European Cinema Hits in The Great 5

One of the longest and most popular sections, The Great 5, will this year again thrill both the refined cineastes and the broader audience. The cherry-picked film hits from five largest cinematic countries of the Old Continent (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) include the coming attractions directed by some of the finest contemporary directors, like Andrea Arnold, Pedro Almodóvar and Paul Verhoeven, as well as a few surprises, genre experiments or weird and extraordinary narratives that sparked quite an interest on the European festival scene.

This year’s British torchbearer, director Andrea Arnold, is already a household name with the local audience who remember her films Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights. Her fourth feature, American Honey, is a drama-road movie combination and the winner of the Cannes jury award. The story about a group of forsaken adolescent dropouts travelling across Midwest, selling magazine subscriptions, is a fascinating and systematic insight into the unknown America. Outstanding and credible performances of the cast reflect the director’s specific shooting method: Arnold gathered a group of young men and women without acting experience on her journey across America and started making the film by inspiring them to bond and interact. Apart from the still anonymous young cast, the film stars Shia LaBeouf, accompanied by the magnificent original score.

Julieta, the latest piece by the most famous living Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar, is an elegant and idiosyncratically Amodovarian tale of memories and motherhood, focusing on passion, loss and intrigue, as well as transformation. An adaptation of three intertwined stories by the Canadian Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, this latest piece by the great director boasts an emotional and visual quality of his flagship films.

The French cinema is coming with Elle, the current national Oscar candidate, directed by American director Paul Verhoeven. A dark and painful subject matter, a film about a successful manager attacked and raped in her own home by a masked man, this disturbing thriller is nevertheless seasoned with a dose of satirical humour. One of the most complex and most controversial films by the filmmaker who gave Hollywood its trademark blockbusters like RoboCop and Basic Instinct is his first film after a ten-year break. A typical plot about a victim and her attacker is turned into a cinematic ‘cat and mouse play’. The French diva Isabelle Huppert gave a staggering performance – many critics already predict her a possible Oscar winner.