The European Union Film Festival returns to Harare this week for its second edition with an exciting and artistic programme of arthouse movies. Once again, the Theatre in the Park will set the stage from 15th to 19th May for the line-up of an acclaimed assortment of films from eleven EU Member States. Everybody is on the guest list: admission to all movie screenings is entirely free.
This year’s EU Film Festival offers a fresh cinematic experience: the carefully selected, multi-facetted programme presents art on a big screen canvas. Whilst all movies are internationally acclaimed and awarded, the focus moves away from mainstream narratives to a more diverse and unique visual storytelling approach, which includes two documentaries and a feature film. Our journey through Europe is characterised by the diverse cultures and facets of the continent, a wide scope of stories that engage and pay tribute to the common traits of human nature – we touch on friendship, love, hopes, dreams, anger, regrets, misunderstandings and fears that are not only European, but universal. Eleven screenings, spread out across five days, provide more than 1000 minutes of entertainment and food for thought.
The diversity in narrative will take you from a secret luxury hideout on the Canary Islands to a mental health institution in Italy, from a messy, supernatural family get-together in Portugal into a car with warring politicians in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. You will meet illustrious and loveable (or less loveable) characters, such as superficial Sebastian in Sweden, Tom in Germany, who floats randomly through the streets of Berlin, or American novelist and social critic James Baldwin, who documented the assassinations of three Afro-American activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.
New this year is a distinctly African connotation of the Festival: “I am not a Witch”, the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Festival, is an award-winning feature drama by Zambian-born Rungano Nyoni. “Leaving Africa” from Finland documents friendship and determination for an unlikely pair of development aid workers providing sexual health and equality education in a rural Uganda.
Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, Head of the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, said: “We are thrilled to bring this Festival back to Harare after the wonderful inaugural edition last year. I believe the selection of movies this year is an even more befitting illustration of European cinema and its artistic variety. This year, we celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage, of which cinema forms an integral part as a channel to share our memories, our myths and our narratives. Cultural heritage binds us together in all our diversity through our common history and values, as well as the richness and variety of our cultural traditions – and it helps us to design our future.”
The EU Film Festival kicks off on Tuesday, 15 May at 5.30pm with “Like Crazy” (La pazza gioia), an award winning and as witty as touching Italian comedy-drama. Like Crazy follows the unusual friendship that develops between two completely different women whilst they are locked away in a mental health institution. Throughout the five days of the Festival, a minimum of two films will be screened every evening (all details in the attached programme and on the dedicated Facebook page @EUFilmFestivalZim).