Head to the Wiesbaden goEast film festival

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

For some cinema enthusiasts, A-list actors, dazzling special effects and blaring surround-sound stereo are essential elements to the viewing experience. Picture, however, an altogether different scenario.  Imagine choosing a dramatic, thoughtful film about ordinary people living in a challenging social environment. Before the lights dim, the director gets up and speaks briefly about the film and answers the audience’s questions at the end. While ordering sparkling wine at the cinema’s lobby bar, you find yourself standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the film’s main actress.

Should you wish to experience something similar, considering stopping in at the goEast! Festival of Central and East European Film, running April 18-24 at Wiesbaden’s Caligari and Murnau cinemas and other venues.

Wiesbaden, with its strong historical ties to Eastern Europe, makes a natural fit as host to this festival that’s been running since 2001. goEast organizers seek to share the richness and diversity of East European cinematic culture with audiences in the heart of the continent and to foster creative dialogue between east and west.  This year’s line-up includes around 140 feature, documentary and short films hailing from Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Tajikistan and Ukraine, among other countries. While most of the films are new, decades-old productions are also in the program. In addition to the competition in which 17 entries vie to be named best film, other sections look at the Prague Spring upon its 50th anniversary, the cinema of the Baltics, and the feel of Putin-era Russia as captured by filmmaker Boris Khlebnikov. Films are generally screened in their native language with both German and English subtitles.

In addition to the panels, workshops, lectures and film discussions, side events offer fun and entertainment for guests from out of town and locals alike. The GoEast Party is held at the Schlachthof‘s Kesselhaus from 10:30 p.m. April 20 serves up an energy-laden cocktail of Balkan and electronic beats; the closing party at 11 p.m. on April 24 at the Kulturpalast runs in a similar fashion.

Single entry tickets to films cost 7 euros, a day pass to all films screened on a single day is 18 euros and a festival pass goes for 50 euros. Advance purchase of tickets, available at Caligari or the Wiesbaden Tourist Office, is wise in order to take advantage of the RMV local public transportation line, free of charge that brings you to and from the screenings.

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