Shangri-La Plaza is once again opening the doors of the Red Carpet at the Shang for Cine Europa. Now on its 26th edition, it’s the longest-running European film festival in the country and one of the most anticipated film events in the metro, from June 16 to 18

Organized by the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines together with the EU Cultural Institutes, Cine Europa 26 is showcasing 10 outstanding releases from 2018 to 2022 from different parts of the old continent, which is known for its pioneering contributions to the film industry such as significant cinematic movements and prominent auteurs that continue to inspire and influence modern cinema, including today’s Filipino filmmakers. 

Opening Cine Europa 26 is the 2021 critically acclaimed directorial debut of Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, Murina (Croatia and Slovenia). This coming-of-age drama revolves around restless teenager Julija who seeks freedom from her strict controlling father Ante while an old family friend and potential buyer of their remote island home spends the weekend. It won the Caméra d’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival and The Best Balkan Film Award at the Sofia International Film Festival. 

Another feature on the lineup includes Ensilumi (Any Day Now, Finland), a 2020 Hamy Ramezan movie about an Iranian refugee family in Finland whose asylum application got denied just when they thought things were starting to fall into place. Starring acclaimed French actor Adèle Exarchopoulos, Rien à Foutre (Zero Fucks Given, Belgium) centers on workaholic flight attendant Cassandra who’s forced to head home after being dismissed a low-cost airline. This 2021 flick is directed by Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre. 

The festival is also screening the 2022 Best Nordich/Dutch Film winner at the Santa Barbara International Film Miss Viborg (Denmark). Helmed by Marianne Blicher, this feel-good movie revolves around an unlikely yet meaningful friendship between a rebellious teenager and 61-year-old former beauty queen who both live in a small Danish town. Then, there’s Sweat(Poland) by Magnus von Horn. An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2020, it gives a closer look at the life of a social media star and fitness expert who longs for a real connection amid her growing stardom. 

Cine Europa

Cine Europa is also presenting the 2022 Anna Eszter and László Csuja docu-fiction Szelíd (Gentle, Hungary and Germany). Receiving the Grand Prix award at the 2022 CinEast (Central and Eastern European Film Festival), the production is about a female bodybuilder who is ready to sacrifice everything to win the world championship, which is a dream she shares with her life partner and trainer. There’s an animated movie in the mix for this year’s festival. It’s the 2022 Signe Baumane production My Love Affair with Marriage (Latvia and Luxemburg). Made for adult audiences, this imaginative musical comedy follows the journey of Zelma who sets out on a 23-year quest for perfect love and lasting marriage, while learning and unlearning about the destructive expectations society has on women. Another comedy in the line-up is Ramona (Spain), which follows the relationship of two people who randomly meet in the streets. Not expecting to see Bruno again, Ramona soon finds herself questioning her career and perfect relationship with her boyfriend. Released in 2022, this romantic-comedy stars Lourdes Hernández, Bruno Lastra, and Francesco Carril. 

Documentaries are also going to be screened at the festival. One of these is Historja – Stygn för Sápmi(Historja – Stitches for Sapmi, Sweden), a 2022 film by Thomas Jackson. Offering a majestic look at an indigenous community north of the Arctic Circle, the documentary follows the story of Samí artist Britta Marakatt Labba on how her creations depict her people’s mythology and how she’s fighting to preserve her culture from the effects of climate change. Directed by Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck, the 2018 eyeopener The Cleaners (Germany) is also showing at the Shang. Focusing on an organization based in Manila, it explores the disturbing world of content moderators or people who monitor social media platforms to remove distressing and forbidden content such as those with excessive violence and pornography. Apart from revealing the psychological toll of being a content moderator, the film also warns about how these social sites can be used to spread damaging false news and hate. 

Get to see the creations of a new generation of visionary filmmakers from Europe at Cine Europa 26, screening at the Red Carpet at the Shang on June 16-18!

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