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Setting for a movie called Ben X being shown at UK cinemas as part of a European film festival.

MAY 30 – JUNE 5

In an exceptional collaboration to mark this European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, City Screen Picturehouse Cinemas and the European Commission Representation in the UK will host a week of Premieres and preview screenings of films from all over Europe. Playing across the country, with introductions by prominent film-makers and actors, many of these films will have only been seen so far at industry festivals while some may only receive a limited UK distribution. Running between May 30th and June 5th, the festival brings an exceptional opportunity to view the best of European film-making.

The festival opens on Thursday 29 May with a private screening of Antonello Grimaldi’s Berlin hit QUIET CHAOS with Nanni Moretti, Valeria Golino, Isabella Ferrari and Alessandro Gassman. Philippe Claudel closes the week on June 5th with the UK Premiere of the Berlin double prize winner I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein and Serge Hazanavicius. City Screen is delighted to announce that Oscar nominated actress Kristin Scott Thomas will also be attending the Closing Gala screening at The Gate Cinema on Thursday 5 June.

Viviane Reding, Commissioner responsible for Information Society and Media, commented, “Nothing beats a night out at the cinema. The European Commission, through its MEDIA Programme, gives financial backing to encourage the best in European filmmaking, and this film festival is a chance for everyone to catch some of Europe’s box office successes and see for themselves the talent that can be found in European filmmaking today!”

The MEDIA Programme has been funding European Film since 1991. Providing support to classics such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Amelie, Pan's Labyrinth and the recently released Persepolis, the MEDIA programme is designed to foster and promote the rich diversity of work produced throughout the EU.

Festival–goers will be transported around Europe with films from over nine different countries. The programme includes the latest work from the likes of French director Jean-Paul Salome (FEMALE AGENTS), Belgian director Nic Balthazar (BEN X), Czech Oscar-winner Jan Sverak (EMPTIES), and Spanish director Jaime Rosales (SOLITARY FRAGMENTS). A surprise film from Cannes will also be screening in the week!

So they don’t miss out on all the fun, City Screen will be holding special European–flavoured Kids Clubs with films and activities taking place across the UK for children of all ages. A variety of films will be showcased from France (AZUR AND ASMAR: THE PRINCES QUEST) and Netherlands/Germany/UK (LEPEL) with a live interpreter and experts in the field of European cinema will introduce the films screening through the week.

"As the UK’s leading independent exhibitor, we at City Screen take great pride in our commitment to bringing the widest variety of international cinema to audiences across the UK. That’s why we’re delighted to be presenting this unique celebration of the quality and range of European filmmaking today.” Clare Binns. Director of Programming, City Screen

ALL of the films screening in Common Language week are listed on the following page. The full detailed programme will be announced in due course.

Common Language – A Celebration of European Cinema screenings will take place at three main venues:

The Gate Cinema

Clapham Picturehouse

Liverpool, Picturehouse at FACT

Selected films wills also be screening at the following Picturehouse venues across the country:

Bath, Little Theatre Cinema

Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

Norwich Cinema City

Southampton, Harbour lights Picturehouse

Stratford-Upon-Avon Picturehouses

York, City Screen

And at the following non-Picturehouse venues:

Newcastle, Tyneside Cinema

Nottingham, Broadway Cinema and Media Centre.

For venue information and bookings go to or call 0871 704 2068. General bookings open on Friday 16 May.

Common Language – A Celebration of Language is in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, and MEDIA.



Highly acclaimed at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and featuring a stunning central performance from Nanni Moretti, Grimaldi’s serene drama tells the moving tale of a widower learning to integrate his grief with life as a single parent.

CLOSING FILM: I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, France. Distributor: Lionsgate. Release date: September 26, 2008.

Claudel’s debut won two prizes at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and it is easy to see why: Kristin Scott Thomas stars in this beautifully scripted and skilfully composed tale of two sisters who rebuild their relationship after years apart is utterly engrossing and deeply moving. As the sisters gradually rediscover common ground and a way of relating to each other, this intelligent and compassionate portrayal of the power of love and forgiveness builds towards a cathartic conclusion.

FEMALE AGENTS, France. Distributor: Revolver. Release Date: June 27, 2008.

With a sizzling cast which includes Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, and Marie Gillain, FEMALE AGENTS is a WWII espionage thriller centred on a five-woman commando unit that parachutes into occupied France on a daring mission to protect the secret of the D-day landings and eliminate Colonel Heindrich, the head of the German counter-intelligence.

BEN X, Belgium/Netherlands. Distributor: Momentum Pictures. Release Date: June 20, 2008.

Ben finds his life divided between an online world of computer games and the daily hell that is his school, where he is tormented by two bullies. Evocative of DONNIE DARKO, this fantastical, intelligent and visually assured study of adolescent alienation was Belgium’s official submission to the Academy Awards earlier this year.

EMPTIES, Czech Republic.

The Oscar-winning father-son team of director Jan and actor Zdenek Sverák tell the story of an aging teacher who doesn’t take going into retirement well, maintaining a playful, busybody life and generally ignoring the reality of his situation. This intelligent and sophisticated comedy about a man for whom retirement means a challenge to finally come of age has become the biggest box office success in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism.

KATYN, Polish.

One of European cinema’s few remaining grand masters, 81-year-old Pole Andrzej Wajda presents perhaps the most personal and powerful film of his 50-year career. He had long wanted to make a film about the mass execution of 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviet secret police in early 1940, as his own father was one of the massacre’s victims. The Academy Award nominee KATYN is a vivid, angry and eloquent rumination on honour and survival.

THE CLASS, Estonia.

Filmed with a non-professional teenage cast and inspired by the Columbine tragedy, the debut feature from writer-director Raag proves to be well developed and provocative. Though reminiscent of Gus Van Sant’s ELEPHANT, THE CLASS differs in its lack of sociological probing and in its reflection on the universal darker side of the human soul, often hidden beneath an attractive exterior, which is ready to react under excess pressure.

WELCOME TO THE STICKS, France. Distributor: Pathe. Release Date: February 27, 2008.

With his wife down in the dumps, post office manager Philippe hopes to lift her spirits by relocating to the glamorous Côte d'Azur. However, his attempts to finagle a transfer fail, and he ends up being demoted and sent to Bergues, deep in ‘the sticks’ in northern France. This heart-warming fish-out-of-water comedy has become a national phenomenon in France, and is now on course to smash through TITANIC’s current record as the most successful film of all time at the French box office.


Rosales’s sublime follow-up to THE HOURS OF THE DAY picked up multiple awards at this year’s Goyas. Formally inventive and quietly yet intensely moving, SOLITARY FRAGMENTS gently unpicks the lives of two women as their everyday troubles are overtaken by more immediate and shocking concerns, creating a superbly understated yet utterly gripping study of women’s experiences as mothers, daughters, partners and victims.

LEPEL, Netherlands/Germany.

After the mysterious disappearance of his parents, nine-year-old Lepel is looked after by his mean grandmother Koppenol. One day, he manages to run away and hides out in the local department store, where he becomes friends with ‘tough girl’ Pleun who secretly lives in the store too, having made a hideaway behind the jumpers! The two kids hatch a plan to find Lepel's parents, leading to laughs, thrills and adventure for all the family.

For further information please contact:

Charles McDonald/Ntashie Lane/PPR

Tel: 0207 292 8330, Email:

City Screen is the owner and operator of Picturehouse Cinemas, Britain’s largest circuit of independent cinemas.

Formed in 1989 to challenge the modern multiplex, City Screen provides cinemas in city centre locations to serve local communities and offer a more diverse choice of films. City Screen now owns and operates 18 cinemas, as well as programming films for an additional 35 cinemas independently operated throughout the UK, using over 18 years experience in tailoring diverse and commercially successful programmes spanning arthouse and independent classics, world cinema and quality mainstream titles as well as short films and touring seasons. City Screen prides itself on being at the forefront of digital cinema and other business and technical developments, such as pioneering live cinecast events, including Filmmaker Question and Answer programmes, and screenings of opera from the New York Metropolitan Opera to cinemas across the UK.

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