AFI Programmer Todd Hitchcock pretty much has one of the best jobs in DC. Each year, he travels to the world’s best movie festivals, like Cannes or Berlin in search of films to screen at the AFI European Union Film Showcase. Tough job, but someone has to do it. This year, he brought back an assortment of 42 eclectic flicks, with at least one from each of the 27 European Union member countries. The showcase kicks off at 7pm on November 4th with Illegal, a refugee drama from Belgium and technically closes on November 23rd with three features: Finland’s Bad Family (Mon, Nov 22 at 9:15pm and Tues, Nov 23 at 6pm); Romania’s If I want to whistle I whistle (Sat, Nov. 20 at 4:30pm & Tues, Nov. 23 at 8:00pm); and Poland’s Reverse (Sat, Nov 20 at 2:20pm and Tues Nov 23 at 10pm). Officially, however, the honor of closing the festival goes to the French movie Copacabana featuring Isabelle Huppert. In addition to Copacabana, France represented by 2 other films: Copie Conforme/Certified Copy featuring Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche (who also won the “prix d’interpretation feminine” at Cannes this year for this role) on November 19 and The Hedgehog (at 7:45pm on Nov 6 and 3pm on Nov 7). The Hedgehog is actually based on a critically acclaimed best-selling novel called The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have read the book and seen the movie, and highly recommend both!
Of course, no trip through Europe would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine. Or at least some cuisine… Before viewing Daniele Luchetti’s latest flick (“Our Life” at 7:15pm on Thurs Nov 11) stop by the cafe for a Happy Hour featuring drink specials and complimentary snacks courtesy of local restaurants. The Happy Hour will take place from 5:30-7:00pm on November 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th. For a complete schedule and film description, visit AFI’s website. And take my word for it, go check out the porcupine, it’s a moving story that will give you a lot to think about.