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Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in The World to Come
Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in The World to Come

The World to Come by Norwegian filmmaker and actress Mona Fastvold opens the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on Wednesday June 2. The European premiere of Japanese animation Poupelle of Chimney Town by director Hirota Yusuke closes the festival on Sunday June 6.

Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic: “I am extremely proud to share all we have in store for the closing chapter of our 50th jubilee edition. From June 2 to 6 we will offer an incredibly rich and varied programme that is jam-packed with over 139 features, short and mid-length films as well as plenty of VR projects, performances, talks and more. 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. We are raring to go and look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary with audiences at home and in cinemas in Rotterdam.”

The romantic frontier drama The World to Come tells the story of a forbidden love between two women, played by Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby, in 1850s Upstate New York. Poupelle of Chimney Town, the adaption of Nishino Akihiro’s children book, is an imaginative family film with the climate crisis at its heart.

Additionally, three Big Talks are presented in the IFFR Talks lineup in June, including a conversation with Mona Fastvold, director of the festival’s opening film The World to Come. German director Dominik Graf, who was honored with a retrospective at IFFR in 2013 is also featured alongside his latest work Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde – an adaptation of Kästner’s autobiographical interwar classic Fabian – which screens in the Harbour section. The Srebrenica massacre is the topic of a Big Talk, after it was the subject of February’s BankGiro Loterij Audience Award winner Quo vadis, Aida? by director Jasmila Žbanić from Bosnia and Herzegovina. A panel discusses whether we can learn from past injustices, and what role art has in this, in collaboration with LUX Nijmegen and vfonds.

Indian filmmaker Pallavi Paul also presents the Freedom Lecture, IFFR’s annual talk organized by political and cultural centre De Balie on the topic of freedom in the broadest sense. Paul is selected in June’s Short & Mid-length Film section for her essay on police violence in Delhi in the film The Blind Rabbit and will take her own biography and oeuvre as the starting point for a reflection on freedom and resistance in this Freedom Lecture. Made possible with support from vfonds, De Balie and Stichting Democratie en Media.

IFFR Classics, a program of four iconic titles from the festival’s history, will be available online and in cinemas. The program comprises New Zealand director Jane Campion’s debut Sweetie which screened at IFFR 1990, as well as American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth from IFFR 1992. Caro diario by Italian director Nanni Moretti from IFFR 1995 and Japanese director Fukasaku Kinji’s Battle Royale from IFFR 2001 complete the lineup.

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