Bookings have opened for the third annual European Film Festival, which is poised to bring the cream of Europe’s cinematic fare to Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban from 6 to 15 May 2016.
This is a unique opportunity for South African audiences to see eleven top-drawer films that have been lauded at recent international festivals and awards ceremonies across the world.
Says Festival Director Katarina Hedrén: “This year’s selection of films does not represent a theme, but rather an ambition to portray a diverse Europe, as well as provoke thought and entertain.
It tells the stories of ordinary people, superstars, struggling people and happy ones too. Of events and moments that seem insignificant but are defining and meaningful to those experiencing them, and of immense catastrophes happening alongside ordinary life, though no one seems to notice. Of love, loneliness and alienation.
“What they have in common is that all 11 are well-crafted films by talented, empathetic and inquisitive filmmakers that we hope will reach and please a diverse audience here in South Africa”.
Norbert Spitz, Regional Director of the Goethe-Institut: “Hedrén has put together a selection that allows us to discover unconventional, surprising and moving portraits of life in the multifaceted place that Europe is.
“As Europe is busy rethinking itself and its place in the world, there is one thing that we can continue to be sure of: more than ever, artists and thinkers are needed to share their voices, to challenge and question Europe, and to show us new facets of what it means to arrive in Europe, to live in Europe – or to leave it and look at it from the outside.”
Among the awards won by the films featured on the 2016 European Film Festival programme are:
- Macondo (Austria): Director Sudabeh Morezai: The award for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
- Fire at Sea (Italy): The Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
Body (Poland): The Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival and the European Film Award for Best Editing in 2015.
- Amy (United Kingdom): The 2016 Academy Award as well as the British Academy Film Award for Best Documentary, among many other accolades.
- Other acclaimed films that will be screened during the festival are Montanha (Portugal), Flowers (Spain), Something Must Break (Sweden), Labyrinth of Lies (Germany), Belgian Rhapsody (Belgium), Chocolat (France) and A Family Affair (the Netherlands).
These dramas, comedies and documentaries, representing the apex of European filmmaking, will be screened at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau theatres in Rosebank, Brooklyn, Gateway and the V&A Waterfront.
Says Lola Gallant, Brand Manager of Cinema Nouveau: “Eleven films over 10 days in four cities is quite a scheduling undertaking. As such, we do encourage festival-goers to pre-book their tickets – and it’s so easy via our various booking platforms”.
The European Film Festival is coordinated by the Goethe-Institut South Africa, hosted by Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau, and organised in partnership with the European Union and 11 other European cultural agencies or embassies in South Africa: Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the French Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Camões Institute, the British Council, and the Embassies of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
Bookings are now open, with tickets priced at R55.
To book, visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za.
Cinema Nouveau – Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg
Rosebank Mall (Level 1), cnr Bath & Baker Streets, Rosebank
Cinema Nouveau – Brooklyn, Pretoria
Brooklyn Mall (Lower Level Shop 12), Bronkhorst Street, New Muckleneuk
Cinema Nouveau – V&A, Cape Town
King Warehouse, Red Shed, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Cinema Nouveau – Gateway, Durban
Gateway Theatre of Shopping (Expo/Explore Floor), 1 Palm Blvd, Umhlanga Rocks
Director: Sudabeh Mortezai
Cast: Ramasan Minkailov, Aslan Elbiev, Kheda Gazieva
98min German & Chechen with English Subtitles (2014)
Following the death of his father, 11-year old Ramasan and his family live in the Macondo refugee settlement outside Vienna. As the oldest child and the only male, he is the head of the household – a role which comes with more responsibility and autonomy than Ramasan is equipped to handle. The arrival of his father’s best friend, Isa, allows Ramasan to be a child again, but it also means losing some of the freedom he has gotten used to.
Macondo was part of the official competition of Berlin International Film Festival 2014 and won Sudabeh Morezai the award for best emerging filmmaker at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
BELGIAN RHAPSODY (Belgium)
Director: Vincent Bal
Cast: Amaryllis Uitterlinden, Arthur Dupont, Jos Verbist, Tom Audenaert
Genre: Musical comedy
95min Flemish & French with English Subtitles (2014)
’50% Flemish, 50% Walloon, 100% Belgian’, is the tagline of this musical take on the divide between Dutch-speaking and French-speaking Belgium. The Flemish brass-band Saint Cecilia and their Wallon counterpart, En Avant, compete for the title of Europe’s best brass-band. The sudden loss of Saint Cecilia’s soloist just before the finals, prompts the conductor’s daughter, Elke, to recruit En Avant’s star-soloist, the self-absorbed Hugues. What follows is a hot mess of grudges, stereotyping, good music and a budding love story.
Seasoned filmmaker Vincent Bal started out as an actor, before shifting to directing for film and TV. His 2012 film, The Zigzag Kid earned him the European Film Academy’s Young Audience Award.
Director: Roschdy Zem,
Cast: Omar Sy, James Thierrée, Clotilde Hesme
110min French with English Subtitles (2016)
Starring Omar Sy from The Intouchables (2011) and Swiss circus-artist (and Charlie Chaplin’s grandson) James Thierrée, this bio-pic tells of Cuban-born Rafael Padilla, who rose to fame in France in the late 1800s. Under the stage-name Chocolat and together with the white clown Footit, Padilla gains popularity with racist circus-routines that reduce him to a buffoon. When he tries to carve out a more dignified niche for himself, the same audiences that loved the racist cliché turn their back on him.
Roschdy Zem has explored the theme of racism both as an actor and director. He continues to do so in this bio-pic, praised for its historically accurate feel.
(Courtesy of Ster Kinekor)
LABYRINTH OF LIES (Germany)
Director: Giulio Ricciarelli
Cast: André Szymanski, Alexander Fehling, Friederike Becht
122min German with English Subtitles (2014)
Johan Radmann is a newly appointed public prosecutor in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1958. Through a journalist, he learns that many Nazis returned to ordinary life with impunity after the war. Inspired by the memory of his late idolized father, Radmann decides to make sure that justice is done. The young idealist soon realizes that many of the war-criminals occupy powerful positions in society, and are prepared to go to great lengths to make sure that he does not succeed in his quest.
Labyrinth of Lies was Germany’s submission for the 2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
(Courtesy of Ster-Kinekor)
FIRE AT SEA (Italy)
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Cast: Samuele Pucillo, Pietro Bartolo
108 min Italian with English Subtitles (2016)
Gianfranco Rosi moved to Lampedusa, where he documented not primarily the catastrophe lived by those who seek refuge in Europe, but the curious absence of disruption in the lives of ordinary Lampedusans. Rosi follows Samuele, the precocious 9-year old son of a fisherman, who goes to school, loves hunting and suffers from sea-sickness. Parallel to the boy’s life, Rosi invites us into that of Pietro Bartolo, a medical doctor, who does not only attend to Samuele’s lazy eye, but also to the fleeing women, men and children arriving at Lampedusa.
Rosi’s gentle, poetic and unprejudiced touch won him the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
A FAMILY AFFAIR (Netherlands)
Director: Tom Fassaert
Cast: Marianne Hertz, Rob Fassaert, Rene Fassaert
120min Dutch & English with English Subtitles (2014)
When his 95-year old grandmother – a former model and socialite – invites Tom Fassaert to visit her in South Africa, he seizes the opportunity to find out more about the dynamics and events that have left his father greatly disillusioned and his uncle Rene scarred for life. During his time with the conflicted and divisive matriarch, Fassaert gains insight into a history and psyche more complex and surreal than he could have imagined, and into the inner workings of a woman who challenged preconceived notions of motherhood long before it was fashionable to do so.
Fassaert’s family document opened the 2016 edition of the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
Cast: Janusz Gajos, Maja Ostaszewska, Justyna Suwala
90min Polish with English Subtitles (2015)
A fascination for bodies (“physical, astral and dead, objectified, adored and hated”) lies behind Szumowska’s sombre comedy about three people trapped in individual universes of pain and absence. Olga’s unprocessed grief over her dead mother manifests in self-hatred and severe anorexia. Her distant coroner father – a coroner – seems as unaffected by his daughter’s distress and the loss of his wife as by the dead bodies he deals with on a daily basis. Anna is a kind but lonely physical therapist with psychic abilities, who seeks to help the reluctant family to heal.
Body won Malgorzata Szumowska the awards for Best Director at Berlin International Film Festival and the European Film Awards in 2015.
Director: João Salaviza
Cast: David Mourato, Maria João Pinho, Rodrigo Perdigão
91min Portuguese with English Subtitles (2015)
The death of David’s grandfather is imminent, yet the 14-year-old does not feel prepared to visit him in hospital. This mature coming-of-age drama unfolds during the course of a couple of days in Lisbon, during which David severs ties with his childhood. He roams around aimlessly as if he is looking to dissolve, killing time with a friend and his crush Paulinha – the only one David cares to hold on to. The further he drifts from his past, the closer he connects with the present and the notion of a future he never used to think of.
João Salaviza’s award-winning drama, which follows David’s transition into adulthood, is regarded by the filmmaker as his farewell to cinematic adolescence.
Director: John Garrano & Jose Mari Goenaga
Cast: Nagore Aranburo, Itziar Ituño, Itziar Aizpuru
99min Spanish with English Subtitles (2014)
One day a bouquet of flowers appears at Ana’s doorstep, the subsequent week another bouquet arrives, and the week after that, yet another one. The anonymous sender upsets Ana’s partner, with whom she shares her flat and meals, but not much more. He holds the flower shop accountable for allowing just anybody to send flowers to anyone. After the death of a crane operator, his mother and his ex-wife are equally surprised to regularly find fresh flowers at the spot where he succumbed.
Flower bouquets at the sites of road accidents, as anonymous love letters or as mere proofs of existence, inspired this award-winning film.
SOMETHING MUST BREAK (Sweden)
Director: Ester Martin Bergsmark
Cast: Saga Becker, Iggy Malmborg, Shima Niavarani
81min Swedish with English Subtitles (2014)
Based on an auto-fictional novel by Eli Levén, who co-wrote the movie-script, Something Must Break, tells of Sebastian, a passionate, but self-destructive gender-queer 20-something. About to be beaten up, Sebastian is saved by Andreas. Despite Andreas identifying as straight, a complicated and intense love story develops between the two. Though a provocateur defiant in the face of conformity, Andreas is still troubled by his feelings for Sebastian. Sebastian struggles to not be overcome by the feelings for a non-committal, anxious lover, and also gets ready to let Ellie out – the woman inside, who is growing stronger every day.
Ester Martin Bergsmark’s debut feature has screened at festivals across the world and won numerous awards.
Director: Asif Kapadia
Cast: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Yasiin Bey
128min English (2015)
Asif Kapadia’s much talked about documentary follows Amy Winehouse from the early days of her extraordinary career, until the heart-breaking end. Relying mainly on never before shown footage, this intimate document traces the journey of the talented jazz-singer/songwriter until she achieved levels of fame no one could have dreamed of and the impacts on Winehouse and her family. Where media headlines focused on the drug-addict, who was a singer, Kapadia’s attention is on the extraordinarily gifted artist, who got stuck in drug abuse and self-destruction.
Among the many awards Asif Kapadia has won, are the 2016 Academy Awards for Best Documentary and the British Academy Film Awards equivalent.
(Courtesy of Ster Kinekor)