The European Film Festival 2019 is a partnership project of the European Union’s Delegation to South Africa and twelve European Member State cultural agencies or embassies based in the country. The 6th edition of the European Film Festival in South Africa will be held simultaneously at Cinema Nouveau theatres in the three cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town from 29 November to 8 December.
There are 12 participating countries this year, with one film per country: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. All of the films are award-winners, new to our shores, with some of them selected to represent their countries at next year’s Academy Awards.
About the European Film Festival
The European Film Festival 2019 is a partnership project of the European Union’s Delegation to South Africa and twelve European Member State cultural agencies or embassies based in the country. They are: the General Representation of the Government of Flanders, the French Institute in South Africa, the Goethe-Institut, the Italian Cultural Institute, the British Council, and the Embassies of Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The project is organised in cooperation with Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau and Cineuropa and is coordinated by Creative WorkZone.
European Union Ambassador’s note
I am delighted to introduce to you the European Film Festival 2019, a highlight on South Africa’s cultural calendar and my first as the European Union’s new Ambassador to your country. Again we have the opportunity to celebrate the best of European cinema in South Africa with films that entertain, inspire and move us. The European Film Festival is not only an opportunity to showcase great European cinematography. It is also about providing a platform for learning about, and the sharing of, our diversity. It is about the shared human condition … about finding ways to understand each other better … about sharing joy as well as sadness …. about our common human challenges.
The European Union’s relationship with South Africa goes back to the 1980s when visionary leaders in the EU designed and implemented the Special Programme for the Victims of Apartheid. The EU was there in support of the transition to democracy in South Africa and our excellent relations were further cemented with the SA-EU Strategic Partnership in 2017 (the only one of its kind in the continent). Cultural cooperation also dates back to 1994 with the first film initiatives having already taken place in the late 1990s. Notably however, the European Film Festival and the various activities in the cultural and creative industries that will accompany it are only one element of the commitment of the EU and its Member States to elevate culture to an important component of EU relations with South Africa.
Festival Director’s note
We celebrate the 6th edition of the European Film Festival with a line-up of award-winning films from 12 participating countries: Austria, Flanders Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The festival opens a window onto the filmmaking cultures of the respective countries in Europe. Europe is of course part of the interconnected wider world, and the films are not narrow portraits of the countries and their people, they deal with issues that are both local and global. The diversity of stories, styles and genres at this year’s festival cover a spectrum of human experience and emotion guaranteed to entertain, enlighten, and provoke our thinking.
Watch the Austrian Movie “STYX”
Styx depicts the transformation of a strong and confident woman torn from her contented world during a sailing trip. When she becomes the only person to come to the aid of a group of refugees shipwrecked on the high seas, she is shown the limits of her importance and of the empathy of her cultural milieu. She is left slipping impotently from one nightmare to the next, and by the end she is forced to recognize that there is no way to counter the cruelties of real life. Only chance can save her. The film, as well as the director Wolfgang Fischer, and lead actress Susanne Wolff, have all won a variety of awards, including the Berlinale’s Heiner Carow Prize for films that address the social and political issues of today with extraordinary aesthetic means.
‘It’s a vital, highly intelligent movie that is both a first-class thriller and a biting commentary on our current world.’ Olly Richards, Time Out.
‘Questions about personal responsibility linger long after the closing credits.’ Trevor Johnston, Radio Times.