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Rotterdam programme section on biographical films

35th International Film Festival Rotterdam
January 25 – February 5, 2006
Rotterdam programme section ‘Vita Brevis’ on biographical films

In its theme programme section ‘Vita Brevis’, the 35th International Film Festival Rotterdam presents fifteen biographically inspired feature fiction and documentary films. The section includes world premieres of RETURN OF THE POET by Armenian film-maker Harutyun Khachatryan and KLIMT (DIRECTOR’S CUT) by Raúl Ruiz (starring John Malkovich). ‘Vita Brevis’ is curated by festival programmer Gerwin Tamsma.

‘Vita Brevis’ brings together recent and new films that escape from the restrictions of the traditional ‘biopic’. The section features biographical films in which the film-maker’s perception of its subject is at least as important as the subject itself. Gerwin Tamsma: “Recently, many interesting film-makers have, in fresh and creative ways, turned towards directing biographical films. This phenomenon deserves to get our attention. The most productive development in film-making during the past decades, the melting together of fictional and documentary language, manifests itself pre-eminently in biographical film-making and often leads to entirely new outcomes.”

Harutyun Khachatryan, the most prominent Armenian film-maker, will present the world premiere of his RETURN OF THE POET in Rotterdam. The film observes the current situation of his country through the work and image of Armenian national poet Ashugh Jivani.

The Rotterdam film festival welcomes the world premiere of KLIMT (DIRECTOR’S CUT) by Raúl Ruiz. John Malkovich plays the Austrian fin-de-siècle painter in a film described by its auteur as ‘a daydream as seen through the eyes of Klimt’. Two years ago, the festival presented an extensive ‘Filmmaker in Focus’ retrospective section of Ruiz’ works.

‘Vita Brevis’ furthermore includes new films by, among others, Mike Hoolboom (FASCINATION, a ‘meta biopic’ on video pioneer Colin Campbell); Gary Tarn (BLACK SUN, about painter Hugues de Montalembert who was blinded as a result of a robbery) and Michael Almereyda (WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE REAL WORLD, about the legendary photographer).

From The Netherlands, ‘Vita Brevis’ includes FIGNER, THE END OF A SILENT CENTURY, the second feature of Nathalie Alonso Casale. Her film tells about the last ‘Geräuschmacher’ of the Lenfilm Studios, Figner, but at the same time about the Russian 20th century as well as its cinema. A PORTRAIT OF DORA DOLZ is a sparkling portrait of film-maker Sonia Herman Dolz’ mother. Sonia Herman Dolz earned an international reputation with, among others, ROMANCE DE VALENTÍA. JAAP HILLENIUS, TRYING TO GET CLOSER by Kees Hin consists of three films projected at the same time. The central part shows work by Dutch painter Jaap Hillenius (1934-1999) in chronological order; the right part tells about his daily life and emotions while the left part features Hillenius’ ratio and world of ideas.



Line up of the ‘Vita Brevis’ section of the 35th International Film Festival Rotterdam:

- BLACK SUN by Gary Tarn (UK, 2005), European premiere
- BY THE WAYS, A JOURNEY WITH WILLIAM EGGLESTON by Vincent Gérard & Cédric Laty (France, 2005)
- CARAVAGGIO, THE LAST ACT (CARAVAGGIO, L’ULTIMO TEMPO) by Mario Martone (Italy, 2004)
- CINDY, THE DOLL IS MINE by Bertrand Bonello (France, 2005), short film
- FASCINATION by Mike Hoolboom (Canada, 2006), world premiere
- FIGNER, THE END OF A SILENT CENTURY by Nathalie Alonso Casale (The Netherlands/France/UK/Russia, 2006, CineMart Project 2002), world premiere
- GIE by Riri Riza (Indonesia, 2005, supported by the Hubert Bals Fund), European premiere
- GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. by George Clooney (USA, 2005, Closing Night
Film)
- JAAP HILLENIUS, TRYING TO GET CLOSER (JAAP HILLENIUS, POGING OM DICHTERBIJ TE KOMEN) by Kees Hin (The Netherlands, 2006), world premiere
- KLIMT (DIRECTOR’S CUT) by Raúl Ruiz (Austria/Germany/UK, 2006), world premiere
- MY NIKIFOR (MÓJ NIKIFOR) by Krzysztof Krauze (Poland, 2004)
- PORTRAIT OF DORA DOLZ by Sonia Herman Dolz (The Netherlands, 2006), world premiere
- RETURN OF THE POET (POETI VERADARDZE) by Harutyun Khachatryan (Armenia, 2006, supported by the Hubert Bals Fund), world premiere
- THE SILENCE OF THE SKYLARK (IL SILENZIO DELL'ALLODOLA) by David Ballerini (Italy, 2005)
- THE SUN (SOLNTSE) by Alexander Sokurov (Russia/Italy/France, 2005)
- WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE REAL WORLD by Michael Almereyda (USA, 2005)

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