directed by Dalibor Matanic


This is a story about a girl on an island far, far away, who is the only human able to walk. While struggling to keep things normal, the pieces of her well hidden intimacy become visible.


  • She:Leona Paraminski
  • Mother:Tamara Bogunovic
  • Grandma:Marija Geml
  • Priest:Robert Perisic

Produced by Kinorama.

Screening at the EasternXpress festival 2009.

Posted in EasternXpress festival, Movie projections | 1 Comment »

Ion Popescu-Gopo

Posted by easternxpress on September 3, 2009

Selection of romanian animations by Ion Popescu-GopoOmuletul


Screening at EasternXpress festival 2009

in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Ion Popescu-Gopo (May 1, 1923November 28, 1989) was a Romanian graphic artist and animator, but also writer, movie director and actor born in Bucharest, Romania. He was a prominent personality in the Romanian cinematography and the founder of the modern Romanian cartoon school. He was, together with Liviu Ciulei and Mirel Ilieşiu one of the few Romanian film artists who won an award at Cannes in the 20th century. His film “Scurtă Istorie” (A Brief History) won the Short Film Palme d’Or for best short film in 1957.

Ion Popescu-Gopo has been attending (but never graduated) the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest and animation courses in Moscow.

His career started as a designer and cartoonist in 1939, publishing caricatures and editorial cartoons in newspapers. 1949 brought his debut in the film industry with “Punguţa cu doi bani” (Bag with two coins). Since 1950 he started working for Studioul Cinematografic Bucureşti (Cinematographic Studio Bucharest) in the animation department, that later broke into a separate animation studio, Animafilm.

His most known cartoon character is a little black and white man sometimes referred to as “Gopo’s Little Man” after his creator. Later in his life Popescu-Gopo confessed that he tried to start an “anti-Disney rebellion”. Unable to surpass Disney‘s animation characters in color and beauty, Popescu-Gopo tried to be more profound in message and substance and simplify the form and techniques used. Unlike Disney‘s cartoon characters, Popescu-Gopo’s cartoon characters were black and white, designed in simple lines.

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