THE Eighth European Union Film Festival comes to Phnom Penh this week, featuring films from 10 European countries dedicated to the theme, “the role of women in society”.
The six-day festival kicks off at 6pm today with the screening of the German movie Hilde at the French Cultural Centre.
Also showing throughout the week will be recent films from Finland, France, Poland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Sweden. The films will be shown in their original language with English subtitles.
Mr Rafael Dochao Moreno, the chargé d’affaires of the EU delegation to Cambodia, said the selection of a common theme for all the films marks a first for the festival.
“[The EU] believes in a certain number of European values: human rights, women’s rights, democracy, freedom of expression, the rights of minorities and handicapped people,” he said at a press conference last week.
“What we want through this film festival is to show through an artistic way what are these values of the EU, and specifically in this case, on the rights of women.”
He said festival’s theme was in line with the EU’s efforts to strengthen the role of Cambodian women in society, which has included support for 10 programmes in recent years for a total of US$5 million.
“These programmes are varied, for instance to support advocacy and training for women, to end violence against women, to support indigenous women in Ratanakkiri province, to support food and nutrition for women,” Mr Moreno said.
However, he admitted that it would be difficult to say how, or if, the film festival might have an impact on the role of women in Cambodian culture.
“What I feel is that this film festival could be an excuse, an instrument, to promote debate, new findings, new ideas on the table,” he said. “If people come to see the films, and they start to talk, talking is part of the education and to put into practice new ideas.”
Another first for this year will be the screening of a Khmer-dubbed version of one of the films (Hilde) on May 8 at 6:30pm at Wat Botum.
“We will show the film for free dubbed in Khmer so it is open to all Khmer people who don’t speak English or European languages,” Mr Moreno said
“Wat Botum is a place where many people go on the weekends, and we want to test the receptability of Cambodians to see films that they don’t see normally. This is an opportunity to see a totally different type of cinema from the American and Korean films on TV,” he said.