Enjoying European art of film
Writer: Ng Suzhen
EUFF's upcoming animation "The Illusionist" is similar to "The Artist" in terms of utilising minimal dialogues to tell a story.
Spoiled for choice at the 13th European Union Film Festival (EUFF) this year with a total of 29 selections for movie buffs, Cinema Online is here to help pick out the cream of the crop for cinema goers. Of course, you may choose not to go with our fancy, but we believe that when push comes to shove in picking only a few movies from the festival to catch, these would be our choices!
"In a Better World"
This Danish drama-thriller has been on the radar for movie goers ever since picking up the 2011 Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Film as well as an Oscar for the same category in the 83rd Academy Awards. The movie, known as "The Revenge" in Danish, tells the tale of a Swedish doctor who commutes back and forth from his idyllic hometown in Denmark and an African refugee camp. The story unveils plots of revenge from both ends of the world that revolves around Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), the doctor, who is in the position to defuse the tension. But the age old question remains; will he choose revenge or will he choose forgiveness?
Fans of the Formula One races would be excited to learn that this widely acclaimed British documentary film about three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna would be screened for free during the EUFF. The film starts with his entrance into the 1984 Formula One season, chronicling his rise to fame as well as his imminent death on the race tracks. The film also touches on his rivalry with team mate, Alain Proust.
Not exactly to be viewed in the same class as children's favourites like "Toy Story" or "Finding Nemo", this nearly silent animation is French mime, director, and actor Jacques Tati's personal love letter to his estranged daughter. The story tells of an illusionist meeting a young girl who believes he is a real magician. Expect tender moments in this quiet piece as the visuals and characters will be the ones that will have you contemplating the message behind every move.
"A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad"
This Austrian documentary would provide insight to the Islam religion by tracing the spiritual journey of Muhammad Asad, recognised as one of the most important Muslims of the 20th century. The documentary also explores Asad's lifelong philosophy of mediating between the East and the West, challenging Western prejudices by revealing the distance between fundamentalist beliefs that support terrorism and the core beliefs of a profoundly humane religion.
"The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner"
When Sashko (Carlo Ljubek), who grew up in Germany, gets involved in a car accident, he not only loses his parents but his memories as well. In order to help his grandson remember, Ban Dai (Miki Manojlovic), the local king of backgammon in his hometown in Bulgaria decides to revive the boy's memory by taking him on a journey back to his home country on a tandem bike and through teaching him the game of backgammon. The film won more than 20 awards from festivals around the world.
German twin sisters Lotte (Thekla Reuten) and Anna (Nadja Uhl) end up growing up on different sides of the fence during the height of the Nazis' power in the 1930s after being separated at a young age. While Lotte grows up with an affluent family in Amsterdam and joins the Dutch resistance, Anna is brought up by a poor peasant family where the only chance of social mobility is through the Nazi party. While both sisters try to keep in touch, their social upbringing might end up being the reason they will be torn apart. This Netherlands production was nominated at the 76th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003.
"The Pirate's Ward" (Stationspiraten)
Friendship can be found in the most peculiar places and in the case of Swiss film "The Pirate's Ward", it's been developed in a cancer ward among a few adolescent boys. While they may share the same fate of an uncertain future, each boy has their individual problem to bear. More popularly known as "Stationspiraten" (Bold Heroes), the story focuses on how these youngsters use what remaining time they have to enjoy life to the fullest.
"The Italian Key"
Fans of quality cinematography would find this Finland film a plus with its fairytale-like story coupled with lush sceneries from Italy and India. The story centres on an old key inherited by Cabella (Gwendolyn Anslow) after her Uncle Max passes away. Left with nothing but the key, this 19-year-old travels to an Italian village to unlock whatever it is waiting for her and unexpectedly opens herself to a whole new life.
"A Second Childhood"
Lino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and Chicca (Francesca Neri) have been married for 25 years. Despite never having children, the couple pulled through every obstacle and stayed strong through the years until Lino is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As Lino's memory disintegrates, he slowly develops childlike characteristics. Chicca although distressed, stays by his side, taking care of him like the child they never had the chance to have. For those who fell in love with "The Notebook", this Italian production will have you piling up on tissues once more.
For Nelu (Andras Hathazi), life has never been anything but ordinary. He fishes at dawn, then goes to work as a security guard in a local supermarket in Salonta, and goes home to his wife. One day, Nelu rescues a Turkish man while fishing and discovers he is an illegal immigrant trying to cross the borders. Although unable to communicate with each other, the Turkish man insists on giving Nelu all his money in exchange for helping him go over to Germany. While not wanting to report the man to authorities, Nelu is unsure on how to help him except of giving him the promise of 'Morgen', which means 'tomorrow' in German.
The festival will kick off in Klang Valley on 8 to 18 November, followed by Gurney Plaza in Penang on 22 to 28 November, and for the first time, cinemagoers in Eastern Peninsular are offered the opportunity as well, at Suria Sabah in Kota Kinabalu on 6 to 13 December.
Click on the photo above for the complete showtimes schedule of the European Union Film Festival 2013.
Cinema Online, 07 November 2012