Pathways: Controversial Moves

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To coincide with the UK Premiere of We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, we've compiled some of EIFF 2013's most controversial movies.

Emperor Visits the Hell (26 & 29 June)
Mixing fantasy with reality, this political satire from China has its UK Premiere as part of the World Perspectives strand. Remaking The Ming Dynasty literary classic Journey to the West, it reimagines courtly and divine characters as unimpressive and ordinary people in a modern Chinese city. A deadpan comic achievement.

Shanghai (25 & 27 June)
This rising star director, Dibakar Banerjee, takes on corrupt political leaders collaborate with multinational companies on a large-scale infrastructure project in small-town India. As its opponents drop like flies, a young student seeks the truth behind the incident and enlists the aid of a small-time pornographer who holds some key evidence. A smart and complex political thriller.

Call Girl (27 June)
Based on real allegations and events, this is the explosive story of underage prostitution amongst the Swedish elite in the 1970s. Two girls become exploited by a notorious brothel madam who supplies girls to the highest realms of the government, ending up at the core of a sex scandal investigation that could rip Swedish politics apart. As controversial as it is unsettling.

Die Welt (28 & 29 June)
This Tarantino-esque film blends documentary with fiction for a bittersweet tale of self discovery and unfulfilled hopes. Set in Tunisia where a young man who works in a video shop preaches the virtues of serious political cinema against cheap US blockbuster. A realistic, witty tale of being trapped between a dark past and a fragile future.

Of Snails & Men (28 & 29 June)
Billed as the Romanian Full Monty, this feature from Tudor Giurgiu is set against the background of Michael Jackson’s visit to Romania in 1992. In a post-Communist small town, the men who work in a local factory must raise money to save their jobs. How to raise the money? By selling their sperm to a fertility clinic. A hilarious social satire.

National Security (30 June)
Part of our Focus on Korea, this follows the 1985 Korean activist who was interrogated and tortured for three weeks by government agents at South Korea’s notorious Namyeongdong detention centre. It's a fascinating depiction of the mechanics of torture, the interrelationships between the captors and their prey, and the prisoner’s desperate efforts to come up with a fake confession that will hold up to scrutiny. Superb performances.

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Nicola is a freelance film journalist & EIFF Web Editor.

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