EU on Screen


European Union, AFI Present 20th Film Showcase

From Nov. 1 to 20, the always popular European Union Film Showcase is back at the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre—presented by AFI in cooperation with the embassy cultural counselors of EU member states and the European Commission Delegation in Washington, D.C.

The European countries represented are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

This 20th edition of the EU Film Showcase screens 32 films from 25 countries—all of which are Washington premieres, as well as several U.S. debuts. Special distinction goes out to the official Oscar selections for 2006 and 2007: “I Served the King of England” (Czech Republic); “The Art of Crying” (Denmark); “A Man’s Job” (Finland); “Persepolis” (France); “Taxidermia”(Hungary); “Kings” (Ireland); “Little Secrets” (Luxembourg); “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (Romania); “The Orphanage” (Spain); “Monkeys in Winter” (Bulgaria); “The Way I Spent the End of the World” (Romania); and “Gravehopping” (Slovenia).

Opening Night The Embassy of Portugal and AFI host the 2007 EU Film Showcase’s invite-only opening night on Nov. 1. Notably, Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira will be present at the U.S. premiere of his latest film: “Christopher Columbus, the Enigma” (which will have a public screening on Nov. 4).

Confirmed Special Guests On Sun., Nov. 4 at 7 p.m., Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio Sánchez discuss “The Orphanage.” On Sat., Nov. 3 at 2:45 p.m. and Mon., Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., catch Lithuanian actress Renata Veberyte-Loman, who stars in “You Am I.” Then on Wed., Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Romanian director Cristian Mungiu talks about his “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” which won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Other appearances include: Greek director Maria Iliou with “The Journey: The Greek-American Dream” (Thu., Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.); Czech director, screenwriter and Oscar winner Jiri Menzel with “I Served the King of England” (Mon., Nov. 12, 7 and 9:45 p.m.); and Estonian actor Rain Tolk and director of photography Mart Taniel with “Autumn Ball” (Sat., Nov. 10, 1 p.m.).

Wrapping up, Romanian director Catalin Mitelescu and actress Doroteea Petre discuss “The Way I Spent the End of the World” on Sat., Nov. 10 at 5:20 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m.

AFI Silver Legacy Award Before the opening-night screening, Manoel de Oliveira will be feted at a reception and awards ceremony, where he will be presented with the AFI Silver Legacy Award, which has only been given once previously. He shares the rare distinction with Clint Eastwood, the first recipient of the AFI Silver Legacy Award at the grand reopening of the AFI Silver Theatre in 2003.

Born in 1908, de Oliveira is truly a living legend as he approaches the century mark. He has been making films for nearly 80 years. He even worked in the silent era!

Closing Night On Nov. 18, the 2007 EU Film Showcase’s closing night showcases “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a Washington premiere. Its director, Julian Schnabel, snared the Best Director Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

About the Author

Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.