Kenya's longest-running film festival is being held in May
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The 2017 European Film Festival was held in Nairobi , giving people a chance to experience Europe's rich cultural diversity. The festival featured a fantastic array of contemporary films from more than a dozen European countries. See attached Programme
Week 1 - at Alliance Française (junction of Loita and Monrovia Streets, near the University of Nairobi)
15 May 19.30 Victoria (drama/crime 16), Germany/Austria - by invitation only
16 May 17.30 Young Offenders (comedy 16), Ireland
16 May 19.30 Teorie Tygra - Tiger Theory (comedy 16), Czech Republic
17 May 17.30 Hotell - Hotel (drama 16), Sweden
18 May 17.30 Cahier Africain - African notebook (documentary 16), Switzerland
18 May 19.30 Takaisin Pintaan - Diving into the Unknown (documentary PG), Finland
19 May 17.30 Les Chavaliers Blancs - The White Knights (drama PG), France
19 May 19.30 Notes on Blindness (documentary PG), United Kingdom
20 May 15.00 Labyrinthus (family PG), Belgium
20 May 17.30 Diamantes Negros - Black Diamonds (drama 16), Spain
20 May 19.30 Moje córki krowy - These Daughters of Mine (comedy 16), Poland
21 May 15.00 Karpuz Kabungundan Gemiler Yapmak - Boats of Watermelon Rinds (family PG), Turkey
21 May 17.30 S Tebou ma bavi Slovenko - From Slovakia with Love (documentary U), Slovakia
21 May 19.30 De Surprise - The Surprise (comedy PG), Netherlands
Week 2 - at the National Museum of Kenya (Kipande Road, Westlands)
22 May 17.30 L'Oriana (drama 16), Italy
22 May 19:30 Young Offenders (comedy 16), Ireland
23 May 17.30 Tokyo Fianceé - (comedy 18), Belgium
23 May 19.30 Victoria - (drama/crime 16), Germany/Austria
24 May 17.30 Cahier African - (documentary 16), Switzerland
24 May 19.30 Gatos não Têm Vertigens- Cats Don't Get Vertigo (comedy 18), Portugal
Week 3 - at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom (northern side of Waiyaki Way, near Muguga Green)
29 May 17.30 Moje córki krowy - These Daughters of Mine (comedy 16), Poland
29 May 19.30 Notes on Blindness (documentary PG), United Kingdom
30 May 17:30 L'Oriana (drama 16), Italy
30 May 19:30 Les Chavaliers Blancs - The White Knights (drama PG), France
31 May 17:30 Gatos não Têm Vertigens - Cats Don't Get Vertigo (comedy 18), Portugal
31 May 19:30 Hotell - Hotel (drama 16), Sweden
2 June 17:30 Tokyo Fianceé - (comedy 18), Belgium
2 June 19:30 De Surprise - The Surprise (comedy PG), Netherlands
U - suitable for all audiences
PG - parental guidance advised for children
16 - suitable only for all audiences aged 16 or older
18 - suitable only for all audiences aged 18 or older
Festival organisers' notes:
This year's European Film Festival includes something for everyone: from family (and non-family) comedies to powerful dramas and disturbing documentaries.
Entry to the festival is free-of-charge for all of the films. The screening of the opening film on 15 May is by invitation only, but from 16 May the rest of the screenings will be open to the public. Parking will be difficult, so we'd instead recommend being dropped off by car/taxi or public transport. People will be admitted on a first-come first-served basis, so please arrive in good time to avoid disappointment!
Kindly note that the films have been classified by the Kenyan authorities: consequently, children may not be admitted to see some of the films (details of this to follow).
Victoria (drama - Germany 2015, 138 minutes) - The opening film of our festival is about a Spanish woman who's moved to Berlin and becomes friendly with some local criminals. The making of this film was quite unusual. It was shot in one single long take in the Kreuzberg and Mitte neighbourhoods of Berlin, with most of the dialogue being improvised. The film's budget permitted only three attempts at shooting. Sebastian Schipper, its director, said that the first attempt was rather dull because the actors were afraid to make mistakes, and that in the second attempt the actors went too "crazy". With only one chance left, Schipper became terrified that the experiment would fail. He held an angry meeting with the actors, and says the final attempt then worked out well because everyone felt an aggression and tension that had been missing from the other versions. At the 2015 German Film Awards Victoria won awards for Best Feature Film, Direction, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography and Music. Kindly note that the first screening (on 15 May) is by invitation only, but that it will also be screened at 19.30 on Tuesday 23 May at the National Museum.
Young Offenders (comedy - Ireland 2016, 85 minutes) - Best friends Conor and Jock are two teenagers who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same moustaches. When a drug-smuggling boat is wrecked off the coast near where they live, word gets out that a bale of cocaine worth €7 million is missing. The two friends steal two bikes and set out to find the missing bale, which they hope to sell to start new lives. The film premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July last year, where it won the Best Irish Feature Film award. Young Offenders will be screened at Alliance Française at 17.30 on Tuesday 16 May.
Tiger Theory (comedy - Czech Republic 2016, 101 minutes) - Olga doesn't give Jan any free time and he is tired of it. For Jan, the turning-point comes when Olga's father kills himself: he realises that he's in danger of ending up the same way. So he pretends that he suffers from Alzheimer's disease, and gets put in a psychiatric hospital which is headed by a friend of his. Tiger Theory will be screened at Alliance Française at 19.30 on Tuesday 16 May.
Hotell (comedy - Sweden 2013, 97 minutes) - Erika has it all: plenty of friends, a secure relationship, a good job. But one day it all falls apart: this perfect life means nothing to her. She starts going to group therapy and meets other people suffering from various forms of trauma. Together this ecccentric group decide to head off together in search of a way out. They start checking into hotels - places of complete anonymity where one can wake up as a different person. Hotell will be screened at Alliance Française at 17.30 on Wednesday 17 May and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Wednesday 31 May at 19.30.
Cahier Africain (African notebook) (documentary - Switzerland 2016, 119 minutes) This documentary is a long-term observation of the difficult attempts of women to regain a foothold after violent conflict. The idea for the film started with a small school exercise book, whose pages were full of the testimonies of 300 Central African women, girls and men who recorded the crimes committed against them by Congolese mercenaries in 2002-3. The filming began in 2008, but then a new war broke out in the Central African Republic and the women once again faced a maelstrom of violence, death and expulsion. The film bears witness to the collapse of order and civilization in a country torn apart by civil war and coup d’états. Cahier Africain will be screened at Alliance Française on Thursday 18 May at 17.30.
Takaisin Pintaan (Diving into the Unknown) (documentary - Finland 2016, 83 minutes) - Finnish cave divers face their worst nightmare deep inside an underwater cave in Norway. The film opens with footage of the divers attempting to swim through a cave system in Norway. The dive required them to cut through ice and swim down into the cave to depths of over 130m before emerging the other side in a dry cave. Two of the team drowned, and an international team of rescue divers abandoned the attempt to retrieve their bodies. After the caves had been closed by the Norwegian police, the survivors of the original diving team decided to undertake a secret mission to try to retrieve their friends' bodies. This expedition was filmed by the same documentary crew that had accompanied them on the original attempt to swim through the caves. Takaisin Pintaan will be screened at Alliance Française on Thursday 18 May at 19.30.
Les Chavaliers Blancs (the White Knights) (drama - France 2015, 112 minutes) – This movie is based on the "L’Arche de Zoe" scandal in 2007, when aid workers posing as members of a charitable French NGO were arrested for attempting to smuggle 100 children out of war-torn Africa. The story takes place in the desert hinterlands of Chad. The local government is corrupt, rebels control the countryside, Western peacekeepers are heavy-handed and thuggish. The local village is a tiny microcosm of struggling families, shy children, protective women, and suspicious men. NGO volunteers, doctors, and a journalist are barricaded in an encampment, aiming to save innocent lives from a military conflict and deliver them to foster homes in France. Les Chavaliers Blancs will be screened at Alliance Française on Friday 19 May at 17.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Tuesday 30 May at 19.30.
Notes on Blindness (documentary - United Kingdom 2016, 90 minutes) - In the summer of 1983, just days before the birth of his first son, writer John Hull went blind. In order to make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began keeping a diary on audiocassette. The result was described by the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks as "the most extraordinary, precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read." With exclusive access to the original recordings, Notes On Blindness encompasses dreams, memory and imaginative life, excavating the interior world of blindness. Notes on Blindness will be screened at Alliance Française on Friday 19 May at 19.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Monday 29 May at 19.30.
Labyrinthus (family - Belgium 2014, 99 minutes) – Frikke, a 14-year-old boy, discovers a video game by chance. Beneath the surface of this mysterious game is something sinister: it's plunging kids from the neighbourhood into the game, while simultaneously sending their real-world into inexplicable comas. Frike’s mission is to discover who the evil creator of the game is. Labyrinthus will be screened at Alliance Française on Saturday 20 May at 15.00.
Diamantes Negros (Black Diamonds) (drama – Spain 2010, 98 minutes) - Diamantes Negros tells the long journey undertaken by two young boys from west Africa, who arrive in Spain after being persuaded to pursue their dream of becoming professional football players. From the slums of Accra and Abidjan to the secret politics of a top football club, our intrepid Ghanaian journalist tracks 'Ananse', who swindles and frauds and whose myriad stories underpin Ghanaian popular history. Diamantes Negros will be screened at Alliance Française on Saturday 20 May at 17.30.
Moje córki krowy (These Daughters of Mine) (comedy - Poland 2015, 88 minutes) - Marta is an actress – successful, but domineering and unable to put her life in order. Her sister, Kasia, is a teacher – sensitive and caring. They're not keen on each other, but then an unexpected illness of their mother forces them to cooperate. This heart-warming story about family relations will be screened at Alliance Française on Saturday 20 May at 19.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Monday 29 May at 17.30.
Karpuz Kabungundan Gemiler Yapmak (Boats of Watermelon Rinds) (family - Turkey 2004, 97 minutes) - This is the charming story of two teenage boys from a small Turkish village who have a passion for cinema. One of the boys works in a barber shop, the other sells watermelons. Whenever they find time, they work on an old machine to show motion pictures from disposed films which they collect from the local movie-theatre. The movie was inspired by the director's passion about cinema and was made in his own village, with all the acting being done by local villagers. Karpuz Kabungundan Gemiler Yapmak will be screened at Alliance Française on Sunday 21 May at 15.00.
S Tebou ma bavi Slovenko (From Slovakia with Love) (documentary – Slovakia 2015, 52 minutes) - This remarkable documentary unfolds as a kind of "road movie". It shows Slovakia through the eyes of Tom, a young student from Ireland, and his local guide Gabika. S Tebou ma bavi Slovenko will be screened at Alliance Française on Sunday 21 May at 17.30.
De Surprise (The Surprise) (comedy - Netherlands 2015, 102 minutes) - After the death of his mother, an eccentric multimillionaire tries several ways of killing himself. All are in vain and so, in search of death, he encounters some Indian people who are running a business to help people to commit suicide. He signs a contract to have his life terminated but, while selecting his coffin, he meets a young woman who has signed up for a similar agreement. The couple fall in love, but can they get out of their contracts? De Surprise will be screened at Alliance Française on Sunday 21 May at 19.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Friday 2 June at 19.30.
L'Oriana (drama - Italy 2014, 110 minutes) - This biopic follows the life of the Italian journalist, author and political interviewer, Oriana Fallaci. A partisan during World War II, Fallaci became famous for her coverage of war and revolution, and her interviews with many world leaders during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. As the film progresses, we find out more about her thoughts as a front-line reporter, about her work and her personal life. L'Oriana is one of those films that will leave you with a feeling of appreciation for someone who never stopped doing what she loved. L'Oriana will be screened at Alliance Française at the National Museum of Kenya on Monday 22 May at 17.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Tuesday 30 May at 17.30.
Tokyo Fianceé (comedy - Belgium 2015, 100 minutes) - Twenty-year-old Amélie returns from Belgium to Japan, where she lived as a young child. To earn a living, she decides to give private classes in French and meets Rinri, a young Japanese man with whom she soon falls in love. Between surprises, happy times and culture shock, she discovers a side of Japan she had never seen before. Tokyo Fianceé will be screened at the National Museum of Kenya on Tuesday 23 May at 17.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Friday 2 June at 17.30.
Gatos não Têm Vertigens (Cats Don't Have Vertigo) (comedy – Portugal 2014, 124 minutes) - Homeless teenager Jó, a problem kid from a broken home, finds refuge on the rooftop of a building in Lisbon. In the apartment below lives a lonely old lady, Rosa, whose life has lost meaning after the sudden death of her husband Joaquim. Against all the odds, Jó and Rosa become the best of friends. Os Gatos não Têm Vertigens will be screened at the National Museum of Kenya on Wednesday 24 May at 19.30 and at the Michael Joseph Centre Safaricom on Wednesday 31 May at 17.30.