Actor Riz Ahmed in 'Mogul Mowgli'. Picture: Supplied
Actor Riz Ahmed in 'Mogul Mowgli'. Picture: Supplied

WATCH: What's on offer at the European Film Festival 2020

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Nov 10, 2020

Share this article:

This year’s European Film Festival is filled with a variety of feature films, from comedy to drama to topical, thought provoking flicks that will have you at the edge of your seat.

Let’s take a look at the line-up.

“Narcissus and Goldmund” directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (Austria)

Language: German with English subtitles (2020)

In the dark middle ages, young, unruly Goldmund is sent to a monastery by his father to atone for the sins of his mother, who abandoned them.

It is there that he meets Narcissus, a brilliant, scholarly novice, who is introverted and aloof. A unique and deep life-long friendship is born.

Narcissus chooses to remain detached from the world in prayer and meditation. Goldmund, who is passionate, sensual and impulsive, runs away from the monastery to live a picaresque wanderer's life, his amorous and artistic adventures leading him to discover the extremes of both ecstasy and pain.

Several thrilling years pass, until one day these friends cross paths again. This drama stars Jannis Niewöhner, Sabin Tambrea, Emilia Schüle.

“Home Front” directed by Lucas Belvaux (Belgium)Language: French/ Algerian with English subtitles (2020)

France, Burgundy, 2003, in a village where everyone knows everyone. Solange's 60th birthday party is interrupted by her estranged brother, Feu-de-Bois.

His menacing presence cuts through the crowd of villagers gathered for the occasion and his outburst will bring back harrowing memories of the colonial war they were called up to fight in Algeria.

Lucas Belvaux delivers a moving polyphonic story of a toxic past which is still not fully spoken of today, giving back their voice to an entire generation of French men, those who were 20 years old in Algeria, questioning the masculinity of the time, and how one builds oneself as a man. This drama stars Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Frot, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Yoann Zimmer, Félix Kysyl, Édouard Sulpice.

“Proxima” directed by Alice Winocour (France)

Language: French, German, English with English subtitles (2019)

Engineer and astronaut Sarah Loreau lives alone with Stella, her seven-year-old daughter, when she is selected for the Proxima space programme, for which she will spend a year in space — the last mission before Mars.

While following the rigorous training imposed on astronauts, the only woman in the midst of men, she prepares especially for the separation from her daughter.

Sarah feels guilty that she cannot spend more time with her child, and training regulations complicate the mother-daughter relationship.

Exactly where do her commitments and priorities lie? Career or Family? There are choices to be made. This drama stars, Eva Green, Zélie Boulant-Lemesle, Matt Dillon, Lars Eidinger, Aleksey Fateev.

“Curveball” directed by Johannes Naber (Germany)

“Curveball” tells the true story of how the Iraq war was started based on nothing but fake intelligence and the involvement of the German secret service.

Bioweapons expert Wolf of the German Federal Intelligence Service BND is obsessed with the idea that, despite the UN inspections, anthrax is still being produced in Iraq.

Director Johannes Naber’s often outrageous delivery occasionally and unashamedly uses artistic licence to register both the validities and absurdities of this excellent satirical thriller.

“The 8th” directed by Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, Maeve O’Boyle (Ireland)

This documentary about abortion is a highly emotive and divisive topic around the world, no more so than in Ireland. Including voices from both sides of the reproductive rights debate, “The 8th” primarily focuses on how grassroots activism can engineer change – in this case the campaign to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion.

The academic, feminist and human rights activist Ailbhe Smyth provides a dynamic thread which contextualises the ups and downs of the campaign process. Cast, Ailbhe Smyth, Andrea Horan, Maria Steen.

“The Traitor” directed by Marco Bellocchio (Italy)Language: Italian, Portuguese with English subtitles (2019)

Marco Bellocchio's dynamic drama profiles real-life mafia boss turned informer Tommaso Buscetta, whose whistleblowing on his former colleagues led to the largest prosecution of the Sicilian mafia in Italian history.

The film opens in the early '80s as Buscetta, looking to escape an escalating internal war among Cosa Nostra factions, flees Palermo for Brazil.

When he is eventually arrested and repatriated to Italy, Buscetta discovers that his family has been decimated in a power struggle over the local drug trade.

After striking up a rapport with Judge Giovanni Falcone, Buscetta agrees to testify against his former associates, resulting in the mass arrests of over 300 Cosa Nostra members and bosses. Starring Pierfrancesco Favino, Maria Fernanda Cândido, Nicola Calí, Luigi Lo Cascio, Fabrizio.

“In The Dusk” directed by Sharunas Bartas (Lithuania)Language: Lithuanian with English subtitles (2020)

Lithuania, 1948. War is over, but the country is left in ruins. Life is remorselessly tough on the family farm when 19 year-old Unte returns from the war.

Living in the forest nearby are Partisan movement members resisting Soviet occupation. In these desperate times the debilitating effects of war amplify suspicion and mistrust everywhere.

There are no winners in this kind of war. At a time when he should be coming of age and discovering life, Untė discovers violence, despair and treachery, blurring the transition between youth and adulthood for a young man who has lots of questions, about family, about history, about justice, about the state of their world.

Cast, Arvydas Dapsys, Marius Povilas Elijas Martinenko, Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene, Valdas Virgailis, Vita Siauciunaite.

“Becoming Mona” directed by Sabine Lubbe Bakker, Niels van Koevorden (The Netherlands)Language: Dutch with English subtitles (2020)

Life is what happens when you stop living someone else’s and start living your own.

An emotionally-charged tragicomic journey of courage, forgiveness and self-discovery, ‘Becoming Mona”tells a story in three parts of Mona’s struggle to break free from the stifling constraints of a life lived in service of other people’s egos.

When her mother dies in a car accident, Mona is only nine years old.

When her father gets a new girlfriend Mona does everything she can to make the new family work, despite the bullying she experiences.

Even in adulthood, everyone walks over Mona…until one day she realizes that this cannot go on. Cast: Tanya Zabarylo, Valentijn Dhaenens, Tom Vermeir, Wine Dierickx.

“Sweat” directed by Magnus von Horn (Poland)Language: Polish with English subtitles (2020)

“Sweat” recounts three days in the life of fitness motivator Sylwia Zając, whose presence on social media has made her a celebrity.

Although she has hundreds of thousands of followers, is surrounded by loyal employees and admired by acquaintances, she is looking for true intimacy.

Sylwia’s own self-centeredness alienates her from meaningful relationships, and beneath the slick workouts, the azure-blue gaze and big smile we discover a fragility that will be tested. Cast: Magdalena Koleśnik, Julian Świeżewski, Aleksandra Konieczna, Zbigniew Zamachowski.

“One Careful Owner” directed by Bernabe Rico (Spain)

Language: Spanish with English subtitles (2020)

In this dramatic comedy Sara is offered the chance to buy the house of her dreams, she can’t believe her luck.

There’s just one “small” snag: Lola, the 80-year old current owner, will remain living in it until she dies.

In theory, Sara shouldn’t have to wait long to have the house all to herself. Lola has already had two heart-bypasses, smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish.

Things don’t turn out exactly as expected. The months go by and Lola seems more vivacious than ever!

And to make matters worse, Sara’s own life starts to crumble around her after an unexpected event.

The two women, so very different, yet united in their loneliness, will form an unlikely friendship.

One that is filled with tenderness, emotion and a lot of laughs. Cast: Juana Acosta, Kiti Manver, Carlos Areces, Jose Sacristan.

“I am Greta” directed by Nathan Grossman (Sweden)

Greta Thunberg has become a global legend without even trying, inspiring climate activism and youth movements across the planet.

The story of this teenage climate activist is told through compelling, never-before-seen footage in this intimate documentary from Swedish director Nathan Grossman.

Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Greta - a shy schoolgirl with Asperger’s – in her rise to prominence, and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world.

The film culminates with her astonishing wind powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.

“Mogul Mowgli” directed by Bassam Tariq (United Kingdom) Language: English, Urdu (2020)

A British Pakistani rapper is on the cusp of his first world tour, when he is struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his big break.

Forced to move back in with his family, he begins to struggle to find his place in the world, torn between an international music career and the traditions of his conservative Pakistani parents.

Through rap music, Qawwali and the fever dreams of an inherited illness, Zed confronts his relationship to his own culture, faith and family. Cast: Riz Ahmed, Aiysha Hart, Anjana Vasan, Alyy Khan, Nabhaan Rizwan, Kiran Sonia Sawar.

Share this article:

Related Articles