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    Fifty years after it was made in 1968. Jean-Luc Godard’s Joy of Learning, with special guest Jean-Pierre Léaud, will inaugurate the festival Europe by Europe. Nineeen sixty-eight, the year when massive demonstrations against the forced departure of Henry Langlois – guardian and visionary purveyer of films, founder of the Cinémathèque Française – triggered the legendary May ’68 upheaval. What liberation, what love for cinema! This is why the universe of film adores France and has always placed so much hope in her. “Circumstances have made it impossible to proceed with screenings in a normal environment.” The Cannes Film Festival lurched to a halt. So did the Locarno festival; both transformed into rambunctious debate stages by arguments that are still playing out today: “pure cinema” and “the intrinsic value of films” versus “commercial cinema” or “political/socially committed films.” But in the end, the only films that really matter are those we want to see over and over again. This year, the festival will pay tribute to actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, one of the mainstays of the New Wave, with films by François Truffaut and Albert Serra, the great Catalan-Spanish director. Together they have given us an absolute gem: The Death of Louis XIV.

    The cinemas of the Baltic countries, which are celebrating their Centennial of Independence in 2018, will be honoured with a selection of great films, from national sagas to treasures of silent cinema, from the poetry of Journey to Lithuania by Jonas Mekas to the enchanting world of Sharunas Bartas; Producer Katrin Kissa will present Veiko Õunpuu and Rainer Sarnet, competitors from past festivals, with films that are so Estonian, so universal and so contemporary at the same time. And, we have a significant selection of documentaries from all three countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) curated by Audrius Stonys.

    The nine films in Competition for the Prix Sauvage are inspired, sincere, wild-at-heart, independent, tender, generous and new.. We would like to thank the filmmakers, the museums and film institutes from all over Europe. We thank our screening-room partners. We thank our institutional and private partners.

    For 12 years, the festival has had the pleasure of inviting you to discover or rediscover major European filmic works, from the origins of cinema to today. We wish you a wonderful two weeks of viewing, of interactions and discoveries.

    Irena Bilic
    Founder and general Delegate