Northern Europe dominates 21st edition of fest

ROME — New works from Northern Europe dominate the 21st EuropaCinema, which kicks off Monday in Viareggio, on the Tuscan coast.

Fest will open with German sci-fi pic “Vakuum” by first-timer Thomas Grampp, followed by Danish helmer Nicolaj Arcel’s political thriller “King’s Game,” and Dutch director Martin Koolhoven’s drama “South,” which unspooled earlier this year in Rotterdam.

Among the 11 entries vying for EuropaCinema’s five nods are also “Niceland” from Icelandic helmer, and Viareggio regular, Fridrik Thor Fridksson, “The Kiss” from Belgium’s Hilde Van Mieghem, and “Uno,” a coming-of-age drama by Norwegian duo John Andrea Andersen and Aksel Hennie.

“A lot of movies have been hoping to go to either Venice or Berlin, so there wasn’t that much to choose from,” fest director Felice Laudadio, who founded the event in 1984, candidly admitted. “Nonetheless I found some great stuff,” Laudadio added.

Danish helmer Erik Clausen (“Villa Paranoia”) will head the EuropaCinema jury, which also includes Swiss journo Maria Delfina Bonada, Lithuanian helmer Inesa Kurklietyte, German journo Patrick Vom Bruck, and Italo writer Margaret Mazzantini.

A special screening of Serbian helmer Goran Paskaljevic’s latest drama, “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” which recently premiered in San Sebastian, will close the fest on Oct. 2. Paskaljevic will also be honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Sidebars include a tribute to Marcello Mastroianni, with freshly restored copies of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “La notte,” Pietro Germi’s “Divorce, Italian Style,” and, of course, Federico Fellini’s “La dolce vita,” unspooling.

Special events include a cinema lesson held by German helmer Edgar Reitz who will talk about his epic series “Heimat.”

Laudadio left EuropaCinema in 1996 to head the Venice Intl. Film Festival for the 1997 and ’98 editions. Since then, he has returned to EuropaCinema and also become artistic director of the Taormina FilmFest, a post he continues to hold.

Recently Laudadio also became head of Rome’s new Casa del Cinema film center.

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