The closing part of this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) kicks off on Wednesday with an extensive film and events program that includes a brand new section and a showcase of works by up-and-coming filmmakers.
The first part of the 50th edition of the IFFR, which took place February 1-7, focused on the main competitions Tiger, Big Screen and Ammodo Tiger Short as well as the Limelight sidebar, an overview of the next art house releases. From February to June, the festival continued to show films from its rich history as part of the IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 program.
A total of 139 feature, short and medium-length films are screened in the Harbor, Bright Future, Cinema Regained, Classics and Short and Mid-Length Film sections. Harbor is the festival’s newest and most important program.
“The port is the backbone of the city of Rotterdam and likewise Harbor is the backbone of the festival itself,” says festival director Vanja Kaludjercic. “In a way, you can think of Harbor as the core program of IFFR. With this programming, the festival offers a home to contemporary cinema in all its diversity.
The films selected, Kaludjercic adds, range from highly complex avant-garde animated feature films such as Dalibor Barić’s Croatian work “Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Aqueous Rebus” to “Mi chiamo Francesco Totti” by Alex Infascelli, a documentary on the Italian footballer.
Mona Fastvold’s romantic drama “The World to Come” opens the summer edition, while Hirota Yusuke’s animated feature “Poupelle of Chimney Town” closes the event.
Harbor also presents the international premiere of Tiger Award-winning Japanese director Ikeda Akira’s film “The Blue Danube,” which examines the absurdity of an authoritarian bureaucracy and the pointlessness of war.
Likewise, the screening of “Fabian – Going to the Dogs” by Dominik Graf, an adaptation of Erich Kästner’s novel about the tragic, hedonistic and dysfunctional era of the Weimar Republic seen through the eyes of a fatalistic writer ; “Capitu and the Chapter”, marking the return to IFFR of Brazilian Júlio Bressane; and Mexican director Ángeles Cruz’s feature debut, “Nudo Mixteco,” which follows three people whose lives intersect in a Mixtec community in the highlands of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
In his documentary “Birds of America”, Jacques Loeuille examines the life of 19th century naturalist and artist John James Audubon and the current destruction of wild habitats and the extinction of animal life along the Mississippi.
“The goal with Harbor is to find surprises and make discoveries,” says Kaludjercic. “By presenting such extensive programming, the films naturally enter into dialogue with each other. “
Other titles include “Amor fati”, a documentary about intimacy and relationships by Portuguese director Cláudia Varejão; “The belly of the sea” (photo), the work of Spanish director Agustí Villaronga, who combines theater and cinema to tell the story of the sinking of La Méduse in 1816 off the coast of northwest Africa; and “An Unusual Summer”, in which director Kamal Aljafari offers visual fragments of life in a Palestinian neighborhood.
A special edition of Bright Future focuses on the first works of new filmmakers selected by feature film programmers for the unique program of 14 feature films.
American documentaries screened in the section include “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror” by Kier-La Janisse, which explores macabre genre films drawn from folklore and superstition; “All About My Sisters” by Wang Qiong, on the impact of China’s one-child policy on a family; and “Rock Bottom Riser”, Fern Silva’s take on the impact of colonization in Hawaii, from the arrival of the first Christian sailors and preachers to the large telescopes that were erected on the sacred mountain Mauna Kea, leading to protests of the indigenous population.
Bright Future also features Emilie Serri’s Canadian documentary “Damascus Dreams”, a personal account of the impact of the war in Syria on her family; and Leri Matehha’s German drama “Thomas der Hochspringer”, about a struggling young high jumper increasingly suffering from his mother’s authoritarian control.
To complete the festival, the Cinema Regained sidebar, dedicated to the history of cinema; the Short & Medium-length selection celebrating the works of artists and experimental cinema; and a showcase of outdoor screenings of IFFR classics.
Some industry events include IFFR Conferences, in which the festival aims “not only to approach the art of cinema, but also to inspire each other and challenge ourselves with topics that go well beyond cinema ”, explains Kaludjercic.
The program will feature talks with Fastvold and Graf as well as a discussion of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre that took place during the Bosnian War, the topic of “Quo vadis, Aida? which was screened during the February edition of the festival.
Indian filmmaker Pallavi Paul will discuss freedom and resistance at the festival’s annual freedom conference. Paul explores police violence in Delhi in his film “The Blind Rabbit”, which is screened in the Short & Mid-Length section.
The June edition also features artistic directions, offering live performances, virtual reality, a touring installation and 50th anniversary specials.
Physical theatrical screenings are expected to take place during the festival and attendees are required to take a coronavirus test via testenvoortoegang.nl within 40 hours of the event visit, even if already vaccinated.
All of the film’s programming will be available online via IFFR.com, with each title available for a 72 hour window.