Cine Europa 17 opens at the Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong City
Cine Europa 17 opens at the Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong City

It’s been three years since I watched a film at the Cine Europa, but here I am again! Another year, another sorta-kinda trip to Europe. The 17th edition of the said film festival, where 23 movies from 17 countries in Europe where shown, ran September 11 to  21. And while the costs of everything are rising, tickets for the film fest remain free.  Which means all you have to pay for is the ride going to Shangri-La Mall (the venue of the film fest since way back) and the popcorn. Yay!

I tried seeing as many movies as I can, but the hassle of going to Mandaluyong, plus with some prior commitments I had to fulfill, means I managed to tick off just 11 – about half of the festival’s lineup.

The movies I managed to see, in the order I saw them (The film summaries were taken from the festival’s press release.):

……….

Tüskevár (Thorn Castle)
Hungary

“Tutajos is an excellent student whose parents decide to reward his academic achievements with a vacation to the countryside. Robbed of his gadgets and easy city-lifestyle, Tutajos finds himself completely out of his element until a goodhearted ranger named Matula teaches him how to get back to nature. As Tutajos’ best friend Bütyök joins him on his vacation, the two boys learn the joys of camping, hunting, and living off of the land.”

Iedereen Beroemd (Everybody’s Famous)
Belgium

“Marva (17) is a regular at singing contests, which she unfortunately always loses. Nevertheless, her father, Jean Vereecken, dreams of a beautiful career for his daughter. But one day, Jean gets laid off. By way of revenge, he decides to kidnap the number one singer in the country, Debbie. The kidnapping sends great waves of turmoil through the country and sales of Debbie’s latest single soar sky-high, much to the pleasant surprise of Michael, Debbie’s manager. During a secret meeting with Jean, Michael proposes a deal: he will make Marva a star if Jean agrees to keep Debbie out of the way for as long as Michael wants. Jean agrees. For a while, everything goes as planned, but then the public loses interest in the kidnapping. Debbie’s record sales plummet. But Michael had known they would, and, unknown to Jean or Marva, he prepares for a bloodcurdling finale.”

Isdraken (Ice Dragon)
Sweden

“The Ice Dragon is an adventure about Mik, aged 11, and his quest for a new home. Mik runs away on an ice dragon, owns a cat factory, befriends brothers Bengt and Bertil, falls in love for the first time and eventually finds his way home.”

Jagten (The Hunt)
Denmark

“Lucas, a highly-regarded school teacher, has been forced to start over having overcome a tough divorce. Just as things are starting to go his way, his life is shattered. An untruthful remark throws the small community into a collective state of hysteria. The lie is spreading and Lucas is forced to fight a lonely fight for his life and dignity.”

Metro Manila
UK

“Seeking a better life, Oscar Ramirez and his family decide to move from the poverty strick en rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges, and journey towards the capital mega city of Metro Manila. Upon arriving in the big city, Oscar and his family fall foul to various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival. Oscar manages to land a job as a driver for an armored truck company and is befriended by Ong, his senior officer. Before long, it becomes apparent that Ong, has been planning the arrival of someone just like Oscar for sometime.”

Obcanský prukaz (Identity Card)
Czech Republic

“Občanský průkaz (Identity Card) is a 2010 Czech bitter comedy film by Ondřej Trojan basedon a story by Petr Šabach. The movie is set in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and gives a clear picture of the sociopolitical environment of that period. After the short attempt to reform the political system was brutally stopped in 1968 by the invasion of Soviet Russia, new period of communism totality was started Marked formally with big ideals, which nobody trusted anymore; but based on every day creepy repression, reaching into even minor details of private and social life of everybody. Witnessing their fathers’ generation loss and either social or moral degradation, the new generation is looking for their own response. Their resistance is symbolized by long hair, social non-conformity and prohibited music.”

El lince perdido (The Missing Lynx)
Spain

“After one of his countless mishaps, Félix (Felix in the English version), a clumsy and unlucky Iberian lynx, is transported to the animal recovery shelter at the Doñana National Park, along with Beeea (Beeety in the English version), a daredevil goat, and Astarté, a brave falcon with an injured wing. However, the national park had undergone security measures while Félix was gone. Mysterious animal kidnappings have occurred at other national parks and animal preservations, which had caused the shelter to be turned into a prison-like structure, leading Félix’s paranoid chameleon friend Gus to believe that their human caretakers are in a conspiracy to keep the animals locked up for experiments. While the others are skeptical of Gus’s claims, a female lynx, Lincesa (Lynxette in the English version), is brought to the shelter; she and Félix begin to form an attraction to each other.”

Planet Ocean
Switzerland/France

“Can we imagine a film that would change the way people look at the ocean? Can we explain simply, to everyone, the greatest natural mystery of our planet? And lastly, can we help our children believe in a better and more sustainable world tomorrow? This is the triple challenge of a new cinema adventure, sponsored by Omega (Switzerland), and signed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and editor- in-chief Michael Pitiot, who brings with him the scientific missions of TARA, a unique pool of researchers, oceanographers and biologists from several countries. Thanks to its astonishing photography, the film takes us on a magnificent and unprecedented journey into the heart of the least known regions of our planet. The film narrates the most marvelous and also the most terrifying human experiences of our time. Filmed in extreme geographical conditions all over the globe, it describes the modern Odyssey of people who go out to discover their blue planet. The film is also a plea for humanity to respect the world in which we live.”

Scherbenpark (Broken Glass Park)
Germany

“Sascha is a clever girl and she certainly has the gift of the gab. As a child, she witnessed her stepfather Vadim kill her mother. When Sascha reads a newspaper article claiming Vadim is a sensitive man who is full of remorse, this is the last straw. But then events take an unexpected turn.”

Casse-tête chinois (Chinese Puzzle)
France

“Xavier is now forty years old. We find him with Wendy, Isabelle and Martine fifteen years after L’Auberge Espagnole and ten years after Russian Dolls, Xavier’s life has not necessarily settled down and everything even seems more and more complicated. Although now a father of two children, he still has the travel bug and this time it leads him to the heart of Chinatown in New York. In joyful mayhem, he tries to find his place as a father and as a son… and as a man! Separation. building a new family. Homosexual parents. Immigration. Illegal workers. Globalization. Xavier’s life is a genuine Chinese puzzle. A life like New York and current period, which, although they may not be calm or coherent, at least Xavier has plenty to write about.”

Vegas
Norway

“You don’t choose your family. You choose your friends. Vegas is the story of Thomas, Manrianne and Terje – three teenagers that has nowhere to go. After witnessing his mother being beaten up, Thomas is sent to a young people’s refuge. No one will tell him where his brother is, and Thomas vows to find him. At the refuge, he meets Marianne, who is always screwing up, and Terje, who seems like he’s from another planet altogether. The three of them find that they share a common dream, and together they embark on a journey of love, hate and trust. No one ends up where they planned, but everyone finds a home.”

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