Below we composed a selection of European filmfestival movies of 2016 that will hopefully have a deep impact on you as a visitor.
Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea)
Takes place on Italian island Lampedusa. It focuses on a twelve year old boy named Samuele, who lives on the island and captures the life, history and culture of Lampedusans. Lampedusa is located closer to Tunisia than to Sicily and has become the nearest destination for North-African migrants who want to start a new life in Europe. Since the military coast guard took over rescuing capsized boat migrants from local fishermen, Lampedusans are hardly ever confronted with the migrants landing on their shores. Fuocoammare beautifully captures the contrast between the slow island life and the humanitarian crisis it’s become the central point for.
Director and one-man film crew Gianfranco Rosi spent months on the island, following Samuele, the island inhabitants and the coast guard rescuing migrants. The raw reality of the Italian/French movie impresses many. The film was awarded a Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the most prestigious European independent film prizes that exists.
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Duration: 108 minutes
Bodkin Ras A Stranger Among Us
Is the story of a young refugee named Bodkin Ras, who moves to a small town in the North-East of Scotland. The movie is a remarkable clash of reality and fiction, the only real actor is the man who plays Bodkin Ras. The town folk play themselves as their life stories have been woven into the script. The movie consists of wonderful moving images of the Scottish rural area, its colourful inhabitants and their fear and apprehension of the unknown. The movie succeeds to grasp the onlooker into the story and beautifully captures the poignant personal troubles of all the characters. A most wonderful part of the film is the fading border between reality and fiction, due to the implementing of personal stories.
The film/documentary has been awarded with the FIPRESCI Award at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam. FIPRESCI stands for Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique and is awarded by a jury.
Director: Kaweh Modiri
Duration: 79 minutes
The Sinking of Sozopol
Is a mysterious dramatic film based on the novel by Ina Valchanova. It’s about the people in a Bulgarian seaside town called Sozopol, where one day an old inhabitant returns. The man brings ten bottles of vodka and is determined to commit suicide after he finishes them all. The film follows his journey towards this event, but also reflects on his past and the things that happened that shaped him into the person he became. A very interesting movie with many great supporting roles and lovely scenery that emphasizes the melancholy feel of the film. The movie is a great personal tragedy about lost love, wrong choices, guilt and the difficult relationship between a father and his son.
The movie received many awards for best film, one of which from the New York City International Film Festival after being nominated in seven categories. It also received the Golden Eagle award at the 2016 Prague International Film Festival, the highest prize.
Director: Kostadin Bonev
Duration: 100 minutes
Thirst | Jajda
Tells the story of a family of mother, father and son who live on the top of a hill and wash hotel sheets for a living. However, they don’t always have water because of their inconvenient location. Then one day a father and daughter show up, telling them they can dig a well and that way make sure that they will always have a steady water supply and won’t be dependent of the faulty state water pipes anymore.
However, the deeper story of this independent movie is about much more than the need for water. The arrival of the father and daughter brings the fractured family life of both families to light and shows the hardships anyone can more or less recognize. Combined with a beautiful location and its being cut off from the rest of the world, in a Bulgarian agricultural outback, it really tells a grasping tale. One that reminds of former Soviet cinema, doesn’t lose its grip and keeps you fascinated and alert throughout the whole picture.
The film went in premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival and traveled through Europe afterwards. It has been awarded the Crossing Europe Audience Award.
Director: Svetla Tsotsorkova
Duration: 90 minutes
Mrs B., a North Korean Woman
Is a French/South Korean documentary about Mrs. B., a woman who fled North-Korea in order to make money. She ended up in China, sold by smugglers to a Chinese farmer whose family she now takes care of. The audience sees her adjusting to her new life and even starting to love her new family. We also see her as she starts up her own smuggling route to help North-Korean families flee to South-Korea. All the while, she has left two sons behind and it is now nine years since she’s seen them. The camera then follows her as she sets off on a journey to see her sons again. A beautifully mundane story about a persevering woman who tries to make the best of the life she’s been given.
Director: Jero Yun
Duration: 71 minutes