Now in its third week, the European Union Film Festival continues Friday through Sunday, February 20 through 22, at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Admission is $6, $3 for Film Center members. For further information call 312-443-3737.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20
The Last Bus Home
A 1997 Irish “punk rock odyssey,” set between 1979 and 1992, and written and directed by Johnny Grogan. With Annie Ryan and Brian O’Byrne. (6:00)
A modern fairy tale of fabulous complexity, this 1997 Austrian film involves a preserved whale whose interior is outfitted as a tourist attraction in a mountain village. When the citizens discover that the whale will grant one wish to anyone making love inside it, a line forms and near chaos ensues. A young woman turns her rival into a dog, then takes on man after man, hoping one of them will reverse her evil deed, but they all have other ideas. In part a comedy of manners, the film offers new twists on the familiar theme of magic wishes gone wrong–a farmer’s new Rolls gets stuck in the mud, etc–but it’s marred by a cloying cuteness. The music and narration constantly remind us how charming the story is, as if director Robert Dornhelm didn’t think the film could sustain itself otherwise. (FC) (7:45)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21
Director Bille August adapted this 166-minute feature (1996) from an epic novel by Selma Lagerlof about the effect of a messianic preacher on a small Swedish village during the late 19th century. Nominated for an Academy Award; with Ulf Friberg and Maria Bonnevie. (3:00)
Storm the Skies
A 1996 Spanish biopic about the man who assassinated Leon Trotsky. Directed by Jose Luis Lopez-Linares and Javier Rioyo. (6:00)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22
The Glamorous World of the Adlon Hotel
German filmmaker Percy Adlon (Sugarbaby, Bagdad Cafe) delves into his family’s past in a 1996 docudrama about Berlin’s Adlon Hotel, whose guests included Josephine Baker, Charlie Chaplin, Thomas Mann, and Richard Tauber. With Felix Adlon and Eva Mattes. (4:15)
This 1997 first feature by Dutch filmmaker Mike van Diem presents a complex
and occasionally brutal story of a father and son set in 1920s Rotterdam. It opens with a young man confronting and apparently murdering his court-bailiff father, an iron-willed sadist who takes pleasure in evicting families; as the son is interrogated by police, the film unfolds in flashbacks that begin before his birth. The cinematography is lush, Jan Decleir is superb as the stony father, and some of the smaller moments–a shot of the father’s back as he abandons his son–are affecting. But the thunderous sound track and overcalculated images attempt to generate a grandeur not sustained by the narrative: I kept expecting World War II to break out. On the same program, Petra Dolleman’s animated short A History of the Netherlands. (FC) (6:00)
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Character film still.