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By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 7, 2005 3:48PM

The 8th Annual European Union Film Festival began this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center so expect to see more death, inappropriate sexual relationships, and circus clowns there than usual. Running through March 24th, the fest now reflects the diversity of all EU nations with entries from all 25 countries.

We’re all used to films from the UK, France, and even Sweden but how often do you get to see a film from Luxembourg? You can go ahead and laugh, you rube, but due to its wicked low taxes, De Lux played host to a slew of film productions like Shadow of the Vampire and…um, Wing Commander. And a Rutger Hauer movie! Yeah.

Though the Luxembourg government offers financial assistance to its filmmakers, films from artists in that country have been few and far between (not surprising since the country has only 25 movie screens in the entire country). But a recent cinematic renaissance has led to many of the country’s films making the festival circuit with the EU fest hosting three: Back to the Reich, Step by Step and Gilles' Wife (note: this is not a movie about that dude from Buffy).

Wilmington recommends Millions, the story of two young British lads who find a cache of money and try to spend it before the conversion to the Euro renders it useless. It’s like Brewster’s Millions meets the International Monetary Fund! With Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) directing and a script by the writer of 24 Hour Party People, we’re looking forward to the scene where the blow the money on a A European smokes on film every 2.5 seconds of every day.meth-fueled rave. On our agenda are The Friend, a story of suspicion from German filmmaker Elmar Fischer and Suburbs, a Slovenian film that recommends making an adult film as the ideal way to get rid of pesky neighbors.

Full listings are on The Gene’s website. By the way, dig that spiffy new design! It’s as hip-looking as the kids that hang around and smoke outside the Art Institute dorm.

Image: The Gene (or possibly some dudes in Slovenia)