CineEuropa 13 '10 Day 4 - More Stories

September 15, 2010 (Wednesday)

By this third straight 11-to-11 marathon day, a lot of happenings and observations have already culminated.   There was the subtitle story that occurred in the early years of CineEuropa where somebody, a director I think, went in front of the screen in the middle of a German film and burst in anger because there was no English subtitle and nobody could understand a thing. I could understand his frustration, even him scolding Shangrila people after the show. Some people, like the lady who told me the story, make it a point now to ask the ticket lady if there is a subtitle for every movie or else all the waiting and falling in line will be useless. Watching both the film while reading the subtitles below is a skill I have learned and developed in this marathon but I still have a long way to go in differentiating the European languages from one another (they all sounded alike in a way). I was also in no mood to make it to the First Ten and arrived a little past 11 a.m. There were still a bunch of tickets available and it lessened the waiting time for the first showing. By the time you find your seats though, you will find yourself sick of the same trailers before every film.


My tenth film was about a group of twenty somethings and they call themselves The Barons. Not to be mistaken for their medieval counterparts, these Barons have a different outlook in life. It was said that every person has a limited number of steps they can walk in this lifetime and those that do the stepping so early and incessantly die before those who don't. This was why athletes, especially runners, and those who walk are prone to accidents and injuries that will quickly attribute to their deaths. The Barons sleep and lounge all day and take turns riding their collectively owned BMW. The film is about Hassan, one of the members of a group, who wanted to pursue his dream of being a comedian and the girl of his dreams which is a fellow Baron's sister. Doing something that society wants and chasing after something was completely opposite to the pact of the Barons leading to disagreements and fighting within the group. It is ironic though that they are governed by the principle that they will do whatever they want and not what other people ask of them, unless maybe if they are asked by other Barons. 

Movie Title: Les Barons (The Barons) 2009

I liked the eleventh film even though it's genre is drama. Alex, a man in his 20s, survives a car accident but loses his memory and the story of his life. His parents died in the accident and it is up to his grandfather, the local King of Backgammon, to help him get his life back on track. Their relationship deepens with the help of backgammon and the gap between them disappears as they travel back to Bulgaria on a tandem bike. Alex was close to his grandfather before the militia tore them apart and forced his parents to escape through the border with him. Years apart and the distance between Bulgaria and Germany has made Alex forget what his grandfather has showed him as a child when he taught him how to play backgammon - that you only have to think of something you want through the dice and by throwing it, you'll get that which you need, that it is not only a matter of luck and chance. Alex made it on his own at the final point of his recovery and he had a renewed sense of life due to his grandfather's persistence. 

Movie Title: Svetat E Golyam I Spasenie Debne Otvsyakade 
(The World is Big & Salvation Lurks Around the Corner) 2008

The twelfth film was a story of a teacher who got fed up with his students and decided to find odd jobs even if he is past retirement age already. For as long as he can still find meaning and purpose, he bikes around the city as a speedy courier until he was injured on the job. He settles for another job in a supermarket bottle recycling counter where he meets a lot of interesting people. While searching for the reason for his unhappiness and discontentment, he realizes that the relationship with his wife, being a matchmaker for his daughter and helping has newly found friends has made him happy without him realizing it. And even at his old age, he proved that he can still have a meaningful life, experience love and be of use to society. 

Movie Title: Vratne Lahve (Empties) 2007

I did not like the thirteenth film because at its most tragic death scenes, I did not get why the people in the theater, especially the diplomats, were laughing. It was a film about a cop who was given a second chance for pulling a gun at his wife and lover. After his nervous breakdown, he was given a temporary assignment as a deputy in a remote village where animals and problems are made disappear in the mud. He became enthralled and entangled with the life of an abused married woman, her daughter and her proud husband. While struggling to normalize his life, he was also haunted with his desire to be reunited with his own daughter in the city and his former life. Meanwhile, the people in this village do not act although they know what was happening but were quick to throw people that humiliated the town in the mud.  He hides an unintentional murder professionally and he was able to get away with it with the help of the whole community. In return for their silence, he has to stay them, protect them and be their card buddy permanently.

Movie Title: Frygtelig Lykkelig (Terribly Happy) 2008

It was noticeable that the crowd had increased dramatically compared to the first few days. The VIP seats were all taken and it was a full house for the last show. I was unfortunate to sit next to two people who kept on chatting beside me throughout the movie. I have also abandoned the idea of rushing out to get the limited raffle tickets because there were a lot of people. The weather seemed to follow my mood and it was raining that night. I had to add one more thing to my movie marathon to-bring list: an umbrella. I wished I hadn't stayed that late for the last movie. The calming retreat I felt from watching movies starting Monday was withering as the weekend approached.

Read more about CineEuropa:

CineEuropa - Europe Through My Eyes
CineEuropa - Getting the Hang of a Movie Marathon
CineEuropa - Movie Buddies
CineEuropa - More Stories
CineEuropa - The Last Hurrah