Every year International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) examines relevant societal themes with films, debates, special guests and side programs. This year, the themed programs for 2017 have been combined into the Perspectives section. With Parallax Views the festival will present an up-to-the-minute program that will study polarization in contemporary society.
At the tipping point of multiple political shifts, the world seems more divided and polarized than ever. The growing visibility of fault-lines in our societies, as well as the increasingly toxic discourse that plagues the 24-hour media cycles, inspired IFFR to highlight works that address these issues with urgency, creating new lines of sight and engagement. These films can be found throughout IFFR’s 2017 program. Everyone views the same situation from different perspectives. Parallax Views is IFFR’s agenda-setting platform where filmmakers, artists, thinkers, journalists and the public are invited to discuss the current shifts and fractures, as they are represented in films featured throughout the festival program. The program will also feature masterclasses and talks.
Alongside the Parallax Views program, the Perspectives section will bring together four different programs that were developed to highlight and examine current fault lines irrevocably linked to IFFR 2017’s theme.
These programs are:
A Band Apart
As Punk turned forty years old, the idea of youth bringing disorder and/or enlightenment to society through radical means has taken on new forms. A Band Apart considers small utopias and the shock and awe method utilised when splinter groups come together to challenge or destroy the establishment. Whether that be terrorism, sects, politics or music, the methods used are clearly different than forty years ago. The program will screen modern films that have the same same raw and angry energy, as joining a group of radicals feels like joining a rock band, and tell the stories of outsiders who provoke the establishment. One of the films is Nocturama (France/Germany/Belgium, 2016) by filmmaker Bertrand Bonello in which a group of radical millennials try to bomb Paris. In Generatie B (Belgium, 2016) directed by Pieter Van Hees, Belgian young people respond to life during economic crisis without hope of employment in an entirely different way. They are angry as well, but humour is their main weapon.
Many democratic societies are facing the implications of the cultural divide and emerging racism. In film history there is no other movement that has been investigating and addressing these issues as thoroughly as black cinema. Filmmakers throughout the African diaspora have been commenting on this divide, since the birth of cinema up until this very day. In Black Rebels IFFR presents films about and predominantly by black people resisting this divide. The program features Dutch and European premières and classics in all genres. There is plenty of variety from feature films, short films, drama, (music) documentaries to experimental films, science fiction and video art. Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight will give a masterclass, Keith Piper and Tirzo Martha will be exhibiting art installations and there will be various talks with filmmakers. The Black Rebels program will also host a vibrant four-hour talk show, Minding the Gap, that will not only discuss the cultural divide, but also the rich influence of black culture on the arts. The talk show will feature guests including prominent director Charles Burnett of the L.A. Rebellion film movement.
In the 1970s, France’s most successful cinematic products were its socially-committed political thrillers. This French style of crime cinema has made a monumental comeback over the past decade. The films in the Criss-Cross program depict France as a battlefield: the police and organised crime skirmish in every major city, serial killers are a metaphor for a society on the verge of dissolution and the bourgeois family has become a prison that requires constant negotiation between prisoners and guards. The program will open with the world premiere of Éric Valette’s Le serpent aux mille coupures (France, 2017) adaptation of the eponymous novel by successful author-scriptwriter DOA that deals with racism and terrorism in France’s countryside. The program will screen work by France’s new generation of genre directors from Mathieu Kassovitz (L’ordre et la morale; 2011) via Olivier Marchal (36 Quai des Orfèvres; 2004) to Fred Cavayé (Mea Culpa; 2014) and Julien Leclercq (Braqueurs; 2015). Criss-Cross will also lend a voice to more left-wing filmmakers with a slightly different take on these things, such as Olivier Masset-Depasse (Sanctuaire; 2015). These works by their very nature attempt to bridge the cultural and political divide through entertaining as well as enlightening narratives aimed at a general audience. A reminder of the fact that cinema is still capable of analysing – and sometimes even changing – the world we live in.
Since 1917, the year in which the British government’s Balfour declaration laid the groundwork for what would become Israel, the Palestinian territories have been an example of major social and political divisions. A highlighted fault line on the globe. Picture Palestine presents a visual journey through Palestinian cinema that depicts the tragedies, dreams, absurdity and hope tied to the Palestinian plight. In spite of the lack of equipment and funds, Palestine has developed its own cinematic subculture since the 1960s. From militant 1970’s films and stories from the occupied territories to contemporary experimental short films and science fiction. The program will feature historic and new material that combines aesthetics, media, politics and contemporary art both in and outside the occupied territories. The exceptional Perpetual Recurrences (Reem Shilleh, 2016) that provides a crash course in Palestine’s cinematic representation over the past forty years, will have its European premiere. Other films confirmed include the short film Like Twenty Impossibles by Annemarie Jacir (Palestine, 2003) and the creative documentary A Magical Substance Flows into Me (Palestine, 2015) by Jumana Manna.
An overview of the titles confirmed for the Perspectives section will be provided below.
PERSPECTIVES: A Band Apart
Generatie B, Joost Vandecasteele & Pieter Van Hees, Belgium, TV series, world premiere
HAMSTERs, Martine Doyen, Belgium, world premiere
Japanese Girls Never Die, Matsui Daigo, Japan, European premiere
Scumbag, Mars Roberge, USA, world premiere
Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember, Khavn, Philippines
Maudite Poutine, Karl Lemieux, Canada
nirvanna the band the show, Matt Johnson & Jay McCarrol, Canada, TV series
Nocturama, Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium
A Taste of Ink, Morgan Simon, France
PERSPECTIVES: Black Rebels
Bayard & Me, Matt Wolf, USA, short film, international premiere
Identification, Mike Hoolboom, Canada/USA, world premiere
Improvement Association, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, short film, world premiere
Kbela, Yasmin Thayná, Brazil, short film, European premiere
They Charge for the Sun, Terence Nance, USA, short film, international premiere
195 Lewis, Chanelle Aponte Pearson, USA, TV series
Baldwin’s Nigger, Horace Ove, UK
Chlorophyl, Barry Jenkins, USA, short film
Fonko, Lars Lovén, Lamin Daniel Jadama & Göran Hugo Olsson, Germany/Sweden
The Golden Chain, Ezra Claytan Daniels & Adebukola Bodunrin, USA, short film
Hustlers Convention, Mike Todd, USA
Kindah, Ephraim Asili, USA/Jamaica, short film
Loving, Jeff Nichols, UK/USA
Medicine for Melancholy, Barry Jenkins, USA
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, USA
Rebirth of a Nation, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, USA
Reluctantly Queer, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/USA, short film
Robot Bodies, Keith Piper, installation
Testament of Hope and Faith, Tirzo Martha, installation
Twilight City, Reece Auguiste, Canada
Le serpent aux milles coupures, Éric Valette, France, world premiere
36 Quai des Orfèvres, Olivier Marchal, France
Un affaire d’état, Éric Valette, France
Agents secrets, Frédéric Schoendoerffer, France/Italy/Spain
Braqueurs, Julien Leclercq, France
Mea Culpa, Fred Cavayé, France
L’ordre et la morale, Mathieu Kassovitz, France
PERSPECTIVES: Picture Palestine
Perpetual Recurrences, Reem Shilleh, Palestine, European premiere
20 Handshakes for Peace, Mahdi Fleifel, Germany/Palestine, short film
And Yet My Mask Is Powerful, Ruanne Abou-Rahme & Basel Abbas, Palestine, short film
A Boy, a Wall and a Donkey, Hany Abu-Assad, Netherlands, short film
Flower Seller, Ihab Jadallah, France/Palestine/UK, short film
In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain, Larissa Sansour, Palestine/UK/Denmark/Qatar, short film
Introduction to the End of an Argument, Elia Suleiman & Jayce Salloum, Palestine
Like Twenty Impossibles, Annemarie Jacir, Palestina, short film
A Magical Substance flows into Me, Jumana Manna, Palestine/UK/Germany
One Minute, Dina Nasar, Jordan/Belgium, short film
The Pessoptimist, Mirna Bamieh, Palestine, short film