16 award-winning films on offer at 10th European Film Festival

A scene from “Goodbye Julia”. Picture: Supplied

A scene from “Goodbye Julia”. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 5, 2023


Movie buffs in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town are in for a treat as Oscar nominees, Cannes winners and other thought-provoking films from Europe will be on show during the European Film Festival.

Set to take place from October 12 to 22 at The Zone in Johannesburg, The Labia in Cape Town and at Ster-Kinekor Gateway in Durban, the line-up features 16 new award-winning films.

The European Union’s ambassador to South Africa, Sandra Kramer, said that not only does the festival showcase some of the most acclaimed productions to have emerged from the film industries in Europe, but the films provide thought-provoking perspectives on issues that are just as meaningful to South Africans as they are to people everywhere.

“We hope this festival will strengthen connections between Europe and South Africa, and its immediate neighbours Eswatini and Lesotho.

“May this festival stimulate discussion and new ideas around our shared experiences, hopes and dreams, as together we face our ever-changing world.”

Under the theme “Transition”, movie buffs in the three provinces will have the privilege of watching films that offer a cinematic reflection of the transition people go through during our turbulent and fast-moving times.

Peter Rorvik, festival co-director and curator said: “There can be numerous transitional moments in a lifetime: awakenings, re-awakenings, renewal of purpose, our self-understanding and our direction in life.

“Transition is, in essence, a response to change, a process of managing change, or making a change.

“All these elements of transition feature prominently in the line-up of films on offer this year.

“The illuminating power of cinema transports us deeply into these experiences, milestones, growth points and turning points, which offer resonance with our own life journeys, and the shared life journeys of those around us,” said Rorvik.

Opening the festival this year is the African-European film “Goodbye Julia”.

This remarkable six-country co-production between Sudan, Egypt, Germany, France, Sweden and Saudi-Arabia, tells the story of two women who represent the complicated relationship and differences between northern and southern Sudanese communities.

“Goodbye Julia”. Picture: Supplied

The multi-layered narrative takes place in Khartoum during the last years of Sudan as a united country, shortly before the 2011 separation of South Sudan.

Other new films on offer include “Anatomy of a Fall”, “The Old Oak”, “The Teachers Lounge” and “Mavka - The forest Song”.

Directed by Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall” won the top prize at Cannes the Palm d’Or. Starring Sandra Huller, this part thorny family story, part whodunit, part courtroom drama, puts marital power dynamics under the microscope.

“Anatomy of a Fall”. Picture: Supplied.

Veteran UK filmmaker Ken Loach’s latest work “The Old Oak” is an incisive social drama about an English village where there is anger, resentment and a lack of hope since the closing of the local mine. What more could go wrong for the world-weary townsfolk?

It is a timely story about modern Britain, immigration, xenophobia, and the need for compassion and understanding.

In “The Teachers’ Lounge” a young teacher decides to investigate a theft at her school. Things escalate dramatically. Crackling with tension, İlker Çatak’s film is about a lot of things — conformity, rebellion, racism, optics, and intergenerational mistrust.

“The Teachers’ Lounge”. Picture: Supplied

The film swept up the top prizes at this year’s German Film Awards: Best Film, Best Direction, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, and has just been selected as Germany’s submission for next year’s Oscars.

And carving a path to peace and a future beyond war, “Mavka - The Forest Song” by directors Oleh Malamuzh and Oleksandra Ruban, is a family animation with key intrinsic messages, and the highest-grossing Ukrainian film ever.

“Mavka - The Forest Song”. Picture: Supplied

Poignant and uplifting, this animated story touches on themes of love, trust, and the co-existence of two worlds: people and forest creatures. And the transformative power of music.

11 films can be viewed for free online. For more information visit www.eurofilmfest.co.za.