Paolo Sorrentino's LORO opens the 30th Espoo Ciné

  • The festival closes with untraditional, highly anticipated documentary THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD from Oscar winner Peter Jackson.

The 30th Espoo Ciné International Film Festival (6.–12.5.) presents new films from Peter Jackson, Paolo Sorrentino and Christian Petzold, among others. Nordic films are richly represented at the festival, which speaks of its high esteem. Other offerings include short film gems, a silent film concert and the winners of an audience poll. The Finnish premiere of The Magic Life of V is presented at the Finnish Gala Screening.

The opening film of the anniversary-celebrating Espoo Ciné is Paolo Sorrentino’s (Il Divo 2008, The Great Beauty 2013) highly anticipated LORO. The film is filled with beautiful people, wild parties, drugs and sex. Sorrentino’s frequent collaborator Toni Servillo portrays Silvio Berlusconi, struggling with a messy divorce and planning his next move in politics.

The festival closes with an unusual and highly anticipated film. Oscar winner Peter Jackson surprises with a technically skilled and emotionally potent documentary on the First World War. Four years in the making, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD is the director’s personal passion project: Jackson’s own grandfather was one of the young men that fought in the war. Jackson’s esteemed film closes the festival on Sunday 12.5. The film will be released in Finnish theatres on 17.5.

The Finnish Gala Screening will be THE MAGIC LIFE OF V, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. While trying to become more independent and to help her mentally disabled brother through live-role-playing, a young woman haunted by her childhood traumas learns how to face her own past. Directed by Tonislav Hristov and produced by Making Movies, the documentary’s Finnish premiere will be celebrated in Espoo on Thursday 9.5. The film will be in theatrical distribution starting 23.8.

”In addition to high-profile gala screenings, there will be a rich assortment of new European films peppered with old favourites, and a few gems from outside the borders of Europe”, explains Mickael Suominen, the head of programming. “The programme includes films from Terry Gilliam, Nicolas Roeg, Jean Epstein, Naomi Kawase, Alice Rohrwacher and László Nemes.”

Several festival films will showcase performances from familiar, respected actors. Japanese nature, a mystical atmosphere and the leading performance by Juliette Binoche enchant in Kawase's new film VISION. Louis Garrel, Laetitia Casta and Lily-Rose Depp star in A FAITHFUL MAN, a romantic drama comedy about complicated relationships of the young and beautiful. Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace appear in STOCKHOLM, an absurd but true story based on the 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis in Stockholm that gave 'Stockholm Syndrome' its name. Oscar winner Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger star in a heart-warming but radical 1950s romance between two women in a little Scottish town in TELL IT TO THE BEES.

Nordic cinema is richly represented at the festival, which speaks of its high esteem. ANIARA is a fantastic utopia, a Swedish scifi film based on a poem by Nobel winning Harry MartInson. Trine Dyrholm shines in the leading performance of the Göteborg and Sundance winning QUEEN OF HEARTS as a woman endangering her career and family idyll by starting an affair with her teenage stepson. Dyrholm also appears in Swedish art provocateur Anna Odell’s X&Y. The film, dealing with identity, sexuality and the wavering line between reality and fiction, also stars Mikael Persbrandt, Thure Lindhardt as well as Ville Virtanen and Peter Kanerva.

In partnership with the Loud Silents festival, Espoo Ciné offers its audience a silent film concert on Sunday 12.5. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work and adapted for the screen by Jean Epstein and Luis Buñuel, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER is a feverish gem of early silent film, a must-see classic ideally viewed with live music. In Espoo the screening will be accompanied by Ringa Manner’s (Pintandwefall, The Hearing) electronic one-woman orchestra.

The festival takes a head start to the film frenzy in the preceding weekend of 3.–5.5. in Kino Regina, Helsinki. Two gems from the past are brought back to screens: The Hunt for Red October opened the very first Espoo Ciné in 1990. Michael Haneke’s Piano Teacher is one of the many films in which Isabelle Huppert has equally charmed, stunned and shaken audiences over the years. One of the films from the upcoming festival’s wonderful Nordic selection, first time director, actress Tuva Novotny has made a film impressively shot with one take. Topical film deals with young people managing in our welfare society, where success and positivity are idolized.

As usual, in addition to the most intriguing feature length films, Espoo Ciné presents an assortment of the best new short films. This year the Nordic Shorts selection is a celebration of female filmmakers, while the Prince of Paris + Calling Mother double bill presents two heart-warming documentaries that deal with relationships between parents and children.

“Putting together the festival programme is nerve-wracking every time”, tells the head of programming Mickael Suominen. “The process is filled with challenges and surprises, but at the same time it is tremendously rewarding – thanks in no small part to our fantastic audience”, Suominen recounts.

The audience has been given an opportunity to participate in putting together the anniversary programme by voting for candidates from a pool of festival favourites to three reprise screenings. After hundreds of votes, the audience competition winners were 45 YEARS, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN and THE TURIN HORSE.

The third Ciné kylässä tour brings short film screenings to Espoo living rooms 15.4.–4.5. In addition to traditional short film screenings, there will be a special treat this time around: for the first time, the tour will bring a silent film screening accompanied by live music to a home. “The experimental short film screening will come alive with the music of Artturi Taira, known for Pariisin Kevät and Rubik”, describes the Visiting Ciné tour producer Tanja Ryhänen.

The EMMA museum’s current exhibit The Men Who Fell from Earth has been inspired by Nicolas Roeg’s film THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. The cult classic from 1976 and David Bowie’s iconic leading performance as a humanoid on Earth will be seen on Saturday 11.5. in Louhisali in the Espoo Cultural Centre, paired with Mika Taanila’s film Maailma.

The 30th Espoo Ciné Film Festival will take place in the Espoo Cultural Centre, Kino Tapiola, Finnkino Sello and Finnkino Omena 6.–12.5.2019.