Maryna Ajaja's Picks

SIFF Senior Programmer Maryna Ajaja picks some of her highlights from the 2018 Festival.

Maryna Ajaja

Scary Mother

Scary Mother

An audacious exciting debut, as young director Urushadze (daughter of Zaza Urushadze, Tangerines) hits major notes in her film about a Georgian housewife's writing obsession and her clash with patriarchy.

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Birds Are Singing in Kigal

Birds Are Singing in Kigal

Two women, a young Rwandan and a Polish ornithologist, survive the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In the aftermath in Poland, their relationship is rough and complex. After returning to Rwanda, they find the way to heal and learn to love and respect each other.

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Musician Sakamoto wanders around Fukushima, plays a piano that survived the tsunami/nuclear disaster, speaks about cancer, and then plays his familiar haunting melodies (1983's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, 1987's The Last Emperor, 1993's and Little Buddha).

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Lemonade

Lemonade

Simply put, this narrative feature debut is about a Romanian immigrant's nightmare US Green Card application going off the rails and an immigration officer from hell.

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After the War

After the War

A mature and convincing portrait of a teenage girl's strength, moral struggle, and resilience when she and her radical father (who is accused of murder) hideout in France from extradition to Italy.

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The Other Side of Everything

The Other Side of Everything

A door in this filmmaker's apartment has been sealed for 70 years. A visually intimate yet politically sharp and insightful documentary that opens a door a bit wider for further understanding of the breakup of Yugoslavia on a homey and personal level.

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The Bottomless Bag

The Bottomless Bag

Forget the story line told from many voices in the style of Rashomon. Just immerse yourself in this fantasy fairy tale's visual lusciousness, shadows, lights, and absurdities. A storyteller at the palace of Czar Alexander II is telling us a story about a murder that took place in medieval Russia...

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Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

A brilliant dark comedic shaggy-dog "feminist western," which takes place in the surreal landscape of Sumba Island, Indonesia. Marlina the Widow, to the best of her ability, avoids victimization. However, one cannot control ghosts.

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The Blessed

The Blessed

This subtle narrative feature opens the crack further in the generation gap and clash of cultures with natural dialogue, fantastic city views, and characters blessed and burdened in radically different ways.

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Who Runs the World

Who Runs the World

(Shorts Package) Particularly the Swedish dance short "Thrust (Juck)". The word "Juck" is Swedish for "hump." Their groundbreaking appearance pushes the boundaries for how we are used to seeing the female body move.

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