Former Olympic boxer Koza's story and more at Abu Dhabi film festival
Abu Dhabi - The film has been selected to open the third European Film Screenings (EFS) in Abu Dhabi.
Peter "Koza" Baláz is a former Olympic boxer from Slovakia. He and his partner, Misa, live in a dilapidated housing estate, constantly struggling to make ends meet. When Misa learns she is expecting a baby, she decides to terminate her pregnancy and wants Koza to find the necessary money. Koza, who has not trained in a while, steps back into the ring, hoping to earn some much-needed cash and possibly change Misa's mind. He and his manager, Zvonko, embark on a 'tour' through uncountable fights, where success seems impossible and yet is never forfeited.
A film released in 2015, Koza's story was received with several award nominations from European film festivals and now it was selected to open the third European Film Screenings (EFS) in Abu Dhabi.
"Koza is a simple guy from a special school for kids with learning disabilities and disorders, but what I really respect about him is that considering the situation he grew up in, he worked his way up. His parents left him with his grandmother and since Koza's father was a boxer, too, Koza wanted to impress his dad and started boxing hoping his parents would take him back," said film director Ivan Ostrochovský.
Running from October 19-27 in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai cinemas, the third EFS is presenting 17 films from 17 European countries, selected by the European Film Academy and the participating embassies here.
The programme will also be screening five Arab feature films from Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Lebanon and the UAE, along with a bundle of short films from Switzerland.
"Over a period of eight days, residents from Abu Dhabi and Dubai will have the chance to choose from a variety of film genres that feature famed talent including well-known directors, highly acclaimed actors, writers and producers from Europe," said Patrizio Fondi, ambassador of the European Union to the UAE.
The programme includes the brilliant, bizarre, equally funny and cruel social satire The Lobster. The 2015 Irish film by Yorgos Lanthimos is set in a dystopian near future, where single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in 45 days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
"But if by any chance I told you an awe-inspiring story, might you revoke your sentence?" asks a young man buried neck deep in sand. This is the opening line of Arabian Nights, a Portuguese film by Miguel Gomes, a docu-fantasy epic, very loosely inspired by The Arabian Nights, except that this lot of exotic stories are based on the dramas suffered by Portugal's folk as a result of austerity measures.
Movies such as these are a rare opportunity for UAE residents to re-connect with the art cinema and delve deeper into European culture, humour and artistry.
"Over the past two years, Emirati and European communities in the UAE have appreciated our efforts to present films that would not be commercially screened in the UAE," stressed Fondi.
The films are screened at the Novo Cinemas at the World Trade Centre Mall in Abu Dhabi on October 19-26 and at Ibn Battuta Mall and Dubai Festival City Mall in Dubai on October 20-27.