EUFF kicks off with eclectic lineup

​Celebrating cinematography, the European Film Festival lands in Amman with a little something for everyone, featuring local and European films. Here is the first part of films to see.

(Photo: European Film Festival)
The much anticipated 35 edition of the European Film Festival (EUFF) is set to commence on September 29 and will conclude on October 13 with an opportunity for film enthusiasts to immerse themselves in a diverse selection of European and Jordanian films. Hosted by the Royal Film Commission, the opening night is set to take place at the Haya Cultural Center, promising film goers a visual feast. Are you ready to dig in? اضافة اعلان

With its 35th year in action, EUFF sets to be inclusive to film enthusiasts, providing English and Arabic subtitles that will accompany all 18 European and Jordanian films, ensuring that regardless of language, anyone can enjoy the beauty of film and the art of storytelling. This year also includes an opportunity for enthusiasts to whip out their phones and get in on the filmmaking action with a mobile film competition, which is free of charge.

Now, for the reviews.

CloseCountry: Belgium
Director: Lukas Dhon
Genre: Drama/Narrative
September 29 at 8p.m.

Close is a 2022 Belgian drama film written and directed by Lukas Dhont. It stars Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele as Léo and Rémi, two 13-year-old boys whose intense friendship is suddenly disrupted. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and is nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards.

Close is a deeply moving and beautifully crafted film about the complexities of friendship, identity, and masculinity. Dhont has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the adolescent experience. The film is anchored by two remarkable performances from Dambrine and De Waele, who capture the nuances of their characters' relationship with honesty and sensitivity.

Close is not an easy film to watch as it deals with some difficult subjects, so film goers should be aware, however, it holds a message, that includes hope and resilience as part of its core.

Born for the SabreCountry: Poland
Genre: Drama
Director: Pawel Delag
September 30, 2023

Born for the Saber (2019) is a Polish documentary drama film directed by Paweł Deląg. The film is set in 17th-century Poland and tells the story of a young nobleman and knight, Błażej Wronowski, who is trained in the art of saber fighting by the legendary Jan Jerlicz.

The film is divided into two parts. The first part is a documentary that explores the history and culture of the Polish saber. The second part is a fictional drama that tells the story of Błażej's training and his journey to becoming a knight.

Born for the Saber is a visually stunning film with a strong sense of atmosphere. However, it is also a slow-paced and somewhat meandering film. The first part of the film, the documentary, is more informative than engaging. The second part of the film, the fictional drama, is more engaging, but it is also less focused. The film's central character, Błażej Wronowski, is not particularly well-developed, and his journey to becoming a knight feels somewhat rushed.

Despite its flaws, Born for the Saber is a worthwhile film for anyone interested in Polish history and culture. It is also a well-made film with some truly beautiful cinematography.

AlineCountry: France
Genre: Drama/Biography/comedy
Director: Valérie Lemercier
October 1 at 7p.m.

Aline is a 2021 French biographical musical drama film written, directed by, and starring Valérie Lemercier as Aline Dieu, a fictional singer based on Céline Dion. The film follows Aline's life from her childhood in Charlemagne, Quebec, to her rise to international stardom.

Aline is a strange and uneven film. It is at times funny, heartwarming, and even suspenseful. However, it is also frequently over-the-top and melodramatic.

Lemercier's performance is the highlight of the film. She captures Aline's ambition, vulnerability, and comedic timing perfectly. The supporting cast is also good, particularly Sylvain Marcel as Guy-Claude Kamar, Aline's manager and lover.

The film's musical numbers are also a highlight. Lemercier sings all of Aline's songs herself, and she does a great job of capturing Dion's powerful vocals. The songs are also well-written and catchy.

However, the film's campy tone and lack of originality are major drawbacks. The film is essentially a thinly veiled biopic of Céline Dion, and it does not offer anything new or insightful about her life or career.

Avalanche of LoveCountry: Slovakia
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Jakub Machala
October 2 at 7p.m.

Avalanche of Love is a 2022 Slovak romantic comedy film directed by Jakub Machala. The film stars Tamara Fischerová as Alex, a bride-to-be whose wedding day is turned upside down when her groom disappears. Alex, her mother, her stepfather, her father, the ski instructor Peter, and his new crush Klara embark on a crazy adventure to find the disappeared groom.

Avalanche of Love is a light and fluffy romantic comedy that is sure to put a smile on your face. The film is full of humor, heart, and charm.

The film's cast is excellent. Tamara Fischerová is particularly good as Alex, a strong and determined woman who is determined to find her groom. The supporting cast is also good, particularly Jakub Prachař as Peter, the ski instructor who helps Alex on her quest.

The film's direction is also good. Machala does a great job of creating a sense of fun and excitement. He also captures the beauty of the Slovak mountains.

 It is a film that is full of humor, heart, and charm.

The Naked truth about ZighuliCountry: Bulgaria
Genre: Comedy, Drama,Musical
Director: Victor Bojinov
October 3 at 7p.m.

The Naked Truth About Zighuli (2021) is a Bulgarian comedy-drama-musical film directed by Victor Bojinov. The film tells the story of a former rock band, Zighuli, who are forced to reunite for one last concert in order to raise money for their lead singer's daughter's expensive education.

The Naked Truth About Zighuli is a charming and funny film with a lot of heart. The film's cast is excellent, particularly Mihail Bilalov as the lead singer, Dimitar Rachkov as the band's manager, and Irini Jambonas as the lead singer's wife.

The film's music is also very good. The songs are catchy and well-written, and they are performed with great energy by the cast.

However, the film does have some flaws. The tone of the film is uneven, and it can be difficult to tell whether the film is trying to be a comedy, a drama, or a musical. The film also lacks originality, and it feels like a rehash of many other films that have been made before.

BUKOCountry: Czechia
Genre: Comedy Drama
Director: Alice Nellis
October 5 at 7p.m.

BUKO (2022) is a Czech comedy film directed by Alice Nellis. The film tells the story of Jarmila (Anna Cónová), a woman who is facing a difficult decision: whether to accept her husband's death or to fight for a new life.

BUKO is a heartwarming and uplifting film about finding new beginnings in the face of loss. The film is beautifully shot and acted, and it features a charming performance from Anna Cónová as Jarmila.

The film is also notable for its realistic portrayal of grief. Jarmila's grief is not always easy to watch, but it is always honest and believable.

SchoolgirlsCountry: Spain
Genre: Drama
Director: Pilar Palomero
October 6 at 6:30p.m.

Schoolgirls (2020) is a Spanish coming-of-age drama film directed by Pilar Palomero. The film tells the story of Celia (Andrea Fandós), an 11-year-old girl who is attending a Catholic girls' school in Zaragoza, Spain in 1992.

Celia is a good student and a good girl. She is also very religious. However, Celia's life is turned upside down when a new student, Brisa (Zoe Arnao), arrives at her school. Brisa is everything that Celia is not. She is rebellious, outspoken, and free-spirited.

Brisa quickly becomes Celia's best friend, and the two girls begin to explore the world together. They start to experiment with makeup, clothing, and boys. They also start to question the strict rules of their school and their religion.

Schoolgirls is a beautifully made and moving film about the coming-of-age process. Palomero does a masterful job of capturing the confusion, excitement, and anxiety of adolescence. She also creates a strong sense of atmosphere, with the film's Catholic school setting serving as a microcosm of the repressive social and political climate of Spain in the early 1990s.

The film's performances are also excellent, with Andrea Fandós giving a particularly breakout performance as Celia. Fandós perfectly captures Celia's innocence, vulnerability, and strength.

TarracCountry: Ireland
Genre: Contemporary Drama
Director: Declan Recks
October 6 at 8:30p.m.

Tarrac is a well-made and entertaining drama film directed by Declan Recks. It tells the story of a group of women in a small Irish-speaking village who decide to form a traditional rowing team. The film is beautifully shot and features a strong performance from Kelly Gough as Aoife, a woman who returns home to help her father recover from a heart attack and finds herself drawn back into the world of competitive rowing.

It is a story about female solidarity, overcoming challenges, and finding your place in the world. It is also a film about grief, family, and community. Recks does a masterful job of balancing the film's lighter and darker moments, and he creates a strong sense of atmosphere and place.

Tarrac is a heartwarming and inspiring Irish drama about a group of women who form a traditional rowing team. It is a beautifully shot film with strong performances, particularly from Kelly Gough. While the screenplay can be a bit predictable at times, the film's strengths outweigh its flaws.

In addition to the strengths mentioned in my previous review, I would also like to add that Tarrac is a beautifully shot film. The cinematography captures the stunning scenery of the Kerry Gaeltacht region, and it also creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the characters.

Last DanceCountry: Switzerland
Genre: Fiction
Director: Delphine Lehericey
October 7 at 7p.m.

Last Dance (2022) is a Swiss comedy film directed by Delphine Lehericey. The film tells the story of Germain (François Cluzet), a retired man who joins a contemporary dance troupe after his wife suddenly dies.

Germain is initially hesitant to join the dance troupe, but he is eventually persuaded by his daughter, Alice (Alice Belaïdi), who is also a dancer. Germain quickly discovers that he has a natural talent for dance, and he begins to enjoy himself immensely.

The film follows Germain as he learns to dance and prepares for the troupe's upcoming performance. Along the way, he makes new friends and finds a new sense of purpose in life.

Last Dance is a heartwarming and uplifting film about finding joy and meaning in life, even in the face of loss. Cluzet gives a charming and moving performance as Germain, and the supporting cast is also excellent. The film's dance sequences are beautifully choreographed and performed.

Chronicles of herCountry: Jordan
Genre: Drama
Directors: Group of Females
October 7 at 8:30p.m.

Chronicles of Her (2020) is a Jordanian drama film directed by Taghrid Abouelhassan, Maysoon Khaled, Rim Mejdi, Emna Najjar, and Farah Shaer. The film is an anthology film, consisting of five short films that tell the stories of five different women.

The first film, "Diana," tells the story of a young woman who is caught in a love triangle. The second film, "Ahd," tells the story of a woman who is struggling to come to terms with her infertility. The third film, "Aisha," tells the story of a woman who is trying to escape from an abusive relationship. The fourth film, "Hala," tells the story of a woman who is trying to balance her career and her family life. The fifth film, "Maha," tells the story of a woman who is struggling to find her place in the world.

Chronicles of Her is a powerful and moving film that gives a voice to the women in the middle east. The film is beautifully shot and features strong performances from the cast. The directors do a masterful job of capturing the diversity of the female experience in Jordan.

Stay tuned for part two featuring our reviews of the films at the 35th EUFF.

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