We are pleased to present our fifth annual festival of New Films from Europe, featuring innovative new works from the continent. This year’s program includes a diverse slate of films that address questions of national identity, with many directors choosing to explore these issues through the lens of familial relationships. The festival features the work of established veterans such as England’s Ken Loach and the late Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, as well as works from exciting new talents such as Germany’s Fatih Akin and Hungary’s Atilla Janisch.
The program for this year’s festival was assembled with the generous assistance of the Kokkalis Program at Harvard University, Eric Jausseran and Frédéric Martel of French Cultural Services, Claudia Hahn-Raabe and Karin Kolb of the Goethe Institut Boston, Marianne Gerber of the Consulate of Switzerland, Consul General of Spain Enrique Iranzo, film producer Don Mullan, and the office of the General Consulate of Portugal.
January 21 (Friday) 7 pm
Directed by Fatih Akin
Germany/Turkey, 2004, color, 118 min.
With Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck
German with English subtitles
A Muslim woman with an unorthodox sexual appetite and a recovering addict with suicidal tendencies agree to marry. She uses the marriage to escape her oppressive family and continues to see other men, while he maintains his relationship with a former girlfriend. Despite their shared heritage (both characters are German-born and of Turkish descent), the couple struggles to find a place in the growing no man’s land between German and Turkish cultures. Fatih Akin’s latest film won the Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival.
January 21 (Friday) 9 pm
January 22 (Saturday) 7 pm
Spanish with English subtitles
The third annual ShortMetraje celebrates a tantalizing and vivid generation of filmmakers that have emerged with a unique take on modern Spain and its changing cultural landscape.
Special thanks to Marta Sanchez.
Directed by Tinieblas Gonzalez
Spain 2003, video, 9 min.
A fly, a spider, a rabbit and a girl are characters in an urban ecosystem, ruled by the same law that rules in any natural ecosystem: The strong will survive.
The Brave Little Girl (La valiente)
Directed by Isabel Ayguavives
Spain 2003, video, 6 min.
A little girl closes her eyes and tries not to think about anything for ten seconds.
With What Shall I Wash It? (Con qué la lavaré?)
Directed by María Trenor
Spain 2003, video, 11 min.
As day breaks in the red-light district of a Spanish town, someone who earns his living on the streets comes home, sits down, and begins to remove his make up. The moving film pays tribute to the homosexual artists of the late 1970s who prospered in the wake of Franco's dictatorship.
Ten Minutes (Diez Minutos)
Directed by Alberto Ruiz Rojo
Spain, 2004, video, 15 min.
"I can't provide you with that information."
"Because it's unavailable."
Human feelings take on the logical mind of a computer.
Unpremeditated (El despropósito)
Directed by Zoe Berriatúa
Spain 2004, video, 19 min.
A group of youngsters go out one weekend for a night of fun. But when the problems start, their friendship is pushed to the limit...
Disposable (Usar y tirar)
Directed by Daniel García-Pablos
Spain 2003, video, 10 min.
The paths of a Cuban athlete, a woman driving, and an immigrant selling disposable tissues meet at a traffic light.
Physics II (Física II)
Directed by Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo
Spain 2004, video, 20 min.
Jorge lives in a room without a window, without light, without air, without a way out and with little hope. His father, Andrés, is the doorman of the building. He is about to retire and wants him to keep the job. Jorge doesn't want to work as a doorman, he wants to go to university...
January 22 (Saturday) 9 pm
January 24 (Monday) 9 pm
January 26 (Wednesday) 7 pm
Directed by Theo van Gogh
Netherlands, 2003, color, 90 min.
With Pierre Bokma, Katja Schuurman
Dutch with English subtitles
A news reporter is given the task of covering a film star on the same evening that a major political event is unfolding. Frustrated with his mandatory assignment in entertainment journalism, the reporter is surprised to find an intellectual adversary in his subject. Confining most of the film’s action to exchanges between the two lead actors in the starlet’s apartment, the late Theo van Gogh uses minimal means to construct a telling dual portrait.
January 23 (Sunday) 7 pm
January 25 (Tuesday) 7 pm
Denmark/Germany, 2004, b/w and color, 140 min.
From the producers behind some of Lars von Trier’s most notable works comes a highly-regimented film experiment: twenty-five countries are represented by twenty-five short films from respected directors each of whom offer a distinctly personal vision of life in the new European community. This ambitious omnibus project featuring contributions from Peter Greenaway, Tony Gatlif, Theo Van Gogh, Aki Kaurismäki, Barbara Albert, Béla Tarr and Fatih Akin presents a wide range of perspectives that both celebrate and critique the growing influence of the European Union.
January 24 (Monday) 7 pm
January 26 (Wednesday) 9 pm
Directed by Atilla Janisch
Hungary, 2004, color, 119 min.
With Tibor Gaspar, Bori Derzsi, Sandor Czeczo
Hungarian with English subtitles
A man from the city arrives in a remote village seeking property earned in an inheritance. Traveling on a rusty bicycle, he bears witness to a series of events that are alternately mundane and consequential. Slowly unfolding in a non-linear narrative structure, Janisch’s work creates an ominous atmosphere thanks to a moody score and clever editing. The alienation of the protagonist outlines the growing divide between contemporary urban and provincial life.
January 28 (Friday) 7 pm
Directed by Ken Loach
UK/Belgium/Germany/Italy/Spain, 2004, color, 104 min.
With Atta Yaqub, Eva Birthistle, Shamshad Akhtar
English and Punjabi with English subtitles
A Glaswegian of Pakistani descent falls for a white Catholic schoolteacher despite the protests of family, friends, and society. The familiar tale of cross-cultural romance gets a fresh update thanks to the naturalistic style of veteran director Ken Loach. Collaborating once again with screenwriter Paul Laverty for the final film in their Glasgow trilogy (My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen), Loach uses a largely non-professional cast to bring both the harsh and humorous realities of his characters to life.
January 28 (Friday) 9 pm
January 30 (Sunday) 9 pm
Directed by Ursula Meier
Switzerland, 2003, color, 96 min.
With Louise Szpindel, Jean-François Stévenin, Dora Jemaa
French with English subtitles
A teenage girl struggles to achieve perfection as a distance runner amidst the intense surroundings of a specialty academy for athletes. Not content to run with the female squad, she tries to prove that she can run as fast as any of the male athletes. As she works to build her body into a high performance machine, she discovers some unsuspected obstacles from puberty and an unfortunate genetic predisposition. A smart coming of age story, Urusla Meier’s directorial debut features a remarkable physical and emotional performance from Louise Szpindel.
January 29 (Saturday) 7 pm
January 30 (Sunday) 7 pm
Directed by Raymond Dépardon
France, 2004, color, 105 min.
French with English subtitles
The proceedings of a Paris courtroom are the basis for one of the most striking nonfiction works to emerge from the continent in recent years. Drawing from over two hundred appearances in the 10th District Courtroom, all featuring the same steadfast judge, renowned photographer Raymond Dépardon provides compelling, often humorous observations of a series of misdemeanor hearings and sentencings. Using a simple, static formal structure, he captures the subtler details of human behavior which reveal the complexities of race, class, and gender in contemporary society.
January 29 (Saturday) 9 pm
Directed by Soenke Wortmann
Germany, 2003, color, 118 min.
With Peter Lohmeyer, Louis Klamroth, Peter Franke
German with English subtitles
A former POW returns home to his family in a West German mining town after years in a Soviet prison camp. He struggles to adapt to a civilized family life and reconnect with his soccer-obsessed son, who has developed a close relationship with an aspiring World Cup athlete. As West Germany prepares to compete in the championship in Bern, Switzerland, the boy wants nothing more than to travel to these historic games, causing further friction in an already strained relationship with his father. Director and ex-football player Soenke Wortmann has brilliantly succeeded in setting an intensely emotional and touching family drama against the exhilarating, authentic background of West Germany's miraculous World Cup victory in 1954.