This Year’s European Union Film Festival Goes Virtual For The First Time

European Union Film Festival rings in 25th year, the Silver Jubilee edition, digitally; unveils a line-up of over 40 award-winning movies from 27 European countries

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Murtaza Ali Khan
Murtaza Ali Khan
Executive Director of Transcontinental Times, Murtaza Ali Khan is an award-winning Film & TV critic and journalist. He can be reached at murtaza.jmi@gmail.com.

INDIA: This year, defying the pandemic, the much-awaited European Union Film Festival announces its first-ever virtual edition. Marking its 25th year – the Silver Jubilee edition in India – the festival celebrate sEU-India cultural ties, by bringing the best of European cinema and classics to Indian audiences. Curated by Veronica Flora, with Valerio Caruso, Director of Cineuropa, the Festival will host 42 critically acclaimed films that explore unique stories, experiences, and histories with artistic storytelling from across 27 Member States and Partner Countries, celebrating the most recent cinematic triumphs at Cannes, Locarno, Venice, Berlin and San Sebastian, amongst others. The virtual Festival will be available to stream on Festival Scope from 5 November 2020 onwards.

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Bringing a slice of Europe to India, the Festival will showcase movies from 27 European countries, including 26 Member States, comprising Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland,Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Switzerland will be also represented at the Festival. Bifurcated in 4 sections comprising contemporary European cinema, European masterpieces, shorts on climate change, and a tribute to Indian cinema, each will carry a selection of award-winning films and critically acclaimed performances for every type of cinephile to enjoy. Furthermore, highlighting the cultural diversity of Europe and triggering conversations, it will also host a series of workshops, masterclasses, artist talks, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with prominent film directors, actors, and cinematographers of the European film fraternity.

The Festival is a joint event hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to India, its Member States and Partner Countries. It celebrates and bolsters the EU-India cultural partnership.

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Commenting on the 25th edition, Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India, said “I am delighted to announce the launch of the 25th edition of the European Union Film Festival in India, in collaboration with our Member States. It will take viewers through a journey across Europe as retold by our storytellers. This landmark anniversary is also a testament to our long-standing cultural ties with India. Highlighting individual stories yet reflecting universal experiences, this year’s special anniversary edition will offer a window into the heart of Europe and the power of cinema to negotiate both everyday and extraordinary circumstances.”

Adding to the above, Veronica Flora, the Festival curator, said, “Thanks to the popular nature of cinema, which is one of the most immediate and democratic art forms we can enjoy, the European Union Film Festival in India aims to be a magic mirror we can use to jointly get through the current challenging times we are witnessing. This year the virtual European Union Film Festival in India will be showcasing the variety and the complexity of the European Union’s culture through innovative film programming, opening paths for further people-to-people and cultural relationships with India and the extraordinary wealth of its millennial culture. We hope this virtual Festival will contribute to make the film sector a key driver for dialogue, especially in the current situation where culture and creativity have become more important than ever.”

Beyond Contemporary European Cinema

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Recognizing that excellence in European cinema has been forged by legends across the continent, the Festival also presents a distinctive look at Europe’s rich and enviable cinematic history through its section on European Masterpieces. From Agnès Varda’s seminal Cléo From 5 to 7 and Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Blue, to Bergman’s Persona, and Bunuel’s surrealist masterpiece The Exterminating Angel, from Antonio Pietrangeli’s iconic I Knew Her Well to the classic of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s Loves of a Blonde,up to the dramatically current Ali: Fear Eats the Soul by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the Festival will take viewers through an unparalleled journey across Europe as retold by its most inventive and ground-breaking storytellers.

As a tribute to the rich and indelible imprint of Indian cinema, the Festival will offer viewers a look into the classic and the contemporary, through the section Poetry on Screen: Satyajit Ray and Chaitanya Tamhane, featuring the iconic Aparajitoand the award-winning Court. Viewers will get an exclusive insight into the artistic underpinnings of director and screenwriter Chaitanya Tamhane, who will also feature in a special Festival side-event with a European counterpart.

Given the urgency around Climate Change, six outstanding short movies from across the world, including India, are part of this year’s Festival. They will provide a means to assess how climate change is being felt in different parts of the world. Nila Madhab Panda’s Megha’s Divorce is a particular highlight, among an anthology of six that form part of the film Interdependence.

Access to the Film Festival

Tickets for viewing and access for the Film Festival and the activities will be free for audiences. Audiences can register through the Delegation’s website and social media channels. The film festival will run till 30th November. Once registered, viewers can log in at their convenience and watch the movies at their own pace.

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