5 highlights from the EU Film Festival 2017

5 highlights from the EU Film Festival 2017

Europe bound

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: European Union Film Festival

The European Union Film Festival returns, partnering with National Gallery Singapore from 11 to 21 May

Singapore's longest-running foreign film festival is back with the National Gallery Singapore in its arms. With a new venue and an exciting patron of the arts as their proud supporter, expect a range of diverse films that run the gamut of genres. If you're already well-versed in the French, English, Spanish, German and Italian exports (also known as the Hollywood-friendly film markets), some of these 27 films give you a chance to legally watch the commercial and critical successes of works from less-familiar countries such as Malta, Slovakia, Ukraine, Turkey and Latvia (hands up if you actually know the capital of this country without Googling). Whether you're in for a psychological thriller, a romantic drama surrounding mental health or want to recall the flush of first love, the 27th edition of the EUFF will connect you to something you won't otherwise consume on mainstream telly. Here are our picks.

1. Estonia: The Polar Boy
Putting mental health in the spotlight, young 30-something director Anu Aun tells the story of two youths caught in the throes of passion and ultimately, crime, where the only escape is to prove a bipolar disorder.

2. Slovakia: Soul at Peace, A story of friendship and betrayal
Earning five prizes in the Slovak Film and TV Academy (including best film and best male and female actor), the story centres on a man who resumes his life after being locked away in prison for theft. A brief introduction to the issues surrounding central Slovakia, the film looks at patriarchal families and racial discrimination too.

Slovakia EU Film Festival Singapore

3. Latvia: Mellow Mud
Latvian director Renars Vimba's debut feature earned him a Berlinale feature and a special mention at the New Voices/New Visions section of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. This coming-of-age story deals with a girl in search for her estranged mother, weaving in themes of first love and its illusions.

4. Malta: 20,000 reasons
Do you have 20,000 reasons to marry someone? Ramon, the male lead from this Maltese romantic comedy has them all — but not before dealing with the quirks of two families about the come together. A light-hearted break from European art house films, this flick is one to watch with your girlfriends.

5. Turkey: Ivy
What do you get when you have six men stranded on a ship, shuffled together with power struggles, dwindling food and water supplies and no passports? Turkey's answer is this psychological thriller, which sees humanity tested to its very limits.

The European Union Film Festival 2017 runs from 11 to 21 May at the National Gallery Singapore. For more information, click here.