The 8th of May 2020 sees the 75th anniversary of Victory Day Europe and during this year’s festival, we’ll screen three films that shed light on the situation in Europe then versus now. In 1945, the countries of Europe strived to find common ground and a path to peace and harmony. However, contemporary Europe is nevertheless marked by democratic decline, rise of right-wing populism, refugee crisis, Brexit and economic setbacks.
It’s no coincidence that we’ve chosen to open the series with Theo Angelopoulos’ film The Traveling Players, which was completed in 1975. Few other film epics give us a better insight into the turbulence in Europe from 1939 to 1952 and the ripple effects that still remain today. Angelopoulos himself has said that even though the film looks backwards, it’s just as much about the future. It’s no coincidence either that we’re looking towards Europe’s democratic cradle Greece and the Europe of the present with the Costa-Gavras’ Adults in the Room, which portrays what happened when Greece in 2015 stood up against the EU.
The final film of the series is the Slovakian film Let There Be Light. This is the story of the guest worker Milan who returns to his family for the first time in a year, and in his absence, both his family and the village have changed. The film is a thought-provoking commentary on the growing tension in Slovakia and Europe at large, indicating that there’s no end to the unrest in Europe in the foreseeable future.