Los Angeles (United States)



May 9-13, 2019, at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres

Presented by Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania, the European Union and the American Cinematheque.
Spotlighting festival award winners from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania, the short and feature films here embody the rich heritage and diversity of cinema from Europe. With talent from the films invited to speak at screenings and an opening-night reception, this is an ideal way for expats and Los Angeles residents alike to experience these European delicacies.

The opening night kicks off with a red carpet event and cocktail reception, followed by the Los Angeles premiere of Bonifacio Anguis’ WHEREVER YOU ARE, a feature from Italy that follows an unexpected road trip between an aged musician and some unlikely companions. The film is accompanied by the award-winning “Simbiosis Carnal,” a Belgian animated short about human sexuality directed by Rocío Álvarez. This short is one of seven films directed by female filmmakers, many of which deal with such modern social issues as gender equality and the #MeToo movement. Greece’s POLYXENI, by director Dora Masklavanou, charts the life of an orphan girl who is adopted by a Greek Istanbulite family and faces constant persecution by bourgeois society.

Five features make their Los Angeles premieres, including Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo’s Estonian film TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, which follows a father’s reluctant attempts to raise his newborn child. The difficulty of keeping a family together is also the subject of the new film from Romania, Stere Gulea’s long-awaited sequel MOROMETE FAMILY: ON THE EDGE OF TIME. Representing the Czech Republic, MILADA profiles revolutionary Czech politician Milada Horáková, who fought both the Nazis and the Communists for her country’s freedom. Latvia and Luxembourg deliver comedic box office hits: the Latvian caper film THE FOUNDATION OF CRIMINAL EXCELLENCE from first-time director Oskars Rupenheits, and Félix Koch’s delightful SUPERJHEMP RETÖRNS, in which the Luxembourgish superhero overcomes a midlife crisis to save his small country from cosmic annihilation.

Each program includes an opening short from other countries in the European Union. Among the highlights is Austria’s “Heaven’s Meadow,” a devastating account of a young woman’s sexual assault; director Magdalena Chmielewska will appear in person with the film. Lithuania supplies yet another short film directed by a woman, Birutė Sodeikaitė’s “Last Stop Is the Moon,” a stop-motion film about a young girl’s gradual acceptance of her illness. In Croatia’s “In the Name of the Strawberry, the Chocolate, and the Holy Spirit” a priest’s appetite for ice cream on a Sunday afternoon leads to mysterious encounters and hilarious trouble. From Germany, directors André Hörmann and Anna Samo animate the story of one of the last remaining survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with their award-winning “Obon”.Poland’s stranger-than-fiction documentary from Klaudia Kęska, “Casting,” follows a group of orphans’ reimagining of a famous scene from THE GODFATHER, while Bulgaria offers the world premiere of Stefan Apostolov’s time-bending adventure “Life in Four Seasons.”

Series programmed by EU members, with the assistance of Gwen Deglise and Chris LeMaire. Program notes by Chris LeMaire.

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