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Four favorite picks from Europe on Screen

Stanley Widianto
Stanley Widianto

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, May 8, 2018 | 08:34 am
Four favorite picks from Europe on Screen

Held from May 3 to 12, the festival is known for putting together an eclectic selection of films produced by European filmmakers and production houses, with the genres ranging from romance to arthouse. (Shutterstock/-)

The longest running international film festival in Indonesia, Europe on Screen (EoS), returns for its 18th edition in six cities, namely Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya, Denpasar and Yogyakarta.

Held from May 3 to 12, the festival is known for putting together an eclectic selection of films produced by European filmmakers and production houses, with the genres ranging from romance to arthouse.

In Jakarta, the films will be screened at selected venues such as Kineforum, Tugu Kuntskring Paleis, Erasmus Huis, Goethe Haus, Gandaria City, Institut Français Indonesia and more.

“What makes this year’s EoS different from previous editions is the smoother categorization of films, so audiences can easily choose the films they want to watch,” said Nauval Yazid who, alongside Meninaputri Wismurti, coordinated the event.

In addition, EoS allocates film production funds for aspiring short filmmakers. The winning films will be screened at next year’s event.

EoS has been held since 1990, first under the name European Film Festival. It became Europe on Screen in 2003. According to its official website, the films hail from “European Union countries, and other participating European countries with representatives in Indonesia”. They also range in varieties, from documentaries, short films to feature-length films. Venues also include both open-air and indoor settings, and the event will be free of charge.

This year’s festival recognizes Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Marking the 100th year of his life, a retrospective will feature three of his most celebrated films: Autumn Sonata ( 1978 ), The Seventh Seal ( 1957 ) and Wild Strawberries ( 1957 ). Throughout its run, EoS has also recognized names like French filmmaker Jacques Tati to Austrian-German-American filmmaker Fritz Lang and more.

But the list doesn’t stop there. The total number of films being screened is 93, and most of them are far from Hollywood or popular theaters in town. “Because of the shorter preparation time, [Meninaputri] and I tried to put ourselves in the audience’s shoes; whether we, as an audience, want to see this film or not. It’s quite simple,” explained Nauval when asked about the consideration he and his team had when selecting the films. Here are four picks from the festival’s lineup:

The Death of Stalin

Directed by Armando Iannucci ( 2017 )

Known for power hungry characters with acerbic wit and profane mouths, Armando Iannucci returns to our screen — after directing and writing the television show Veep, the film In the Loop and the television show The Thick of It — to tell the satirical story of the death of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It’s hilarious, but it does not stray too far from history — displaying the exaggerated dogfight between Stalin’s associates and family members.

Will be screened at Institut Français Indonesia on May 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The Seventh Seal

Directed by Ingmar Bergman ( 1957 )

Actor Max von Sydow plays chess with someone in a black robe. That someone happens to be Death in human form. This is the premise of Ingmar Bergman’s allegorical film that seeks to answer the mystery of God’s everlong silence. Bergman is not a conventional storyteller and The Seventh Seal is the direct result of his much-lionized idiosyncrasies.

Will be screened at Institut Français Indonesia on May 10 at 2:30 p.m.

The Breadwinner

Directed by Nora Twomey ( 2017 )

The animated Oscar-nominated The Breadwinner is a winning product of Canadian author Deborah Ellis’ heavily researched children’s novel and Nora Twomey’s adept hands. Combining the ruins of Kabul, Afghanistan, and the plight of 11-year-old girl Parvana, the titular breadwinner of her family, the movie is a thought provoking exercise in both excitement and sympathy, even when the veneer — animation — might betray its poignancy.

Will be screened at IFI Thamrin on May 9 at 7:30 p.m.

A Cambodian Spring

Directed by Chris Kelly ( 2016 ) 

“Soon, all the poor people will be gone. Only the rich will be left,” a woman intones in a scene from the trailer of Chris Kelly’s documentary, A Cambodian Spring. There’s a bulldozer working its way while children run with abandon. Shot over six years by Kelly (he wrote, directed and edited the movie, among other things), A Cambodian Spring is a gripping tale of the many victims and victors when the war between the rich and the poor rears its head in Cambodia.

Will be screened at Goethe Haus on May 8 at 2:30 p.m.; Istituto Italiano di Cultura on May 11 at 5 p.m. and Erasmus Huis on May 12 at noon.

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