The University of Cincinnati's European Film Fest Takes a Broad Look at Brexit and (Bad) Exits

The month-long fest will bring eight flicks to Queen City venues starting Feb. 9, with screenings running through March 4

click to enlarge Ada in "Atlantiques' - Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix
Ada in "Atlantiques'

University of Cincinnati's forthcoming European Film Festival: Brexit and (Bad) Exits will bring eight flicks to various Queen City venues starting Feb. 9, with screenings running through March 4.

As it does every year, the month-long fest works thematically within the "Limits of European Cinema." The lineup includes films from recent European fests as well as classics hailing from the UK, Germany, Italy, Macedonia and Croatia, all of which tell stories "about Britain’s past in Europe" through the broad lens of bad exits. Each was hand-picked by a UC film scholar or special guest and will be accompanied by a post-screening discussion. 

Here's the low-down on the screenings. (Most films have free admission.)

Double Feature at the Esquire Theatre: The Keeper and Passport to Pimlico

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Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, the fest kicks off at noon on Feb. 9 with The Keeper, a drama set at the end of World War II. The true story of Bert Trautmann (David Kross), it follows a German soldier and prisoner of war who becomes the goalkeeper at Manchester City Football Club. Imaginably, his signing on becomes a point of protest, particularly among the surrounding Jewish community. His eventual acceptance came, in part, with support from an unexpected source: the city's communal rabbi, Alexander Altmann. Trautmann's love for Margaret, an Englishwoman played by Freya Mavor, also carries him through — all the way to the team winning the 1956 FA Cup Final, an achievement secured despite him playing with a broken neck. 

Stick around at 3 p.m. for a classic: 1949's Passport to Pimlico. Also set post-World War II, this Henry Cornelius-directed comedy sees London's last bomb — leftover from war — go off unexpectedly. In the aftermath, a parchment citing that the city of Pimlico belongs not to London but to Burgundy, France is uncovered. Hijinks ensue. 

Both films will be presented by UC German Studies professor and department head Todd Herzog.

l'Ordine delle cose (The Order of Things)

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Valerio Ferme, UC's dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, will introduce Italian film l'Ordine delle cose at the Esquire Theatre 7 p.m. Feb. 13. Corrado, an Italian working as a policeman for the European task force in charge of immigration control, is on a field assignment in Libya. While on patrol, he meets a young Somali woman fleeing her war-torn country in an attempt to reach Europe. Now linked, he is faced with a choice — to follow orders or to save the woman's life. 

Sans toit ni loi (Vagabond) 

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Agnès Varda, a pioneering French filmmaker and artist, directs this award-winning 1985 work. As the young and defiant drifter Mona, Sandrine Bonnaire won the Best Actress César. The film opens on the woman found frozen to death in a ditch; the story that follows is told through a series of flashbacks by those who encountered her along a journey that would be her eventual demise. Played largely by a non-professional cast, Sans toit ni loi screens 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Esquire Theatre and will be introduced by UC's Evan Torner. 

Aleksi

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28-year-old Aleksi finds herself returning to her parent's countryside home after having failed to find work as a photographer post-college. Bored and aimless, she ignores her responsibilities and instead gets involved with various men. Written and directed by Barbara Vekaric, 2018's Aleksi shows 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Esquire Theatre. Intro-ing this dramedy is special guest Etami Borjan of the University of Zagreb in Croatia. 

Alantiques (Atlantics) and Une Colonie (A Colony) at the CAC

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A soon-to-be-opened futuristic tower looms over a coastal suburb of Dakar, Senegal. 17-year-old Ada is in love with construction worker Souleiman but is told she must marry another man. Souleiman, along with other workers, leaves for Spain with hopes for a better future. Just days later, Ada's wedding goes up in smoke. Literally. 

In her directorial debut, Mati Diop made history when Atlantics premiered at Cannes by becoming the first black woman to direct a film featured in Competition at the fest. The Netflix original went on to win the Grand Prix and nabbed a nomination for Best International Feature Film at this year's Academy Awards.

Catch it 11 a.m. March 1 at the Contemporary Arts Center. The screening is part of the museum's two-day Confinement Symposium. And so is Une Colonie (A Colony), which follows Alantiques at 2:40 p.m.

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After her family moves, 12-year-old Mylia struggles to figure out who she is and where she belongs in a new high school. Afraid of being bullied, but even more fearful of not fitting in anywhere, she falls into a friendship with the popular Jacinthe, who proves to be a bad influence. She also meets Jimmy, a First Nations student. Considered an outsider, as they grow closer, he helps her learn to embrace herself. 

Ana de dia

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Ana, a young woman from a middle-class family, is about to finish her Ph.D. and is soon to be married. Yet she feels that something is missing from her life. When a double shows up and takes her place, Ana realizes that — for the first time — she is free to do whatever she wants. Catch Ana de dia at the Cincinnati Art Museum at 7 p.m. March 5. 

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