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21st European Film Festival, Singapore (5-15 May ’11)

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The 21st European Film Festival is just around the corner. Film buffs take note!

By Penny K

Back in town for the 21st time, this year’s European Film Festival (EUFF) presents a series of 18 European films from 5 to 15 May at Golden Village VivoCity.

The 18 films offer Singaporeans a glimpse into the life and culture of Europe. They explore the themes of war, friendship, love and religion.

The Reverse (Poland)

Something for everyone

Attila Kali, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary of Singapore, said, “This year’s films were handpicked to display the diversity and multi-faceted character of Europe itself. That means there is literally something for everyone, so if you’ve never watched an European film, the 21st European Union Film Festival is the perfect place to start.”

What’s unique about this year’s Festival is that it is presented in partnership with New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia. Selected best short films by the school’s students will be screened before selected Festival films.

Gillian Gordon, Chair, International Media Producing Graduate Program, Tisch Asia, said, “European cinema is a significant part of the study of film at Tisch Asia and this partnership with the EUFF is an opportunity and honour for our graduate students to engage with European films in a very personal way, by pairing their own short films with acclaimed feature films.”

Of Gods and Men (France)

At a preview on Monday we were treated to a screening of Of Gods and Men but not before the delightful short film by Tisch Asia students – Suu and Uchikawa, a story about an elderly Japanese man and his young, Burmese wife.

But it was really Of Gods and Men (Grand Prix, 2010 Cannes Film Festival; Foreign Language Film of the Year, 2011 London Critics Circle Film Awards) that stole the show. The 2010 French film directed by Xavier Beauvois is based on the kidnapping and murder of monks in Algeria by fundamentalists in 1996.

Amédée and Luc contemplate (Of Gods and Men)

Of Gods and Men is a film of visual subtlety with no shortage of drama. I walked out of that screening room a little thrown off balance, and yes, at one point was moved to tears. I won’t reveal more. Don’t miss this film.

Festival highlights

The 21st EUFF will feature critically acclaimed films including award winners and nominees from the Cannes Film Festival, Warsaw International Film Festival, Golden Globes Italy and even the Oscars. Celebrated films to look out for include:

Team Building (Hungary) – Best First Feature Film Prize and Best Producer Prize, 2010 Hungarian Film Week

Mount St. Elias (Austria) – Best Documentary, 2009 Thunersee Film Festival

Blind Loves (Slovak) – CICAE Award, 2008 Cannes Film Festival; FIPRESCI Prize, 2009 Warsaw International Film Festival

The films of the EUFF are scheduled for single screenings only, and tickets will go on sale tomorrow, 21 April, at Golden Village VivoCity and on the GV website. Festival goers stand to win return tickets to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, courtesy of Finnair!

For film schedule and other details, visit or join the EUFF Facebook Fan Page ( to win tickets to the invite-only opening ceremony on 5 May, where the Hungarian film Team Building will be screened for the first time in Singapore.

See you at the 21st EUFF!

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