Each year, The European Film Festival is one of the movie highlights of the year – and this time is no different running between October 13 and 23. Here is a short review by DIANE DE BEER on one of the films:



 Director: Elie Grappe

Cast: Nastya Budiashkina, Sabrina Rubtsova, Jérôme Martin

Genre: Drama, Coming of Age

Time: 85 minutes

French, Russian, Ukrainian with English subtitles – 2021

Anything that comes from Ukraine has added appeal because of its harrowing circumstances for almost a decade now, resulting in the most recent horrors inflicted by Putin.

But this is not a story about that, even though there are signs of things to come. What it does capture is how these catastrophic events impact the lives of children. What should have been relatively carefree times in their young lives are clouded by what is happening on the periphery.

Olga is a teenage gymnast living in exile in Switzerland where she dreams of Olympic gold as she battles to fit in with her new team.

Her mom, who is a journalist, is suffering the hardship of what that means with a sudden uprising in Kiev, the forerunner of what that brave country is facing right now.

Olga is heartbroken and scared, feeling she has deserted those she cares most about while fighting for her own freedom.

It is by no means a perfect movie, but it does have added impact because of the lives it captures almost in a bubble as we know now and with hindsight. It also throws a light on these young athletes and the pressures they face as we have recently been made much more aware of with gymnasts like Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

This is a fantastic opportunity to catch up on many of the best movies from Europe of the past year. For details on all the films and how to watch visit www.eurofilmfest.co.za