European Film Festival: One Month of Old World Flicks

In a city replete with film festivals, the Universidad Católica’s European Film Festival seduces with a month-long program of award-winning films from the Old Continent. Over 20 films from 14 countries are being featured until June 12, from small productions to indie smash hits.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy In Winter by Caroline Link (Germany)

Since its inception in 1999, the European Film Fest has attracted thousands to the Universidad Católica’s opulent main campus located on Santiago’s Alameda. It may seem hard to believe today, but before the turn of the new century, independent films were struggling to find distribution in the capital.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Meurtrières by Patrick Grandperret (France)

The festival’s team has been instrumental in bringing independent film to Chile and has also educated the public, whetting its curiosity and thirst for new voices and genres over the years.

For its 12th edition, the Festival continues its foray into European film with over 20 films produced over the last few years. Films from France, Germany and Spain, but also from the Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium and other smaller countries offer glimpses into their reality. Most of these films have been awarded accolades and mentions, including best picture or best director, at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals.

Die Tränen Meiner Mutter (My Mother’s Tears), by Alejandro Cardenas Amelio, is a delightful coming-of-age German-Argentine production which sees young Alex and his parents flee Argentina’s military dictatorship for Berlin.

Its themes such as family, exile and integration are not groundbreaking,

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Frygtelig Lykkelig by Henrik Ruben Genz (Denmark)

but the slow-paced film is tender and bittersweet, managing to impart quite a few moments of pure grace.

In a completely different style, Frygtelig Lykkelig (Terribly Happy) is a Danish mystery flick which caused quite a stir at film festivals upon its release in 2008. Off-beat, dark and positively Fargo-esque, it follows a Copenhagen cop in his new job as a police chief in a small rural town. But the local population and one mysterious woman in particular have their own ways of interpreting the law.

If you’ve missed those or any other film shown at the festival, fear not. A lot of the older productions are now available on DVD and the newer ones have every chance of being shown at independent cinemas throughout Santiago very soon.

Festival de Cine Europeo
11 May- 12 June 2010
Tickets: CP$1,000
Centro de Extensión Universidad Católica de Chile
Alameda 390
Santiago
Phone: 02 345 6500
Metro: Universidad Católica
For a detailed program, please go to: http://www.cineuc.cl/

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