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Panorama of the European Film 2015: Five Films You Need to See

Panorama of the European Film 2015: Five Films You Need to See
written by
Haisam Awad

The eighth annual edition of the Panorama of the European Film is all but upon us and, as has become custom, the festival is set to bring some of the best European films from the last two years to cinemas and venues across Cairo, as well as Alexandria, Tanta and Minya.

With over forty films set to be screened – alongside panel discussions, workshops and even a writing masterclass – between November 27th and December 5th and there’s plenty for Egypt’s film buffs to sink their teeth into – especially these five must-see films.

Tale of Tales

This fantasy-come-horror-come romance boasts an impressive cast that includes Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel, as well as the horribly underrated John C. Reilly, and marks the English-language film debut of award-winning Italian director, Matteo Garrone. Chosen to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the film borrows from the work of poet and ‘fairy tale collector’ – yes, that was a real thing once – Giambattista Basile, which includes some of the earliest-known versions of classic fables such as Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The film interweaves three separate fairy-tale-inspired stories, with Cassel playing a tempted king of one and Hayek playing a jealous Queen.

Where and when can I see it?

Point 90: Friday Nov. 27 @ 6.45PM
Cinema Zawya: Saturday Nov. 28 @ 9.45PM
Cinema Karim: Monday Nov. 30 @ 6.45PM

Cinema Amir (Alexandria): Friday Nov. 27 @ 6PM

The Lobster

One of the more abstract films you’ll find at this year’s Panorama, The Lobster has already turned heads and was also chosen to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Combining comedy, drama and surrealist sci-fi, the film is set in a not-too-far dystopian future where a peculiar law forces single people to spend 45 days in a hotel with other single people, with a view of finding a partner. Seems cute enough, right? Wrong – because here’s the catch: if you do not find a partner in the allotted time, you are turned into an animal of your choice and sent into the wild. Starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, the two actors are pretty awesome.

Where and when can I see it?

Cinema Zawya: Saturday Nov. 28 @ 6.45PM
Point 90: Tuesday Dec. 1 @6.45PM
Cinema Amir (Alexandria): Saturday Dec. 5 @ 6PM


Charting the rise and fall of the late Amy Winehouse, this is one of the most talked about documentaries of the year and the trailer, which debuted back in February at the 2015 Grammys, sent a collective shiver down the spines of Winehouse fans around the world and, upon release, became the highest grossing British documentary of all time, taking $22 million at the box office. Helmed by decorated British-Indian filmmaker, Asif Kapadia, and has received near-unanimous critical acclaim – though Winehouse’s family has distanced themselves from the film, saying that it contains some “basic untruths.” Whatever the case, this is a must-see.

Where and when can I see it?

Cinema Zawya: Friday Dec. 4 @ 6.45Pm

Goodnight Mommy

There’s a lot that can be said for the state of the horror genre in 2015 – mostly negative – but there are more and more menacing movies and frightening films coming out of Europe these days and one of the latest to garner attention and praise comes in the form of Goodnight Mommy. The Austrian film was selected as its country’s entry into the Best Foreign Language Film next year’s Oscars and tells the story of twin brothers who suspect that not all is well when they’re mother comes home from cosmetic facial surgery with her face bandaged so that only her eyes and mouth are visible. It’s the kind of film that keeps you guessing and ends on one hell of a swerve ball, plus it has atmosphere by the bucket-load.

Where and when can I see it?

Cinema Sawya: Wednesday Dec. 2 @ 9.45PM
Point 90: Thursday Dec. 3 @ 6.45PM


There’s been one particular point of awe with German drama, Victoria; the fact that the final cut of the 138-minute film is made up of one single continuous shot. It’s made all the more impressive when you take into account the film follows a Spanish woman living in Germany who suddenly finds herself neck-deep in a frantic bank heist. Single-take aside, the film – which has garnered plenty of attention and awards – has also been praised for its delicate but effective tonal shifts, emotional density and overall subtlety. The music is outstanding, too.

Where and when can I see it?

Cinema Zawya: Thursday Nov. 26 @ 9.45PM
Cinema Karim: Friday Dec. 4 @ 6.45PM

Honourable Mentions: Romanian documentary, Toto & His Sisters, follows the lives of three Roma children fending for themselves after their mother is sent to prison for drug-dealing; Javier Bardem plays the lead role in The Sea Inside which tells the real-life story of a quadriplegic fighting for his right to die; Turkish film, Mustang, tells a coming-of-age story as five spirited teenage girls struggle to grow up amidst the tension of past and present Turkey.

For more information on this year’s Panorama of the European Film, click here