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Europe’s Cultural Diversity Through Cinema
European film buffs are in for a treat as the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) returns to Singapore from 11 to 21 May for its 27th edition.
This year, 27 films from 27 countries across Europe will be screened – from dramas and thrillers to comedies and animation. All films will be screened at the National Gallery Singapore.
The films showcased in the festival were recently produced and are considered to be some of the best productions in their respective countries of origin.
As the festival focuses on Germany this year, it kicks off with German film Tschick (2016), a coming-of-age comedy-drama directed by acclaimed award-winning filmmaker Fatih Akin. It tells the classic story of three youths trying to survive on their own and encountering plenty of misadventures and self-discovery in their wild road trip across East Germany.
A film adaptation of cult novel “Why We Took The Car” by late German writer Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tschick stars Munich-born Anand Batbileg who is of Mongolian descent. Batbileg plays the title role of Andrej “Tschick” Tschichatschow, a teenager from a German-speaking minority in Russia.
Books To Film
Besides Tschick, there are other films that also draw inspiration from novels. One of them is Belgium’s Problemski Hotel (2015) which is inspired by controversial Belgium novelist Dimitri Verhulst’s internationally acclaimed book of the same name. The film tells the love story of two migrants, Bipul and Lidia.
Another one is Dutch film Beyond Sleep (2016), based on the 1966 best-selling novel Nooit Meer Slapen by Willem Frederik Hermans. The film tracks the survival expedition of Alfred Issendorf, a young, ambitious geologist who goes in search of meteorites in Norway’s swampy north, picking up from where his father left off when the latter died during a similar research trip on his own.
Personalities In Focus
Films that focus on the lives of some European personalities include Finland’s The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki (2016) and Denmark’s Marie Krøyer (2012).
Winner of the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival 2016, The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki depicts the life of famous Finnish boxer Olli Maki who had a shot at the 1962 World Featherweight title.
Photo: ROLF KONOW / SF FILM
Directed by internationally acclaimed director Billie August, Marie Krøyer traces the highs and lows of Marie Krøyer, an artist who was married to one of Denmark’s greatest painters P. S. Krøyer. She was also regarded as the most beautiful woman in Denmark in the early 20th century.
Art To Film
The Chinese Lives Of Uli Sigg
Photo: T&C Film AG
Art features prominently in Switzerland’s The Chinese Lives Of Uli Sigg (2016), directed by German writer and filmmaker Michael Schindhelm. This critically acclaimed documentary about the prominent Swiss art collector Uli Sigg is set against the backdrop of the socio-political context of China's transformation since the 1970s.
Both Uli Sigg and Schindhelm will be present for the film’s screening on 16 May. There will be a post-show conversation at 7.45pm.
Romance In Cinema
Fans of romantic feature films will not want to miss Italy’s Correspondence (2016), an English language Italian romantic drama about a complex and intense relationship between a married astrophysicist and a grad student that continues after his sudden disappearance. The film stars British veteran actor Jeremy Irons and Russian actress-model Olga Kurylenko.
Another romantic film to catch is Malta’s 20,000 Reasons (2016). Directed by Jameson Cucciardi, the romantic comedy delves into the world of two Maltese families who don’t quite see eye to eye as well as an heiress in a race against time to get married.
For families with kids, there is the English animated feature film presented by Ukraine, The Dragon Spell (2016). Directed by Manuk Depoyan, it is about a boy who must embark on a fantastic quest to save both the world of humans and the world of magic from a witch possessed by a dragon’s ghost.
The Dragon Spell
Photo: Karandash Animation Studio
A poignant family drama is Austria’s Brothers Of The Wind (2015). This powerful tale of hope and discovery tells the story of Lukas who suffers at the hands of his father who has withdrawn since the death of his wife who was killed while rescuing baby Lukas. Things take a different turn when Lukas starts secretly caring for a chick named Abel whom he finds the love and companionship denied to him at home.
$12 per film from SISTIC from 11 April onwards
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Young Sophie Bell
Photo: Breidablick Film AB