The European Film Festival was organized for the first time in 1991 by a small group of embassies in Yangon. It was set up as an alternative to the state propaganda under the military dictatorship and functioned as a window on the rest of the world. Today, after 26 years in existence, the European Film Festival has still not lost its special status. Now, instead of providing an alternative to the very limited and manipulated cinema of the past, its aim is to bring artistically more interesting movies to Myanmar as a counterweight to the usual blockbusters from Hollywood and Bollywood.
This year again, exceptional themes find their way to the cinema screen. The Polish contribution takes us back to the Stalinist dictatorship in Eastern Europe and its suppression of international modernism by enforcing Socialist Realism on the arts and the artists. Others take on more contemporary issues, often reflecting critically the situation in the countries of their origin: the Swedish and Italian films, for instance, point out the negative consequences of capitalism, the Finnish film takes a critical stance on the responses to the huge European refugee crisis
The fates of two families are irrevocably tied together when a cyclist is hit by a car in a cold winter´s night. The complex drama unfolds as a risky business deal is struck and the brutal effects of the economic crisis pervades personal relationships. This is a touching and critical account of the impacts of irresponsible speculation on human lives, where few win and many loose.
The last film of the great Polish director Andzej Wajda tells the story of the painter and professor Wladyslaw Strzeminski. Living in a Poland where art has to follow the rules of politics under Stalin´s dictatorship, he fights for his artistic freedom, opposing political and personal obstacles.
When his application for asylum is rejected Khaled, a Syrian refugee, finds himself chased by both the immigration police and a group of racist skinheads. By chance he runs into the eccentric yet generous Finnish restaurateur Wikström, who takes Khaled under his wing. But can individual action change the inhumane mechanisms of the system?
Abandoned by his parents in their luxurious mansion and without any friends, Maik is preparing for a lonely and uneventful summer break. Then suddenly Tschick comes along with a stolen blue Lada and together the two of them embark on an adventurous road-trip. Following their drive straight through the Eastern-German province, the movie tells a story of first love, unlikely friendship and the overwhelming challenge of growing up.
When his chemotherapy remains unsuccessful, Julián resolves to spend his last months outside the hospital bed while facing the certainty of an untimely death. Having to accept his childhood friend´s decision, Tomás accompanies Julián as he takes leave from his son and companions. The only task that keeps Julián in this world is to find a worthy home for his most intimate partner, the tender bulldog Truman.
With a past in homelessness and drugs, James fends for himself as a street musician in London. Although barely making enough money to feed himself, he refuses to turn a blind eye when one evening a wounded stray cat appears on his doorstep. This is the funny and at times adventurous story of an unusual friendship.
With the confident charisma of the desperate salesman, Georges has failed one overambitious project after another. When he learns that Pope John Paul II is coming to Belgium, he convinces his family one last time to support him and plans to reopen the old Café Derby. Based on real events this is the tragicomic story of a cheerful yet slightly dysfunctional family.
After the tragic death of their son, the now divorced couple Isabelle and Gérard both receive a mysterious letter from their son, asking for one last meeting. In the scorching loneliness of the Californian desert, under picture-perfect blue skies and before the backdrop of Hollywood’s most famous rocky sceneries, the meeting between the former couple escalates more and more into a psychological thriller.
The stubborn violin maker Vedder faces hardship and tragedy as he opposes rich businessmen who want to tear down his home to erect a luxury hotel. Together with his pharmacist cousin he comes up with a risky scheme to make money when the businessmen simply build the hotel around his house. But can this go well? A marvellously executed and captivating insight into the Holland of the late 19th century.
Like many young Swedes Dino has left her home to make a living in the flourishing capital of Norway. When she is offered a job as a nanny in an upper middle class home, she enters a world very far from her own. She soon develops a special relationship with the father and his two daughters. This is both a tender and harsh story of privileges and longings, of affection and dependence…
On his first journey alone to the big city of Berlin, Emil finds himself faced with the injustices and dangers of the world of the grown-ups. Luckily, he soon makes many friends and together the young detectives prove that even the smallest among us have what it takes to be heroes.
The Mole lives happily in the forest with his friends Rabbit and Hedgehog. One day enormous machines cut down all the trees, bushes and flowers until nothing is left of their home but one lonely tree stump. All of a sudden, a huge city full of people and cars pops up around them. The three of them decide to make a protest, and set out to explore the city and cause a lot of mischief on their way.
Life has not been easy for young Zucchini. When his alcoholic mother is killed in a tragic accident, he finds himself in a foster home with many other children who have been abandoned by their parents in one way or another. New friendships are forged and together they discover for the first time how beautiful and full of adventures can be – and begin to grasp the true meaning of friendship and love.