Six coming of age films that you cannot miss

The transition from childhood to adulthood is never easy. Here is Walk This Way’s top of coming of age European films that you cannot miss:

In Bloom by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß (2013, Georgia, Germany, France)

Available from 28 November as part of the Award Winning Dramas collection

A masterly representation of the Georgia cinema scene, In Bloom is set in the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 1992, just after the country’s restored independence. It follows friends Eka and Natia who want to leave their childhood behind and escape their family lives, which constrain them with societal customs. In Bloom is a beautiful portrait of a teenage girl who wants to take control over her life, and is enriched by the stunning cinematography by  European Award winner Oleg Mutu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu; In the Fog by Sergei Loznitsa…). In Bloom was selected and awarded in many festivals around the world including Berlin, Hong-Kong and Paris.

Mother, I love you by Jānis Nords (2013, Latvia)

Available from 28 November as part of the Award Winning Dramas collection

Premiering at the 2013 Berlinale – where it won the Grand Prix of the Jury Prize for the Best Feature Film in the Generation Kpluss section – and Latvia’s entry for the 2014 Oscars for Best Foreign Film,  Mother, I love youis a coming-of-age story told entirely from the point of view of Raimonds, a young boy who has a complicated relationship with his mother. After a lie threatens to spiral out of control, Raimonds must take to the streets of Riga and rebuild their fractured lives together.

Macondo by Sudabeh Mortezai (2014, Austria)

Available from 28 November as part of the Award Winning Dramas collection

Macondo is a film relating to current events in Europe, showing a child’s complex and humane point of view on the refugee issue. The film is about 11-year-old Ramasan, a refugee from Chechnya living in Macondo - an ethnic neighbourhood in the industrial suburbs of Vienna, who looks after his mother and two younger sisters. His life turns upside down when a friend of his deceased father shows up. With an outstanding performance by Ramasan Minkailov, Macondo was selected at the Berlin, Hong Kong, London and Seattle film festivals, amongst others.  

Jitters by Baldvin Zophoníasson (2010, Iceland)

Jitters is a beautifully written coming of age story, exploring the complicated relationship between parents and teenagers and sexual discovery. It follows a 16-year old Icelandic boy's first kiss with another boy, which gives him the "jitters", a feeling he cannot ignore. Jitters is a deeply moving feature that successfully captures the confusion and excitement of adolescence. The film was awarded at Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival and at the Icelandic Edda Awards.

Baldvin Zophoníasson’s next film, Life in a Fishbowl (2014, Iceland), winner of 12 Edda Awards, the Icelandic Oscars, will be available on VoD from 28 November via the Award Winning Dramas collection. Don’t miss it!

My Skinny Sister by Sanna Lenken (2015, Sweden, Germany)

My Skinny Sister is an eating-disorder drama, based on the personal experience of its director Sanna Lenken. It follows young Stella, who enters the exciting world of adolescence with older sister, Katja as her role model and personal inspiration. Her life turns upside down when she discovers that Katja is hiding an eating disorder. A story about jealousy, love and betrayal, a brilliant debut by the Swedish writer/director who examines what it means to grow up as a young girl and be judged for the way you look and not for who you are. The film won a Crystal Bear and Special Mention at the Berlinale and awards from Göteborg, Galway, and Lecce.

Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven (2015, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar)

Nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Foreign Language Film, and with another 39 wins and 48 nominations, Mustang is one of the best films from 2015. It follows five orphan sisters, who are growing up in conservative and patriarchal rural Northern Turkey. When they are seen innocently playing with boys on a beach, their scandalized guardians take the girls’ faiths into their hands, turning their home into a prison and arranging forced marriages for them A beautiful portrait of five girls’ coming-of-age, shaped by their common passion for freedom. 

24 November 2016, by Cineuropa