Europa! Europa Film Festival: our top ten picks of the program

The Europa! Europa Film Fest returns to Sydney and Melbourne from 15 Feb to 11 March 2024.

The Europa! Europa Film Fest returns to Sydney and Melbourne from 15 Feb to 11 March 2024. Only in its third year running, Europa! Europa brings the world’s best new European films to cinemas for three weeks of entertaining Australian premiere screenings and special events.

Here are our top picks of the program.

To see what other film festivals are on this year, head to our 2024 guide.

Read: Australian Film Festivals Guide 2024

Io Capitano

Io Capitano. Image: Pathé International.

Directed by Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah), Io Capitano is the epic story of two teenagers, Seydou and Moussa, who decide to leave Dakar, Senegal and make their way to Europe. They do this secretly, although they are repeatedly warned about the arduous journey. The dream of becoming rich and famous as a musician in Europe is too enticing. But their journey is not as easy as they imagined and they are quickly confronted with horror: the obstacles of the Sahara, the horrors of detention centres in Libya and the perils of the open sea.

Dates: 28 Jan, 16, 17 & 24 Feb, 2 & 11 Mar.

Read: Goncharov, I hardly knew ye: how the internet invented a Scorsese film

The Peasants

The Peasants. Image: Sony Pictures Classics.

A new hand-painted animation from the team behind Loving Vincent. In The Peasants, independent young woman Jagna is determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late 19th-century Polish village – a hotbed of gossip and ongoing feuds, held together, rich and poor, by pride in their land and adherence to colourful traditions and a deeply-rooted patriarchy.

Dates: 16 Feb, 2, 4, 5, 9 Mar.

Embryo Larva Butterfly

Embryo Larva Butterfly. Image: Cercamon

Embryo Larva Butterfly is a thought-provoking sci-fi drama exploring love, memory, and fate. Set in a world where time is non-linear and the past, present, and future arbitrarily shift, a group of individuals must decipher the point in their life at which they’ve awoken each day, as they age back and forth.

Dates: 17, 23, 24, 26 Feb & 2, 7, 10 Mar.

The Beast

The Beast. Image: Rialto Distribution.

In the near future where artificial intelligence reigns supreme and human emotions have become a threat, Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) finally decides to purify her DNA. She enters a machine that will immerse her in her previous lives and rid her of any strong feelings. In doing so, she reunites with Louis (George Mackay), her great love, but she’s overcome by fear and a premonition that a great catastrophe is on the way. This unknowable dread follows her, permeating multiple encounters with the man she knew as Louis over the years. Loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s novel The Beast in the Jungle .

Dates: 16, 17, 20, 22 Feb & 7, 8 Mar.

Les Indésirables

Les Indésirables. Image: Le Pacte.

Haby, a young French woman of Malian origin who is deeply involved in the life of her community, discovers the redevelopment plan for her working-class Parisian suburb. Led behind closed doors by Pierre Forges, a young doctor thrust into the role of mayor, the plan calls for the demolition of the block where Haby grew up. Together with the inhabitants of the building, she embarks on a fierce battle to prevent the destruction of her neighbourhood and expose the corruption that lies behind this nefarious plan.

Dates: 17, 24 & 25 Feb.

The Summer with Carmen

The Summer with Carmen. Image: Be For Films.

While enjoying a day at Athens’ queer beach, 30-something Demosthenes offers to help his bestie and aspiring filmmaker Nikitas in drafting an idea for his feature debut. They brainstorm a script inspired by the dramatic events of their previous summer and a certain dog named Carmen. Through flashbacks, this comedy traces how Demosthenes, while caring for his ailing father reaches out to his ex, Panos, as their cute canine becomes a battleground for their failed relationship and potential reconciliation.

Dates: 17, 23, 24 Feb & 4 Mar.

Read: Inaugural Midsumma Movies comes to Melbourne’s Capitol this Jan

They Shot the Piano Player

They Shot the Piano Player. Image: Sony Pictures Classics.

A New York music journalist goes on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenório Jr. A celebratory origin story of the world-renowned Latino musical movement Bossa Nova, They Shot The Piano Player captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the 60s and 70s, just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes.

Dates: 18, 21 Feb & 2, 3, 8 Mar.


Homecoming. Image: Le Pacte.

Khédidja works for a wealthy Parisian family who ask her to mind their children for a summer in Corsica. Bringing along her own two teenage daughters, Jessica and Farah, the trip is an opportunity for them to return to the island they left 15 years earlier in mysterious circumstances. While their mother grapples with her memories, the two girls indulge in all the summer temptations: unexpected encounters, mischief and experiences of first love. Meanwhile, rumours are surfacing about their family’s past on the island, leading them to question their mother’s version of history.

Dates: 18, 21 Feb & 2, 3, 8 Mar.

We Have Never Been Modern

We Have Never Been Modern. Image: Bontonfilmm.

Set in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, Eliška Krenková is Helena, the expectant wife of a successful factory owner. Helena’s bright future begins to unravel when the body of a newborn intersex baby is discovered at the factory site, sending shockwaves throughout the community. Weaving a tale that blends elements of detective mystery and psychological drama, the film paints a complex and compelling picture of small-town bigotry and the heavy price that is paid for what is deemed as progress.

Dates: 17, 20, 21, 25 Feb & 2, 5, 10, 11 Mar.

The Conformist (1970)

The Conformist. Image: Kino Lorber.

Hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, Bernardo Bertolucci’s electrifying masterpiece The Conformist will screen in a newly restored 4K. Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as Marcello, a hollow man who is targeted by a fascist espionage organisation to lead a dangerous mission in France. Desperate to rid himself of his past, he goes to tragic pains to fit in and serve the political cause. Using his honeymoon as a cover he brings his unsuspecting new wife Giulia, played by Stefania Sandrelli, to Paris where he can carry out the assignment.

Dates: 17, 18, 24, 25 Feb & 2, 3, 9, 10 Mar.

There are many more films programmed for the festival, which you can check out on the EFF website.

The Europa! Europa Film Festival is on across Sydney and Melbourne from 15 February to 11 March.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports