WITH THE increasing popularity of Scandinavian, French, and German drama series among English speaking audiences, more and more people are open to and curious to check out films that are not in the English language.
A great access point to some terrific Continental European films - popular, accessible comedies and dramas, which were huge hits in their own countries - is the Subtitle European Film Festival, which makes a welcome return to Galway this month.
The festival runs from Friday January 27 to Sunday 29 and will screen 10 films across the three days. It opens on Friday 27 at 6.45pm with Dutch film Layla M, which charts a young Dutch Muslim’s fierce determination to find her own place in the world. Her search for acceptance encourages her to lose herself in the teachings of Islam, and from there begins a story of magnetic power.
Screening at 9pm is Polish film, The Last Family, which explores the intertwining lives of the Beksinski family, including Zdzislaw Beksinski, one of Poland’s most famous 20th century painters, as well as his son Tomasz, a renowned translator and radio journalist.
Saturday's screenings start at 12 noon with Czech film, Lost In Munich, Peter Zelenka’s hilarious mockumentary, offering new theories about the 1938 Munich agreement, which forced Czechoslovakia to cede much of its border region to Nazi Germany.
Romanian film, Illegitimate, winner of the coveted Jury Award at the Odessa Film Festival, will be shown at 2pm. A dysfunctional family drama from director Adrian Sitaru, it addresses different taboos in society and how they are shaped.
From Deutschland 83 director Edward Berger, comes Jack, at 4pm. A beautifully made film focussing on the devastation paternal rejection can generate, it observes Jack evolve from a child with adult responsibility into a young adult whose eyes have finally been opened.
At 6pm comes About Love from leading Russian director Anna Melikyan. An almanac of contemporary romantic stories set in a bustling Moscow, it features the cream of Russian acting talent, and an hilarious cameo from Game Of Thrones' Yuri Kolokolnikov.
Saturday concludes with the 8.30pm screening of Finnish film, The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki, Juho Kuosmanen’s outstanding debut feature, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Shot in black and white, and inspired by the true story of Finland’s most successful boxer from the 1960s, it is a beautiful and powerful film about love and choice.
Sunday's first screening is at 1pm with Georgian film Corn Island. Shortlisted for an Oscar in 2014, this fable of life and death set in dreamy landscapes is an exquisitely made film that draws audiences into its elegant and bewitching world.
Danish film Land Of Mine, at 3.15pm, is the gripping story of a group of young German soldiers captured by Danish forces at the end of WWII, who are given a deadly task - removing the mines they themselves had set along the Danish coast.
The closing film at 5.15pm is the French comedy The Closet. An accountant for a rubber factory is about to lose his job, so he spreads a rumour he is gay so tthe company will be afraid to fire him, lest it be accused of sexual discrimination.
Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie Tickets for individual films are €9/8 while a weekend pass to see all films is €55/50.
To watch trailers for the above films see www.advertiser.ie/galway/entertainment/cinema