CROSSING EUROPE ’21: What keeps us in the present?

(c) "Mila" Christos Nikou

Cat Woman meets Astronaut: What happens when you disappear in the middle of a pandemic and no one misses you? The film grotesque “Mila. Apples” by Christos Nikou plays at the Linz Film Festival.

Among others, Maria Schrader’s Berlinale competition entry “Ich bin dein Mensch”, the documentary “The Wire” about the Balkan route and in the Local Artists section “Surviving Gusen” about the region around the former concentration camp in Upper Austria will be shown at the opening.

Political – Documentary in Focus: Daniel Sager’s documentary “Hinter den Schlagzeilen” (Behind the Headlines) about the investigative department of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” will be shown. Film portraits are devoted to Mikhail Gorbachev, the artist Marina Abramovic and the German avant-garde filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger.

In the European Panorama Documentary section, among others, “Alltid Amber,” a film about gender neutrality, will be screened. Helena Třeštíková – a regular at Crossing Europe with her films for many years – presents another fascinating long-term observation with “Anny,” in which an individual fate is linked to sociopolitical developments in the Czech Republic.

Competition Fiction presents “Dasatskisi,” a powerful cinematic debut about the life of a Jehovah’s Witness. “Mila” could not be more topical: a mysterious pandemic has affected parts of humanity, director Christos Nikou accompanies the story with laconic humor.  

CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival looks ahead. 

The CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival shows in which communities and collectives this can best be done. 

“Cooperations and alliances arise where ideas are shared. This always has something to do with enthusiasm,” says Christine Dollhofer, programme director of CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival. 

The program section Architecture and Society takes a utopian look at community as a construction of many. Curator Lotte Schreiber has selected documentaries that deal with models of community in Europe. How it can be lived, even beyond death. The award-winning film DEALING WITH DEATH is a journey through religious communities in the Amsterdam suburb of Bijlmeer. The more funeral rituals protagonist Anita learns, the more she doubts her vision of starting a multi-denominational funeral home. Norwegian director Erlend E. Mo goes to the personal pain threshold of living his own utopia. Mo. “A JOURNEY TO UTOPIA is a utopian journey; a pioneering work not only in cinematic terms, but also in the sense of climate change: what does it mean to build and align an entire village ecologically?” says Dollhofer. In WEM GEHÖRT MEIN DORF, director Christoph Eder follows a citizens’ initiative in his home village as it campaigns for local elections. Too much is too much: an investor is planning a construction project on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen in the middle of the nature reserve.


“Things will never be the same again,” says Lea Haslmaier. As a YAAAS! Young Programmer, she curated the youth track with other young people. Yet she is sure she can learn from the pandemic. What? In any case, that Amazon Prime can’t replace the cinema after all. Comfortable couch or not. “It starts when you go to the movies together, about the excitement of talking about the movie,” Haslmaier says. 

In the YAAAS! Competition, six current feature-length films are competing for the prize of 3,000 euros. Each film paints a completely different picture of a reality in the lives of youths and young adults. Six feature films, six realities of life for teens and young adults. The themes are present: sexual harassment in FORCE OF HABIT, the enormous pressure on a young female ski racer to perform in SLALOM, the search for roots and the escape from the childish cocoon in RÄUBERHÄNDE. The Young Programmers were enthusiastic about the visually strong performances and the free narrative styles. 

The state of emergency that the festival di- rector proclaimed in 2020 with the transfer of the festival into the digital space is to remain. “We have mastered the situation well. But online can only ever be an additional, inclusive offer for people who otherwise cannot come to the cinema. The festival spirit thrives on bringing sociopolitical issues within Europe and artistically new voices to the cinemas, to the audience on the ground! The longing of all for the total package ‘cinema’ is great. Our industry thrives on personal exchange in informal situations, before and after the shared cinema experience. It’s the interpersonal. We are all not robots.” 

Selection from the program:

Hinter den Schlagzeilen, Daniel Sager, Deutschland 2021, ‘90
03.06. + 06.06.2021 

Gorbachev. Heaven, Vitaly Mansky, Lettland / Tschechien 2020, ‘100 
01.06. + 05.06.2021

Homecoming. Marina Abramovic and her children. Boris Miljković, Serbien 2020, ‘84
02.06. + 06.06.2021

Paris Calligrammes. Ulrike Ottinger. Deutschland / Frankreich 2019. ‘129 

Ich bin dein Mensch, Maria Schrader, Deutschland 2021, ‘104 
01.06. + 06.06.2021

Alltid Amber, Lia Hietala, Hannah Reinikainen, Schweden 2020, ‘76

Anny, Helena Třeštíková, Tschechien 2020, ’66 
03.06. + 05.06.2021

Dasatskisi, Dea Kulumbegashvili, Georgien / Frankreich 2020, ‘125
02.06. + 04.06.2021

Mila, Christos Nikou, Griechenland/Polen/Slowenien, ‘90
03.06. + 04.06.2021

The Wire, Tiha K. Gudac, Belgien/Kroatien/Norwegen/Slowenien/Litauen 2021, ‘77
01.06. + 03.06.2021

Surviving Gusen, Gerald Harringer, Johannes Pröll, Österreich 2021, ‘68
01.06. + 06.06.2021

The whole program can be found online.

01. – 06.06.2021