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18th Espoo Cine International Film Festival 18th Espoo Cine International Film Festival
by Espoo Cine Festival
2007-08-21 09:50:52
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The 18th edition of Espoo Ciné International Film Festival will take place from August 21st to August 26th at the Espoo Cultural Centre in Tapiola, Espoo, Finland. This year's festival programme is, if possible, even more extensive in scope than previous editions of the festival, featuring a total of 79 feature films and 89 screenings.

The festival will be opened by Irina Palm, directed by Sam Garbarski, who will also attend the festival. This year's closing film is Giuseppe Tornatore's latest tour-de-force The Unknown Woman (La Sconosciuta). Other headline features include Michel Winterbottom's deeply touching A Mighty Heart, based on real events and starring Angelina Jolie, as well as Claes Olsson's brand new Colorado Avenue, an epic story taking place in Finnish Ostrobothnia during the first decades of the 20th century.

Espoo Ciné Selection

Espoo Ciné Selection once again features an impressive assortment of the very best of contemporary European cinema, reinforced with a few carefully selected gems from other continents. Fresh from the competition programme in Cannes, this year's selection features The Banishment (Izgnanie), the latest film from Andrei Zvyagintsev, who made an unforgettable impression with his debut feature The Return, as well as Gus Van Sant's breathtaking youth portrayal Paranoid Park. Both films were awarded in Cannes.

In addition to films from Europe, the programme features Adama Meshuga’at (Sweet Mud), an Israeli film taking place on a kibbutz in the 1970s and directed by Dror Shaul, the Chinese film Little Red Flowers (Kan shang qu hen mei), directed by Yuan Zhang, and the Argentinean film Buenos Aires 1977 (Crónica de una fuga), Adrián Caetano's nightmarish story from the time when Argentina was ruled by the military junta. Latest additions to the programme include Nick Broomfield's Ghosts, also based on real events and focusing on the nearly impossible circumstances of living faced by illegal immigrants.

The finishing touch of this year's Espoo Ciné Selection is an extraordinary treat: a French adaptation of the most famous novel written by the number one Finnish author in France, Arto Paasilinna. The Year of the Hare has, in accordance with the French translation of the novel, been adapted as Vatanen's Hare (Le Lièvre de Vatanen). The film, directed by Marc Rivière, stars an actor better known for his roles in action films: Christopher Lambert!

El mundo español

The most popular films at Espoo Ciné have often come from Spain. This year's festival programme features a wider and more diverse selection of Spanish cinema than ever before. Raúl Arévalo, a rising Spanish star actor and guest at the festival, gives an impressive performance in no less than three films in our Spanish programme, including Daniel Sánches Arévalo's lifelike and authentic debut feature DarkBlueAlmostBlack (AzulOscuroCasiNegro), a film that has won a multitude of awards.

Friends of flamenco cannot afford to miss Miguel Hermoso's touching biographical film Lola, the story of one of the great flamenco artists of all time, Lola Flores (1923–1995). The programme also includes Espoo Ciné regular Ariel Rotter's film The Other (El otro), the winner of two awards in Berlin this year.

The more political section of the programme consists of Manuel Huerga's Salvador (Puig Antich) and Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life of Words. Based on real events, Salvador (Puig Antich) is the tragic story of the young man who was the most famous member of the organisation called Movimento Ibérico de Liberación. The role is played by the German-Catalonian actor Daniel Brühl, fondly remembered from Good Bye, Lenin!

Isabel Coixet's latest film, The Secret Life of Words, is another very touching story. The screening of this impressive film starring Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins is supported by a rare guest appearance: the Danish doctor and real-life hero Inge Genefke, who provided one of the starting points and inspirations for the film. Genefke's visit at the festival is arranged in co-operation with Amnesty International.

Documentary films

Last year's festival programme featured Al Gore's serious warning about the effects of climate change, and over the past year other American stars have also realised the graveness of the global situation. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the screenwriters and producers of Leila Conners Petersen's and Nadia Conners' The 11th Hour, a film featuring an impressive selection of various professionals bringing us up to date about planet Earth's situation right now.

The other American documentary in the programme, Annie Leibovitz: Life through a Lens, tells about the photographer who is probably the best known practitioner of her profession in the world today. The documentary succeeds in drawing an extraordinarily intimate picture of its protagonist, as the film's director is her sister, Barbara Leibovitz.

The Swiss film Chrigu is an intimate portrait of a young man who, upon hearing he is terminally ill, decides to make a film about himself and his illness. Jan Gassman and Christian Ziörjen – who passed away during the shooting of the film – succeed in turning the somewhat unusual starting point into an incredibly beautiful film about life, guaranteed to move each and every one of us. The programme features another Swiss documentary as well: No Body Is Perfect, directed by Raphaël Sibilla, is a stunning exploration of the extremes of sexual expression and body modification. The filmmakers warn about the potentially offensive nature of their film, although it has been made with full consent of every individual appearing on the screen.

Films from Eastern Europe

The Czech Republic has established its position as a regular source of festival films. This year our Films from Eastern Europe series features two Czech films: Beauty in Trouble (Kráska v nesnázích), the latest film from Jan Hřebejk, a regular favourite director at the festival, and Milan Cieslar's historical drama Bonds of Blood (Krev zmizelého), and a film that has a connection to the history of Finland as well. Ognjen Sviličić's Armin, a delicate and touching portrayal of the relationship between a 13-year-old Bosnian boy and his father, is a convincing proof that films from the region of former Yugoslavia don't always have to be hilarious comedies à la Kusturica or stories about the war.

Pink Zone

This year's Pink Zone also features more films than ever before. In addition to Sonja, the German debut feature of Kirsi Marie Liimatainen, who is also one of this year's guest filmmakers at the festival, the year's selection features Lisa Gornick's cheerful Tick Tock Lullaby and Jann Dunn's dogma film Gypo.

As last minute additions, the programme also includes two American gems: the comedy hit of the summer, Jamie Babbit's Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and a film that caused great renown at Sundance, and for a very good reason: Richard Glazer's and Wash Westmoreland's Quinceañera, a drama taking place in a West Coast Latin American community.

The Méliès d'Argent competition and Midnight Madness

One of the most eagerly expected debut features in horror circles, Nacho Cerdá's The Abandoned, has been confirmed for this year's competition for European fantasy films in Espoo. Cerdá will also introduce the screening personally.

Konstantin Lopushansky's The Ugly Swans (Gadkije lebedi) has been moved from the competition programme to Midnight Madness because the film already won a Silver Méliès in July at Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. The competition will, however, feature another film from a country rarely producing fantasy films: DeadEnd (DoodEind) by the Dutch filmmaker Erwin van den Eshof. The film's director, as well as its producers Nick Jongerius and Daniel Koefoed, will also be present at the festival. The competition programme for short films features the latest film by the Finnish animator CHRZU, A Song in the Shower.

The Midnight Madness programme also features films from countries rarely producing fantasy films: Canada is represented by the latest film from Karim Hussain, whose earlier films have startled audiences in Espoo Ciné in previous years. The Beautiful Beast (Le Belle bête) is, however, more traditional in its form than its predecessors. Another Canadian film in competition is the new short film by Mitch Davis, God's Little Girl. The real curiosity of the programme is, however, the first gore film produced in Pakistan: Omar Ali Khan's Hell's Ground (Zibahkhana).

Films for the children and the young

No less than three Nordic films will receive their Finnish premiere in Espoo Ciné this year. A story from the suburbs of Stockholm, Catti Edfeldt's and Ylva Gustavsson's Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar) is the sympathetic story of a rocker who becomes the foster father for a refugee girl. The film swept the table at the Guldbagge ceremony earlier this year, taking home a total of five awards. The programme also features Gunnar Vikene's Trigger, an exciting story of horses and conquering one's fears. The film was awarded at the Stockholm Junior Film Festival in April. Willy and Wild Rabbit (Ville och Vilda Kanin), from the well-known Swedish animators Lennart and Ylva-Li Gusfasson, is a charming adventure for our youngest patrons. In addition to Nordic productions, the programme for children and the young also features the German adventure film The Treasure of the White Falcons (Der Schatz der weißen Falken).

School audiences are treated to our traditional selection of the very best of past year's Finnish films, including Raimo O. Niemi's Mystery of the Wolf and AJ Annila's Jade Warrior. The film programme for children and the young is arranged jointly with the City of Espoo Cultural Services.

Special screenings and the festival club

Espoo Ciné is starting a new tradition this year by introducing Finnish Filmmaker of the Year. This year's selection is Klaus Härö, whose all three feature films will be screened over one afternoon. The screenings will be introduced by Mr. Härö in person.

The traditional free outdoor screening – which has, over the recent years, settled down in a regular screening time on Wednesday evening of the festival week – is the harbinger of gradually darkening autumn nights for the youth of Tapiola. This year's pick for the outdoor screening is perhaps the most parodied film of the 1980s, Adrian Lyne's Flashdance, where Jennifer Beals, in the role of a welder girl, once again breathes life to the American dream.

EMMA, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, is hosting an exceptionally wide Salvador Dalí exhibition, and Espoo Ciné is taking the opportunity to remind its audiences of Dalí's strong influence on films of our time. There is one film that simply cannot be ignored when talking about Dalí and films: the most famous avant-garde film of the all time, a collaboration between Dalí and Buñuel, The Andalusian Dog (Un Chien andalou). The other film of the Dalí programme has its roots in 1940s and Dalí's friendship with Walt Disney.

Soon after the war, Dalí started developing an animated feature entitled Destino for Walt Disney Corporation, but the project was shelved due to financial reasons after Dalí had worked on it for almost a year. In late 1990s the project was, however, resurrected and finished. Espoo Ciné is now proud to present this rare cinematic gem – earlier screened as the opening film of the world's most important animation festival in Annecy – for the first time in Finland. Destino is shown as a double screening with An Andalusian Dog.

The festival club at Tavastia in Helsinki has become a regular feature in the programme. On Thursday of the festival week, Espoo Ciné once again extends to the neighbouring city of Helsinki for one evening. This year the stage at Tavastia will be taken by Knucklebone Oscar and Eternal Erection.

For more information, visit: www.espoocine.fi


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