05-15 November 2020

Festivals & Events

HIFF Blog

October 24, 2019

HIFF39 takes a cinematic and award winning Eurotrip

Programming intern Adrian Alarilla serves as your tour guide by highlighting the European destinations that were settings for the award winning films that comprise the Festival's strongest European lineup in years.

Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, and Ethan Hawke star in THE TRUTH, the first French film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (SHOPLIFTERS).

Europe may be half a world away from here, but if you’re looking for your own cinematic journey, not to worry! HIFF is bringing all of the latest films from the continent right here in Hawaiʻi with HIFF39's EUROPEAN SHOWCASE! So pack your luggage and get your passports ready, because have we got an itinerary for you!

The Canary Islands - From vanguard of the Romanian New Wave, Corneliu Porumboiu, come THE WHISTLERS, an action-packed crime thriller about a corrupt cop named Cristi. While trying to find a mattress containing millions of cash, he collaborates with mobsters and is taught by the mysterious Gilda to communicate in an indigenous whistle language called "El Siblo," unintelligible to the police because it sounds like bird calls.

Tunisia - Although the next stop features the ARAB BLUES (Un Divan à Tunis), we promise that you won’t be disappointed with this witty comedy that’s also a gripping meditation about home and community. After 10 years of living in Paris, Selma returns home to Tunis to open up a psychotherapy practice. As Selma tries to settle in, she's faced with increasing complications brought about by being a woman educated “overseas” trying to break with tradition.

Georgia - While in Georgia, why not take some time to watch some traditional Georgian Ballet with AND THEN WE DANCED? As Merab can probably tell you, it’s an energetic, sensuous style of dance that entails years of rigorous training at the National Georgian Ensemble. But when the headstrong, rebellious Irakli joins the troupe, Merab’s world is torn asunder with this new element, who soon becomes both his rival and strongest desire.

Russia - Our travel further east to Russia also takes us further back in time with BEANPOLE (Dylda), set in Leningrad right after World War Two. Drawing loosely from Nobel Prize–winning author and historian Svetlana Alexievich’s 1985 book “The Unwomanly Face of War,” this story follows Iya, a nurse, and Masha, a soldier, who are struggling to rebuild their lives even as the city lays in ruins. This film is a beautifully shot, humanistic portrait of resilience.

Finland - From up north comes a story of loss, acceptance and moving on laced in kink. DOGS DON'T WEAR PANTS (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) is about a man named Juha who, unable to cope with the loss of his wife, lives a listless life, until he crosses paths with a dominatrix named Mona. Startled by this new experience, he slowly realizes that it injects him with an exhilaration that he has not felt in years.  If you want to walk on the wild side and take the path less traveled, make sure to catch this misfit romance.

United Kingdom - We cross the channel to Ken Loach’s searing working-class drama, SORRY WE MISSED YOU. Ricky and his family have been fighting an uphill struggle against debt since the 2008 financial crash. Looking to regain his honor as the family breadwinner, Ricky gambles at a chance towards financial freedom as a self-employed delivery driver. But his hope turns to despair even as he fights for his place in the gig economy.

France - We end our grand tour with three stops in France, our itinerary’s first foray into which is a charming animated film by first time filmmaker and animator Jeremy Clapin and AMELIE screenwriter Guillaume Laurant, I LOST MY BODY (J'ai Perdu Mon Corps). After being orphaned, Naoufel is forced to leave North Africa to live with his evil uncle in Paris. Traumatized and alone, a series of events forces him to finally take his life into his own hands. Or in this case, hand. Thus, the journey of the hand commences, hoping to reunite with its body.

Next stop is a Parisian story by way of renowned Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose newest film THE TRUTH is the first he made outside his native country. This quiet, contemplative character-driven study involves Fabienne Dangeville, one of the great stars of French cinema (Catherine Deneuve), who has a troubled relationship with her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche). Their reunion turns confrontational as truths are told, accounts are settled, and love and resentment are confessed.

Finally, we disembark in an isolated island in Brittany in the dying days of the Ancien Régime. PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is about a gifted artist named Marianne who is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). Because her subject refuses to pose, Marianne has to disguise herself as Héloïse’s new walking partner and paint her from memory at night. But as they both grow closer, their relationship blooms into something neither expected. Well-crafted and heart-wrenchingly romantic, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is a powerful testament to love, beauty and female friendship.

All aboard! Check the full timetable now for more information, and book your tickets early!


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