Cinema Next Europe
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 17th edition of Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz had to be cancelled on 18 March 2020. With the alternative program "Crossing Europe 2020 - EXTRACTS" Crossing Europe invites you in several stages to a virtual journey across the film continent of Europe starting on 21 April. Details HERE.
This year the program of the Cinema Next Europe section focuses on comedies. When we set out on our quest for humorous debut features by young, upcoming filmmakers, we received similar sounding emails from our European colleagues. Here is an excerpt: From Belgium: “We don’t produce a lot of comedies in French-speaking Belgium.” From Lithuania: “Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of comedies during the past few years.” From Switzerland: “The matter of comedies is not an easy one, indeed ... Plus we, the Swiss, may not be the funniest of nations.” From Georgia: “Unfortunately we do not have funny comedy full length films to suggest, the majority of Georgian movies are social dramas.” From Czech Republic: “I have to admit you are not making it easier for us. Czech cinema is lacking any kind of genre films in the last few years.” From Sweden: “We don’t have that many titles that suit your theme, and it really shows that it’s not common that young filmmakers make comedies.”
Of course, it is not the case that there are no humorous films at all in Europe. Many of the favorites with European cinema audiences are comedies. They often have their own country-specific humor, quite a few of them rely on stereotypes and, on the lookout for easy audience laughs, hope to capitalize on cheap jokes. In our screening process, we have also seen films like these. It was all the more thrilling for us to find humorous films that we would like to see at a festival like Crossing Europe. With Sawah being the one that maybe qualifies the most as “classic comedy”. The remaining three films in our selection each combine humor with different genres. Which may then be called “tragicomedy” - like Bear with Us. Or “romantic comedy” - like Aurora. Humor or the absurd can often be found in action, horror, or animated movies – Old Man Cartoon Movie has a bit of everything.
Almost no comedy can manage without stereotypes – be they language, background, or gender – or dramatized current affairs – like the refugee crisis. This can prove highly problematic. The films in our selection also work with exaggerations. But sometimes they do come too close to the bone. In Sawah, Daniel, who comes from the Congo but in Luxembourg now pretends to be Israeli, tells the DJ from Egypt who has landed in the Grand Duchy: “It doesn’t matter where I am from. What people see is that I am black. And for you it’s no different. I am in the black bucket, you are in the Arab bucket. That’s how life goes here in the West.”We were looking for films and young filmmakers who know how to write good screenplays and dialogues, how to create fine characters and tell a story in a dynamic, smart and humorous fashion. We know that what makes some people laugh may not be funny at all to others. For the two of us planning the program, it was certainly a good indication when we both had to laugh.
The quotes listed at the beginning attest that in European cinema, comedy apparently is a rare skill. The four selected films prove, however, that it can nevertheless be found in young European cinema. So with this year’s program, we also bow before the young film creatives who dare to face this supreme discipline of cinema!
| Titles from the section CINEMA NEXT EUROPE |
- AURORA (Miia Tervo, FI 2019)
- CHATA NA PRODEJ / BEAR WITH US (Tomáš Pavlíček, CZ 2018)
- SAWAH (Adolf El Assal, LU/BE/EG 2019)
- VANAMEHE FILM / OLD MAN CARTOON MOVIE (Mikk Mägi, Oskar Lehemaa, EE 2019)