KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The 22nd European Film Festival starts today and cinephiles in Malaysia can look forward to 20 movies at their disposal for an entire month.

In lieu of the pandemic, organisers have carefully selected a range of films that will take audiences through a journey of Europe to temporarily satiate your wanderlust whilst promoting messages of diversity and empathy to foster greater understanding between the continent and Malaysia.

If you don’t know where to start, there are three absolute must-watch films – Her Job, My Brother Chases Dinosaurs and Romy’s Salon.

1.    Her Job (Greece, France, Serbia)

 Thirty-seven-year-old Panayiota leads a quiet, modest life with her husband (a domineering presence who spends his meagre unemployment income at gambling parlours), her rebellious teenage daughter, and her sensitive younger son. 

Sacrificing and servile (and nearly illiterate) Panayiota is trapped within a domestic environment that prevents her from achieving independence. 

One day, an opportunity for employment as a cleaner at a nearby mall stirs in her the excitement of a new life. 

Eager but introverted, she quickly becomes a model employee, gains financial independence, and expands her social life beyond the walls of her apartment. 

Back home, the family looks on with respect at Panayiota’s blossoming freedom. 

Yet her newly gained autonomy stands to be prematurely pruned by a series of layoffs at work.

2.    My Brother Chases Dinosaurs (Italy, Spain)

Inspired by a true story, this poignant family film tells the story of a boy named Jack who has a little brother with Down syndrome.

Jack conceals his brother’s condition when he goes to high school, hiding Gio’s very existence from Ariana, the girl he falls in love with and his new friends. 

In no time, the truth comes out, and Jack realises that Gio’s energy and vitality are contagious. 

3.    Romy’s Salon (Netherlands) 

Romy has to stay with her grandma Stine after school. It’s so boring. 

Her hairdresser Grandma is strict and in love with her salon. 

But grandma’s memory is not the best, and charming Romy can be of some help with customers and the economy.

The full list of films available to stream during the festival:

4.    Acasa, My Home (Germany, Romania, Finland)

After living in the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta for 20 years, nine children and their parents are chased out and forced to adapt to life in the big city.

5.    Aurora (Finland) 

Aurora, a commitment-phobic party animal, meets Iranian Darian one night at a hot-dog stand in Lapland. 

Darian is running from death and Aurora is running from love. They need each other in order to finally stop running.

6.    Bad Poems (Hungary, France)

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Heartbroken Tamás takes a trip down memory lane to figure out if love only exists when it’s gone.

As he tries to pick up the pieces, he begins to realise what makes this current society so confused, giving viewers a glimpse into Hungary’s present.

7.    Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium)

A documentary about the 1961 plane crash that killed the United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld and his entourage of 15 in Rhodesia.

The filmmakers draw a direct line to the Congolese civil war, Mobutu’s regime, the ongoing and accelerating exploitation of Africa and the total post-colonial nightmare as we know it today – all this due to the single incident taking place right now

8.    Extra Ordinary (Ireland, Belgium)

Rose, a mostly sweet and lonely Irish driving instructor, must use her supernatural talents to save the daughter of Martin (also mostly sweet and lonely) from a washed-up rock star who is using her in a Satanic pact to reignite his fame.

9.    Fire Will Come (Spain, France, Luxembourg)

Newly released from prison, Amador returns to his rural hometown in Galicia to live with his elderly mother.  

Life is calm until a fire devastates the region.

10.  Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs (Latvia, Poland)

Summer adventure story about two kids who spend summer in a city suburb, where together with talking dogs they rescue the romantic wooden-house neighbourhood from reconstruction.

11.  Let There Be Light (Slovakia, Czech Republic)

A Slovakian man working in Germany returns home for Christmas to discover that his eldest son is involved in a paramilitary group that might have driven a classmate to suicide.

12.  Oleg (Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium)

A young Latvian butcher arrives in Brussels in hopes of a better life only to fall under the yoke of a Polish criminal.

13.  Our Struggles (Belgium, France)

Olivier struggles to find balance between fighting injustice at work and raising his children when his wife Laura abandons the family.

14. The Audition (Germany, France)

A violin teacher admits a talented pupil against the advice of her own colleagues with shocking consequences.

15.  Sawah (Luxembourg, Belgium, Egypt)

On his way to a DJ Championship in Brussels, a young Egyptian is mistaken for an illegal immigrant and detained in a country he’s never heard of before.

16.  The Dragon Spell (Ukraine)

In this animation, the son of a famous strongman defies his father to defeat a dragon.

17.  Tiger Theory (Czech Republic, Slovakia)

After the death of his father-in-law, Jan reflects on his past life and longs to control his own life again in this comedy.

18.  One Last Deal (Finland)

An aging art dealer – left behind by the corporatisation of his industry and estranged from his family – hopes an undervalued icon will turn his fortunes around.

19.  Caged Birds (Switzerland, Germany)

Barbara, a young radical lawyer, and Walter, an unpredictable criminal, meet against the backdrop of the Swiss state repression in 1980. 

An unlikely alliance forms between the two, and so does romance.

20. Sami, Joe & I (Switzerland)

 Three friends Sami, Joe and Leyla brace for an epic summer after finishing school to grab their slice of life only to discover the world out there is diametrically opposed to their expectations.

The 22nd European Film Festival takes place from November 15 to December 15.

Stream all 20 films for free at euff.com.my, tickets are subject to availability.

* Malay Mail is the official media partner for the 22nd European Union Film Festival.