HN, HCM City host 4th Euro film festival
Viet Nam’s fourth European Film Festival will take place this week, featuring screenings in Ha Noi and HCM City of films from 14 EU nations.
The festival is the centrepiece of a series of cultural events celebrating Europe day on May 9, organised by the Delegation of the European Commission and European Union members’ embassies in Ha Noi.
Fourteen recent critically acclaimed and award-winning EU films have been selected for screening from May 6-20 in Ha Noi and May 11-23 in HCM City.
Since the first festival in 1999 this biennial event has served to promote understanding between Vietnamese and EU citizens, as well as showcasing European cinematography in Viet Nam.
This year, a broad selection of genres will be presented, including drama, adventure, comedy and documentary.
The festival will also feature films from two new EU members, the Czech Republic and Poland.
The Czech film, Divided the Wall, is a drama set in a small town under German occupation, during the last years of the Second World War. Josef and Marie yearn to have children, but confronted with Josef’s sterility, they find a surrogate child in David, a young Jewish man whom they befriend and offered refuge to. Thus begins a dramatic fight for survival.
In the story – based on real events – diverse motives underlie ostensibly heroic acts, and the moral ambiguity engendered by war is explored, challenging our instinct to pass categorical judgements on characters for their cowardice, generosity or heroism.
The Polish embassy in Ha Noi has provided Kiler, a 1999 film which follows ex-taxi driver Jerzy Kiler’s exploits in an action-packed but lighthearted film.
Kiler establishes a charity foundation supporting the State budget and achieves worldwide fame – becoming friends with the Pope and President Clinton in the process – all the while being pursued by the Jackal, a hitman sent by old enemies from Kiler’s mafia past.
The British Council has provided Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, a harrowing and thought-provoking study of a hard-working and respectable woman in postwar England – played by Imelda Staunton, who won the Best Actress award at the 2004 Cannes film festival for her performance – who secretly works as an illegal abortionist for purely benevolent reasons. The film examines the relationship between morality and the law and probes deeply into the ethics of abortion.
All films will be screened in their original language with Vietnamese voice-over and English subtitles.
Free tickets are available from Ha Noi’s National Cinema at 87 Lang Ha Road, and HCM City’s Thang Long B Cinema at 19 Cao Thang Street, District 3, from 9am to 5pm.
In a complimentary event, Ha Noi’s Goethe Institute has organised The German Touch in Hollywood, a season of screenings of Hollywood films made by German and Austrian directors from 25 April – 31 May.
The festival explores the remarkable success of German and Austrian directors forced to emigrate to the US by Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, such as Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, and seeks to showcase the way in which Hollywood provided a medium for the expression of distinctly European sensibilities.
Among the classic films screening are the Marilyn Monroe comedy Some Like It Hot, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Shanghai Express and All That Heaven Allows, Douglas Sirk’s melodrama which inspired Todd Haynes’ 2003 film Far From Heaven.
All films will be screened both with and without Vietnamese subtitles, at the Ha Noi Cinematheque, 31 Hai Ba Trung Street, and free tickets can be obtained from the Goethe Institute at 56 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
See the film schedules in our “On the Town” column. — VNS