Reviewer Ed Farolan
12th European Union Film Festival
Dates and Venue 27 November - 9 December 2009 | Pacific Cinematheque, Vancouver
Denmark, dir. Natasha Arthy, 29 Nov @ 18.30
A lot of films nowadays follow a certain pattern, that is, they imitate each other. This film is an example of an imitation of Karate Kid or Bend It Like Beckham. They are good movies and naturally, if you adapt a movie that is successful in the box office, chances are the audience will go for it. And I think this movie is quite entertaining. It's not an exact copy of the movies I mentioned in that there are scenes like the mysterious ninja whom Semra Turan (the fighter) has nightmares about, which makes it different from the other two movies. What is also interesting about this film is it gives us an insight of Danish society. Copenhagen, like many cosmopolitan cities in Europe, is multi-cultural, and in fact, like Vancouver, the majority are non-Caucasian. We also see the usual cultural and generational conflicts, where "the fighter" comes from a Turkish background, and as a Turkish girl, she's not allowed to do Kung Fu because this is not a woman's role in Turkish society. But for children born in Denmark, as in Canada, they're caught in-between, and most likely, they'd rebel against their parents' way of thinking. All in all, I think the film was well-done, reflecting what is today's new global society.
Finland/Germany, dir. Petri Kotwica, 1 Dec @19.00
Kotwica wrote a carefully planned and well-directed film. This is one of those films that's almost like a Hitchcock thriller: you wonder what's going to happen next. It was well-acted and the cinematography was well-executed. Finland's landscape is like Canada, especially in the Prairies, where black ice is a normal phenomenon in winter. The story is about Saara and Leo, a middle-aged professional couple from Helsinki.When Saara finds out about Leo’s infidelity, she plans a revenge. Pretending to befriend “the other woman,” the film leads us into a complex chain of events with unexpected twists and turns ending tragically.
Slovakia, dir. Vlado Fischer, 9 Dec @ 21.20
Just like its title, this film is half and half. There are some good parts, and there are some bad ones. The director tries to reflect the uppercrust of the new Slovakian society. Just like Russia that rushed into sudden capitalism where the clever and powerful ones during the socialist/communist regime became instant millionaries, so also is the case with the new bourgoisie in Eastern Europe, the nouveaux riches who drive Ferraris and Benzes, with their luxurious country homes, and flaunting their new wealth. However, with wealth and power comes arrogance and lust, and like Greek tragedies of old, our hero Viktor loses his namesake "victory" and instead, at the end, all is lost. It's almost a biblically moral film whereby we're given the clicheic lesson of "Do unto others...."
The Last Homecoming(Ο Τελευταίος Γυρισμός)
Cyprus, dir. Corinna Avraamidou, 30 Nov @ 19.00
Filmmaker Corinna Avraamidiou shows us a small community in 1974 immediately before the lives of a family are besieged by war. In this film, we see the blossoming of a love affair and the magnificent beauty of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where her cinematography captures the colours and sounds of nature reflecting a carefree environment. During the course of what seems to be an idyllic Mediterranean summer, a Greek Cypriot family are seen entangles in relationships. Passions, infidelities and betrayal emerge, while political mumblings are heard in the distance. Just as all victims of war, the lives of this family change forever. This is an excellently delivered film from Avraamidou who was born in Cyprus in 1971 and studied film and television in London and New York. Her 25-minute film, The Secret of the First Day, won the prize for Best Screenplay at the 2nd Cyprus Short Film Festival.her This is he first feature film.
© 2009 Ed Farolan