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35th International Film Festival Rotterdam line up complete

35th International Film Festival Rotterdam
January 25 – February 5, 2006


Rotterdam festival to screen 53 world-, 19 international and 20 European premieres

The 35th International Film Festival Rotterdam will include 92 feature length premieres. These can be divided into 53 world-, 19 international and 20 European premieres. The program is decidedly focused on young, innovative and independent film-making – and decidedly from all corners of the world. As usual, the programme contains a mixture of brand new films, underestimated gems and highlights of the year, divided among several returning sections and specially designed, thematic sections.


A small introduction into what to discover among the festival’s many
premieres:

Michael Hofmann, who enjoyed much success with SOPHIIIIE!, three years ago, returns with his moving tale of destiny, cuisine and love in EDEN. From Great Britain THE LIVING AND THE DEAD is Simon Rumley’s nightmarish tale of family ties, inspired by the likes of Darren Aronofsky and Tsukamoto Shinya. From Scandinavia, the festival presents GAMBLER, a more than insightful film on the challenges facing film-makers today. A beautifully intimate achievement on it’s own, Phie Ambo’s portrait of Nicolas Winding Refn can be seen with the PUSHER trilogy. Set in the American Midwest and starring Forest Whitaker, Iceland’s Baltasar Kormákur’s hard hitting A LITTLE TRIP TO HEAVEN, can be seen in its final, re-edited version first in Rotterdam. Decidedly lighter in tone, is the relationship comedy EVERY OTHER WEEK, set in summery Stockholm.

Raúl Ruiz will present his director’s cut of KLIMT, his vision of Austrian fin-de-siècle painter Gustav Klimt, portrayed by John Malkovich, returning to work with the French-Chilean director of LE TEMPS RETROUVÉ. Czech surrealist maestro Jan Svankmajer will be in town to present the international premiere of LUNACY, his first film in five years.

Armenian documentarist Harutyun Khachatryan will be at hand to talk about this RETURN OF THE POET, a new highlight in his impressive and still undervalued career. Abolfazl Jalili will be present FULL OR EMPTY, an almost neo-realist and often funny ode to the resilience of Iranian youth. Established Iranian theatre director Ali Raffi presents his début, an entertaining, ensemble piece on love and restaurants, THE FISH FALL IN LOVE.

Yet not all is peace in the Middle East. The first feature from Mohamed Al-Djaradji, AHLAAM / DREAMS, was produced in the dangerous, chaotic city limits of war-torn Baghdad, where the crew just barely survived the shooting of the film. A third new feature from the Middle East, produced with support of the festival’s Hubert Bals Fund, is the tale of a Turkish tailor looking for his vanished in East Anatolia, in THE NIGHTLY SONG OF THE TRAVELLERS, by writer-turned-film-maker Chapour Haghigat. India’s actor turned director Rajat Kapoor, who brought his RAGHU ROMEO to the square in Locarno some years ago, brings the world premiere of MIXED DOUBLES, a surprisingly frank film about sex and marriage in Mumbai. Japan’s KUMAKIRI Kayoshi (the intriguingly titled GREEN MIND, METAL
BATS) and HIROKI Ryuichi (IT’S ONLY TALK), show, together with for instance NAGASAKI’s opening film HEART BEATING IN THE DARK, the enduring strength of Japanese film.


The Young and the Digital
Strikingly above all maybe, is the continuing trend of dv-feature film-making, particularly in East and South East Asia. From Japan comes the haunting THE LOST HUM by the writing / film-making / producers / acting duo of HIROSUE and TAKAHASHI, who last year presented THE SOUP, ONE MORNING in competition. And no less invested with contemporary unease in the megacity are ANALIFE, the first feature by GODA Kenji and SHIBUTANI Noriko’s début BAMBI ©BONES. Also from Japan, CLEAR PEOPLE by OHUCHI Shingo is a moody, almost Vermerian evocation in light and sound: all films are sure to be favourites at adventurous festivals in 2006.

From South Korea, Rotterdam presents INNER CIRCLE LINE by young CHO Eunhee and A GREAT ACTOR by SHIN Yeon-Shick, two views by new directors on the search for identity in modern day Korea.

Increasingly, from China, a sense of the modern can be felt in video features. In competition Rotterdam is showing TAKING FATHER HOME, and in its Sturm und Drang section, HAO YiFeng’s A MAN AND A WOMAN. Both are labours of love, equally ambitious and modest, stemming from an urgency to tell stories that effortlessly transcend the clichés of changing China.

The Philippines’ major new talent, Raya Martin, will present A SHORT FILM ABOUT THE INDIO NACIONAL, a modern yet classic black & white film. Maverick director Khavn De la Cruz (BAHAG KINGS) and Auraeus Solito (THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVEROS) also will present new films, while a work in progress screening of HEREMIAS by festival favourite Lav Diaz, can already be called a highlight for cinefiles. From Russia, the IFFR presents a first feature by Yaroslav Dobronravov, FATALIST, a fresh, intelligent and witty video-feature in equal parts.

The unremitting avant garde
The Rotterdam festival’s proud tradition of the avant-garde and experimental maverick maestro’s can be seen in the presentation of world premieres of new films by Chris Petit (UNREQUITED LOVE, a superior essay on stalking and the modern world), two new films by Jon Jost (LA LUNGA OMBRA, PASSAGES), Boris Lehman, (TENTATIVES DE SE DECRIRE), Stephen Dwoskin (OBLIVION) as well as Anthea Kennedy (STELLA POLARE) and Tonino De Bernardi (PAST PRESENT, LAY ANGELS FALL). From Italy, also Pascale MISURACA presents his unclassifiable, sharp and witty VIDEODIARY OF A KING PRISONER.


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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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