Electric Shadows: more jewels from Filmhouse

Posted by in May's Magazine

The New Europe Film Festival once again graced the Edinburgh Filmhouse with its presence this year, showcasing a selection of wonderful Central and Eastern European cinematic creations. Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Estonia, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, and of course Poland, were all represented on screen. On offer was a particularly impressive and entertaining array of productions, promoting some of the very best new talent to emerge from an ever growing European film industry. Two of the most inspiring titles that shone with creative and imaginative zeal, were Polish drama Zero, and the Estonian coming of age road movie, Bank Robbery.

Written and directed by Pawel Borowski, Zero is a well produced, if slightly flawed offering, following 24 characters over a 24-hour period, as their paths overlap whilst they go about their lives. At the heart of its plot is the visualisation of the different ways in which people experience love, hatred, violence, sex, and truth.  Although an interesting concept, it has been done before – see Paul Haggis’ racial drama Crash from 2004. The execution of Zero’s creation however, is what really stands out; it is a cleverly shot, excellently acted production, with a promising start that builds momentum quickly. Where the feature falls a little flat however, is that it never really knows where it is going; by the end, one may feel a little lost and none the wiser as to what the film is about..



Estonian drama Bank Robbery follows shy and troubled teenager Hannes (Henri Kuus), as he accompanies his Uncle Madis (Hannes Kaljujärv), a former prison inmate, on a road trip to meet his sweetheart. Having just been released from prison for assault, Madis lies to the boy, telling him he was inside for armed robbery. Hannes becomes infatuated with the idea of robbing a bank with the more he learns from his uncle. Slightly unbelievable and making it very difficult to care about Hannes’ problems (I can only describe him as a little shite) the film is definitely worth a watch. Road movies are regarded as the American film industry’s genre; a mutation of the travel film, which was about venturing beyond the boundary of the nation, and drinking in foreign landscapes and alien views. Usually centred round the breakup of a family unit, containing violence and sex, the road movie is a unique genre, one which Bank Robbery fits into nicely.

The Festival is a great showcase of foreign titles; yet another jewel in the Filmhouse’s programming crown. Being consistently bombarded with lifeless Hollywood blockbusters and English geezer-gangster movies, it is always a joy to behold what other countries have to offer the world of cinema. Yet, the influences of the American and British film industries are still evident in these European productions. With the Edinburgh International Film Festival starting on the 16th June, it will be interesting to see if any other delights from Eastern and Central Europe will be on offer on the Filmhouse’s screens.

Adam Smart

One response to “Electric Shadows: more jewels from Filmhouse”

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