- Category: Movie Reviews
- Written by Gilbert Seah
EUFF (European Union Film Festival) 2015
The EUFF returns agains this year in November for a huge slate of new films from different countries in the European Union. The best thing about this festival, taking place at the Royal Cinema in Little Italy is hat all the films are free, on a first-come-first-serve basis. For those who are afraid of sold-out shows, a $10 gives one a reserve ticket.
The films will often reveal much of the country’s culture. And the films arrive from little visited countries like Latvia, Croatia and Mali as well as familiar places like the U.K., France and Italy. But wonder what happened to Norway, a country that often boasts its films.
For complete program listing and schedule of films, please check the EUFF website at:
CAPSULE REVIEWS OF SELECTED FILMS:
BODY (Poland 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska
Set in contemporary Poland, BODY tells the intertwined stories of a criminal prosecutor, his anorexic daughter and her therapist who claims she can communicate with the dead loved ones. These are three radically different approaches to the body and soul. The film is a weird story of three weird characters, all lonely in their own way. Daughter hates the father, father has not comes to death of his wife and the therapist is even weirder. The climax of the film has the three all brought together in a seance in which it is hoped that the mother/wife will communicate from the dead. No such luck in the film’s quietly most hilarious moment. BODY ends up a tale of redemption in which the message holds that one has to be tolerant and respectful of each other. Weird, occasionally hilarious and surprisingly wonderful, BODY turns out an unexpected pleasure.
SCREENS: FRI NOV 27 • 8:30 pm • THE ROYAL CINEMA
THE GRUMP (Finland 2014) ***
Directed by Dome Karukoski
A very appropriate film chosen for the European Union Film Festival as this comedy/drama shows the old (in black and white grainy flashbacks) and modern days of Finland as well as the country and the city. THE GRUMP of the film title is a man from the past who thinks that everything used to be so much better in the old days. Grumpy beyond reason, he is sent to stay with his career-oriented daughter-in-law in the capital of Helsinski who is obviously not keen to spend time with him. But each has much to learn from each other. But not until the Grim has a tree come crashing down on her summer tomato house, and he gets a lesson or two on how to use modern equipment like the cell phone do things begin to settle. A breezy little film that teaches the message of tolerance. Despite the rather open ending, THE GRUMP still ends up a satisfactory film about life.
SCREENS: MON NOV 16 • 8:30 pm • THE ROYAL CINEMA
LISA, THE FOX FAIRY (Hungary 2015) ***
Directed by Károly Ujj Mészáros
The fox fairy, in Japanese folklore is cursed because anyone who loves her will die prematurely. The curse can only be broken by selfless unrequited love. So, Lisa the female protagonist of the film believes she is a fox fairy. All her lovers die of strange deaths that the film numbers from 1 to 7. The local police believes her suspect and assigns a sergeant to be her tenant to solve the case. He is a strange one, showing up for work naked but is a decent human being who eventually falls in love with Lisa. The film is a romantic comedy - Hungarian style, which means it is as weird as they come. But Lisa is a dear soul who would do anything to snatch a man - no matter how awful or ugly he might be. The audience loves her and sympathizes. She eventually gets her man and of course the spell broken in this off beat but still wonderful Hungarian fairy tale.
PARENTS (Germany 2013) ****
Directed by Robert Thalheim
PARENTS is a very effective fast moving German family drama that shows how difficult it is to hold a job and have kids at the same time. Konrad and Christine have two young daughters. Christine is a busy doctor while Konrad, a wonder-father looks after the children. But when the status quo is broken when Konrad decides to direct a play. He cannot concentrate with the kids around and leaves home forcing Christine to take time off work and look after the kids for the first time. The nanny they hire from Argentina turns up pregnant which makes matters worse. The film is actually really good despite the horrid sounding story. The film works primarily because performances of the two leads are incredible. The film shifts focus from father to mother with the audience forced to take differing views. Very moving, dramatic and a thoroughly entertaining film.
SCREENS: SAT NOV 21 • 6:00 pm • THE ROYAL CINEMA
WILD LIFE (France 2014) ****
Directed by Cedric Kahn
Cedric Kahn’s (RED LIGHTS) latest family drama is the story of the wild life led by the two sons of a separated couple. The father steals the boys when they are 8 and 9 from their mother. Wanted by the police, the father raises the kids in a commune. At first sympathetic towards their father, the boys grow rebellious. Flashforward to the boys now at 18 and 17. They have had enough of their sometimes abusive dad. Kahn’s film shifts from the point of view from their mother, to the father to the sons. And the tactic works. The audiences sees what life is like from three differing points of view when not living in a typical society. The film is as moving as it is dramatic. And one shifts sides as the films shifts focus and points of view. A brilliant and emotional film demonstrating Kahn at his very best.
SCREENS: FRI NOV 20 • 8:30 pm • THE ROYAL CINEMA