Mandalay Movie Buffs in for a Treat as European Film Festival Arrives

By Lwin Mar Htun 12 September 2019

Myanmar’s oldest foreign film festival, the European Film Festival, will be held this month in Mandalay for the first time, launching on Sept. 13 at the Mingalar Cinema Central Point.

The festival, now in its 28th year, is organized by the European Union delegation to Myanmar in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Myanmar and French Cultural Institute (Institut français de Birmanie). It aims to promote cultural exchanges between Myanmar and Europe while showcasing the diversity of European cinema.

“I’m very proud to share our culture with people from Myanmar through the films,” said Kristian Schmidt, the EU ambassador to Myanmar.

He added: “We will be opening there with ‘King of the Belgians’, a fitting choice for the city, which is historically the residence of Burmese kings.”

“King of the Belgians” is a docu-comedy that tells the story of a Belgian king who discovers inner truths after getting lost in southeastern Europe. The film festival will be open in Mandalay from Sept. 13 to 15 with nine films screening at the Mingalar Cinema.

“We invite viewers across Myanmar to take a journey through European life through the big screen and experience the concepts, themes and art which showcase European interconnectedness. You will see that European cinema covers a variety of themes but the stories transcend boundaries and are very relatable,” said Schmidt.

The Yangon screenings will kick off on Sept. 20 at the Nay Pyi Taw Cinema with the critically praised Polish film “Cold War” by Oscar-winning Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski.

The festival lasts until Sept. 29 with 21 acclaimed films from 16 countries.

The Yangon venues will be the Nay Pyi Taw Cinema downtown and the Goethe Villa on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road. All shows are free with tickets available at the venues from one hour to 15 minutes before the scheduled screening.

“All the films represent each country and are selected by the embassies. They all make very different choices. Some embassies have chosen comedies, some chose drama, romance, history and other serious issues like discrimination,” said Schmidt.

The films are: “Cold War” (Poland); “Our Struggles” (Belgium); “Tiger Theory” (Czech Republic); “A Fortunate Man” (Denmark); “The Human Part” (Finland); “Jill, Joy and the Sleeping Clock” (Finland); “Sink or Swim” (France); “Western” (Germany); “Puskás Hungary” (Hungary); “Laces” (Israel); “Abulele” (Israel); “La Pazza Gioia” (Like Crazy) (Italy); “Tadas Blinda – Pradžia” (Fireheart – The Legend of Tadas Blinda) (Lithuania); “Tulipani: Love, Honor and a Bicycle” (The Netherlands); “Kon-Tiki” (Norway); “Sami Blood” (Sweden); “Der Kreis” (Switzerland); “David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive” (UK); and “Bloody Milk”, “King of the Belgians” and “The Distant Barking of Dogs” (EU).

“There is an honesty to European films that makes for an incredible experience. We hope that cinemagoers are able to take inspiration from these pieces and young filmmakers will be encouraged to develop their own style,” said female, Myanmar-based director Pwint Theingi Zaw.

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