On Friday, February 22 to March 6, a number of European films will be screened in Hong Kong. It will be the fourth time the EU Office to Hong Kong and Macao and the EU Member States are organising the Festival in Hong Kong. This year is bigger than ever before, with 18 films coming from 18 European countries. Three of these films are from Scandinavia.
Denmark with A Royal Affair
Set in Denmark in the 18th Century, King Christian VII rules his country by indulging in the pleasures of the flesh. Johann Struensee is a handsome German doctor and staunch proponent of the Enlightenment’s reformist principles, who is so well liked by the King that he is able to use his influence to advance the cause of social reform. When he meets the King’s physically and intellectually captivating queen, the two are engaged in comradeship for revolutionary ideals as well as a romantic relationship. They become blind to the conspiracies developed by the conservatives whose interests are directly challenged by their call for reform. This is a film that is able to bring a sharp, contemporary edge to the notorious true story of illicit love and political intrigue. The movie is directed by Nikolaj Arcel who in Denmark is also known for the movie “Kongekabale”. The movie is critically acclaimed and has won two Silver Bears at Berlin International Film Festival while it is also nominated for an Oscar as best foreign film.
Finland with Road North
Timo is a middle-aged, workaholic concert pianist who does not foresee any changes in life even after his wife left him. He is visited by his long-lost father, Leo who abandoned him and his mother 35 years ago. Completely the opposite, Leo is a lifelong rapscallion barely able to commit to anything. He pleads with Timo to take him to northern Finland and the father and son wind up on a wild ride in a stolen car with one unsettling revelation after another. At the end, the uncomfortable son is able to realize the roots of his stoic life and empathize with his father, a struggle common amongst many of us who strive to break away from the role model and influence of our parents.
Sweden with Certain People
Katinka arranges a birthday party at her idyllic country house for her bohemian artist friends. Midway through dinner, Katinka’s twin brother Joel shows up with his newly found acquaintance Linda. Tensions build up as the tawdry blonde Linda interrupts the calm and sophisticated party with her giggly, trashy style and lack of manners. Her presence is like a wake-up call provoking the contempt and long-buried prejudices of the self-absorbed upper class for the Other and each other, tearing down the mask of their hypocritical escapism. Filmed with a low budget and a band of new, unknown actors, Levan Akin’s debut is set against the kind of midsummer night’s dream setting only to reveal the divisions and phoniness of one of the most class-equal Nordic countries in the world.
Read more about the European Union Film Festival 2013 here