IFFR 2021: The June programme to open with ‘The World to Come’ and end with ‘Poupelle of Chimney Town’
With a spread of 139 features including short, mid-length and VR films, the closing section of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021 boasts of a cocktail of genres and films
“Are we going back to cinemas?” was the question that was there on everyone’s mind during the recent virtual press conference of the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2021. Given the circumstances and regulations in the Netherlands, festival director Vanja Kaludjercic had a more rational response.
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“It is hard to predict, now that things are changing every day. But if cinemas are open, then IFFR will be there. Even otherwise, we have made the festival available online with a 72-hour window,” she said, while announcing the plan for the closing section of this year’s festival, slated from June 2-6 both online and physical screenings in Netherlands. The June programme will open with The World to Come, an intimate period drama about two women directed by Norwegian filmmaker and actress Mona Fastvold.
Connecting from New York, Mona spoke about the literary value of the original text, based on Jim Shepard’s story of the same name, and what prompted her to adapt it for the screen, “When I read the book, the dialogues and those long conversations between the two women were so beautiful. I felt it was a description of a really deep intellectual and physical connection. It was exciting to make a classical, moving love story,” she said.
Adding that it is usually production design and costume that get the attention for a period piece, Mona said that The World to Come was all about the performances, starring Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby. “I immediately thought it was a perfect role for her [Katherine] and there is something about her voice. Vanessa came in a few years back before she became what she is now. I needed incredibly strong actors to pull this off,” she said.
With a spread of 139 features including short, mid-length and VR films, movies will be presented under four main categories: Harbour, Bright Future, Cinema Regained and Short & Mid-length. In Bright Future, a category for emerging filmmakers representing an intersection of the various styles of filmmaking, Indian web series OK Computer, directed by Pooja Shetty and Neil Pagedar, will be screened. In Cinema Regained, which is centred around film history and film restoration, George A Romero’s The Amusement Park is among other films. Originally produced in 1973, the film was believed to be lost until a print resurfaced in 2018.
Three Big Talks are also part of the festival lineup, which includes a talk by The World to Come director Mona Fastvold, German filmmaker Dominik Graf, whose latest film Fabian – Going to the Dogs screens under Harbour section, and a panel discussion on the Bosnian film Quo Vadis, Aida? on the topic ‘Past Injustices’. Indian filmmaker Pallavi Paul will present the Freedom Lecture, IFFR’s annual talk. She will be discussing The Blind Rabbit, a short-film on police violence in Delhi which was been selected in the Short & Mid-length section.
“From the rediscovery of arthouse classics to celebrate IFFR’s history to the latest futuristic genre-bending TV series, there will be a wide range to choose from. All this in a way that captures the energy and excitement that has long been at the heart of IFFR, while adhering to the latest governmental regulations,” said Kaludjercic, adding that the closing film will be the European première of animated Japanese feature Poupelle of Chimney Town by Hirota Yusuke.
Since it is the 50th edition of IFFR, the festival has introduced IFFR Classics, a list of four films from the festival’s history that is made available. These include Sweetie by New Zealand director Jane Campion screened at IFFR in 1990 and Night on Earth by American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch from 1992. Caro diario by Italian director Nanni Moretti (from IFFR 1995) and Battle Royale (from IFFR 2001) by Japanese director Fukasaku Kinji are also part of the lineup.
The 50th edition of Rotterdam Film Festival was split into two parts with the festival’s opening section taking place in February. It must be noted that the Tamil indie feature, Koozhangal, directed by PS Vinothraj won the Tiger Award, which is the top prize.
For details about screenings, visit www.iffr.com.
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