CONSIDERED ONE of the longest film festivals in the country, Cine Europa – which celebrates the best European cinema has to offer – is back for a landmark 20th year with an impressive roster of 24 films from 16 countries.
The film festival will run from Sept. 16 to 26 at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 2 of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City. Admission is free on a first come, first served basis. “[In its 20 years] Cine Europa has always strived to be more dynamic, unique and vibrant… a cut above the rest,” Jerome Riviere, first secretary of the European Union (EU) delegation to the Philippines, told the media during the Sept. 6 press conference at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City.
This year, he said, the festival will both look back towards the classics of European cinema and look forward to contemporary works.
“The heterogeneous [offerings] present the EU in its diversity… and how it shows life in Europe is fusion,” he explained.
Included in this year’s festival are entries from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, theb Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Among the movies to be shown at this year’s festival is 1988 Best Foreign Film Academy Award winner from Denmark, Babettes Gæstebud (Babette’s Feast) by Gabriel Axel, which follows the story of Babette, a Parisian fugitive following the 1871 Commune of Paris uprising as she changes the lives of the Danish villagers who take her in. The film is based on a story by Isak Dinesen. Cited as one of the world’s best 1,000 films by The New York Times, the 1962 Spanish film El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) by Luis Bunuel is a satirical work where guests at a dinner party discover they’re unable to leave the room. Over the days that follow, they each shed their perfect façades and pretenses of power to reveal the uglier side of human nature. Sharp and surreal, this is a film sure to leave a lasting impression on viewers.
Sult (Hunger) by Henning Carlsen in 1966, the second Danish film, features a young penniless poet as he scrambles to survive in Oslo in 1890. Based on the novel by Knut Hamsun, the story follows the poet as his hunger takes over and the line between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurry.
The 1992 German thriller Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) by Tom Tykwer will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they follow a two-bit Berlin criminal who enlists the help of his girlfriend Lola when he must come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks in 20 minutes after making a mistake delivering smuggled loot for his boss.
In Terror – Ihr Urteil (The Verdict), the 2016 film by Lars Kraume, terrorists have hijacked a plane and are steering it towards a football arena. Major Lars Koch faces the difficult question of whether the lives of a few are worth sacrificing to save the many.
Swedish film Flickan, Mamman och Demonerna (The Girl, The Mother and the Demons), a 2016 film by Suzanne Osten, is the harrowing tale of Ti, whose mother claims that demons have taken over the apartment where they live.
Italian drama 20 Sigarette (20 Cigarettes), 2010 film by Aureliano Amadei, follows a filmmaker who was once caught up in a terrorist attack while shooting on location in Iraq who, years later, decides to set the story straight through a novel.
Inspired by a legend from the 12th century, the 1987 Norwegian film Veiviseren (Pathfinder) by Nils Gaup, tells the story of a young boy who sees his family slaughtered by a fearsome tribe, is taken prisoner, and must act as their pathfinder. The first feature production ever to be shot in the Sami language, the film follows the boy as he attempts to escape his captors.
Also from Norway is Bølgen (The Wave), a 2015 film by Roar Uthaug, which takes place shortly before the real-life disaster of a tsunami caused by the collapse of a mountain 80 years ago. The film focuses on a geologist and his family as they scramble to stay alive.
The 2013 Austrian film Deine Schönheit ist nichts wert (Your Beauty is Worth Nothing) by Huseyin Tabak, follows 12-year-old Veysel as he flees with his family to from Turkey to Vienna and struggles to fit in, turning his attention to his studies, as well as towards Ana, a classmate he’s in love with.
Academy Award-nominated actress Isabelle Huppert stars in the 2016 French film Souvenir by Bavo Defurne, as a forgotten European singer who fades into obscurity as she works in a pâté factory. However, the arrival of a young aspiring boxer causes her to start dreaming again and planning her comeback.
Francois Truffaut’s 1962 classic Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim) revolves around an offbeat love triangle. Jim moves in with his friend Jules and his family, but things get messy when Jules asks Jim to start seeing his carefree wife Catherine in the hopes that she will stay at home with him and their daughter.
In Monkey, a 2016 Bulgarian film by Dimitar Kotsev, two adolescent half-sisters get a taste of the real world as they make decisions that could dramatically change their lives.
In the 2015 Spanish film Truman by Cesc Gay, a terminally ill actor is surprised by an unexpected visit from his childhood friend. As they set out to tie up loose ends, including finding a home for the actor’s faithful dog, the two men must find a way to say goodbye.
From the United Kingdom comes Shola Amo’s 2016 film A Moving Image, about a young stifled artist who returns to her community after a long absence. Soon painted as a symbol of gentrification, she struggles with her own complicity, and embarks on a mission to create a piece of art that can bring her community together.
Drawing inspiration from paperback crime novels, the 2015 Slovakian film Wilsonov (Wilson City) by Tomas Masin follows an unlikely pair of detectives as they search for a mysterious murderer in a German town that would eventually be known as Bratislava.
Some family issues prove to be too difficult for even death to resolve, as seen in Utóélet (Afterlife), a 2014 film by Virac Zomboracz. In this Hungarian comedy, a neurotic man starts seeing the ghost of his recently deceased father. As he helps his father cross over to the afterlife, the two must work out their unfinished business.
The 2017 Romanian film Aniversarea (The Anniversary) by Dan Chisu, zooms in on a family drama when relatives and friends of Radu Maligan comes together to celebrate his 94th birthday. The party quickly unravels when half the guests try to convince him to confess his sins, while the others argue that no one should be forced to do something beyond their will.
Another film from Romania is Doua lozuri (Two Lottery Tickets), Paolo Negoescu’s 2016 movie, where the tables keep turning on Dinel who has won the lottery. Unfortunately, the bag with his ticket is stolen by two gangsters. With the help of his best buddies, he sets off on a madcap journey to chase them down.
Then there is the story of Hassan, a baron who wants to do more than just lounge about and pursues a career of making people laugh. Hailing from Belgium, Les Barons (The Barons) by Nabil Ben Yadir (2009) is lighthearted fun.
Crime meets comedy in 1950s Italian masterpiece I Soliti Ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) by Mario Monicelli, where a group of small-time thieves attempt to burgle a state-run pawnshop in Rome. Known for its incredible cast and breezy jazz score, this film is considered one of the best of its era.
Lovers of fantasy are in for a treat with Anděl Páně 2 (An Angel of the Lord) by Jiri Strach, a 2005 comedy from the Czech Republic that follows Angel Petronel’s quest to retrieve fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that has fallen down to earth. His adventures lead him to discover the power of friendship, love, and forgiveness.
Perinbaba (The Feather Fairy) by Juraj Jakubisko is a charming 1985 Slovakian adaptation of a short story by the Brothers Grimm.
And finally, sports enthusiasts will enjoy De He van ’63 (The Hell of ’63), the 2009 film by Steven de Jong, which is based on the true story of a day in 1963 when thousands of skaters were injured as they competed in a 200-km ice-skating race in the Netherlands.
For inquiries and screening schedules, call 370-2500 loc. 597 or visit www.facebook.com/shangrilaplazaofficialfanpage. – Z.B. Chua