Hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center, the month-long Chicago European Union Film Festival (CEUFF) will feature nine films directed by women (9 out of 61 = ~ 14.8 percent, down from last year’s record high of 25 percent). The festival is celebrating its 21st year year, beginning March 9 through April 5.
Dramatic narratives are the stories women are telling most at this festival, ranging from period pieces such as Barbara Albert’s moralistic and psychological period film Mademoiselle Paradis to Elina Psykou’s powerful current-day tale of Oedipus. Tonie Marshall puts the spotlight on games women (have to) play when trying to compete and win in the corporate boardroom in the French film Number One, and Marleen Jonkman’s Messi and Maud captures the societal pressures of motherhood and the freedom of a road trip through Chile.
On a lighter note, the Greek Xamou from Clio Fanaouraki showcases the beauty of the Mediterranean area, the love of the people, and the enjoyment of food and wine. If dark comedies are more pleasing to your palate, perhaps the Lithuanian film Miracle will resonate with you as it draws parallel lines of current political dramas in today’s American culture via a pig farm and an American investor.
Slovenia’s The Miner, an Oscar submission from the small country whose borders constantly changed during the time of war, brings us back to the era as it unearths evidence of war crimes found in an abandoned mine shaft. Tension builds continuously as the heinous and riveting secret is told by a “half-crazy old man” while the remaining townspeople bury their heads in the proverbial sand.
FF2 Media Chicago team members recommend the documentary Miss Kiet’s Children, a documentary by Petra Lataster-Czisch about a Dutch elementary school classroom, Jonkman’s Messi and Maud, Vertelyte’s Miracle, and Psykou’s Son of Sofia. While the percentage of female filmmakers at this year’s CEUFF is disappointing, the quality of the films created by women shown here rivals and exceeds any of its male counterparts. These are beautifully told stories of various genres to entertain, enlighten, and engage viewers—exactly what films (no matter the gender) are meant to do.
Watch for a complete wrap-up of all the female-directed festival favorites coming soon.
For ticket and film information about all of the films playing at the CEUFF, go to http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/ceuff/2018/festivalfilms
© Pamela Powell (3/12/18) FF2 Media
Photos: Miss Kiet's Children, Messi and Maud, Number One
Photo Credit: Peter Lataster; Gene Siskel Film Center