Favorite films I've seen at European Film Promotion
Films reviewed by Oliver Carnay

European Film Promotion (EFP), currently the only existing international network of organizations promoting and marketing European films and talents worldwide (consists of 35 European countries) has been diligently promoting films submitted for Best Foreign Language films for the upcoming Golden Globes and Oscars 2015 (87th Academy Awards) to help generate attention for industry voters as well as potential distribution in U.S. and a wider international distribution. EFP also (for the 16th time) has strongly helping marketing 38 films from 14 European countries at the recent American Film Market (AFM) which ran from November 5 through 12th.

On its seventh year in L.A., there were 22 European Academy Award entries that recently screened in L.A. Among the films selected to participate are the following:

Bulgarian Rhapsody (Bulgaria, Director Ivan Nichev)
Cowboys (Croatia, Director Tomislav Mrsic)
Fair Play (Czech Republic, Director Andrea Sedlackova)
Sorrow and Joy (Denmark, Director Nils Malmros)
Tangerines (Estonia, Director Zaza Urushadze)
Concrete Night (Finland, Director Pirjo Honkasalo)
Beloved Sisters (Germany, Director Dominik Graf)
Little England (Greece, Director Pantelis Voulgaris)
Life in a Fishbowl (Iceland, Director Baldvin Z.)
Human Capital (Italy, Director Paolo Virzi)
Three Windows and a Hanging (Kosovo, Director Isa Qosja)
The Gambler (Lithuania, Director Ignas Jonynas)
Never Die Young (Luxembourg, Director Pol Cruchten)
To The Hilt (Fry of Macedonia, Director Stole Popov)
The Kids From The Marx & Engels Street (Montenegro, Direcor Nikola Vukcevic)
Accused (The Netherlands, Director Paula van der Oest)
1001 Grams (Norway, Director Bent Hamer)
Ida (Poland, Director Pawel Pawlikowski)
The Japanese Dog (Romania, Director Tudor Cristian Jurgiu)
See You In Montevideo (Serbia, Director Dragan Bjelogrlic)
A Step Into the Dark (Slovak Republic, Director Miloslav Luther)
Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed (Spain, Director David Trueba)

It’s hard to commit watching all the films above due to conflict of my schedule but I can say among the films I’ve seen from these screenings, top of my favorites are the following:


CONCRETE NIGHT



This movie stands out among the films I’ve seen at European Film Promotion screenings. Gorgeously shot in dramatic black and white, the movie is a powerful piece of work from Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo, which is an adapted screenplay from Pirkko Saisio’s novel “Betoniyo published in 1981. The story is centered through Simo (greatly portrayed by newcomer Johannes Brotherus in his debut feature), a virginal young boy who is lost of self-identity and protection from the chaotic world around him. Hardened by a tough environment living in a slum area in Helsinki with his unpredictable and unreliable mother who asked him to babysit his elder brother who will soon be incarcerated and leave for prison for numerous crimes he must pay. The two had a night of rendezvous and eager to please his brother, but only has bad stories and advices which confuses him. Adding to this is his chance meeting with a mysterious photographer where intentions he misinterpreted .. and in struck of panic, violence ensued him. The cause of events led him in more fearful, fateful tragic state.


BULGARIAN RHAPSODY



Bulgarian Rhapsody is a World War II drama where the story is centered in the lives of three youngsters during the time where fifty thousand Bulgarian Jews were spared deportation to Nazi concentration camps. It was 1943 when Greater Bulgarian Jews must adhere to Germany’s laws and Bulgarians are ordered to deport the Jews. Moni, (17) a Jewish youngster from Sofia and Giogio, the son of the commissar for Jewish affairs' driver, meet Shelly (17) a Jewish girl from Kavala (Greece). The two face the values and limits of friendship, as they both fall in love with her, while outside rages their conflicted world. The fate of the three youngsters mirrors the lives of the Balkan Jews during WWII are challenged with the horrors of that period. Directed by Ivan Nichev, this movie has luscious cinematography with period setting of good production values.


COWBOYS



A reminiscent of the hit British comedy-drama movie “The Full Monty” but without the stripping. Cowboys is a Croatian feature comedy written and directed by Tomislav Mrsic about eight jobless misfits who would audition as stage performers at a small town’s neglected theater, guided by an aging director who is suffering from a malignant disease. With no stage and acting experience, all candidates have no common grounds in theater business except they like Westerns, hence they decided to do Cowboy-themed plays. Funny and entertaining, this one’s one of my favorites.



12.18.14