Rotterdam 2024: What The Audiences Liked Best

Editor, Europe; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
Three weeks ago, Rotterdam was about to wrap up its International Film Festival, and a few days after that they published the final results of their audience rating ballots. These, to me, are always at least as interesting as the critics' reviews and professional awards. Reviews are personal by nature and while they can contain objective facts, most of what you read will consist of subjective opinions. And awards? Having been on quite a few juries myself, I know the discussions which go on behind close doors. Awards go to films that the jury as a whole thought would deserve it, but it never says how close it was, or if the final group up for debate consisted of two titles or six.

Audience ratings are a different matter though. A high average may not mean much when a screening is small and all the cast and crew were present with their parents, friends and neighbors. But when you look at several sold-out screenings for the same title? Then a high rating means that the film did not piss off a paying public, and that's an achievement in the Netherlands.

It will always be difficult to compare films which are wildly different, and even if you could, there is no guarantee that you will like a crowdpleaser. Maybe your tastes are special and your favorite won't even end up in the top half. All possible.

But for now, let's see what the paying audiences in Rotterdam thought. Because this 'gestalt' opinion is just as valid as a critic's is. And this year, things went slightly different than in other years...

This year, the festival was a bit smaller than previously. Government budget cuts to the arts sectors meant less money to spend, and to remain viable, the festival needed to shrink itself a bit.

Having said that, there were still 211 feature films to be seen this year, 83 of which were world premières. Of those 211, about 49 were not eligible for audience ratings due to being retrospective screenings or because the filmmakers were not interested in participating. That left 162 titles for audiences to judge, and out of those, 61 got an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 or higher. That is an amazing achievement for the festival. Judging was done electronically: whenever a screening ended, the ticket buyers would receive an email with an invite to vote, with the following choices:

5: -very good
4: -good
3: -fair
2: -bad
1: -very bad

So, let's see what the top 20 looks like! Click on the edge of the pictures to scroll through them, or on the thumbnails to skip straight to a page...

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