The European Union's MEDIA Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary by presenting Europe Loves Cinema, a series of 20 films, in theaters all across the UK through November. Since 1991, MEDIA has invested over €1.7 billion in European audiovisual entertainment — in fact, half of the European films in cinemas are shown with MEDIA support.
The smart selection for this series reads something like a roster of Europe's greatest hits of the past 20 years. You've got your award-winners in Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Palme d'Or), for example, or Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others (Oscar), Juan José Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes (Oscar) and Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (European Film Award). Haneke's Caché is also in the lineup.
Old masters are represented, such as Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist) and Ken Loach (Land and Freedom and The Wind That Shakes the Barley), as are relative newcomers, such as Shane Meadows (This Is England), Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) and Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage). Fatih Akin's Head-On (image above), Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir, Laurent Cantet's The Class and Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis map the ongoing expansion of the very definition of the term "European."
And of course, you couldn't go without the popular favorites: Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie, Wolfgang Becker's Goodbye Lenin!, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth and Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her.
If you're in the UK, check out the list of venues and dates and times, and if you're up for a shot at winning an invitation to the BFI London Film Festival, send in a short review of one of the films.