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So Low You Can’t Get Over It
So Low You Can’t Get Over It directed by Stanya Kahn

At its 52nd edition, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will celebrate radical filmmakers and visual artists including Hungarian filmmaker Judit Elek, Japanese animator Yuasa Masaaki,and American interdisciplinary artist Stanya Kahn. The festival also revealed the first titles in Harbour, the festival’s largest and broadest program.

Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic: “Our Focus programs are a chance for us to celebrate the work of filmmakers whose remarkable careers haven’t always been given the attention they deserve. As always we’re committed to looking into unlikely spheres, be it rural documentaries from 1970s People’s Hungary, performance-based expanded cinema or wild free-form Japanese anime. The unexpected always shines brightly at IFFR.”

Three titles will world premiere in the newest program Harbour including Dutch visual artist and musician Dick Verdult embracing excess and bad taste in his darkly comedic take on the super-wealthy, Als uw gat maar lacht. Reality, hallucination, fantasy and terror blur in Alien Food by Italian filmmaker Giorgio Cugno, who plays his own lead character in a stark window into psychosis; and an ex-special forces soldier will stop at nothing to protect his daughter in the latest thriller from John Swab, Little Dixie.

Acclaimed Japanese director Kawase Naomi was commissioned to make an official film for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. From 5,000 hours of footage, Kawase produced an extraordinary documentary, divided into two sides. Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side B has its international premiere at IFFR, turning its attention to the event organizers, workers, politicians and protestors. Also having its international premiere in Harbour is Masoud Kimiai’s Killing a Traitor, set against the turbulent streets of 1950s Iran.

In Focus: Judit Elek, IFFR presents a vast retrospective of Hungarian filmmaker and writer Judit Elek, whose career deserves its long-awaited moment in the spotlight. Elek’s work often touches on issues of political oppression and Jewishness, varying between compassion, tenderness and fury. The program includes the harsh and unsparing look at a dying relationship Maybe Tomorrow (1980), the sarcastic historical allegory Martinovics (1981) and the Holocaust anchored documentary portrait Elie Wiesel Goes Home (1996). Elek will be present to launch and sign copies of a publication on her life and career, specially commissioned by IFFR.

A selection of films and episodic series make up Focus: Yuasa Masaaki on the critically acclaimed Japanese animator and filmmaker Yuasa Masaaki, who will also be in Rotterdam for an IFFR Talk. Alongside a selection of his characteristic wild free-form works, IFFR 2023 will show Yuasa’s charming fairytale Ride Your Wave and his latest work INU-OH, an anime rock opera about friendship and the power of sincere art.

Focus: Stanya Kahn is dedicated to the widely-exhibited American interdisciplinary artist and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow Stanya Kahn, featuring the international premiere of So Low You Can’t Get Over It (2022) in which animated paintings manifest uncertainty. She often collaborates with performers, visual artists and choreographers – such as with the artist Llyn Foulkes on Happy Song for You (2011). Kahn will discuss her work at an IFFR Talk.

In Focus: arc, IFFR presents a rare profile of the single channel and performance-based expanded cinema project arc, with many works including multiple projectors and live accompanying scores. arc is the creation of San Francisco experimental art scene mainstay tooth, who also runs the Black Hole Cinematheque and the celluloid-only film festival Light Field, and will be present for an IFFR Talk.

First confirmed lineup:


  • Alien Food, Giorgio Cugno, 2023, Italy, Denmark, world premiere
  • Als uw gat maar lacht, Dick Verdult, 2023, Netherlands, world premiere
  • Another Spring, Mladen Kovačević, 2022, Serbia, Qatar
  • Blue Jean, Georgia Oakley, 2022, United Kingdom
  • Dalva, Emmanuelle Nicot, 2022, Belgium, France
  • DEMIGOD: The Legend Begins, Chris Huang Wen-chang, 2022, Taiwan
  • É noite na América, Ana Vaz, 2022, Italy
  • Fogo-Fátuo, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2022, Portugal, France
  • Hand, Matsui Daigo, 2022, Japan, international premiere
  • I AM HERE!, Ludwig Wüst, 2023, Austria, world premiere
  • Killing a Traitor, Masoud Kimiai, 2022, Iran, international premiere
  • Little Dixie, John Swab, 2023, United States, world premiere
  • Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side A, Kawase Naomi, 2022, Japan
  • Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side B, Kawase Naomi, 2022, Japan, international premiere
  • Pacifiction, Albert Serra, 2022, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal
  • Safe Place, Juraj Lerotić, 2022, Croatia
  • La tour, Guillaume Nicloux, 2022, France
  • Vera, Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel, 2022, Austria
  • We Had the Day Bonsoir, Narimane Mari, 2022, France

Focus: Judit Elek

  • A Commonplace Story, Judit Elek, 1975, Hungary
  • A Free Man: The Life of Erno Fisch, Judit Elek, 1998, Hungary, France
  • After All the Dead Sing Again, Judit Elek, 2018, Hongarije
  • Awakening, Judit Elek, 1994, Hungary, France, Poland
  • Az első fénykép, Judit Elek, 1974, Hungary
  • The Eighth Day of the Week, Judit Elek, 2006, Hungary, Poland
  • Elie Wiesel Goes Home, Judit Elek, 1996, Hungary, France, United States
  • How Long Does a Man Live?, Judit Elek, 1968, Hungary
  • Istenmezején, 1972-73-ban, Judit Elek, 1974, Hungary
  • Kastélyok lakói, Judit Elek, 1966, Hungary
  • The Lady From Constantinople, Judit Elek, 1969, Hungary
  • Maria’s Day, Judit Elek, 1984, Hungary
  • Martinovics, Judit Elek, 1981, Hungary
  • Maybe Tomorrow, Judit Elek, 1980, Hungary
  • Memories of a River, Judit Elek, 1989, Hungary, France
  • Retrace, Judit Elek, 2011, Hungary, Romania, Sweden
  • Tálalkozás, Judit Elek, 1963, Hungary
  • Találkozunk 1972-ben (Sötétben-világosban), Judit Elek, 1970, Hungary

Focus: Yuasa Masaaki

  • Happy Machine, Yuasa Masaaki, 2007, Japan
  • INU-OH, Yuasa Masaaki, 2021, Japan
  • Japan Sinks: 2020 Theatrical Edition, Yuasa Masaaki, 2020, Japan
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, Yuasa Masaaki, 2020, Japan
  • Kick-Heart, Yuasa Masaaki, 2013, Japan
  • Lu Over the Wall, Yuasa Masaaki, 2017, Japan
  • Mind Game, Yuasa Masaaki, 2004, Japan
  • Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, Yuasa Masaaki, 2017, Japan
  • Ride Your Wave, Yuasa Masaaki, 2019, Japan
  • The Tatami Galaxy, Yuasa Masaaki, 2010, Japan

Focus: Stanya Kahn

  • For the Birds, Stanya Kahn, 2013, United States
  • Friends in Low Places, Stanya Kahn, 2018, United States, international premiere
  • Happy Song for You, Stanya Kahn, Llyn Foulkes, 2011, United States
  • No Go Backs, Stanya Kahn, 2020, United States
  • So Low You Can´t Get Over It, Stanya Kahn, 2022, United States, international premiere
  • Stand in the Stream, Stanya Kahn, 2017, United States
  • Winner, Stanya Kahn, Harry Dodge, 2002, United States

Focus: arc

  • (sans)(image), arc, 2023, United States, world premiere
  • the arc of the sun, arc, 2012, United States
  • ascensions, arc, 2017, United States
  • breathing, arc, 2020, United States, world premiere
  • broken symmetry, arc, 2019, United States
  • conical signal, arc, 2016, United States
  • field, arc, 2023, United States, world premiere
  • hexagram, arc, 2014, United States
  • infinite column, arc, 2023, United States, world premiere
  • katabasis, arc, 2021, United States
  • palms, arc, 2012, United States
  • s/x, arc, 2016, United States
  • window, arc, 2020, United States
  • year of the rabbit, arc, 2011, United States
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