Bangkok cineastes enjoyed the French Film Festival in March, then were spoilt for choice earlier this month when movies from Spain and Hong Kong showed simultaneously at two venues. Now there’s more foreign films on offer with the Swedish Film Festival next week and the EU Eco Film Festival the week after.
Sweden is the latest country to hold its very own event. The country that produced filmmakers Ingmar Bergman and Lasse Hallstrom has in recent years given Thai movie-goers such thrills as the vampire chiller “Let the Right One In” and the riveting “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, both of which were remade by Hollywood.
The Swedish Film Festival shows the country has much more to offer, with seven recent titles that have either won or been nominated for major awards. They are: “Simple Simon,” “Simon and the Oaks,” “A One-Way to Antibes,” “A Thousand Times Stronger”, “Sebbe,” “Sound of Noise,” and “Miss Kicki”.
Organised with the Embassy of Sweden, the fest opens on Tuesday at SFX the Emporium with an invitation-only screening of “Simple Simon”, the story of an 18-year-old with Asperger syndrome who is obsessed with space and science. When his brother Sam breaks up with his girlfriend, he sets out to find him a new one.
“Simon and the Oaks”, which is based on Marianne Fedriksson’s novel, is a coming-of-age tale set in rural Sweden in the 1940s and tells the story of a bookish boy from a working-class family who befriends Erik, a Jewish kid whose family fled Nazi Germany.
“A Thousand Times Stronger” looks at gender disparity in school with the arrival of a new student who changes the social structure of the classroom.
Three family stories are portrayed in different dramas. In “A One-Way to Antibes”, a half-blind widower plans a counterattack after learning that his children have conceived an elaborate plan to get their hands on his assets before he dies; an isolated teenager is let down by his mother with disastrous consequences in “Sebbe”, while a mother and son try to patch up their relationship on a trip to Taiwan in “Miss Kicki”.
In “Sound of Noise”, a tone-deaf cop works to track down a group of guerrilla percussionists whose anarchic public performances are terrorising the city.
A spin-off of the long-running annual EU Film Festival, the EU Eco Film Festival will be held at the new SF Cinema City at Terminal 21 on Asoke. The fest showcases 10 shorts and features that focus on our changing world.
It opens on May 24 with “They Will Come to Town”, a dialogue-free two-minute animation from Germany that thrills and shocks with an illustration of the consequences of climate change on our cities. The main feature is “Above Water” from Austria and Luxembourg, comprising three stories from around the globe that illustrate how water has become both a necessity for life and a threat to it. There will be an opening reception beforehand at 6.30 and an opening speech by EU Ambassador David Lipman.
Most of the films in the EU Eco fest were made in 2008 and 2009 and some have already screened Thailand including “Home”, French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s bird’s eye view of the global landscape that reveals how the world is changing as a result of global warming.
The docu-drama “The Age of Stupid”, available here on DVD, stars the late Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching archive footage from the mid- to late-2000s. “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?” he wonders.
Finland’s “Recipes for Disaster” takes a realistic approach to the future with director John Webster convincing his wife and two small children that the whole family should go on an oil diet but without giving up their middle-class suburban lifestyle.
The five-minute German short “The Bill” sees three friends chatting in a pub about their lives and climate change. But when it comes to paying, it soon becomes clear who will have to foot the bill.
Danish filmmaker Mikala Krogh zooms in on Egypt’s capital in “Cities on Speed – Cairo Garbage”, showing that when population increases, so does the garbage.
From Poland comes “The Saga of the Primeval Forest: The Tale of A Lynx”, depicting the struggle of the orphaned lynx in the Bialowieza forest.
“Think Global, Act Rural” from France shows how modern agriculture can have a devastating effect on the environment even as it increases product yield.
Still to come is the EU Film Festival itself. It returns again this year to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, running from May 30 to June 12, except Mondays when the BACC is closed.
Screenings in both the Swedish and Eco fests are in their original soundtracks with English subtitles.
Swedish Film Festival
_ The Swedish Film Festival runs from next Wednesday to May 20 at SFX the Emporium, with screenings in cinema-standard digital format. Free tickets are available 30 minutes before show time.
_ Here’s the schedule:
_ Wednesday, 7.30pm – “A One-Way to Antibes”
_ Thursday, 7.30pm – “Simon and the Oaks”
_ Friday, 4pm: “A Thousand Times Stronger”; 7.30pm – “Sound of Noise”
_ May 19, 1.30pm – “Sebbe”, 4pm – “Miss Kicki”; 7.30pm – “Simon and the Oaks”
_ May 20, 1.30pm – “A One-way to Antibes”; 4pm – “Sound of Noise”; 7.30pm – “Simple Simon”
EU Eco Film Festival
_ The EU Eco Film Festival runs from May 24 to 27 at SF Cinema City Terminal 21. Screenings will be in DVD format. Free tickets can be picked up 30 minutes before show time.
_ Here’s the schedule:
_ May 24, 8pm – “They Will Come to Town” (Germany) and “Above Water” (Austria/Luxembourg)
_ May 25, 6pm – “The Bill” (Germany) and “The Age of Stupid” (UK); 8pm – “Cities on Speed – Cairo Garbage” (Denmark)
_ May 26, 6pm – “The Saga of the Primeval Forest: The Tale of a Lynx” (Poland); 7.15pm – “Home” (France)
_ May 27, 3pm – “Submission: In Defence of the Unborn” (Sweden); 5pm – “Think Global, Act Rural” (France); 8pm – “Recipes for Disaster” (Finland)