European Union Film Festival kicks off Friday

“Europe without the jetlag!”

A scene from "Miss Kicki". Photo courtesy of EUFF.

The 14th European Union Film Festival  (EUFF) starts  this Friday (Nov 25 - Dec 8) to showcase the most  compelling, engaging award winning films across the Atlantic Ocean  at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver.    

In this year's festival,  24 countries (from the 27 EU members) have submitted their films entries. Malta has never participated, while Spain and Luxemburgo are not in this year,  Pacific Cinmetheque artistic and executive and director, Jim Sinclair told the Vancouver Observer in an interview.

The UEFF has a unique fashion to choose their film as opposed to curating a series movies: every country has carte blanque to select a film to represent them and do in a very particular manner each.

“Some countries are choosing festival or cinematheque style o house style film. Some  are choosing popular favourites . Some countries care very deeply about  which films they choose [while] others, I think,  are less dedicated in their choices.”  Sinclair explained.

 “It’s always a mix and it makes it a really great festival because there is such a diversity of types of films. “

 The EUFF is also held in Toronto and Ottawa.

This year’s EUFF opens with Polish film Little Rose (Rozycka) directed by Jan Kidawa-Blonski and the closing  flick Stricken (Komt vrouw bij de dokter) from the Netherlands, directed by  Reinout Oerlemans.

Other titles to watch:

Miss Kicki directed by Hakon Liu (Sweden/Taiwan).

A  middle age, good times- girl Swedish woman (Pernilla August) comes back from the U.S.   to settle down in her home country.  Kicki has a 17 year old son, Viktor  (Ludwig Palmell) whom she left to the care of her mother.

 After her birthday, she decides to travel to Taiwan and takes her son with her to reconnect with him.

However, getting to know better Viktor is not the only plan in her agenda. Kicki tries to meet in real life  with a  Taiwanese businessman (Eric  Tsang) , who has been romancing her online.  Meanwhile, her son wonders alone in the streets of Taipei and gets acquaintance with a troubled Taiwanese boy.

As Kicki struggles to bond with Viktor, secrets emerges leading to erosion in their already weak mother-son relationship.

Miss Kicki  not only reflect on the intricasies of in relationships between parents and children, social issues and  cross-cultural communication showing the power of communication, going beyond the words.

Watch trailer.

(November 26, 8:20 pm)

A scene in "Personal Baggage". (Photo courtesy of EUFF)

Personal Baggage (Osebna prtjaga) Director: Janez Lapajne – Slovenia

The two-hour long thriller set in the dark backdrop of Slovenian forests, tells the intricate story of the dangers of a love triangle and its extraneous complications.  Vid  (Klemen Slakonja )a talented choir singer belongs to a upper middle class dysfunctional family. His mother, a business woman, (Natasa Barbara Gracner)smothers him with exaggerated  affection, while his father, a "beauty doctor"  is thoughtless and aloof with his son.

The young singer falls in love with Nina, a femme-fatale who will spiral the family dynamics by engaging in an affair with Vid's father. 

Their lives soon implode ,leading to tragical coincidences and death.

In a subtle fashion,  Lapajne also underlines  a somber historical baggage around those  Slovenian dark, haunting forests.

Lapajne's film intertwines the different stories with skill and precision, maintaining the suspense factor through an effective cinematic narrative.

(November 27, 6:30 pm)

 

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