Eight movies to see at this year’s European Film Festival in Vancouver

A scene from As We Were Dreaming, one of the films screening at this year’s European Film Festival.

The East German Trainspotting, Hungary’s highest-budgeted film, and Romania’s entry for the upcoming Academy Awards are among the films screening at this year’s European Film Festival (Nov. 24-Dec. 4).

Presented by Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.), the Vancouver consulates and the Ottawa embassies of the member states of the European Union and the Delegation of the European Union to Canada, the 20th Annual European Union Film Festival features entries from 25 EU members. Vancouver audiences can experience the culture of these countries without buying a plane ticket, never mind squeezing into those narrower and narrower seats and fighting for space in the overhead bins.

Here are some, but by no means all, of the highlights from this year’s festival.

The Dissidents (Estonia 2017)—An action comedy set in the ’80s, The Dissidents follows three Estonian dreamers who flee the Soviet Union in search of the “free world.” Estonian filmmaker Jaak Kilmi has made personal documentaries (the award-winning Disco and Atomic War) and period dramas (Revolution of Pigs).

The Fixer (Romania 2016)—In Adrian Sitaru’s moral drama, an eager journalism trainee pursues his career-making break. Romania’s official entry for the upcoming Oscars.

Les ogres (France 2015)—A freewheeling, intergenerational theatre troupe tours Chekhov and emotional minefields in director Léa Fehner’s sophomore film. “A raucous, ribald romp … Crowd-pleasingly big-hearted” (Hollywood Reporter).

Les Ogres, a film from France.

Nightlife (Slovenia 2016)—Slovenian auteur Damjan Kozole received Best Director at Karlovy Vary for this taut, chilling, noir-minded thriller. In Nightlife, a traumatized wife tries to discover the truth after her high-profile attorney husband is found naked, mutilated, and barely conscious. “Haunted and haunting, atmospheric and absorbing” (Hollywood Reporter).

Baden Baden (Belgium 2016)—Actress Salomé Richard is said to be “utterly beguiling” as Ana, the heroine of director Rachel Lang’s feature debut. Ana is “a malaise-afflicted twentysomething who’s arrived in her native Strasbourg after driving off a Belgian movie-set with the production’s Porsche.” The Guardian said: “A very smart film from a very smart first-time feature director.”

In Baden Baden, Salomé Richard stars as “a malaise-afflicted twentysomething” who drives off a Belgian movie set with the production’s Porsche.

Kincsem (Hungary 2017)—Based on the true story of the thoroughbred that, to this day, is the most decorated racehorse ever. At $10m, Kincsem was Hungary’s highest price-tagged film, and the country’s highest-grossing homegrown hit in a decade.

Night of a 1000 Hours (Austria 2016)—A fantastical blend of historical fiction, whodunit thriller, and beyond-the-grave horror, Night of a 1000 Hours won the Audience Award at the Busan Film Festival.

As We Were Dreaming (Germany 2015)—Director Andreas Dresen’s techno-scored drama has been dubbed East Germany’s answer to  Trainspotting. “Dresen’s fastest-paced work to date … Moving and thrilling” (Cineuropa).

For tickets, screening times and more films, visit cinematheque.ca.

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