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Swiss Army Man, starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe
Swiss Army Man, starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe

The upcoming 57th Thessaloniki International Film Festival will introduce new program sections, discover the filmmakers of tomorrow and welcome the latest works of acclaimed directors of the independent global film scene, as well as the three films of the Official Competition of the European Parliament’s LUX Prize.


Films by some of the most promising newcomers in today’s independent cinema are the main focus in TIFF’s new segment “Out of Competition”. Paul Dano as a desperate castaway and Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse with unusual virtues, star in the unconventional, surreal black comedy Swiss Army Man by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Best Directing Award, Sundance Film Festival). Set in Argentina, in 1977, the highly atmospheric The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis by Andrea Testa and Francisco Marquez centres on a man torn between his peaceful family life and the risk to save a couple from becoming the next victims in the list of “desaparecidos”. A different kind of moral issue rises for the anti-heroine who takes care of elderly people but also steals from them, in Ralitza Petrova’s debut Godless, a gripping example of social realism set in contemporary Eastern Europe (Golden Leopard, Best Actress and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Locarno film festival). Elite Zexer’s drama Sand Storm (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival) explores the repercussions of a young girl’s forbidden romance in a Bedouin village.


The 57th TIFF presents “Mirror / Image”, a spotlight that comprises of 12 films which “reflect” –in duets- one another, in terms of form, subject and aesthetics. Here are some examples:

Robert Greene’s documentary Kate Plays Christine & Antonio Campos’ fiction film Christine delve into the enigmatic case of news reporter Christine Chubbuck who committed suicide on national television in 1974.

Un Juif pour l’exemple
Un Juif pour l’exemple

Leopold Lindtberg’s Last Chance (1945) & Jacob Berger’s Un Juif pour l’exemple (2016) critically revisit the role of Switzerland in World War II.

Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah & Rama Burshtein’s Through the Wall reflect upon the joys and hardships of love in relation to religious and cultural beliefs.


Magic, horror, myths and oddities blend unexpectedly in TIFF’s new section “ ’Round Midnight” that features a selection of cinematic guilty pleasures; cult classics and underground gems from all over the world, like José Mojica Marins’ At Midnight I’ll Take your Soul (1964), Jean Rollin’s Lips of Blood (1975) and Pupi Avati’s The House of the Laughing Windows (1976).


The successful section “Open Horizons”, originally founded by former TIFF’s director Dimitri Eipides, welcomes for yet another year a selection of the latest, most innovative films of the international independent cinema scene, such as:

The Death of Louis XIV by Albert Serra, a claustrophobic chronicle of the last days of Louis XIV, who is magnificently incarnated by Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Little Men by Ira Sachs, an intimate drama that deals with teen friendship, adulthood, family and gentrification, featuring Greg Kinnear, Paulina García, Alfred Molina in its basic cast.


Wolf and Sheep by Shahrbanoo Sadat, the youngest filmmaker ever selected for Cannes’ Cinefondation Residency, who draws inspiration from her childhood in rural Afghanistan and captures the everyday life of the locals, mixing folklore tales, magic realism and ethnographic elements (C.I.C.A.E. Award, Cannes Film Festival).

Zoology by Ivan Tverdovsky (Special Prize of the Jury, Karlovy Vary Film Festival), a bittersweet allegoric story about society’s outsiders; in this case, a lonely middle-aged woman who grows a tail and sees her life changing radically.

The Girl without Hands by Sebastien Laudenbach, a dark minimal animation film loosely based on a fairytale by Brothers Grimm.


A selection of this year’s most anticipated films will be screened as part of the Special Screenings section in the 57th TIFF. Among other films, we look forward to:

Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman (Best Actor and Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival) which unfolds a tragic story of revenge influenced by Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman, with a married couple as protagonists.

The latest work of the Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Unknown Girl that emphasizes their trademark realistic style with sensitivity and a dash of mystery.

Terence Davies’ new film A Quiet Passion, the biography of the iconic poet Emily Dickinson, played by Cynthia Nixon.

Personal Shopper by Olivier Assayas, a powerful psychological thriller with supernatural hues, starring Kristen Stewart (Best Director, Cannes Film Festival).


As I Open My Eyes (À peine j'ouvre les yeux), directed by Leyla Bouzid
As I Open My Eyes (À peine j’ouvre les yeux), directed by Leyla Bouzid

For the fifth consecutive year, TIFF’s audience will have the opportunity to watch the three films of the Official Competition of the LUX Prize, bestowed annually by the European Parliament. This year marks the 10th-anniversary of the award and the Official Competition films are: As I Open My Eyes by Leyla Bouzid (France, Tunisia, Belgium, United Arab Emirates), My Life as a Courgette by Claude Barras (Switzerland, France) and Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade (Germany, Austria, Romania).

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