By Ogova Ondego
Published May 5, 2013
The 22nd European Film Festival runs at Alliance Francaise in Nairobi every evening over a 16-day period starting on May 10, 2013.
This annual feast of recent films from Europe is in 2013 presenting comedy, drama, thriller, animation, fiction, and documentary films from Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Poland and runs at 5.30 and 6.30pm during week days and 3.00, 5.30 and 6.30pm on weekends. The various films are rated by the Kenya Film Censors Board as either ‘General Exhibition’, ‘Parental Guidance’, ‘Above 16’or ‘Above 18’. Tickets to the shows are at an all time low: just Sh50 per head.
Belgium’s RUNDSKOP (Bullhead), a 129-minute drama made in 2011 and rated for Above 18years, is a harrowing tale of revenge, redemption and fate in which a domineering cattle farmer initiates a shady deal with a notorious mafioso meat trader. When an investigating federal agent is assassinated and a woman from the farmer’s traumatic past resurfaces, the farmer must confront his demons and face the far-reaching consequences of his decisions. This film, directed by Michaël R. Roskam and starrring Mathias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval and Jeanne Dandoy, was shortlisted in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 84th Academy Awards 2012.
Another Belgiam film on show is AU CUL DU LOUP (At the End of the World), an 82-minute comedy directed by Pierre Duculot in 2012 and starring Christelle Cornil, François Vincentelli and Jean-Jacques Rausin. The film, according to the media release from Alliance Francaise, tells the story of a young woman who decides to start a new life when she inherits a house in Corsica on the death of her grandmother. Leaving the monotony of her life, she travels to Corsica on a voyage of discovery. This film is rated ‘Above 16 years’.
PROBUDIM SE VČERA (Waking up Yesterday), a romantic time travel comedy in which a high school teacher returns to his student days to win the heart of his high school sweetheart, is the Czech Republic’s serving at the festival that has been rated ‘General Exhibition’.
Denmark is represented by AMBASSADØREN (The Ambassador) and HVIDSTEN GRUPPEN – NOGLE MÅ DØ FOR AT ANDRE KAN LEVE (This Life).
While the former is a 93-minute documentary made in 2011 by and starring Mads Brűgger, the latter is a 123-minute historical drama directed by Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis and starring Jens Jørn Spottag, bodil Jørgensen and Thomas Ernst.
‘What happens when a very white European man buys a diplomatic title which turns him into an African diplomat overnight?’ appears to be the question begging for answers in AMBASSADØREN that calls for Parental Guidance.
HVIDSTEN GRUPPEN – NOGLE MÅ DØ FOR AT ANDRE KAN LEVE is the story of how just a few people can make a huge difference – but not without serious consequences. It is suitable for Above 16 years.
While France presents L’ARBRE (The Tree), a 120-minute 2010 romantic drama directed by Julie Bertuccelli and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies and Marton Csokas, Germany showcases GOETHE, a 104-minute biopic made by Philipp Stölzl, starring Alexlander Fehling, Miriam Stein and Moritz Belibtreu in 2010.
L’ARBRE, that calls for Parental Guidance, revolves around the family of Dawn and Peter that live happily with their four children in the shadows of a gigantic fig tree. When Peter suddenly dies of a heart attack, their lives are shattered. Their daughter Simone believes that their father’s soul now resides in the enormous fig tree.
In GOETHE, the protagonist dreams of a career as a poet before he falls in love with a woman who has been betrothed to another man. The screening of this film—that is rated General Exhibition—is dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Goethe-Institut in Kenya.
Another German film on show is BERLIN CALLING, a 100-minute comedy drama directed by Hannes Stöhr in 2008. While touring techno-clubs all over the world, Berlin based techno DJ Ickarus is also working on a new studio album. In order keep up with hectic schedule, he resorts to some not-so-honourable lifestyle to cope that leaves him with unintended consequences. It is suitable for Above 18 year olds.
Italy shows TERRAFERMA, an 88-minute drama that won the Special Jury prize at Venice Film Festival in 2011. The film, directed by Emanuele Crialese and starring Filippo Pucillo, Donatella Finocchiaro and Beppe Fiorello,is set against the background of the influx of African boat people on an uncontaminated Sicilian island inhabited mainly by fishermen.
TERRAFERMA is also the story of a family composed of a stubborn old fisherman, a young woman striving for a better life and a young man seeking his moral compass. All of them will have to make difficult decisions that will affect their lives forever as they seek to realize the economic potential of tourism and the dilemma of dealing with illegal aliens. It is for General Exhibition.
The Netherlands presents a thriller, a 90-minute Robert van Westdijk & Marjan Lammers film made in 2010 titled DE EETCLUB (The Dinner Club).
In the film—that starres Bracha van Doesburgh, Thom Hoffman and Halina Reijn—a couple moves to an exclusive residential neighbourhood where the woman joins an inner circle of lady friends and their spouses. It is suitable for Above 16 year olds.
MóJ ROWER (My Father’s Bike) by Piotr Trzaskalski and LOVE by Jakub Kronerrepresent Poland and Slovak Republic, respectively.
MóJ ROWER is a 90-minute Comedy and drama made in 2012 that starres Artur Żmijewski, Michał Urbaniak and Krzysztof Chodorowski in a work that portrays three generations of men who are trying to explore their relationships as a grandfather, father and grandson. It follows the unusual journey of 70-year-old Włodek, whose wife suddenly leaves him for another man. He sets off to find her, accompanied by his estranged son, a celebrated pianist, who also has a difficult relationship with his own son, living in England. The three men end up renting a small lake house, where their relationships are put to test over a period of a few days.It calls for Parental Guidance.
LOVE, on the other hand, is a Romantic drama, made in 2011, running 90 minutes and exploring the double meaning of ‘love’ in Slovak that means money and the conventional love. Starring Michael Nemtuda, Kristina Svarinská and Jakub Gogál, LOVE is suitable for viewers aged above 16.
Spain showcases ARRUGAS (Wrinkles)–an 89-minute animated drama by Ignacio Ferreras—and MIENTRAS DUERMES (Sleep Tight)—a 102-minute thriller rated ‘Above 18 years’.
While Sweden presents SNABBA CASH (Easy Money) by Daniel Espinosa and Switzerland DIE HERBSTZEITLOSEN (Late Bloomers), United Kingdom shows SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and THE IMPOSTOR.
The festival ends on May 26, 2013.