Croatia's world-famous Motovun Film Festival visits Zagreb this week, taking over evenings on the July 17, 18 and 19 at Tuškanac Summer Stage's outdoor cinema. The programme of three contemporary films, designated as classics of the 21st century, is intended to act as a warm up to the festival proper, which takes place in the picturesque hilltop town of Motovun in central Istria from July 24 to 28.
The three featured directors are England's Andrea Arnold, Greece's Yorgos Lanthimos and Sweden's Ruben Östlund, all of whom have won awards and critical acclaim for their work.
On 17 July, Motovun will present Andrea Arnold's first full-length film, 2006's Red Road. Arnold prefers to work with non-professional or first-time actors and although you couldn't tell from excellent performances by leads Kate Dickie and Tony Curran, Red Road is no different. Set in central Glasgow, this thriller depicts a CCTV security operator spotting in her monitors a man she knows from her past. She follows him first on camera and then infiltrates his life. He doesn't seem to know her like she knows him and you're left guessing as to their connection until the film's end. The film depicts just how pervasive CCTV has become within normal life in the UK.
One of Europe's most original modern directors Yorgos Lanthimos is showcased on July 18 with his fourth film, 2011's Alps. Less disturbing than his third film, 2009's Dogtooth and far less surreal than his fifth, 2015's The Lobster, Alps nevertheless offers a similarly distinct and left-field plot line. The central character is played by Angeliki Papoulia, a nurse and member of a group called the Alps, who offer to act as the recently deceased during the visits of their grieving relatives.
On 19 July one of the most heavily debated films ever from Sweden as Ruben Östlund's Play is shown. Inspired by real cases from Swedish courts, the plot deals with a group of five black boys who rob a smaller group of white and Asian boys using elaborate trickery, cheating and a psychological game. This thought-provoking tale discussing race, class and power is far from being a movie with a happy ending; the boys left without money and their phones have to travel home on public transport, are caught and fined and when one of the thieves is later confronted by the father of a previous victim, the angry parent is admonished by a passerby who perceives his actions as racist.