The winner of the Golden Lion at Venice 2012, PIETA by Kim Ki-duk, in the opening of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF!

The BIEFF Opening Ceremony features the Romanian premiere of this year’s winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, PIETA, signed by the controversial Korean film director Kim Ki-duk, and will take place at Cinema Scala, on the 20th of November.  The feature film will be preceded by The Wholly Family, Terry Gilliam’s latest short film, winner of the European Film Academy Award for best short film.


The two special screenings, made possible by the support of Jameson, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Samsung, will be followed by six days of unique and provocative cinematic experiments.


Receiving a standing ovation after its premiere at Venice, PIETA by KIM KI-DUK is a nuanced tale on guilt, sacrifice and atonement. The film tells the story of a man who works as a debt collector for a loan company, brutally threatening the debtors for reimbursement. Unexpectedly reunited with his mother, who had abandoned him at birth, his cruelty “melts” as a result of the newly found maternal affection and so he gives up his job. Nevertheless, his violent acts are not left without consequences: after a while of getting close to his mother and trying to make up for lost time, she is abducted.



Linking the relationship between the main characters with the Pietà, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the film references the image of Virgin Mary embracing Jesus Christ’s dead body to symbolize what the director refers to as a “an embrace of the pain and suffering inherent in the whole history of humanity, representing the understanding and the sharing of this pain”.


PIETA is a harsh parable on extreme capitalism and the way it changes human relations. The director is quoted as saying, at the Venice press conference, that money is the third main character, next to the mother and son. KIM KI-DUK said: "From the great wars to trivial crimes today, I believe we are all equally accomplices and sinners. Inevitably, in a capitalist society, money puts people to the test and is the cause of most conflicts. It brings out human selfishness and greed. People today are obsessed with the fantasy that wealth can solve anything. Ultimately, we will end up becoming money to each other and grind ourselves on asphalt.”


Challenging the general view on morality, on good and evil, the film doesn’t have a “villain” and its “victims”, but creates a chain of shared guilt. KIM KI-DUK leaves it to the audience to decide whether any of the characters deserve compassion.


One of the most controversial Korean directors, KIM KI-DUK has been internationally acclaimed for films such as SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN WINTER…AND SPRING (awarded at Locarno IFF 2003 ), 3-IRON (winner of the 2004 Silver Lion and FIPRESCI Award in Venice) or SAMARITAN GIRL (the Silver Bear for best director at Berlinale 2004).



Before the screening of PIETA, BIEFF presents Terry Gilliam’s latest short film, THE WHOLLY FAMILY, a surrealist adventure comedy, winner of the European Film Academy Award for best short film.


THE WHOLLY FAMILY is a charming oneiric journey, felliniesque through its perception of dreams and reality as a simultaneous experience. A little boy, Jake, is grounded by his parents and sent to bed without dinner. In his sleep, Jake transfers real events of the past day (hunger, Pulcinella dolls and his being upset with his parents) in his nightmare about a terrifying dinner. Consequently, the reality that occurs the next day borrows some elements from the dreams overnight, and so the film takes an unexpected turn, bearing Gilliam’s surrealist trademark.


Internationally acclaimed for films such as BRAZIL, THE FISHER KING (winner of the Silver Lion in Venice in 1991) or FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, TERRY GILLIAM is one of the most provocative and unconventional contemporary directors, always daring to experiment and challenge the rules. His films are usually fantasies that explore the themes of identity, mental health, imagination and the way it determines who we are.


The opening screening sets the pace for the series of outstanding films and events dedicated to education in the area of experimental film.


For complete details on BIEFF 2012 program, we invite you to check our website:


The new edition of the Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival – BIEFF will take place between 20th – 25th of November, at Cinema Scala and Cinema Elvira Popescu. Admission at the screenings and side events is free, subject to availability.


Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival (BIEFF) is organized by The Association for Culture and Image, with the support of The National Centre of Cinematography, The National University of Drama and Film, The National University of Arts, Le Fresnoy - National Studio of Contemporary Arts, MNAC National Museum of Contemporary Arts, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Jameson, JTI, Samsung, UNIFRANCE, Noumax, Romania Film, The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, The French Institute, The Austrian Cultural Forum, The Polish Institute, Goethe Institute, Design Forge, The Embassy of The Republic of Korea, Dacia, ALLTUR, Libraria Bastilia, Lente, Hotel Moxa, La Mama, Kraftmark.


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