21st Annual European Union Festival

Reviewer Ed Farolan



In Dutch with English subtitles.

Netherlands 2016. Dir: Paula van der Oest. 100 min. DCP

Based on Dutch author Adri van der Heijden’s memoir of the death of his 21-year son who was fatally struck by a motorist, the film portrays the grief and agony of both parents. This Oscar-nominated director employs fragmented flashbacks of their son, Tonio, as a baby, a child and a teenager. and the happy moments in their lives. I think the film was well-executed, and the actors did a great job portraying their roles, especially the grief two parents experience when a child dies.



The Ardennes

In Dutch and French with English subtitles.

Belgium 2015. Dir: Robin Pront. 96 min. DCP

There was a problem with this screening. The film didn't have the English subtitles, but some members of the audience who probably understood Dutch and French insisted that the movie continue. So, I had to sit through the movie guessing whast the actors were saying from the images on the screen. From the description in the programme, brothers Dave (Jeroen Perceval, Borgman) and Kenny are crooks of the Antwerp underworld. When a home-burglary job gets botched, Dave, in a panic, abandons his brother at the crime scene. Kenny is jailed and released from prison. We find out that during Kenny's prison term, Dave has been carrying on an affair with his brother's girlfriend, who was the getaway driver. From what I gather, since there were no subtitles, Kenny finds out and kills her. There's a twist at the end of the film, where Kenny wants to kill his brother and the policer come.

It's not a bad storyline. It's one of those gang-related violent crime stories we see quite often in movies these days. I wish there were subtitles though.



Rodeo: Taming a Wild Country

In Estonian with English subtitles.

Estonia/Finland 2018. Dirs: Kiur Aarma, Raimo Jõerand. 77 min. DCP

This is an interesting documentary using cowboy images, comparing Estonia to the Wild West, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The film focuses on the 32-year old Prime Minister, Mart Laar, who served from 1992-94. These were difficult and chaotic years because the Soviet Army wouldn't leave Estonia despite the fact that they were ordered to leave. They finally left in 1994. This political documentary features archival footage and recent interviews with high-profile politicians who were involved during Laar's term of office.


© 2018 Ed Farolan