TWENTY-FOUR films from 18 European countries will be shown during the 19th edition of Cine Europa, which kicks off its 11-day run at Shangri-La Plaza on Sept. 8.
Some actors featured in the movies are pop-culture favorites such as two-time Oscar winner Maggie Smith, who plays Professor McGonagall in the “Harry Potter” film franchise and Dowager Countess of Grantham in the hit British period TV drama “Downton Abbey.” Another is Dane Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who shot to fame as Sir Jaime Lannister in HBO series “Game of Thrones.”
Local audiences should take particular interest in a Filipino-Italian coproduction, which has actors Raymond Bagatsing and Chanel Latorre among its headliners.
Here are five films to catch at the 2016 Cine Europa film festival:
1 “The Lady in the Van” (United Kingdom)
Genre: Biographical comedy-drama
Director: Nicholas Hytner
In brief: Written by Alan Bennett, who also penned 1994 Oscar nominee for Best Screenplay “The Madness of King George,” the film is a comical but poignant tale of a man (Alex Jennings) who loses his driveway to a van owned and lived in by a transient old woman (Smith). As usual the dame delivers an acting tour de force, with critics hailing her performance as “the Maggiest of Maggie Smith.”
2 “Of Sinners and Saints” (Italy)
Director: Ruben Maria Soriquez
In brief: This coproduction is set in Payatas, where an Italian priest has been sent to offer counsel to the impoverished community’s abused women and help educate kids. Cowriter-director-protagonist Soriquez is joined by a cast of Pinoy actors, including Bagatsing, Latorre, Lanie Martin Gumarang and Polo Ravales.
3 “A Second Chance” (Denmark)
Genre: Suspense drama
Director: Susanne Bier
In brief: The film marks the return of “Thrones” actor Coster-Waldau to Danish cinema. Portraying a family man and detective, he gets caught in the lives of heroin addicts who turn out to be neglectful parents of a baby boy.
4 “Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
Genre: Historical adventure
Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
In brief: A box-office hit in Norway, the film eventually became an Oscar contender for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013. It depicts the epic journey, from genesis to actual expedition, of Thor Heyerdahl through the Pacific in 1947. The adventure was carried out by the Norwegian explorer and his five “crew mates” aboard a balsa wood raft they named Kon-Tiki.
5 “All Cats Are Grey” (Belgium)
Genre: Family drama
Director: Savina Dellicour
In brief: At the center of this coming-of-age film is the teen Dorothy, who seeks out her biological father due to an estranged relationship with her mom.
This was Dellicour’s first full-length feature but, said critics, the Belgian filmmaker already showed a capability for building dramatic tension and having actors flesh out truthful performances.
Cine Europa runs Sept. 8-18 at the Shangri-La Plaza Cineplex in Mandaluyong City. Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 3702597-98. Follow Shangrila Plaza Official Fanpage on Facebook and @shangrilaplazaofficial on Instagram.
The festival proceeds to Baguio on Sept. 20-25; Iloilo Sept. 27-Oct. 2; Cebu Oct. 7-9; Zamboanga Oct. 12-16; Tacloban Oct. 18-23; Davao Oct. 25-30; Leyte Nov. 8-13; Cagayan de Oro Nov. 15-20; Palawan Nov. 22-27; and at the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Manila, Dec. 6-11.