Weird Europe Festival coming to Bio Oko

The festival explores the underside of contemporary European cinema

The Weird Europe Festival launches into its second edition and will have several English-friendly films at Bio Oko from April 5 through 9.

According to the organizers, this year's selection is about discovering suppressed human nature, exploring one's identity, eccentric rituals and an unusual cinematic perspective.

“What slumbers beneath the carefully maintained cover of civilization? What do we hide and suppress in ourselves? Something deep inside us still craves raw meat and blood. The prey becomes a hunter and a hunter becomes the prey. Weird Europe will satisfy your hunger for bizarre art films. We will awaken the beast in you,” the organizers state.

The festival starts with the French-Belgian film Raw, which premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics' Week section. It won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes and also won the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature at the London Film Festival. Julia Ducournau directed the film, which stars Garance Marillier.

Despite being a horror film, it earned good reviews. The plot involves a vegetarian woman who is forced to eat raw meat at a hazing ritual in veterinary school. This sets off a chain reaction of increased cravings.

The documentary film Safari, from Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, premiered out of competition at the Venice Film Festival and was also shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, among other places. As the title suggests, the focus is on hunting wild animals and the rituals that go along with that practice.

A new thriller called Nocturama takes its title from a Nick Cave song, but is otherwise unrelated. The film was rejected by the Cannes festival due to its theme of a terror attack in Paris. Director Bertrand Bonello also wrote she screenplay for this film about a diverse group of people who start a terror campaign in the French capital.

The Guardian called it a “provocative French hipster-terrorism picture that is too crafty to ignore, but too obnoxious to embrace.” The UK daily adds that the film neither condemns the terrorists no cheers them on. Nocturama has also been compared to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Gus Van Sant's Elephant.

The Bulgarian-Greek film Glory by directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov shows what happens to a railway worker who finds a lot of money and returns it. He is used as a distraction to divert attention from a scandal, and his life is turned upside down. “The film quietly builds to a feeling of inexorable disaster, guided by terrific performances as well as spot-on editing,” Jay Weissberg said in Variety.

The French film Staying Vertical played in competition at the 2016 Cannes festival, but lost to I, Daniel Blake. Staying Vertical is for an audience 18 and older. Variety's Richard Lawson called it the most shocking film at the Cannes festival. The film is about a writer trying to finish a screenplay. He comes into contact with a local shepherdess in a rural area. The film, directed by Alain Guiraudie, becomes fascinated with female genitalia, and includes a rather graphic child birth scene. Neither the writer nor the shepherdess are capable of raising the baby, and the plot moves on into strange areas from there.

Many people have stopped going to the cinema because all of the films seem to be assembled from the same standard Hollywood pieces. Weird Europe tries to show that here is something else going on as well, although it is a bit harder to find.

For more information on the Weird Europe Festival, visit www.biooko.net (ENG)

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