Innocence and Beyond at the European Film Festival 2022
Innocence and Beyond is the thematic nucleus underlying the 2022 European Film Festival in South Africa. Innocence is not just a legal concept, it is a human quality that is being explored through the festival films this year. This includes perspectives through the eyes of children, young and innocent in the world, finding their way through intellectual and emotional growth, dealing with social conventions and peer pressure, and experiencing both joy as well as personal loss and pain. It is also about youth shedding skins as they navigate the often turbulent process of growing into adulthood.
It’s also about adults making choices that impact both themselves and those around them, and in some cases society and the world.
More broadly, is innocence solely about what’s right and what’s wrong? Is it a state of blamelessness, without shades and shadows? Can a state of ignorance equate to a state of innocence? What about cultural innocence – does a lack of understanding exonerate our attitudes and actions towards others who are different to us? What is the innocence of migrants, or our engagement with them, for example? Who then is innocent? These are some of questions that percolate through the festival offerings this year, and they are questions to be considered while watching them.
The world is again affected by a terrible war – this time in Europe. In fact, the world is continually bubbling with conflict and war, whether it be hot war or cold, and innocence is an unfortunate casualty during wartime, at all levels. The European Film Festival takes place in South Africa at a tragic juncture in world history. It brings into sharp focus the relationship between innocence and responsibility, between innocence and action on one hand, and innocence and inaction on the other.
Clear decision-making is informed by careful reflection. Cinema helps us do this. As we witness the situations and circumstances of others, cinema takes deep us into our own selves, allows us to reflect on our own thoughts and actions. We invite our audience to consider how innocence applies, or not, to each of the films on offer. Loss of innocence is on subtler levels usually a loss of an open heart, in which we lose our openness to life, to people, and to dreams. May you undertake this cinematic journey with rewarding openness and fulness of heart.
There are 16 top films in the festival this year, 8 by women directors, 8 by men, some of whom will participate in Live Zoom panel discussions and Q&A’s to enrich our experience and understanding of the filmmaking processes and the topics raised in the films. There will be a programme of Filmmaker Engagements formulated to inspire young filmmakers at film schools in South Africa. The festival will again service a number of secondary schools and community centres with screening and discussion programmes.
How To Watch The Films
Films will be available for free streaming on our website, but for those who desire the full cinema experience each film will have a single screening at both Ster-Kinekor’s The Zone in Johannesburg and at The Labia in Cape Town. The online streamings are free while a ticket price is charged for the theatre screenings.
Eswatini and Lesotho
This year’s festival extends its reach to neighbouring countries eSwatini and Lesotho. A 3-day programme of screenings and discussions will take place at the Alliance Française in Mbabane between 21 and 23 October, while the Alliance Française in Maseru will host a similar 3-day programme between 28 to 30 October. For technical reasons the festival screening in Eswatini and Lesotho will present a different line-up of films to those in South Africa. Film lovers in Eswatini and Lesotho will however be able to access selected films from the South African online programme in their own countries from 13-23 October.
We are humbly grateful to the filmmakers and special guests participating in the various programme components, contributing their time and expertise to these vital exchanges. Special thanks too to all persons and partners who make the implementation of the festival possible. A heart-felt thanks to the embassies and cultural agencies whose core support forms the solid foundation for the festival. And finally, a big THANK YOU TO YOU for following the European Film Festival in South Africa.
Peter Rorvik, Festival Co-Director/ Curator