Wednesday, 8 March 2017


In a time of nationalist populism, closed borders, and hostility to immigrants and refugees, a film festival in Paris, France, is countering these trends with a focus on global solidarity via the movie lens.

In fact, the theme of the Week of Foreign Cinema is Resist! and many of the 22 films being screened literally deal with resistance to oppression and violence.

Poster for the documentary Last Shelter.
Organized by FICEP (Forum des Instituts Culturels Etrangers à Paris) - which unites a number of national cultural centres in Paris - the festival goes beyond the usual international offering of films and includes a wide range of countries such as Spain (with a separate entry from Catalonia), Belgium, Austria, Estonia, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus.

The films are being screened at several cultural centres and a number of Parisian cinemas, and run until March 14.

Some works are having their first public screenings at the festival. The Portuguese entry, Ivo Ferreira’s Letters From the War, about Portugal’s colonial war in Angola in the 1970s, has already attracted critical attention.

In addition, the sharp Austrian documentary Last Shelter, by Gerald Igor Hauzenberger, has provided a talking point since 2015 about European policies regarding refugees. It portrays a group of asylum seekers who went on hunger strike and inhabited a church to protest against the rejection of their asylum request.

"A documentary that takes a look at social topics must get involved in contradictory discourses rather than serving up exclusionary or ideological worldviews," Hauzenberger has said. "It should initiate comprehensive examination and discussion of a topic that last several years and goes beyond clichés and superficial aspects."

SWAN will have reviews of some of the films at a later date. More complete information on the Week of Foreign Cinema can be found at the FICEP web site:  (By Dimitri Keramitas)