Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Euro 2016 Films

All the 11 films of the Euro 2016 Book + Film Spotlight have now been viewed and the top 3 are selected.

Starting 11

France: Dheepan (2015, Jacques Audiard)
Belgium: Two Days, One Night (2014, Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne)
Croatia: The High Sun (2015, Dalibor Matanic)
England: The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015, Ben Rivers)
Germany: Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold)
Italy: Lost and Beautiful (2015, Pietro Marcello)
Romania: Aferim! (2015, Radu Jude)
Russia: The Fool (2014, Yuriy Bykov)
Slovakia: Koza (2015, Ivan Ostrochovský)
Sweden: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014, Roy Andersson)
Ukraine: Maidan (2014, Sergey Loznitsa)

Top 3 films

1. The Fool (2014, Russia, Yuriy Bykov)

Yuriy Bykov cleverly uses a building’s collapse to explore larger moral and ethical issues around society. The closed door meetings between city officials show how corruption can take root in a society and impact citizens in their day to day existence. Even though the film is set in Russia, its topic is applicable to any city and shows how easy it is for those in power to cross the morality line.

2. Two Days, One Night (2014, Belgium, Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne)

Even by the high standard of the Dardenne brothers, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT is a staggering achievement. The film depicts moral and ethical questions that are always present when money is involved. And in Marion Cotillard, the brothers have found a perfect face to convey the range of emotions from desperation to despair and even a touch of hope.

3. The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015, England, Ben Rivers)

This film’s long title, multi-layered structure and core story draws inspiration from Paul Bowles’ writing. The structure of the film is a nod to what Bowles managed in ‘A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard’ where Bowles found a common thread to link 4 completely different stories together. In the SKY TREMBLES, Ben Rivers has constructed a film which links together multiple works including a short story, a short film, some documentary footage and an art installation. All these works are seamlessly stitched together in a linear manner.

Rivers’ has managed this by alternating one aspect of Paul Bowles’ short story ‘A Distant Episode’. In the short story, the main character is a professor. In the film, the main character is a film director. This change allows Ben Rivers to find a common thread to link the different elements. This is because at the start of THE SKY TREMBLES, we see the filmmaker Oliver Laxe, scouting for locations in Morocco and attempting to complete a gruelling film shoot. The scenes we see are actual footage from Laxe's second feature MIMOSAS. And then at some point in THE SKY TREMBLES, Oliver Laxe stops shooting his film and steps into Paul Bowles story. What then follows is a series of remarkable events.

Final verdict on 11 films

Overall, a rich and diverse collection which highlights some of the best European cinema made over the last two years. Unfortunately, due to the timeline of the spotlight, there are no pure 2016 films but many of the 2015 films have had a cinematic release in 2016 or will do so in the upcoming months.

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