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film posters
film posters
film posters
Posters for "Jeune Homme" (Young Man) and "Agata e la Tempesta"
(Agata and the Storm) (top), "Dopo Messanotte" (After Midnight) and
"Toi et Moi" (You and Me)

San Antonio European Film Festival is Sept. 17-20

By Lesli Hicks
Special Projects Writer, M.A. '07

(Sept. 12, 2007)--The fourth annual San Antonio European Film Festival is Monday, Sept. 17-Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Palladium cinema at the Rim shopping center, 17910 Interstate 10 West, just past Camp Bullis Road. Admission is free and open to the public with showings between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day of the festival.

The free, four-day festival is co-sponsored by the consulates of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in Houston and Atlanta, the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of San Antonio Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Program for Cultural Cooperation Between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States Universities, John Santikos of Santikos Theaters and the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

This year's festival includes 18 recent films with more than 40 screenings and two discussion sessions with scholars, critics and film professionals from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. All films will be shown twice in their original languages with English subtitles. At 4:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, film industry professionals, scholars and critics will discuss European cinema with audience members.

"San Antonio is really lucky to have an international event of this quality happening in town -- and it's free," said Christopher Wickham, associate dean of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts. "The generosity of the Houston consulates of the participating countries, the City of San Antonio and the hard work of John Collet, honorary consul to France in San Antonio, Deborah Thomas and the Office of the Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at UTSA, and the Santikos organization come together to make a four-day event where local audiences, international filmmakers, journalists, scholars, critics and students celebrate and share their love of European cinema," Wickham said.

For more information, contact Deborah Thomas, COLFA assistant to the dean and San Antonio European Film Festival coordinator, at (210) 458-4820.

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Films and synopses

France

Bled Number One (2006) Back Home
Director: Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche
Running time: 100 min.

Just out of prison, Kamel is deported to his home country, Algeria, where he is obliged to observe with lucidity a country undergoing rapid change, torn between a desire for modernity and respecting tradition.

La Trahison (2005) The Betrayal
Director: Philippe Faucon
Running time: 80 min.

A young lieutenant is relocated to an isolated village in Algeria where his main mission is to dismantle the insurgent Algerian underground liberation army while convincing the locals of his country's good intentions. The story changes when the lieutenant discovers a notebook containing confidential information regarding the possible betrayal of some of his African recruits.

Ma Vie En L'air (2005) Love is in the Air
Director: Rémi Bezançon
Running time: 103 min.

An instructor for an airline company, Yann Kerbec, uses flight simulators to evaluate pilots' abilities to handle extreme conditions. But Yann has a small problem: paradoxically, he's afraid of flying, a debilitating panic linked to his birth and which, in his youth, stopped him from following the woman of his dreams to the end of the world. His phobia leads to a continued childhood immaturity, a detachment from practical life kept alive by the incapacity, or unwillingness, to fly. Today Yann is 30 years old. With nostalgia and humor, he reflects upon his trauma and delivers a scathing stocktaking of his love affairs that went sour because of his phobia.

Toi et Moi (2006) You and Me
Director: Julie Lopes-Curval
Running time: 90 min.

A comedy about an author of cheesy photo-novels, the film conveys the dreams and fantasies of the perfect relationship. The comedy revolves around two sisters who secretly fantasize about a love life filled with passion and romance. Although both are caught in boring relationships with their boyfriends, they dare to dream of Mr. Right. The protagonists' comedic impulses create a light tone in the life of these impeccable women.

Germany

Der Unbekannte Soldat (2006) The Unknown Soldier
Director: Michael Verhoeven
Running time: 97 min.

The Wehrmacht Exhibition, which was shown in 11 major cities between 1999 and 2004, challenged an established social taboo. Up to that point, the image of the "morally proper" German forces had been in the public debate in Germany. Suddenly, there were photos of Wehrmacht officers killing civilians, and the nation was severely shaken. Any thought of participation of the German forces in Nazi crimes was unbearable to the people in post-war Germany, so it continued to be publicly denied. The documentary traces some of the crimes the Wehrmacht is alleged to have committed.

Nowhere in Africa (2001)
Director: Caroline Link
Running time: 114 min.

Life changed for the Jewish Redlich family when the Nazi regime reached the zenith of power in 1938. Abandoning their once comfortable upper-class life, the family is forced to move to Kenya and face their new harsh reality. Not only will the family struggle to adapt to their new environment, they will also strive to maintain their family united in the mist of chaos.

Schultze Gets the Blues (2003)
Director: Michael Schorr
Running time: 114 min.

Schultze is a rugged, hardworking type of guy. When he is not working at the salt mines, he spends his days playing polkas on his accordion and fishing with his workmates. Schultze's life takes an unexpected turn when he and his friends are laid off from work. The life he knew before suddenly crumbles beneath his feet. One day as Schultze casually channel-surfs the radio stations, he hears an unfamiliar fresh musical beat known as zydeco. The melody reaches the bored ex-salt miner just in time to add a little spice to his life.

Sophie Scholl (2005)
Director: Marc Rothemund
Running time: 120 min.

This is an intense film that focuses on the last six days of anti-Nazi heroine Sophie Scholl. Animated through long-buried historical records of Scholl's incarceration and interrogation, the film depicts an unwavering struggle between a fierce female protagonist and the monolithic Third Reich machine.

The Sound of Silents (2006)
Director: Ilona Ziok
Running time: 80 min.

This film depicts the life and music of Willy Sommerfeld, the oldest silent film pianist alive.

The Edukators (2005)
Director: Hans Weingartner
Running time: 124 min.

Three activists are in for an adventure when circumstances force them to kidnap the rich entrepreneur Hardenberg. After they learn that the "fat cat" was once a hippy activist, the three are shaken up and begin to question their self-righteousness. Their friendship, love and loyalty are also challenged as they deal with the unintentional kidnapping.

Italy

Agata e la Tempesta (2004) Agata and the Storm
Director: Silvio Soldini
Running time: 125 min.

"Agata e la Tempesta" is a comedic story about a man who is forced to change his perception of a traditional family. When a man discovers his real mother is not the woman he has known for most of his life, he must make life-changing decisions that unfold the rest of the story. He must now deal with a new extended family while trying to keep hold of his old one. Agata is his single sister who is courted by a younger married man.

Dopo Mezzanotte (2005) After Midnight
Director: Davide Ferrario
Running time: 92 min.

"Dopo Mezzanotte" deals with three characters trapped in a love triangle. The female protagonist is caught between her car-thief boyfriend and the museum caretaker she befriends one night in search for sanctuary. The film is set in a movie museum, a detail cinema lovers will enjoy.

Le Conseguenze dell'Amore (2004) The Consequences of Love
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Running time: 100 min.

A middle-aged former stockbroker, living in a hotel and cut off from his children, attempts to live a barren life. A minor functionary for the Mafia, Titta Di Girolamo, spends his days drinking in the cocktail lounge. Just when he thinks his life is completely senseless, he discovers that the barmaid, Sophia, has long had an infatuation with him.

Mio Cognato (2003) My Brother-In-Law
Director: Alessandro Piva
Running time: 90 min.

This is a comedy about a pair of brothers-in-law who are caught in an adventure when they attempt to recover a stolen car. Although the two seem to be complete opposites of each other, they discover more about themselves as well as the importance of friendship.

Spain

Héctor (2004)
Director: Gracia Querejeta
Running time: 107 min.

Hector, an adolescent boy, must face many challenges when circumstances force him to move into his aunt's blue-collar flat on the outskirts of Madrid.

Iberia (2005)
Director: Carlos Saura
Running time: 99 min.

Iberia is an elaborate film structured by a series of dances inspired by composer Isaac Albeniz's "Iberia" suite.

Soldados de Salamina (2003) Soldiers of Salamina
Director: David Trueba
Running time: 119 min.

Professor Lola Sanchez, a passionless writer, is assigned to write a column in the newspaper about the Spanish Civil War. As she researches her subject in depth, she discovers several events that intrigue her. When she reads about the escaped shooting of Rafael Sanchez Maza and his connection to the Fascist party, Spanish Falange, Lola becomes more passionate about her writing. After she learns that Sanchez was assisted by an unknown soldier, Lola becomes obsessed with discovering the hero's identity.

Switzerland

Jeune Homme (2006) Young Man
Director: Christoph Schaub
Running time: 90 min.

This is a comedic story of a man who will face the domestic challenges of playing mom.

Les Memoire des Austres (2006) Bound Memories
Director: Pilar Anguita-MacKay
Running time: 87 min.

Three young adults unite to help their terminally ill mother get over their father's death. As they search for the truth, they find themselves bitterly blaming her. After the siblings narrate their memories of the fatal accident, they discover the truth while slowly relieving themselves from their guilt.

Verflixt Verliebt (2004) Verflixt Falls in Love
Director: Peter Luisi
Running time: 92 min.

This is Volker Koepp's second documentary telling personal stories of Czernowitz's inhabitants. Koepp accompanies several returning immigrants and their descendants on their journey back home.

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