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European film brightens up this dark winter!

ArteKino is back for the fifth consecutive year with a selection of 10 dirty gems from every corner of Europe available until December 31st, and it's entirely free to watch!

We are delight to announce that the fifth edition of the ArteKino Festival will take place throughout the month of December, from the very first day of the month until the very last day of the year. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the 10 films carefully selected exclusively for you. This is the fourth year that DMovies has teamed up with ArteKino in order to promote and bring to you 10 dirty gems of European cinema.

The online Festival is aimed at cinephiles from all over Europe who are seeking original, innovative and thought-provoking European productions. You can watch films on ArteKino’s dedicated website and also on ArteKino iOS and Android app (developed in conjunction with Festival Scope). Subtitles are available in ten different languages: English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Ukrainian.

Once you have finished watching your favourite movies, you can rate them on a scale 1 to 5. The film with the highest score will receive the European Audience Award of €20,000. In addition, a jury of six to 10 young Europeans, aged between 18 and 25, will select a movie to win an award of €10,000. The young Europeans will be invited to Paris for the European Audience Award and the Young Public Award Ceremony in January.

There will also audience awards: one stay at the Locarno Film Festival, (accreditation, transport from their place of residence and accommodation on site) for one spectator, drawn at random from all those registered on the site who viewed and voted for at least 7 of the 10 films in the competition of the Festival; and 50 Google connected objects for 50 spectators, drawn at random from all those registered on the site who viewed and voted for at least 3 of the 10 films in the Festival competition.

ArteKino is supported of the Creative Europe Media Programme of the European Union. Below is a list of the 2020 selection, listed alphabetically. Click on the film title in order to accede to our exclusive review in here in order to accede to the ArteKino portal and watch your favourite European movies right now!

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1. Cat in the Wall (Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova):

Documentarist duo Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova have switched from the confines of archival footage to a different style of storytelling. Bridging the gap between family comedy and drama, Mileva and Kazakova’s first fiction feature follows a Bulgarian single parent called Irina (Irina Atanasova). She is a mother eager to keep her son from the realities of a country that has voted to stop immigrants such as them. Surrounding her son with a select group of children, the diversity of race which educates her son feels at odds with the lifestyle their more affluent neighbours uphold. One family aches for universality, the other individuality, but both clash over the wonders a wandering cat brings to their homes.

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2. Central Airport THF (Karim Ainouz):

For most people an airport is a transitory place. It is where they spend a few hours when they travel. Some might even stay overnight, if you miss your flight and are forced to sleep in the terminal (like it one happened to me once, and I wouldn’t recommend the experience to anyone). For refugees in Tempelhof Airport of Berlin, the transit is far more extensive. They can spend weeks, months or even years living in the hangars before their future is determined by German authorities. They come from places as varied as Syria, Afghanistan and the Donetsk region of the Ukraine.

Tempeholf is a magnificently ugly, oppressively calm and yet strangely liberating place. Central Airport THF quickly delves into the building history in the beginning of the film. Some sort of tour guide shows the gigantic building to attentive visitors. We learn that the Airport was originally built in the 1920s, and it was intended to become the world’s biggest and most impressive, had Hitler won the War. We are then abruptly brought back into the present, where the building is used as shelter for refugees.

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3. Full Contact (David Veerbek):

This Dutch-Croatian film concerns the ethics of drone strikes and the toll it takes on those who operate them. Our focaliser is Ivan (Gregoire Colin), a French drone pilot working for the US military whose job calls for him to kill people on the other side of the world. Despite his remoteness, Ivan feels their presence on an acutely personal level. He wants to know their names and how to pronounce them. He traces his drone activity on Google Maps too, locating the buildings he’s destroyed. All of this, of course, results in self-flagellation.

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4. Lessons of Love (Chiara Campara):

Italy, the country of renaissance, religion and rhetoric, is the subject of Chiara Campara’s quietly beautiful Lessons of Love, a story steeped in culture and contradiction. At the centre of this story is Yuri (Leonardo Lidi), a rural farmer searching for a meaning beyond the mouths of the cows who have fended him, much as he has fended them. At 30 years of age, Yuri is seasoned enough to have mastered the craft of farming, but still seems young enough to find love in a city even wilder than the animals he and his father hold. There, he meets Agata, a striptease artist anxious to open up his body to pleasures emanating beyond the physical.

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5. Love Me Tender (Klaudia Reynicke):

In this Swiss dramedy, Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is in the depths of agoraphobia, living in a cramped apartment with her mother and father, both of them dejected by her presence. We see only a glimpse of how they interact, but it seems that Seconda spends her time either sleeping or prancing excitedly as part of some hyperactive exercise regimen.

She has no qualms about her presentation either, darting around in only knickers and a leotard, which she adjusts – her right leg hoisted on an armchair – in full view of the camera. We also see her floss her teeth and smell the gunk afterwards. Then there’s the moment Seconda picks her nose as she receives a phone call from Henry (Gilles Privat), a demented admirer who professes his love for her ‘swan like elegant gestures’, such is the film’s dry, earthy sense of humour.

The picture at the top of this article is from Love Me Tender.

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6. Motherland (Tomas Vengris):

Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, a woman returns to her native Lithuania to reclaim her family home. It has been 20 years since Viktorija (Severija Janusauskaite) fled, escaping to America where she married and began a new life. Now weary from her divorce and driven by nostalgic memories, she returns with her American-born son, Kovas (Matas Metlevski), who naively believes they’ll soon be returning to the U.S. In spite of her family’s scepticism, she trusts that Romas (Darius Gumauskas), an old friend and romantic acquaintance can help her. Their plans however are complicated when they find a poor Russian family living out of the run down estate.

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7. Ivana the Terrible (Ivana Mladenovic):

Ivana is perfectly healthy. Multiple trips to the doctor make sure that there’s absolutely nothing physically wrong with her. But she’s convinced of her own sickness. Constantly claiming her hair is falling out while complaining of dizziness, she might be the most memorable hypochondriac since Woody Allen’s Mickey in Hannah and her Sisters. Played with perfect irascibility by director Ivana Mladenovic, she lashes out at friend and family alike, providing a bristly portrait of a returning expat who really doesn’t enjoy being home.

Based on a true summer in 2017 of the Serbian-born, Romania-based director, when she returned to the border town of Kladovo, Ivana the Terrible provides the metafictional director with plenty of space for self-reflection and insight. It comments on the relations between the two Balkan nations with tenderness and acuity. There’s a lot to absorb that might goes over the head of those not well-versed in inter-Balkan relations.

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8. Negative Numbers (Uta Beria):

Drawing on nearly five years of material, Beria showcases a vision of prison life far removed from the “hotels” Manny Ray promised his boss in Scarface (Brian de Palma, 1983). Instead, Beria opens our eyes to a Georgian hovel, underfunded and overcrowded, crowbarring more and more criminals into the detention centre. It’s here that we come across a pair of professional rugby players, eager to demonstrate a love of craft in a building where violence, vitriol and venom bring challenges unheard of on a rugby pitch. From somewhere between the prison bars and shadow shapes that amuse these men in their lonesome surroundings, comes a quietly beautiful tribute to a sport that unites millions around the world.

Crumbling beneath the weight of a fallen Soviet Union, the characters capture the fire that built the spiralling union by igniting a prison riot within the shelters of confinement.

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9. Sebastian Tellier: Many Lives (Francois Valenza):

In the eternally recycled world of rockumentary, the artist in question – from the biting John Lydon to the wiry Robbie Robertson – aches to present themselves as the provocateur they spent a legion of fans persuading. Sebastien Tellier offers no such pretence, but revels in a confidence that crackles in a presence of dazzling ingenuity. Steeped in the mysticism of a ’70s Pink Floyd record, Tellier walked the tightrope between succinct and suicidal in a stage set that made headlines as much for its ambition as it did for the material.

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10. Son of Sofia (Elina Psykou):

The year is 2004. The Olympic Games are finally returning to their birthplace of Greece. Along with the Russian Olympic team, Misha (Victor Khomut) arrives in Athens for the first time to be reunited with his mother. He is a true little Russian boy, with a Gera the Krokodil t-shirt and a Cheburashka doll affixed to his backpack, a reference to the two stars of the classic Soviet animation. Nervous to be in a new country, things turn worse when his mother Sofia (Valery Tscheplanowa) introduces him to his father-in-law Mr Nikos (Thanasis Papageorgiou).

Using the familial conflict genre while refracting it through dark fairy tales that reference both Greek and Russian traditions, Son of Sofia is a reflection on matters both domestic and national. The first sense we get that this relationship is somewhat transactional is reflected through Sofia’s marriage to Mr Nikos, who didn’t really marry him for love but in order to secure financial stability and as a means to get her son across to Greece.


By DMovies' team - 01-12-2020

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