Rotterdam 2018: Heads-Ups And Recommendations

Editor, Europe; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
Last evening saw the start of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and today marks the first full day of public screenings. Until Saturday the 3rd of February, the city's center district (and some of its outskirts) will be fully taken over by the festival, and there are tigers, tigers everywhere.
It's labelled as the largest cultural event of the Netherlands, based on sheer sales of tickets (several hundreds of thousands each year), and even though the weather is usually at its lousiest this time of year, the city is seldom seen busier.

For its 2018 edition, the festival boasts over 600 titles in its program, around a third of which are feature-length. And as the emphasis is often on unknown new filmmakers, it can be hard to choose beforehand which films to visit. Normally I pick a few of the easy standout titles at the start of the fest, and wait for the daily audience charts to see what bubbles up from the depths so I can catch those during the second half.

There's already some great news though: after more than a decade of absence, the festival's (in)famous batshit crazy genre section, called the Rotterdämmerung, has been revived! May it be successful and stay...

Rest assured you can expect lots of news from the festival in the coming days, and here are a dozen peeks at what's to see there. I've left out certified famous ones like The Shape of Water, or I, Tonya, or Phantom Thread, or Lady Bird, as all of those are certain to receive distribution here outside of the festival as well. You can check out the full programme over at the IFFR's webpage.

The Death of Stalin

We're big fans of Armando Ianucci, surely one of the most bitingly sarcastic political comedians on the planet, and (unfortunately) also a rather astute one. In his newest film he shows the confusion and turmoil in the Soviet Union that happened when its totalitarian dictator Stalin died, and the power struggles which followed immediately afterwards. It sports one hell of an ensemble cast, and with Ianucci at the helm, count me stoked!

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