Tag Archives: Cine Europa 15

A Weekend of Books and Movies

21 Sep

Aaah, two of my favorite things – books and movies! Last week was an eventful week for book lovers and film enthusiasts like me. As posted in my previous blog, we had the 33rd Manila International Book Fair at SMX that lasted 5 days offering awesome discounts, meet & greet with the writers and other fun activities. And a week earlier, from September 6 to 16, we had the 15th Cine Europa film festival at Shangrila Mall that showcased 25 independent and commercial movies from 17  different countries in Europe. And I was lucky to have attended both events on weekend.


Cine Europa 15

The film fest as mentioned was on its 15 years of sharing European culture through movies. I’ve been hearing about the festival back when I was still in college, and though I’ve been meaning to watch in the past years , it just won’t happen. Then my cousin who is a college student was tasked to write reaction papers for  at least two movies featured in the festival. So we agreed that we’ll watch together on Saturday, since I’m also into movies (I like indie films more but I also appreciate the commercials ones) and since it is also free. Yes, free admission! All you need is to show up at the cinema and watch all you want.

So we arrived at 1pm and the first movie just started. The guard told us and 3 other late comers too that we don’t know, that we there are no more seats and that we should just wait and line up for 2nd movie later. But good thing we didn’t leave yet because just minutes later, a theater attendant went out to announced that there are still 5 seats available. It was meant for us 5! 🙂


The first movie was Atmen (Breathing) from Austria. A drama flick about a rehabilitation of a teen offender who was working as a mortuary attendant – (dressing, cleaning, picking up and delivering corpses to their final resting place) while waiting for his parole decision. It is a beautiful film about how he came to terms with the “crime” he committed and his discoveries of his unhappy past.

When the first movie was about to end, I heard the person sitting next to me say that the line outside for the next movie is already long, so I told my cousin that we go out soon. Outside, there were already a crowd of people waiting patiently to get in for the next flick. Wow! I didn’t expect people would actually show up to watch movies unfamiliar to the usually hollywood-lover Pinoys. Oh well it’s free!

Si Puo Fare

The next flick we saw was an Italian comedy that now joins the roster of my favorite movies of all time. Si Puo Fare, which roughly translates to “We Can Do That” is about the 12 mental patients who were released by an Italian psychiatric hospital and now working in a cooperative.  Nello, the new manager at the cooperative encouraged them to work together as a team and helped them do “normal jobs” ( parquet flooring installation) that earns well. It was a fun movie that had the entire theater bursting into laughter in almost every scene. There are parts that gripped our hearts too but mostly, we died in laughter. 🙂 The story is just fantastic, it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s clever. I love every bits of it. It was one of the funniest I’ve seen so far. A must watch I have to say. I love all of the characters, especially Mr. President. 🙂

Coincidentally, just a week or two ago, I also watched the 1975 Jack Nicholson’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest movie which are quite similar to Si Puo Fare as it was also about mental patients, but it’s more of a drama.

Poll Diaries

After the comical flick, we lined up again for the 3rd movie of the day, Poll – a german drama set during the World War I that follows the story of a young teenage girl named Oda, who moved from Berlin to a place somewhere in Estonia to join his doctor father, step mom and siblings when her mom died. The Russian who are stationed in the area and who are friends with her dad, would sell the bodies of the Estonian anarchists they killed and captured to her father to be studied and later jarred as part of his increasing obsession with experimentation. As Oda struggled with the loneliness and lack of connection with the people around her, she met a wounded Estonian anarchist hiding in the area. She nursed and hid him in the attic at his father’s laboratory without anyone knowing. I have to say, it is one great movie too!

Since there was a long queue already outside the theater, my cousin decided to go out when she thought the movie was just seconds away from ending, so she can line up for the last free movie that night. But what she thought was already finished, wasn’t, as there was still some scene shown. So I just told her the ending when I went out. 🙂


The fourth and last movie we saw was from the UK, titled Senna, a documentary about the famous F1 driver in the 80s and 90s, Ayrton Senna. It was a nice docu film but we weren’t able to finish it as it was already late and we thought we might miss the last train, plus we haven’t eaten dinner yet as the 4 movies only have 30-minute intervals in between and you still have to fall in line. So imagine, from 1pm to 1030pm -a movie marathon indeed!

We just couldn’t stop talking about the films we saw and even googled them when we arrived home. I would say, it was one of the Saturdays I enjoyed a lot. As someone into arts, I like watching movies, but I don’t watch a lot from the cinema. I am not the type who would watch just because it is popular or because it the latest hollywood flick. I’d rather watch movies at home, at the most convenient time and place (my bedroom) to understand and enjoy every movie scene.


And Sunday, after church, my sister, niece and I went to the book fair despite the rainy weather. It was the last day of the fair and still there were many who showed up to take advantage of the discounts offered. I bought a few books for myself, my niece and some friends that I ought to give as birthday or christmas gifts. Yes, I already started my Christmas shopping as early as now, in fact, I started as early as June. 🙂 Also, as mentioned due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to join the bloggers challenge this year hosted by OMF Literature, but hopefully next year, I can join again.

OMF booth during 33rd Manila International Book Fair. (photo c/o OMF Literature)

So it was a weekend of fun for me. I’m glad I finally watched the European film festival. I will do it again next year. From now on, I will take advantage of the film festivals in Manila not only to satisfy the art-lover in me but to learn also more about the other cultures through flicks. 🙂


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