Croatia’s capital plays host to a week of non-stop, high quality films in one of the city’s biggest cultural events
Arguably the one great social event of the autumn season, the Zagreb Film Festival is certainly one of the most informal and enjoyable celebrations of celluloid in this part of the world. It’s also one of the most popular cultural happenings in the country, putting bums on seats in a way that would drive most other festival organisers purple with envy. The deftly curated programme delivers a genuinely global selection of non-Hollywood production, focusing attention on films that wouldn’t normally get a run down at the local multiplex. Prizes are handed out to the best films on the final weekend, but the whole affair is treated with relaxed good humour rather than award-ceremony angst. It’s certainly not a formal affair and there‘s hardly any VIP segregation; you’ll probably see international directors drinking in the same café as the filmgoers themselves. The festival’s main venue is the venerable, Art Nouveau-styled Kino Europa, and it is here that festivalgoers come to enjoy pre-show drinks or hang around in search of an after-party. However, it is also a genuinely citywide affair, with retrospectives, themed seasons and documentary screenings taking place in all manner of venues across town. And with what seems like the entire population of Zagreb going out to watch films that they might not bother seeing if they were on general release, tickets sell out very quickly – so consult the programme carefully, make your choice and book in advance.