Festivals: IFFR Reviews

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Review: AN Advises Everyone A Hearty Carpe Diem

(When life hands you lemons, make sweet red bean paste!) Japanese director Kawase Naomi's film An (also known in some territories as Sweet Red Bean Paste or just Sweet Bean) played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam this February, where...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: ALTES GELD Is Deliciously Devious

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section dedicated to television series. In it, you could see episode-collections shown as films, and films that are soon to become adapted as television series. But one of the most spectacular...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: AAAAAAAAH! Makes You Go Eeeeeeeeh!

(Or: welcome to the planet of the apes, where the apes are us.) Ben Wheatley's film High Rise is currently making waves and shocking people in its theatrical run, with its bleak story of societies happily degenerating into animal behavior....

Rotterdam 2016 Review: CHEVALIER Shows The Ultimate Dick-measuring Contest

Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari is seen as an important part of the current Greek "Weird Wave" of cinema. She produced several of Yorgos Lanthimos' films like Dogtooth, and he helped produce (and acted in) her previous film Attenberg. But...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: A GOOD AMERICAN Damns The Worst Of America

Austrian director Friedrich Moser is a self-confessed fan of spy stories, so it's not surprising he made a documentary about the NSA's former meta-data expert Bill Binney. Titled A Good American, the film played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam....

Rotterdam 2016 Review: PATHS OF THE SOUL Shows Purpose In Pilgrimage

Years ago, when Blu-ray was a new platform and newly acquired by me, I searched the world for the most spectacular discs to play. Be it the US-release of Baraka or the Hong Kong release of Red Cliff, I'd import...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: TOO YOUNG TO DIE! Is One Hell Of A Load Of Fun

(...and no Jamiroquai in sight...) The Japanese writer-director Kudô Kankurô has his heart in a quirky place, and has proven that already several times over. As a scriptwriter he wrote Zebraman for director Miike Takashi, The Apology King for director...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: RADIO DREAMS And Waiting for Metallica

Despite being brought up and educated in London, Iranian filmmaker Babak Jalali shot his sophomore feature Radio Dreams in the Bay Area of San Francisco. His stylistic preferences and personal signature aesthetics began to take bolder shape in his...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: Personal Docupic 5 OCTOBER Tackles Modern Man And Transcendentalism

The already-established Slovakian photographer Martin Kollár flips between the lenses of photography and cinematography regularly and 5 October, unveiled in the festival section "As Long As It Takes", has the best of both worlds. As a cinematographer, he has lensed...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: WILD Brings Out The Inner Wolf

The Rotterdam International Film Festival had many, many world premieres this year, and some almost-world premieres as well, like German director Nicolette Krebitz' new film Wild, which had its first-ever screening mere days earlier at Sundance. Which made it a...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: BEYOND SLEEP

One of the tasks Dutch high-school boys and girls need to conquer is finishing the dreaded Dutch "literature list", meaning they need to have read a certain number of famous Dutch books. One of the more often-used titles to put...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: FRANCOFONIA Shows All Is Fair In Art, Except War

When you look at his filmography, it is no secret that Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov loves history and art, and most of his works are meditations on those two subjects. One of his most heralded films, Russian Ark, was a...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: IL SOLENGO Speaks To The Heart Of Italian Culture

There is a side to Italian culture which, given the importance it has, receives far too little attention. Beyond the cop vs. mafia gun battles and the eccentric lives of Italian dilettantes, there lurks a mysterious, timeless figure: the contadino....

Rotterdam 2016 Review: HISTORY'S FUTURE, A Shower Of Innumerable Atoms

There are few film festivals that manage to be as bold a stage for daring types of film as International Film Festival Rotterdam, and sometimes it almost feels as if there's something hard-wired into that city's forward-looking architecture that compels...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: LOWLIFE LOVE Is Crafty, Filthy And Bitter

In Uchida Eiji's new film Lowlife Love, we get a nasty peek at the underbelly of the Japanese independent film scene. These are not the indies with a low budget, these are the indies with no budget, often made by...

Review: ERBARME DICH - MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES Targets The Purpose Of Sadness

(Don't feel bad, feel worse! Then, listen to exquisite music...) A documentary about classical music does, on paper, not seem to be a crowd-pleaser. Yet Ramón Gieling's Erbarme Dich - Matthäus Passion Stories was one of the big surprises at...

Rotterdam 2015 Review: VIDEOPHILIA (AND OTHER VIRAL SYNDROMES) Lust and Loathing in Viral Lima

The emerging director Juan Daniel F. Molero premiered his second film Videophilia (And Other Viral Syndromes) in the shrine of progressive audiovisual endeavours: Rotterdam. This rising star -- and somewhat young renaissance man -- is currently fiercely multitasking as director,...

Rotterdam 2015 Review: UNDULANT FEVER Is Not Fifty Shades Of Pink

(Love is: accepting that his lust for sex can be a substitute for love, unless it can't, in which case you should hate the bastard, unless you love him regardless and you keep chasing him, because then you should persevere...

Rotterdam 2015 Review: HARUKO'S PARANORMAL LABORATORY Drowns In Quirk

(I'll never yell at my television again, lest it suddenly changes into an attractive member of the opposite sex... hey, wait-a-minute!) Last year, Japanese director Lisa Takeba presented her first feature film The Pinkie at the International Film Festival Rotterdam...

Rotterdam 2015 Review: ANOTHER TRIP TO THE MOON Is Both Sedate And Trippy

(Once upon a time, there were two beautiful young women, hunting in a forest...) What is the border between still photography and moving pictures? Footage shot by a camera pointed at a waterfall or a fireplace may technically be the...