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European Film Festival starts tomorrow

Published: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
A scene from Ginger and Rosa, one of the films in this year’s European Film Festival.

The European Film Festival, curated and run by the T&T Film Festival was launched at the French ambassador’s residence in St Clair on May 6. 

 

Editorial curator, Jonathan Ali, implored the crowd to be “evangelisers and friends” of the EFF, to spread the word and encourage people to see the films. 

 

All of the 26 films are showing at MovieTowne in Port-of-Spain and in Tobago between May 14-27, at just $30 for a ticket ($20 for students) and they are made by some of Europe’s most exciting emerging filmmakers as well as some established ones too.

 

“Regardless of who dominates cinema today—and Hollywood unquestionably rules the roost—it is Europe that is the birthplace of film,” Ali said in his opening remarks, before he showed trailers from several of the films and discussed them.

 

Fittingly, in a Frenchman’s house, he cited the Lumiere brothers’ December 1895 screening of a two-minute piece of film reel (showing a train arriving at a railway station) at the Grand Café Boulevard des Capucines in Paris as the first ever motion picture cinema screening.

 

The oldest film festival, Ali explained, is European (Venice, which began in 1932) and so is the most prestigious festival (Cannes, which began in 1946.)

 

He described the Cannes Film Festival as an important part of rebuilding Europe after the devastation of WWII. Ali also showed trailers of two WWI films. 

 

The first, Hannah Arendt, made in 2012 by German director Margerethe von Trotta is about the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, a prominent Nazi captured by Israeli Mossad agents in Argentina where he went into hiding in the years after the war and subsequently hanged for war crimes. 

 

The second, a Dutch film called The Blitz, is a love story tinged with tragedy, set in German-occupied Rotterdam.

 

Most of the films previewed at the launch fell into a similar genre of gritty realism. British film Fish Tank, set in Essex is about an angry 15-year-old girl living on a council estate and the tense relationship with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. 

 

Ginger & Rosa, directed by Sally Potter is concerned with the nuclear disarmament movement of the 1960s. And 35 Shots of Rum, set on a Parisian apartment couple examines the history of a strained, though loving, father-daughter relationship.

 

There are more upbeat films on the schedule though. Alpha Papa is the long-awaited motion picture debut of cult UK sitcom character Alan Partridge, played by Steve Coogan. And there are two animated films. The critically acclaimed The Illusionist from 2010 about a magician, his rabbit and an orphaned young woman on a remote Scottish island and The Missing Lynx, a Spanish movie which tells the tale of Noah’s Ark from a different perspective, an animal’s perspective.

 

Ali jets will be attending the Cannes Film Festival which starts on May 14. Before he departed he told the T&T Guardian it was a fantastic opportunity not only to promote the TTFF abroad and exchange ideas with other international festival organisers but that it was also the best way of attracting overseas producers, directors and actors to come and make films here.