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Global films, global messages


Three directors/producers of highly acclaimed movies around the globe, namely, Marisia Nikitiuk (‘When the Trees Fall’), Klaus Heydemann (‘Laugh Or Die’) and Sebastian Barriuso (‘A Translator’) spoke about their films during a conference at IFFI 2018.

While talking about her film, Nikitiuk said: “It is a very warm and close story to me. This script was based on the memories of my childhood. I couldn’t give it to anybody else so I started to prepare myself to become a director. I was originally a scriptwriter. It is a story about freedom and about how we have to protect our way of life or else you will lose and follow other people’s directions.”

‘Laugh Or Die’ is set in 1918, one year after Finland becomes independent. Its independence began tragically with the civil war. The film is set in a prison camp on an island where there is a group of imprisoned Finish actors who are sentenced to death. “The drama begins when the commandant of the prison camp makes a deal with the actors – they need to perform a comedy play for his guests,” Heydemann said. If they successfully entertained the guests they wouldn’t be shot. “The film has some themes. It is about people preparing for the process of forgiveness. It shows that only the people’s culture is left after a civil war. The film portrays humour and the power of laughter even in gruesome, tragic situations,” said Heydemann.

Sebastian Barriuso‘s film is set in Havana in 1989. The main character is Malin, a Russian literature professor, who is suddenly assigned to work at a hospital in Cuba where he has to be a translator for the Cuban doctors and the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. In the film, Cuba gets into an economic crisis. “Malin has to face the dilemma between taking care of his family and taking care of the kids at the hospital,” Barriuso said. The film took five years to make and Barriuso attempted to make the movie to talk about empathy. He said: “There is someone who will always need your hand and you should be able to provide it to them without being judgmental.”

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