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European Union Film Festival 2015: Part Four, by Aaron Pinkston

3 Apr


Never Die Young, dir. Pol Cruchten (Luxembourg)

The best thing about the European Union Film Festival is having access to films from countries you wouldn’t consider in the global film culture. Yes, there are plenty of films from the UK, France, Germany and Italy that play each year, but it is an equal stage for the Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Cyprus and Croatia. Unlike the major film-producing countries, the festival is able to secure the very best from these burgeoning film markets. Since I started attending the festival in 2011, I’ve seen my first films from Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, and now the tiny nation of Luxembourg.


European Union Film Festival 2015: Part Three, by Aaron Pinkston

27 Mar


The Dark Valley, dir. Andreas Prochaska (Austria/Germany)

A lone, mysterious stranger, draped in black, rides his horse into a ruthless town. But this stranger is a photographer, not a feared gunslinger. And this isn’t a shantytown in the middle of the Western desert, but a logging town in the Austrian Alps, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and deep valleys. The Dark Valley is a sobering film that pulls from traditions of the Old West. It is a very interesting mix of cultures that stands on its own, above its genre trappings.


European Union Film Festival 2015: Part Two, by Aaron Pinkston

20 Mar


Life of Riley, dir. Alain Resnais (France)

A few years back at the European Union Film Festival, Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet was being publicized as the last film from the great auteur. Thankfully, Resnais was able to complete one more film before his death last March. With You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, the filmmaker showed to be on top of his game with one of the best films of the year. While The Life of Riley doesn’t have quite the same vigor as its predecessor, it is a fine and fitting cap to a long, brilliant career. The two films could also work as a very enjoyable double feature, two different styles of theater on screen.


European Union Film Festival 2015: Part One, by Aaron Pinkston

13 Mar


For the 18th year, films from across the European Union have come to Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center for the European Union Film Festival. This year the festival features 61 new feature films, all Chicago premieres, from 27 different nations. Including many Academy Award Foreign Language selections and award winning films from Cannes, TIFF, and other international film festivals, the European Union Film Festival has become a great preview of international favorites and films from nations with burgeoning film industries.