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Loeries Special Section

Best of European cinema for South Africa

Prepare to take a cinematic trip through Europe with Cinema Nouveau screened by Fish Eagle Brandy at the 2009 European Union Film Festival. The event travels to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from 22 to 28 May.

This year's EU Film Festival is about borders - from the political, religious and socio economic barriers we erect to the more personal borders that exist between neighbours and lovers in a smorgasbord of titles from Slovakia, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Cyprus and the Netherlands Portugal and Spain. Entrance to the Festival is free.

Thirteen titles from across the EU will be featured at this year's festival, including the Academy Award nominated (Best Foreign Language Film, 2008) and multi-award-winning Katyn (Poland), as well as La France (France), winner of the prestigious Prix Jean Vigo for Best Feature Film in 2007.

Katyn, named after the wooded Soviet region in which some 15 000 Polish officers were executed by Stalin's Red Army, focuses on an event long steeped in mystery. At the time the Soviet regime blamed the massacre on Nazi Germany, but by the time Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsen admitted Soviet culpability, the truth had become an open secret. Veteran director Andrzej Wajda received the Eagle award for Best Director at the Polish Film Awards.

Then, set in the fall of 1917 in the midst of World War I, La France centres on a woman who commences a journey to join her spouse at the front-line. This harsh tale, directed by Serge Bozon, captures the spirit of courage and perseverance in a place where the demoralising consequences of war have taken root.

War and its effect on the human psyche is also dealt with in the Finnish film, Mother of Mine.

The feature-length documentary, Citizen Havel from the Czech Republic, provides an intimate look at a man thrust into the spotlight of international politics and celebrity, while trying to maintain a balance between public and personal life. This is a witty and personal documentary providing fascinating insights into the life of Václav Havel, a former dissident and playwright who helped shape the early history of the Czech Republic after the disintegration of the Iron Curtain.

The desire to understand love, with its painful but often hilarious twists and turns, is another focal area the Festival explores through the highly acclaimed Dutch film, Love is All, as well as in the relatively unnoticed but equally sumptuous Honey and Wine (Cyprus), directed by Marinos Kartikkis.

Human emotions attached to place, separation, friendship and freedom are explored in the films Kidz in da Hood (Sweden), Return of the Storks (Slovakia), Get a Life (Portugal) and Somers Town (United Kingdom).

German film Die Mitte (The Centre) is a playful yet insightful documentary by Stanislaw Mucha who sets out to find the centre of Europe, while the period drama The Passion of Joshua the Jew (Italy) deals with 16th century Spain where Muslims and Jews are being forced out under the reign of Queen Isabel of Castile. 14 Kilometres, directed by Gerardo Olivares, contextualises the festival by examining the relationship between Europe and Africa while broadening the Third World - First World discourse.

Get your fix of European cinematic delights at Cinema Nouveau screened by Fish Eagle Brandy 2009 European Union Film Festival.

Tickets can be collected at the venue an hour before each show time (Mondays-Sundays only at 17h30 and 20h00).

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