Immerse yourself in the world of European cinema this month where reindeer, kings, dementia patients, misfits and the best of friends walk side by side.
From Oct 17 to 27 at selected Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) outlets in Klang Valley (GSC Mid Valley, Pavilion and 1Utama), and Oct 31 to Nov 6 at GSC Gurney Plaza in Penang, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) is set to showcase the dynamism and innovation of contemporary European films.
This year, the EUFF offers 19 award-winning movies from 15 European countries – mostly EU member states, but also two films from Norway and Switzerland.
Six films (Lada Kamenski, Winter Flies, Ailo’s Journey, The Romantic Exiles, Don’t Stop Me Now, As Needed) are screened for free; screening passes are on the EUFF website (www.euff.com.my) and can be exchanged for movie tickets at the participating GSC ticketing counters.
All other movies are priced at RM9, with the exception of France’s Les Invisibles, a tale of the homeless and downtrodden, which is sold at the prevailing GSC ticket price.
“The EUFF is now in its 20th year and it has been a long journey indeed. From the start, we have always seen the film festival as a unique opportunity to bring a bit of Europe to Malaysia, through film and storytelling,” says Maria Castillo Fernandez, ambassador and head of the European Delegation to Malaysia.
The film festival is organised by the EU Delegation to Malaysia, in collaboration with the embassies and cultural institutions of the 13 EU member states, Norway and Switzerland, and supported by GSC.
This year’s EUFF offers a diverse range of settings, periods and genres – from drama to romance, comedy, animation, thriller and adventure.
But whether it is a story that charts the struggle of one man, a group of young people finding themselves on a road trip in the harsh winter, a woman’s journey with dementia or the adventures of a young reindeer in Lapland, rest assured that they all find ways to tap into the universal themes of love, loss, compassion and human connectivity.
“We might be from all over the world, but we grapple with many of the same issues and concerns. These are things that could happen to any one of us, and some of these movies show what we are capable of when our world closes in and we have to rely on each other,” she says.
“We hope that these films not only entertain, inspire and teach us about European culture, but also open people’s eyes to how we all enjoy cultural diversity, both in Europe and in Malaysia,” she concludes.
Here is a look at a few of the films:
Ailo’s Journey: The Amazing Odyssey Of A Newborn Reindeer (Finland)
In this documentary, we follow little Ailo – a young reindeer – on its year-long migration over hundreds of miles, across the frozen taiga and majestic fjords. Challenges lie ahead in the form of predators and other dangers, but the journey also comes with pleasant surprises and friendship forged along the way.
As Needed (Italy)
Arturo, a chef with a troubled past, is assigned to give lessons to a group of young people with Asperger’s syndrome. One of his students is Guido, whose passion for cooking knows no bounds.
Jack Strong (Poland)
This political thriller is based on the dramatic true story of a Polish army colonel who spied for the CIA and passed Soviet military secrets to them during the Cold War. Expect poison pills, assassinations and shady characters in this espionage yarn.
King Of The Belgians (Belgium, Netherlands, Bulgaria)
With comedy at its heart, this is the tale of Nicolas III travelling to Istanbul and then receiving news that Belgium has ceased to exist. Time to return home to deal with the political crisis, he thinks. But then a geomagnetic storm happens and all flights are cancelled. Fret not, Belgium can be reached by land – but can he make the trip unscathed?
The Last Touch (Switzerland)
Her greatest fear is to end up in a nursing home, with no idea who she is because dementia is slowly but surely settling in. But when a dashing Englishman pops up and claims that this isn’t their first contact, reality and dreams start to clash ... or is it, they co-exist?
The Conductor (Netherlands)
Antonia dreams of becoming a conductor at a time when only men took on this role. But perseverance pays off, as she will learn. But still, when the time comes to choose between two loves, which will she choose? Based on the true story of Dutch-born, US-raised Antonia Brico, the first female conductor.