EU XXL film: a week in Utopia
by Bénédicte Prot
25/11/2005 - The 3rd EU XXL film festival, which runs from the 23rd to the 29th of November in Vienna and Krems, is 'our contribution to European integration' for 'art and culture know no borders', announced Mercedes Echerer, who directs the event with the help of a board of advisors including Erhard Busek, Wolfgang Petritsch, and Kurt Mayer, the Chairman of the Association of Austrian Professional Filmmakers.
This year, EU XXL film is screening 15 features, 8 documentaries and a special section dedicated to the Dardenne brothers. The 'features' section, which had previously focused on films from new European member-states, changes angles and offers an all-encompassing selection of movies from the East to the West. The emphasis is less on arthouse than on social reality films, especially those which depict the working conditions in a constantly changing Europe. The accent is also on co-productions. The opening film was Hawai, Oslo, second part of an Oslo trilogy by the Norwegian director Erik Poppe. It is followed by, amongst others, I Truly Respect You (o.t. Volevo solo dormirle addosso) by Eugenio Cappuccio, Changing Times [trailer] by André Téchiné, Odete [trailer], by the Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues, and Ryna [trailer], a Czech and Romanian co-production directed by Ruxandra Zenide.
The documentary sidebar is a trip to the cinematic margins; it screens, for instance, 89 Millimetres - Freedom in Europe's last Dictatorship, by Sebastian Heinzel (read news), The Sky Turns by Mercedes Álvarez (read Focus) , Odessa... Odessa! by Michale Boganim, and Bunica, an Austrian co-production directed by Elke Groen and Ina Ivanceanu, who are both present for this national premiere.
The festival’s intention is to be a communication platfor, it also consists of a forum where film professionals representing all branches of the industry are invited to discuss the current cultural policies and the interaction between public authorities and the sector. They will not overlook economic issues and marketing strategies, which will lead to the drafting of a document addressed, in particular, to the European Parliament and the European Commission.
(Translated from French)