The European Film Festival, organised by the EU Delegation, is now in its 25th year. It aims to celebrate cultural ties between Europe and Lebanon, while providing a platform for creative expression, inpsiring dialogue and debate, and exploring common topics of interest to European and Lebanese society. This year’s event saw 36 full-length feature films screened at Cinema Metropolis Empire Sofil in Beirut from 24 January - 4 February, in an abundance of European languages, as well as 12 short films produced by Lebanese students.
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The 25th European Film Festival in partnership with @cinemathequebeirut pays tribute to the life and work of filmmaker Jocelyne Saab, who left us too early on the 7th of January 2019, whose images and poetry were only met by a stronger energy and commitment to speak on behalf of those with no voices. Be many to join us tonight at 10 PM for the screening of "Il était une fois Beyrouth" goo.gl/4BnPxC #25thEuropeanFilmFestival #coproductions #Lebanon #Europe #France #Germany
The program boasts recent critically-acclaimed films that won big at other international film festivals, but also the debut productions of up-and-coming filmmakers. To mark the quarter century, three Lebanese films from the ‘90s that were co-produced with EU Member States were also screened: Ghassan Salhab's Beyrouth Fantôme, co-produced with France, Jocelyne Saab's Once Upon a Time in Beirut, co-produced with Germany and Layla Assaf's The Freedom Gang, co-produced with Sweden. The film fest will now travel to nine cities across Lebanon in an effort to allow wider access to European culture - Saida, Nabatieh, Tyre, Jounieh, Tripoli, Zgharta, Deir el Qamar, Zahle and wrapping up in Baalbeck on 20th February.
Here are the films we enjoyed seeing in the limelight and that are worth keeping an eye out for...
Darling - Denmark
Darling shows the rise and fall of a world-famous ballerina, whose dance career is brought to a sudden end by a hip injury. She decides to train her replacement, Polly, but watching the younger dancer steal the spotlight soon begins to take a psychological and emotional toll on her. Sound Black Swan-esque? Watch and decide for yourself…
Maria (And Everybody Else) - Spain
Bárbara Lennie received critical acclaim for her performance as the title role, a dutiful 35-year-old woman who has held her family together since the death of her mother, but who turns her life around when her father announces he plans to marry his nurse.
Happy End - Austria
The star-studded cast includes Isabelle Huppert, Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean-Louis Trintignant, and is cemented in its genius by veteran director Michael Haneke’s signature genius cinematic style. The film is an existentialist family drama, following the ups and downs of life in the Laurent family, and also comments on the city of Calais’ two faces.
Rosemarie – Cyprus
A talented writer who swapped high-brow literature for soap opera scripts is experiencing writer’s block and looks to his neighbours for plot and character inspiration, but soon realises that he is involved in their problems perhaps past the point of no return.
Summer 1993 - Spain
Spain's Oscar submssion in 2018, the Catalan film tells the touching story of six-year-old Frida, who, after the death of her parents, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in the countryside. Featuring stellar child performances, Frida must navigate childhood in the wake of the tragedy, whilst her aunt and uncle learn to accept her as their own.