News Column

25th European Film Festival opens this week

September 29, 2013


Sept. 29--AMMAN -- Tales of happiness, love, friendship, freedom and the pursuit of a better world will be told in Jordan this week with screenings of films that are part of the 2013 European Film Festival.

The 25th festival opens on Sunday with a screening of Austrian director Harald Friedl's "What Happiness Is" at the Royal Film Commission (RFC).

The documentary follows the adventures of a group of people on a quest to find out what the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Bhutan regard as "happy".

Bhutan, squeezed between India and China, is known worldwide as the "Land of True Happiness" after implementing a happiness index to measure its success.

"Wherever you are from in the world, a good film that touches on the shared universal human emotions that we can all relate to is appreciated by all," European Union Ambassador Joanna Wroenecka told reporters at a press conference last week to announce the event.

"The European Film Festival is an opportunity to demonstrate -- through the art of film -- that regardless of culture or language, we all seek the same goals in life -- happiness, love, freedom and a better world," Wroenecka said.

The festival is organised by the EU Delegation to Jordan and European embassies in cooperation with the RFC.

Featuring a range of award-winning fictional films and documentaries from 13 European countries, the festival runs until October 6.

Screenings in Amman will be held at the Rainbow Theatre, with special screenings to be held in Zarqa, Irbid and Ajloun throughout the festival.

Among the hits to be screened at the festival are the 2012 Berlin Film Festival's top-prize winner "Caesar must die" -- a drama by Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's filmed in a Rome prison while its inmates prepare to stage William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" -- and the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature "Searching for Sugar man" from the UK.

Malik Bendjelloul's documentary follows two friends from South Africa as they set out to discover what happened to their "mysterious" musical hero, the 1970s rock star Rodriguez.

European countries from the former eastern bloc will present movies touching on people's quest for freedom and the countries' communist past.

"The Rebels", by Czech director Filip Ren? who is to attend the screening, is a musical recreating the lively atmosphere of the 1960s that led to the Prague Spring, the period of political liberalisation in former Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union.

Chicago Film Festival award-winning drama "Exam" by Hungarian director Peter Bergendy tells the story of a national security officer whose friend and supervisor starts to spy on him amid Hungary's climate of suspicion in the late 1950s.

Starring French actress Audrey Tautou, "Therese" is an adaptation by director Claude Miller of the eponymous classic French novel in which a woman trapped in a disappointing marriage tries to reclaim her freedom.

An attempt to reconstruct the life of Greek-Syrian poet and painter Etel Adnan via an array of visual fragments and a multiplicity of languages is the subject of the festival's Greek's contribution "Etel Adnan: Words in exile", a documentary which shows the renewed interest of Greece's film makers in social realism, Greek Ambassador to Jordan Maria Louisa Marinakis told reporters.

Two award winning Arab films "Coming Forth by Day" by Egyptian director Hala Lotfy and Moroccan "Camera/Woman" by director Karima Zoubir will be shown during the week in a special session at the Royal Film Commission.

"The fact that we have reached the 25th edition of the European Film Festival shows the event's sustainability, which has successfully built bridges between Jordan and the old continent during all its history," Institut Francais Director Charles-Henri Gross said.


(c)2013 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)

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