ARTE, the television of entire Europe
Since The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the adhesion of the majority of the countries once called “the Eastern European countries” at the United Europe, a new unified geo-political background has appeared. But, if, from now on, we travel freely in Europe, we only have to do something so that the Europeans know each other better.
This is, in fact, the mission of ARTE, and the text of its foundation Charter refers especially to the emphasis of the diversity of European cultures – and of the cultures from all over the world – as well as to their promotion.
Since we are speaking about Central and Eastern Europe, ARTE takes into consideration two complementary parts: the investigation of the political, economical and cultural realities of these countries, and the broadcast of the best of their artistic and cinematographic creation.
Thus, ARTE has produced many documentary films in order to make known and to understand the potential of these countries, not in an academic way, but following the variety of the individual or collective histories. All this was possible thanks to the sensibility of different directors, French, German and European invited to share with our audience their knowledge and their perception about this part of the world that preoccupies us a lot.
A channel of creation, ARTE is also dedicated to the broadcast and to the support of the work of Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Bulgarian etc. artists: musical, theatrical transmissions or retransmissions of reports on the cultural news, or of the cinematographic expressions in these countries.
Thus, from the beginning of our existence, ARTE has produced films made by directors like Christoph Kieslowski, Andrej Wajda, Bela Tarr, Giorgi Palfi or Cristian Mungiu, the Romanian director who won the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year.
ASTRA FILM Festival honors us with a „homage” brought to our channel, in the field of the documentary film, besides the selection of some of our recent productions in the competition sections.
ARTE congratulates itself for this first participation at ASTRA FILM Festival, a chance offered to the participants to know our work better and to meet directors of the selected films.
Our grateful regards to the Festival organizers.
Director: Stanislav Mucha
Country: Germany/ France
Europe’s geographic centre must be located somewhere between North Cape, Greece, Portugal and Russia. Stanislav Mucha undertakes the task of finding the centre of Europe. His rechearch has been more than successful, since he found no less than twenty geographical centres of the continent. Depending to the interviewees, the „real” centre lie in Germany, in Austria, in Lithuania, in Poland, in Slovakia or in the Ukraine. Traveling across the continent, the filmmaker collected hallucinating, extravagant, utopian, chauvinist, fantastic, or well-documented testimonies on the subject. As Europe undergoes a process of expansion, we can assume that its centre, wherewer it might be, has a vocation to move. Geography is less important when you can state, at least once in a lifetime, that you are living in the centre of the earth.
Gigi, Monica ...& Bianca
Director: Yasmina Abdellaoui, Benoît Dervaux
Gigi is 17, Monica is 15. They live on the streets of Bucharest together with other homeless children. Monica is the only girl in the group. They hang around the railway station, eat whatever they can find, sleep where and if they can. Gigi and Monica became close. They are two ingenuous lovers waiting for their child to be born. Little Bianca comes to this world under precarious circumstances, bringing confusion and happiness to her parents. In 1994, Benoît Dervaux and Yasmina Abdellaoui set out to Romania to film homeless children. Impressed by the story of the two lovers, they returned months later to film Bianca’s birth. Thus they have captured on camera the joys and sorrows of tho children who were forced to grow up too soon. A distressing film about life that eventually prevails.
The Lapirovs Go WestCountry:
Director: Jean-Luc Léon
In 1981, a family of Russian Jews finally receive their immigration visas for the USA. Ilya Lapirov is in his fifties. He teaches Russian literature. Together with his wife, Isabella, and their 9-years old son Kiécha, they leave the USSR for the first time. Jean-Luc Léon accompanies them to Los Angeles, their new home, and the camera records their reactions of amasement and the delusion while they addapt to their new lives. Only in 1993 the Lapirovs manage to save enough money for a 10 days trip to Moscow. The film captures emotional scenes with the Lapirovs visiting places and old friends after ten years of absence. After all they have been through, „home” has a different meaning for each of them.
Director: Nora Agapi, Stéphane Luçon
Country: France/ Romania
The first Romanian documentary on the local impact of globalization brings together two groups of female-workers from two factories belonging to the same Franco-Romanian company. At one point, the French owner has to make a decision. Instead of firing a number of French workers, he offeres them a job at one of the company’s branches in Mediaş, Romania. The film analyses in honesty and empathy the meeting of the two cultures, deciding that there is not a question of a culture clash. The workers, be they French or Romanian, manage to establish communication, even if they do not speak the same language. After all, they are confronted with similar difficulties, and the low salaries payed by the employer is the most important of them all. The film does not attempt to reject globalization, nor to demonize employers on behalf of the employees. It is rather a discreet insight into people’s everyday joys and dissatisfactions.
Director: Marcin Latallo
“Our Stret” is in Poland, in the city Lodz, which is far from what it used to be during the communist regime. It is a place where Old Europe meets New Europe. Right under the windows of the apartment inhabited by a Polish family of workers, who have lived there for five generations, a French investor built the Manufaktura, the largest shopping and entertainment centre in Central Europe. The centre has been built on the ruins of an industrial site, where all the members of the Furmanczyk family used to work in the times when Lodz was considered „the promised land”, one of the most prosperous European cities. The film documents the life of the Furmanczyks for three years, covering the period of Poland’s adhering to the EU and the opening of the centre. There is every-day struggle and few moments of happiness in a world of confusing economic changes.