The EU Film Festival is still going strong, even if Europe isn't
Well, the euro might be crumbling, Greece constantly flirting with formal expulsion from the European Union, and Germany the last constituent country left with a truly solvent economy, but, in spite of everything, the EU Film Festival keeps trundling along. This year it runs from November 25 to December 8 in its usual venue (the Pacific Cinémathèque), and includes sample films from 24 of the organization’s 27 member states.
Some of the entries are pretty high profile, such as Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist, a crowd-pleasing celebration/send-up of silent cinema (on view December 3, at 6:30 p.m.). Equally esteemed is Marak Najbrt’s Protector, an unusually complex consideration of sexual jealousy, as exacerbated by the Nazi occupation of Prague during World War Two (December 2, 6:30 p.m.).
Not as feted, perhaps, but even more provocative, is Denmark’s Red Chapel, a subversive semi-documentary about a couple of comedians in North Korea that is really an outrageous attempt to expose the dirtiest secrets maintained by Kim Jong-Il’s notoriously brutal “hermit regime”.
Anti-semitism in 1960s Poland figures strongly in Jan Kidawa-Blonski’s Little Rose, while Brian Webb’s In Our Name considers some of the adjustments that female soldiers must make when returning from the wreckage of post-invasion Iraq.
On the “popcorn plane”, Belgium’s Les Barons (November 28, 6:30 p.m.) and Holland’s Stricken (December 8, 8:10 p.m.)—the first a multicultural comedy, the second an erotically disquieting “weepy”—made mincemeat of local box-office records.
Portugal’s big budget The Mystery of Sintra (December 7, 8:15 p.m.) looks highly promising, as does Austria’s next Oscar nominee Breathing (December 7, 6:30 p.m.). Then there are the entries from Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Romania and 11 other nations.
Hell, if the term wasn’t so specifically Danish, you could probably call this a cinematic smorgasbord (or koldtbord, as the case may be).