AFI Announces Special Presentations for the 21st Annual European Union Film Showcase...

Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:38pm EDT

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AFI Announces Special Presentations for the 21st Annual European Union Film Showcase in Washington November 6-25 at AFI Silver Theatre

        Opening Night, Centerpiece Screenings and Closing Night
   Presentations Highlight AFI's Celebration of the Best in European
SILVER SPRING, Md.--(Business Wire)--
The 2008 AFI European Union Film Showcase, the fall's signature
cultural event for Washington, DC, moviegoers and the area's
diplomatic community, will formally kickoff November 6 with the
Opening Night presentation, I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (Il y a longtemps
que je t'aime). The French film stars Kristin Scott Thomas as a woman
readjusting to life after a long term in prison. Oscar(R)-winner Scott
Thomas has garnered great acclaim for her performance. The film is the
debut feature by novelist-turned-director Philippe Claudel. Sony
Pictures Classics releases the film in the US later this fall.

   For the first time, the AFI EU Showcase will feature three
Centerpiece Screenings:

   --France's A CHRISTMAS TALE (Un Conte de Noel) (November 8),
directed by Arnaud Desplechin, to be released later this year by IFC

   --Italy's GOMORRAH (November 15), the Grand Prix winner at Cannes
and Italy's Official Oscar(R) selection, also to be released by IFC
Films; and

   --Germany's THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX (November 21), the latest
film from writer-producer Bernd Eichinger. The film is Germany's
Official Oscar(R) selection and will be making its East Coast
Premiere. Constantin Films represents the film internationally.

   The AFI EU Showcase Closing Night film is ELDORADO (November 22),
Belgium's Official selection. Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2008
Directors Fortnight section at Cannes, the film will be making its US
premiere. Film Movement will distribute the film in the US.

   "The Special Presentations in this year's AFI EU Film Showcase
represent the most outstanding films in what may be our best EU
Showcase ever," said Todd Hitchcock, Film Programmer, AFI Silver
Theatre and Cultural Center. "AFI's EU Film Showcase has grown in
size, stature and celebrity over the past few years, reflecting the
vibrancy of filmmaking in the EU countries and the EU's own growth to
its present membership of 27 countries."

   The AFI EU Showcase is produced and hosted by the AFI Silver
Theatre, in cooperation with the Cultural Counselors of European Union
Member States' Embassies and the European Commission Delegation in
Washington, DC. All films will be shown exclusively at the historic
AFI Silver Theatre in downtown Silver Spring, MD.

Opening Night Presentation
I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime)
Thursday, Nov. 6
Novelist-turned-director Philippe Claudel's profoundly moving film
 examines the role of family and forgiveness in an utterly fresh new
 way, in a story marked equally by intelligence, kindheartedness and
 grace, and sparked by outstanding performances from Oscar(R)-winner
 Kristin Scott Thomas and rising talent Elsa Zylberstein. Released
 from prison after serving 15 years for committing a shocking crime,
 Juliette (Scott Thomas) moves in with her younger sister Lea
 (Zylberstein) and her sister's family. Hardened by her prison stretch
 and the agonizing emotions she has locked away within her, the
 readjustment to normal life is difficult for Juliette, with her
 sister's happy life of family and friends seeming strange to her,
 even a rebuke. What follows is a series of small steps--and the
 occasional setback--as Juliette gradually learns to open up and
 accept people back into her life.

Film Festivals/Awards
Berlin International Film Festival 2008/Prize Of The Ecumenical Jury
Telluride Film Festival 2008
Toronto International Film Festival 2008
Official web site:
Press site:

Centerpiece Presentation
A CHRISTMAS TALE (Un conte de Noel)
Saturday, Nov. 8
Junon (Catherine Deneuve) and Abel (Jean-Paul Roussillon) are the
 parents of three grown children: Elizabeth (Anne Consigny), a
 melancholic playwright with a mathematician husband (Hippolyte
 Girardot) and a tortured teenage son, Paul (Emile Berling); Henri
 (Mathieu Amalric), the self-destructive black sheep, banished from
 family events by Elizabeth five years prior; youngest Ivan (Melvil
 Poupaud), the peacemaker, is married to the beautiful Sylvia (Chiara
 Mastroianni) and has two eccentric little boys; while a fourth -
 Joseph, the eldest - died from leukemia as a boy. When the disease
 reappears again in the family, all are tested to see who can be a
 donor, and then everyone - including lovesick cousin Simon (Laurent
 Capelluto) and Henri's girlfriend, Faunia (Emmanuelle Devos) - return
 home for a long Christmas weekend. All crowded again under the same
 roof, solidarity quickly - and hilariously - devolves into feuding,
 drunkenness and bed-hopping, as everyone struggles to make sense of
 the mysteries of family, life, and what lies ahead.

Film Festivals/Awards
Cannes International Film Festival 2008/Special Prize For Catherine
Toronto International Film Festival 2008
New York Film Festival 2008
Official web site:
Press site:

Centerpiece Presentation
GOMORRAH (Gomorra)
Saturday, Nov. 15
Power, money and blood: these are the values that the residents of the
 province of Naples and Caserta confront every day. They have
 practically no choice, and are forced to obey the rules of the
 "System," the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a
 normal life. Five stories are woven together in this violent
 scenario, set in a cruel and ostensibly invented world, but one that
 is deeply rooted in reality.

Don Ciro is "il sottomarino." He pays the families of the prisoners
 that are affiliated with his clan, a clan that has the undisputed
 command of the territory. He is sharp, discreet and carries out his
 job without getting involved. But at a certain point the clan begins
 to crumble. Unsure who to take orders from, he has to worry about his
 own survival; Toto is 13 years old and can't wait to grow up. So he
 begins his training in the school of life, one step at a time, until
 one day he has to make an irreversible decision; Marco and Ciro think
 they are living in a Brian de Palma film, but in the eyes of the
 "system" they are only two stray dogs whose acts of bravado are
 disturbing the orderly routine of business; Roberto is a university
 graduate and wants to work. Franco offers him a great opportunity,
 steady employment with good earning prospects: a job in the field of
 toxic waste management. But the reality of his task is too
 disconcerting to Roberto's conscience; Pasquale is a talented tailor
 who works under the table for a small enterprise subcontracted by the
 haute couture clothes industry. Chinese competitors give him the
 opportunity to teach the secrets of his trade to their workers. He is
 seduced and gratified by the opportunity and accepts, putting his
 life in danger.

Film Festivals & Awards
Cannes International Film Festival 2008/Winner Grand Prix
Toronto International Film Festival 2008
Telluride Film Festival 2008
New York Film Festival 2008
Italy's official submission for the 2009 foreign language Oscar(R).
Press site:

Centerpiece Presentation
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)
Friday, Nov. 21
The latest film from writer-producer Bernd Eichinger (PERFUME,
 DOWNFALL) gives epic treatment to the eponymous group of 1960s
 radicals who formed the Red Army Faction (RAF) and terrorized the
 German establishment.

Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism
 and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of
 the still fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the
 Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), Ulrike
 Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) are
 fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of
 fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment,
 many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human
 society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror
 and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who
 understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police
 force Horst Herold (Bruno Ganz). And while he succeeds in his
 relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he's only
 dealing with the tip of the iceberg.

The film is based on journalist Stefan Aust's definitive account of
 the subject, "Der Baader Meinhof Komplex," first published to great
 acclaim in 1985.

Film Festivals
International Rome Film Festival 2008 (October 22-31, 2008)
The Times/BFI London Film Festival (October 15-30, 2008)
Germany's official submission for the 2009 foreign language Oscar(R)
Official web site:

Closing Night Presentation
Saturday, Nov. 22
Yvan, a short-tempered man in his forties, lives a mundane life as he
 makes a living selling old American cars. However, all of that
 changes the night he surprises a young boy named Elie breaking into
 his house. Rather than punish the boy, he develops an affection for
 the adolescent and even decides to drive him back to his parents.
 That trip will lead them through the wide spaces of Belgium, during
 which they will meet improbable characters, and through which, they
 might actually help Yvan to forever close a chapter of his life.

Film Festivals & Awards
Cannes International Film Festival 2008/Prix Regard Jeunes, Prix
 Europa Cinemas, and Fipresci Prize For Directors' Fortnight
Belgium's Official Submission For The 2009 Foreign Language Oscar(R)
Official Web Site: http://www.Filmmovement.Com

   Tickets for 2008 EUROPEAN UNION FILM SHOWCASE are regular price
unless otherwise noted and are as follows: Opening and Closing Night
screenings, $15/$10 AFI Members. Centerpiece screenings, $12/$10 AFI
Members. All other screenings, $10 general admission; $9 for seniors,
students w/ valid ID and military personnel; $8.50 AFI members;
weekday screenings before 6:00 p.m. are $7.50. AFI EU Showcase
Passports are available for multiple screenings. More information at

   Tickets may be purchased online for no service fee at or at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center box
office during normal box office hours (one half hour before the first
show of the day). Recorded programming information is available at
301.495.6700; general theater information at 301.495.6720. The full
schedule of films is soon to be available online at
with a downloadable PDF of the full program.

   The AFI Silver is located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, at
8633 Colesville Road (between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street), two
blocks from the Silver Spring Metro stop and easily accessible from
the Capital Beltway (I-495), less than two miles from either the
Georgia Avenue or Colesville Road exits.

   AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen
education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art
of film, television and digital media.

   AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned
Conservatory, preserves the legacy of America's film heritage through
the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, and explores new digital
technologies at AFI's Digital Content Lab. For 37 years, the AFI Life
Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film.
AFI also honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television
programs of the year at AFI Awards, the institute's almanac for the
21st century, while AFI's 100 Years . . . series has introduced and
reintroduced millions of film lovers to classic American movies. And
as the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI's
festivals include AFI FEST presented by Audi in Los Angeles, the AFI
Dallas International Film Festival presented by Target and Founding
Sponsor Victory Park, and SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel
Documentary Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland, while offering
year-round programming at the ArcLight Theaters and Skirball Center in
Los Angeles, and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in the
Washington, DC area. Additional information about AFI is available at

American Film Institute
Susan Bluttman, 301-495-6747
Delegation of the European Commission
to the United States
Anna Prisco, 202-429-6387

Copyright Business Wire 2008