34th European Film Festival: The screenings you cannot miss

Film Festival - European Film Festival Jordan Website
(Photos: IMDB)
The 34th edition of the European Film Festival, one of the longest-running foreign cinematic festivals in Jordan, launches today.اضافة اعلان

Running through November 25, the festival will screen 16 films from EU countries at Haya Cultural Center in Amman. The event is being held under the Patronage of HRH Princess Rym Ali, funded by the European Union, and co-organized with the European Union National Institutes for Culture in Jordan.

The films feature various stories and genres, and all screening are free.  Here is a list of must-watch films to enjoy during the festival:

Civilization: Good News About the End of the World (2022) by Petr HorkýScreening on November 13

Travel documentary director Petr Horký and Egyptologist and archaeologist Miroslav Bárta created this documentary on the seven laws of civilization, discussing the the ideas of famous personalities such as biologist Jane Goodall, anthropologist John Tainter, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, and members of the Waorani tribe of the Amazon. Shot in Ecuador, Brittany, Egypt, Sudan, India, and the Czech Republic, the film also serves as a travelogue.

Civilization packs its 81 minutes full of masterfully directed shots and deeply thought-provoking interviews with a dozen individuals, gaining the rapt attention of viewers who enjoy considering life’s profound questions.

Where No One Knows Us: Oskar & Lilli (2020) by Arash T. RiahiScreening on November 15

Iranian director and long-time Austria resident Arash T. Riahi explores once again the subject of flight. Seven-year-old Oskar (Leopold Pallua) and his older sister Lilli (Rosa Zent) have been living in Austria for six years. Their mother, who is severely traumatized by experiences of war in her homeland Chechnya, attempts to commit suicide, and the children are placed with foster families. They must use their wit and imagination to survive in unfamiliar and often strange surroundings.

A fairy-tale atmosphere begins to pervade the film, and the adventure of Oskar and Lilli slips into the imaginary. Here, they can counteract the harsh reality of flight and deportation with moments of hope — even if they remain only fantasies.

My Donkey, My Lover & I (2020) by Caroline VignalScreening on November 16

This charming film won its main actress, Laure Calamy, a César for best actress for her vibrant, endearing, seductive, witty, and emancipated performance.

A teacher full of pep takes a long hike with Patrick the donkey in the mountainous French region of the Cévennes. The plot, inspired by a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, unravels the codes of romantic comedy. It plays with freshness by following the misfortunes of the lady Antoinette, and her encounters with backpackers, local mountain dwellers, and her married lover.

But the real romance is that between Antoinette and Patrick, who tame each other along the bumps in the road. Behind the action, the grandiose landscapes of the Cévennes constitute a character in their own right, captured in cinemascope by a camera enthralled with space, nature, and light.

The film could have easily slumped into a classic, naive rural tale, but instead, the cheeky and spontaneous female figurehead, struggling with her donkey, brings a very welcome breath of fresh air and makes us want to climb all the mountains in the unlikely duo’s wake.

The Audition (2019) by Ina WeisseScreening on November 18

A violin teacher at a renowned Berlin conservatory is strict and demanding towards her students, and no less dominant in interactions with her own son. She is campaigning uncompromisingly for a talented young violinist, but her ambition endangers her position as well as her personal stability.

This multi-faceted, finely crafted character drama explores patterns of art, discipline, and violence through the interpretation of the main character, portraying authoritarian forms with clever incongruity.

Fire Will Come (2019) by Oliver LaxeScreening on November 20

Amador Coro is a known arsonist who is released from prison to return to the home of his mother Benedicta in Galicia. His life resumes its former place in the midst of nature, surrounded by cows and his dog Luna — until one day, a fire devastates the land.

Fire Will Come is an adventure speaking of a world that vanishes and the depths of the human soul. Laxe writes a dry melodrama, but with a moving performance delivered by two actors who approach their roles with ingenuity to tell a story alight with candid frankness.

I Run to You (2022) by Riccardo MilaniScreening on November 22

Gianni (Pierfrancesco Favino) is a successful 50-year-old head of an important running shoe brand. Single, inveterate, and a serial seducer, he is willing to do anything to conquer the young woman on duty, even pretending to be confined to a wheelchair. Gianni bets everything on pity, the only feeling he believes can be felt towards a disabled person. His convictions soon collapse when he meets Chiara (Miriam Leone), who is a charming, sporty, and sunny woman despite an accident that left her paraplegic. As he gets to know Chiara, Gianni cannot help but rewrite his perspective on many things: life, love, and disability itself.

This sarcastic romantic comedy is an Italian remake of the French movie “Rolling to You”. It deals with issues such as an obsession with physical perfection, the fear of the other, and self-acceptance in an intelligent, humorous way.

The Reason I Jump (2020) by Jerry RothwellScreening on November 24

“I never knew I was different until others told me”, wrote Naoki Higashida. This sentence, one of many describing what it is like to be autistic, is found in a book that Jerry Rothwell now cleverly uses as a thread for his documentary The Reason I Jump. The film is divided into chapters, with voice-over excerpts from the book accompanying the portraits of five autistic people, providing a new and honest look at neurodiversity.

The noteworthy documentary explores the sensory perception and emotions of adolescents with autism. It succeeds in conveying the emotional world of the people it features through close-ups and an accentuated background noise, mimicking the sensory overload faced by its subjects. The film attempts to construct a bridge between two worlds: as Higashida says, he does not want to be like others, but he wants to be “with other people”.

Daughters of Abdul-Rahman (2021) by Zaid Abu HamdanScreening on November 25

The film tells a story of women’s ideological and social liberation, drawing attention to the stereotypical characterizations of women in a community where patriarchy and machismo dominate. It raises issues of family life, domestic violence, underage marriage, customs and traditions, and specifically, the upbringing of girls in Arab societies. It also deals with thorny issues such as gender discrimination and the wearing of the niqab.

Daughter of Abdul-Rahman follows the story of Zainab, who wakes up to a shocking discovery that could spoil her reputation within her neighborhood. She quickly calls for her sisters’ aid. There is Amal with her own secret struggle, Samah who is too busy to be present, and Khitam who is focused on her own goals.

The four sisters escape their restricted reality and soon become estranged. But after years apart, they are forced to return to their family home to solve the mystery of their father’s sudden disappearance.

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