Rotterdam 2014: What The Audience Liked Best

Editor, Europe; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
(Forget the snobby arthouse critics... see what the PAYING people thought!)

Last week saw the end of the 2014 edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Prizes were awarded, parties given... and the final audience ratings were added to the tally.

The IFFR audience ratings are always something to look forward to. Available from the third day of the festival onward, and updated daily, they often provide some priceless pointers towards choosing what to go see during the last few days of the festival. So many titles at the IFFR are made by unknown artists, or are World Premieres, that it is always impossible to predict the entire top five. Surprises happen every year, and for me the audience ratings list is a definite must-see, so I can maybe add another film or two to my viewing roster.

This is how ratings work: for all public screenings, audience members are given cards with the numbers one (bad) to five (very good) on them. When leaving the venue, all you need to do is pull a small tear in the card at the rating you want to give. These cards are collected at the exit, counted, and the average ratings appear in the festival's newspaper, The Daily Tiger, and the IFFR website.

So here are, without further ado and from back-to-front, the top 20 films as chosen by the thousands of people comprising the IFFR 2014 audience. Have a browse, and maybe this list can be of help to you with upcoming festivals. As you can see there is a lot of diversity in there: fiction and documentaries, color and monochrome, and the titles are from all over the globe.

A typical IFFR audience, eagerly awaiting something they may be voting for.

Any film ending up with a rating of 4 (out of 5) can be safely seen as a crowdpleaser. There will always be people who hate a film and give it a "1", so you can imagine how many "5" voters you need to pull the average to the level of 4. For the same reason, getting an average of 4.5 or higher is pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Of course there is always the question WHY a certain film is a crowdpleaser. Introductions by, for example, funny directors or gorgeous actresses help get ratings up. Any film taking place in Rotterdam itself can also count on a warm reception, as the entire cast, crew, friends, family and neighborhood will in all probability be inside the venue.

So with that in mind, peruse these twenty with the guarded spirit of an analyst, but also with the open mind of a movie lover!

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