Sunday, November 14, 2010

European Union Film Festival 2010

Finally ditching the goofy name (it was pre­vi­ously known as the Eh! U European Film Festival), the European Union Film Festival returns for its sixth edi­tion from November 18th through the 30th at the Royal Cinema. Featuring 21 films from 21 European coun­tries, the fest­ival offers free admis­sion to all films thanks to the sup­port of the various con­su­lates who coordinate the fest­ival each year.

What I love most about this fest­ival, other than the free tickets, is its demo­cratic nature. Each country may only be rep­res­ented by one film, so the usual behemoths of European cinema (France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Spain) are on a level playing field with the smaller coun­tries (Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia) whose cinema we rarely get a chance to see. Last year fea­tured six films that were offi­cial sub­mis­sions for the Best Foreign Film Award at the Oscars, and although this year fea­tures fewer high-profile films, it prom­ises more dis­cov­eries. Not many of these films have played yet in Toronto, and most likely won’t return, so don’t miss your chance to see what’s hap­pening in some of the less glam­orous corners of European cinema. The price is cer­tainly right. Here are a few highlights:

Les Barons

Thursday November 18, 8:30pm — Les Barons (Belgium, 2009, Director: Nabil Ben Yadir): A group of working-class bud­dies in a Brussels neigh­bour­hood cel­eb­rate idle­ness and the good life, des­pite the dis­ap­proval of the older gen­er­a­tion. I missed this when it played at CineFranco earlier this year, but it looks like a charming comedy set amongst the north African com­munity in the New Europe.

Disco and Atomic War

Saturday November 20, 6:00pm — Disco and Atomic War (Estonia, 2009, Director: Jaak Kilmi): This doc­u­mentary played at Hot Docs this past spring and I’ve heard great things. It’s a slyly comic essay film that explores the hypo­thesis that Finnish TV broad­casts of American shows that reached Estonia during the 1980s helped bring down the Communist system of the USSR.

Landscape No. 2

Thursday November 25, 6:00pm — Landscape No. 2 (Slovenia, 2008, Director: Vinko Möderndorfer): A simple art theft turns into some­thing more sin­ister when the burg­lars also steal a valu­able doc­u­ment from the end of World War II. This was Slovenia’s Oscar sub­mis­sion for 2009.

Be sure to explore the fest­ival web site for more inform­a­tion. The best way to show that Toronto appre­ci­ates European film is to make an effort to see it. Free admis­sion means you have no excuse!

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