Seven fantastic flicks from the EU Film Festival you can watch online for free

The 2020 edition of this festival has gone virtual and is virtually free. Here are some of the highlights

15 November 2020 - 00:00
A scene from the movie 'One Careful Owner', which is free to stream as part of the 2020 European Union Film Festival.
A scene from the movie 'One Careful Owner', which is free to stream as part of the 2020 European Union Film Festival.
Image: Supplied

You won't need to mask up, sanitise or social distance to enjoy the wide selection of films on offer as part of this year's edition of the European Union Film Festival.

That's because the 7th edition of the festival is going virtual and is virtually free. There are 12 films on offer. Here's a selection to whet the appetite:

THE TRAITOR

Mafia maniacs will be well aware of the story of Tommaso Buscetta, the Italian Cosa Nostra kingpin who turned state's witness in the 1980s and spent years testifying in open court against his former colleagues, before going off into the wilderness of life under witness protection in the US.

Buscetta was the subject of the recent Netflix documentary Our Godfather, in which members of his family recounted their experience of his life after testifying and before his death in Florida in 2000.

Veteran Italian director Marco Bellochio presents his version of Buscetta's life as one that's concerned more with its protagonist's inner world and less with the chronology of the events that defined it.

Brilliantly played with a cunning intensity by Pierfrancesco Favino, it's a mix of biopic, crime film and courtroom drama that revels in the shadowy murk of the line between honour and duty, family and the family, and social responsibility and personal freedom.

WATCH | 'The Traitor' trailer.

SWEAT

Director Magnus van Horn's Polish-Swedish co-production begins as a sharp-enough satire of the shallow world of social-media influencers before transforming into something more uncomfortable and dark.

It's driven by a supremely confident debut performance by Polish theatre actress Magdalena Kolesnik in the role of Instagram fitness star Sylwie, whose life is online in all its contradictions for all to see and instantly love or hate.

Like its lead character, the film is ultimately a good-looking, fast-talking and fast-moving look at the universal anxieties that affect so many private lives beneath the aspirational veneer of public personas.

WATCH | 'Sweat' trailer.

CURVEBALL

Some may cry oxymoron at the idea of a German farce but director Johannes Naber tries his best to prove them wrong with this so-ridiculous-it-has-to-be-true story.

Set in the early 2000s, it's the story of an unreliable German intelligence source who blagged his way to German citizenship and constructed a tall tale that helped the George W Bush administration justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It's a little uneven at times but it does succeed when it stops trying to be a hard-hitting political satire and focuses on delivering old-school screwball chuckles. Whatever else it doesn't quite manage to be, it's a satisfying attempt to tell a story that doesn't beggar belief as much as it might once have but is still mad enough to keep your jaw dropping.

WATCH | 'Curveball' trailer.

I AM GRETA

This is the only film at this year's festival that will cost you admission. But fear not, as the ticket money is going to a climate change group.

Because Greta Thunberg was catapulted to international activist superstardom, thanks to her angry chastisement of world leaders for their lack of action on climate change, people sometimes forget she is in many other ways an ordinary 17-year-old.

This intimate documentary chronicles her adventures and travels in service of the most burning issue of our age. While it doesn't offer enough in the way of a call to action to follow Thunberg's lead, it does offer us a peek behind the camera flashes into the teenage stresses of her daily life as she fights to make us get up and do something before it's too late.

WATCH | 'I Am Greta' trailer.

MOGUL MOWGLI

Riz Ahmed raps and acts his heart out in this deeply personal story of a young London-born rapper of Pakistani origin who's on the verge of stratospheric success when he's thrown into a dark, self-reflective reckoning with his personal and family history after a terrifying medical diagnosis.

The film is deceptively simple but offers a complex and layered examination of how to belong in a cosmopolitan, multicultural Britain that's more exciting and closer to reality than the dull, imaginary one the Brexiteers want to return to.

WATCH | 'Mogul Mowgli' trailer.

ONE CAREFUL OWNER

A heart-warming and well-acted film about an ambitious young woman who bags a bargain deal on a flat in an upmarket Spanish neighbourhood that comes with one small snag. That snag comes in the form of the 80-year-old chain-smoking owner who will occupy the flat with her until she croaks.

That's the simple enough setup for a charming feminist-centred, odd-couple comedy that has plenty of laughs and enough emotional depth to keep you gently and pleasantly entertained.

PROXIMA

Director Alice Winocour tells her story of Mars mission astronaut Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) who must walk the difficult emotional tightrope of achieving her lifelong personal dream and breaking the heart of her daughter with compassion, sensitivity and a satisfying sense of the isolating loneliness that's part of the reality of space exploration.

It's also the smarter, better looking, more emotionally rewarding and shorter version of the recent terrible astronaut series Away, which stars Hilary Swank.

WATCH | 'Proxima' trailer.

THE 8TH

This triumphant documentary directed by three Irish women tells the story of how the pro-choice movement succeeded in repealing one of the world's most restrictive anti-abortion laws. The documentary focuses on the stories of the activists who changed the minds of their country people and took on the might of the Catholic Church.

It's a rare thing in advocacy documentary in that it doesn't sound a warning nor ring alarm bells. Instead, it tells an uplifting story of a successful struggle to give back to women their power to choose through empathetic human character details.

WATCH | 'The 8th' trailer.

• The European Film Festival is offering free online screenings until November 22. Visit their website for details.


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