May 4, 2016

Traveling to Europe without passport : Europe On Screen

Sorting out the films I want to watch.

Europe on Screen is an annual event that consists of European films screening. It’s held mainly in Jakarta, along with a few other cities in Indonesia, which are Bandung, Yogyakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Denpasar. The 2016 Europe On Screen is the 16th of the series and only in a few years back it has gotten my attention, possibly since the glory of JIFFEST (Jakarta International Film Festival) started to fade.

Growing up watching either Chinese Kungfu series or Hollywood movies, with a few Indonesian films in between, a lot of these European films come across as "alternative" to me. The lineup consists of films from major studios and smaller studios with less known actors, but quite a lot of them have unusual plots and endings, if not bizarre. Admittedly, some are too bizarre for me to comprehend. But it's nice to have options in what I consume as entertainment slash food for the soul.

Aside to the stories and plots, the location set is also what I like in these European films generally. I haven't been to Europe except Greece, which is debatably more of Mediterranean, so I feel like being taken on a trip to European countries, as cliche as it may sound. 

Feels like I'm in Europe.

In YOUTH, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, I was taken to the beautiful landscape of Switzerland. A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, a Swedish movie, is the most absurd one I’ve seen in this year’s EOS. It’s a deadpan comedy depicting sketches of life, where people are too self-involved, that shows me the cold Scandinavia. Not because it was shot in winter, but because the color tone was almost all white and grey. Very instagrammable, though. 

45 YEARS didn’t actually show stunning scenery of UK, but it did make me ponder about my future, like, 30 or 40 years from now if I’m still alive. It would be nice to live in a nice simple house in a village with vast green fields like in this movie. Snapping out of the daydream, I was taken to one of my to-visit destinations, the Death Railway that connects Thailand and Burma, in THE RAILWAY MAN. It’s based on a true story that depicts how horrible the enslaved workers were treated by the Japanese to build that railway, which caused horrid trauma to the victims. 

And then TOUR DE FORCE was a bike trip of best friends from Germany to Belgium that started as a fun friendly activity and ended in a -SPOILER ALERT- euthanasia. I wanted to cry so badly 2/3 of the film because it was sooooo sad, but it also gave me an interesting idea: next time I visit Europe, since I’m in no shape for trekking again, I’m going to do bike self-tours instead. I just need to make sure to do it in the summer because I cannot stand the cold. 

Waiting for a film screening accompanied by a good story and a good munch.

This year, the festival is held from April 30th until May 8th, so now it’s still going on. I still have a few more films to watch, such as Sonita (about a runaway rapper girl from Iran who fights for equality for women) and The Surprise (a comedy about a man who has too much and hire somebody to murder him). 

When I pick films to watch, especially in festivals like this, I usually pick the ones with unique themes and plots. But what I actually get from them is more than that. Sceneries, as I have mentioned before, ideas, knowledge and insight. I love traveling because it lets me have a lot of new experiences, but I’m also all for movies (also books and other media) to be the windows of the world. When I’m not in the condition to travel physically like right now, I’m glad I could travel through movies that takes me places and introduce me to different cultures and points of view. 


  1. Is it kind of a Film Festival? Di Jerman juga punya, tahunan. Namanya Berlinale. Menyenangkan!

    1. Iya, ada workshopnya juga, tapi bukan festival film besar kayak Berlinale gitu. Ini apa ya.. semacam festival untuk nonton aja sih.. Kayaknya ada juga award2nya, tapi orang awam sih nggak begitu perhatikan sepertinya :P