Meet The Auteur at Elektriteater #1

12. June, 2022 16:00 |

Tartu Elektriteater

Tartudok2024: Meet The Auteur at Elektriteater is an event series organized by the Arts of Survival Documentaries. This year we are hosting a dozen film directors from Europe and each of them residing in South Estonia will bring their best works to the cinema, followed by a Q&A at Elektriteater. The programme is curated by Arts of Survival Documentaries Artistic Director Kaarel Kuurmaa, who will also have a conversation with the auteurs.

We open the Meet The Auteur series with renowned Swedish director Jerzy Sladkowski, the first resident of the Tartu 2024 Arts of Survival Documentaries Residency. The event is in English, films are with English subtitles. The entrance is free!

16:00 Introduction and opening film Paradise (2007, 58 min) 
17:30 Vodka Factory (2010, 90 min)
19:00 Q&A with Jerzy Sladkowski. Moderated by Kaarel Kuurmaa. 
20:00 Bitter Love (2020, 86 min)

There is a Swedish saying that claims that if a marriage can survive a rewallpapering job, it can survive anything. Paradise puts this maxim to the test. For the final part of his trilogy about the elderly couple Hans and Kerstin Stralström, the originally Polish director Sladkowski takes this household task as his jumping-off point. Hans thinks the living room wall with the lake view could use a more vibrant wallpaper, but Kerstin does not agree. Before long, their difference of opinion results in a strange and futile verbal sparring match. The direct and at times slyly provocative photography intensifies the sharp dialogues with which the spouses compete against one another. In bold supporting roles, the hairdresser and a faithful friend provide a little extra ammo. It does not take long for this single argument to reveal the ups and downs of 60 years of marriage. The telling observations of Hans and Kerstin as individuals, but especially their mutual irritations, worries, and physical affection, produce a comic pas-de-deux that looks somewhat staged, yet comes across as authentic because of the irony. (IDFA)

Vodka Factory
She’s all max-factored up and ready to sell herself”’.  The young mother Wala doesn’t have it easy amongst the vodka factory women.  The film is a portrait of the lives of these women in the town of Zhigulevsk in Russia, where every day they struggle against their drunken men, their inner demons and the temptations of the vodka factory and in their kitchens adorned with flowery wallpaper we see them discussing their lives, their men and their children.  Wala, however, is taking acting lessons, learning to belly dance, and polishing her singing voice.  She dreams of leaving her life in the backwaters for the glitz and glamour of Moscow. With a sensitive eye for visual detail, director Jerzy Sladkowski tells us the story of a daily fight against alcoholism, where a good sense of gallows humour is needed to survive.  Vodka Factory is a hard-hitting tale of a hope for a better future. (Doclounge)

Bitter Love
A lovesick misfit, a mysterious beauty, a retired civil servant, a randy fortuneteller and a doubtful young couple meet in late summer on a Russian river cruise on Volga.

As many other passengers, they board the ship with broken hearts and shattered illusions, but also hoping for a change into better, seeking peace and space to come into terms with meaning for their lives. What does fate have in store for them? (PÖFF)

Jerzy Sladkowski was born and raised in Poland but has settled in Sweden since 1982. Film journalist Tiit Tuumtalu has described Jerzy as a living classic of documentary. He has made more than 50 films for TV stations in France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway during his long career. Jerzy Sladkowski’s films have been screened at numerous film festivals, and he has won the European Film Academy’s Best Documentary Award and major awards at IDFA in Amsterdam, DOK in Leipzig, New York and Gothenburg.

Over the years, the Estonian cinema audience has watched Sladkowski’s films at the Pärnu Film Festival, tARTuFF, PÖFF, DocPoint and Estonian Public Broadcasting. His film “Paradise” was the first documentary to win the Audience Award at the TARTuFF in 2010, followed by the Grand Prix for “Vodka Factory” at the Pärnu Film Festival in 2011.

The overall theme of Jerzy Sladkowski’s films is mainly people facing dramatic changes or individuals trying to maintain normality in a changing environment and quietly strive for a better life. Sladkowski’s most famous films are “Swedish Tango” and “Paradise” about a lovely old couple, and the Russian trilogy created in the past decade “Vodka Factory”, “Don Juan” and “Bitter Love”.