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Last night, ÉCU 2017 got off to an absolutely roaring start with our opening night that featured a thrilling selection of transfixing independent films and a range of animated introductory festivities, including a heartfelt welcome speech from the festival president Scott Hillier, a energetic live-music line-up and a buzzing after-party at the left bank’s trendy club, Les Quatre Vents! The second day of the spectacle offers an even more jam-packed programme of spellbinding films, insightful filmmaking workshops and late night celebrations – don’t miss out on the exciting opportunity to join us half-way through our 3-day independent film extravaganza!

Omarlaurel

Day two of ÉCU 2017 boasts an eclectic series of film screenings, from European to South American films competing in categories that range from experimental films to our Arab Special Selection. At Cinema Les 7 Parnassiens, both the Grande and Petit Salles hosts four 2-hour sessions of varied film screenings that are each concluded with a thought-provoking directors Q&A. In the Grand Salle, the film screenings commence with the Israeli student film, Omar, a refreshingly bold and sharply witty critique on current-day socio-political frictions with the tale of a 18-year old Israeli boy who wakes up one morning to find that he has suddenly transformed into an Arab – he is fluent in the Arabic language, has a full beard, and above-par cooking skills! The film’s talented directorial duo, Noa Gottesman and Asaf Schwartz, dexterously tow the line between an absurdist humour and a perspicuous poignancy, as not only does Omar’s metamorphosis on his country’s Independence day cause him to examine the precarious foundations on which he bases his identity, but it also causes the audience to reflect on their own prejudices too.

YLaurel

Nicolas Auzeine’s French student film, Y, offers an astonishingly authentic and deeply sensitive portrait of 19-year old Pauline’s sexual awakening as she experiences an emotional whirlwind, embarking on a quest to avoid the distress of love and pursue purely physical pleasure, without all the emotional entanglements that come with conventional relationships. The unique beauty of Auzeine production is captured in the striking juxtaposition that is offered between the youthful fragility of Pauline and her deliberately emotionally-numbing behaviour that affords her nothing deeper than a endless string of one-night-stands. In the Petite Salle, a contrasting, optimistically life-affirming meditation on love is presented in Estelle Fromentin’s French-Argentine documentary, Fragments of Love, a portrait of four distinct snapshot of love told from the perspective of a musician who raises goats, an experimental filmmaker, a ceramist and a businessman – all accompanied by exquisitely-shot visuals of Argentina’s scenic landscapes.

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A deeply though-provoking production, Hassanein Khazaal’s Iraqi drama Last Seen screened as part of the Arab Special Selection, portrays the psychological conflicts that the modern, young Iraqi man faces in contemporary society as he attempt to comes to terms with his tenuous relationships with his native country, friendship and love. The piercingly raw short film examines the pressing questions relating to the way in which he can deal with his enervating life conditions and the impending cross-road he is forced to face. Khazaal presents a vividly honest depiction of the agonizing decision the political involved have to make – whether to stay staunchly in one’s own country and rally at the demonstrations or to choose to forgo one’s homeland and take the increasing popular alternative path? The varied selection of world-class films screened at the second day of ÉCU 2017 makes us proud to proponents of independent film, continually on the search for up-and-coming filmmaking talent. Stay tuned for our update on the final day of film screenings, workshops, directors Q&A and general festivities!

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