Ekran film Festival

5 films to watch at the Ekran Film Festival 2012

Few things are better than free movies (free beer, perhaps?!) and at this year's Ekran Film Festival, happening from Friday October 26 to Sunday October 28, a good amount of the screenings will be shown gratis at the Runnymede Library at 2178 Bloor St West. They include feature length films from Poland and a selection of animated films from Polish studio Platige Image. The free screening event also includes a retrospective on the work of the late Polish-Canadian filmmaker Michal Maryniarczyk, as well as a short film contest for an award in his honour.

But don't just come out to the freebies - there are so many great films showing at the main festival screening at the Revue Cinema that it is nearly impossible for me to narrow it down. Fortunately Adidas and Aleksey Vayner taught me that impossible is nothing, so here are my top 5 films to check out at Ekran Film Fest 2012.

Big Love (2012)
To begin at the beginning, my first selection is also the festival's opening night film. In Big Love (no relation to the polygamy-friendly TV show) Emilie (Aleksandra Hamalko) meets Maciek (Antoni Pawlicki) when she is sixteen and he is twenty-three. They fall in love despite their age difference, and against her mother's wishes Emilie moves in with him. This opens the door to a fascinating new world for Emilie (yay, adulthood!) and over time their young, wild love is tested by Emilie's growing understanding of herself. The film will be accompanied by a catered opening gala and a live performance by the ZimZum Jazz Band. Screening: Thursday Oct 25, 6.30pm-11pm, Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave ($20 advance, $25 at the door).

The Fourth Dimension (2011)
The Fourth Dimension is not one, but three short films in an anthology in which each story is based on the premise of the fourth dimension, a.k.a. the space/time continuum. If you've watched that extended, psychedelic hyperspace scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you know how trippy space-time can be, and boy, is this trippy. An international effort produced by Vice Film Productions (as in the magazine) and co-produced/funded by Grolsch (as in the beer), the first two segments are from the US (The Lotus Community Workshop, featuring Val Kilmer as a slightly unhinged motivational speaker) and Russia (Chronoeye).

Poland's contribution is Fawns, a story that follows four teens as they let loose on the streets of an eerily deserted city. Ignoring the repeated announcements of an impending cataclysmic flood, the teens appear determined to wring as much fun as possible from their remaining time on earth. When one of the four goes missing, though, they realize they may have gotten in over their heads. (See what I did with the flood joke there? Didja see?...ah, forget it). Screening: Sunday Oct 28, 9pm, Revue Cinema.

The Secret (2012)
The Secret looks at the psychological challenges inherent in coming to terms with inherited historical traumas from generations past. In the case of Ksawery (Tomasz Tyndyk) who is a gender performance artist, it means facing the possibility that his beloved grandfather may have killed Jewish man and his son at the end of World War II in order to remain in their house. Disturbing thematically and challenging in its untraditional format and narrative technique, The Secret won the Special Jury Award for Courage at the 2012 Gdynia Film Festival. You can't say they didn't warn you! Screening: Saturday Oct 27, 9pm, Revue Cinema.

Tourist (2012)
North Americans seem to love Europe. The art! The architecture! The history! The delightfully newsworthy Royal scandals! In Tourist, Marek (Marek Birner) who as a boy immigrated with his family to Chicago, returns to Europe for university studies in Paris, deciding he feels more at home there. While in Paris, he embraces the free-spirited lifestyle a little too freely, because it leads to him losing his place in the university. Undeterred, he decides to remain in Europe and pursue art by way of self-discovery. But this is easier said than done as cultural differences, women problems, and fate seem intent on stopping him from forming a stable identity for himself. Screening: Sunday Oct 28, 12pm, Revue Cinema.

Letters To Santa (2011)
You know it's winter (or almost) when the Christmas movies start rolling out like reindeer tanks. In this Polish take on ol' St Nick, an ensemble cast brings together a comedy with multiple storylines which coalesce around the idea of searching for love, happiness, and meaning in life. Described as "the perfect film for lovers of romantic comedies, Christmas, and the small miracles that make life worth living", Letters to Santa might just make you want to go off and pen some heartfelt Christmas wishes to your loved ones. Right after you get back from trick-or-treating. Screening: Saturday Oct 27, 12pm, Revue Cinema.

Writing by Gesilayefa Azorb

Still from the Fourth Dimension

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