EU Film Days

Events - May 15th, 2009

by Anthony Stevens

From May 29 to June 20, the National Film Center will play host to EU Film Days, a festival celebrating the cinematic talents of European nations. Now in its seventh year, the festival will boast 21 films from as many countries, seven of which will be screened for the first time in Japan.

EU Film Days is part of a larger initiative, EU-Japan Friend- ship Week, a nationwide program that aims to “give the Japanese public a chance to learn more about the European Union,” according to the website of the EU delegation in Ja- pan. The ‘week,’ which actually spans nearly three months, includes a variety of exhibitions, music festivals, school events, sports outings, and more.

For more film festival information go to www.eufilmdays.jp.

Italy

My Brother Is An Only Child

Directed by Daniele Luchetti

May 30 and June 12 (subtitles in English and Japanese)

In a small town in Italy during the 1960s and 70s, brothers Accio and Manrico embody opposing political stances but share a love for the same woman. This comedy observes the brothers against the backdrop of a tumultuous 15-year period in Italian socio-political history. Over the years they endure arguments and quarrels, and find themselves separated by circumstances but reunited by the wisdom of age. In time, they come to a clearer understanding of their own similarities and differences.

Finland

Black Ice

Directed by Petri Kotwica

June 4 and 17 (subtitles in English and Japanese)

A woman’s birthday party comes to a depressing end when she finds out her architect husband is having an affair with a younger woman. The wife Saara’s desire to know exactly what is going on with her husband prompts her to befriend his mistress, Tuuli, in a scheme for revenge. But the situation soon becomes more complex when Saara genuinely starts to feel sympathy for the younger woman, complicating her plan and forcing her to face a difficult decision.

Ireland

Garage

Directed by Leonard Abrahamson

June 4 and 17 (subtitles in Japanese)

Josie, a garage attendant in rural Ireland, is a simple-minded man, treated by the locals of his remote country village with a mixture of affection and scorn. One summer, David, a local teenager, is forced into helping at the garage, and the delicate balance of Josie’s well-regulated life is disrupted as the two begin to form a fragile, odd-couple friendship. Slowly the wheels of fate begin to move, bringing the two ever closer to a tragic conclusion.

Czech Republic

Karamazovi

Directed by Peter Zelenka

May 30 and June 2 (subtitles in English and Japanese)

A group of actors from Prague rehearse a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov for an alternative festival held in a Polish steel mill. In the adaptation, old Fyodor Karamazov is resurrected from the grave to hold his four sons—the instinctive Dimitri, the intellectual Ivan, the humble Alyosha and the weak-minded Smerdyakov—accountable for their role in his death. The sophisticated interplay among the different levels of text (novel, play, and film) provides the viewer with an intellectual challenge, as the issues of faith, immortality, and redemption are explored with a dizzying intensity.

Greece

Back Door

Directed by Yorgos Tsemperopoulos

May 31 and June 18 (subtitles in English and Japanese)

In 1966, Greece is wavering between reform and self-destruction. Thirteen year-old Dimitris unexpectedly loses his father and sees his pampered mother falling apart. Spurred on by his prematurely grown-up appearance, Dimitris decides to skip childhood in order to support his mother and continue his father’s construction business. But when he feels ready to shoulder his responsibilities, he must reclaim his mother from the arms of an up-and-coming star of the local political scene. A series of minor and major betrayals will propel Dimitris to a revolutionary coming-of-age.