Pictured: Louise Detlefsen and Louise Kjeldsen’s “Fat Front,” about a rebellious movement started by plus-sized women in Scandinavia, world premieres at IDFA.
Danish documentarian Jørgen Leth, whose 1967 short “The Perfect Human” inspired fellow countryman Lars Von Trier as a film student, will be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at IDFA this year. The prolific 82-year-old, based in Haiti, is just one of a number of non-fiction heavyweights to be celebrated at the Amsterdam festival, which will also offer posthumous tributes to Agnes Varda and D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away this year.
Under festival director Orwa Nyrabia, in his second year, IDFA continues to focus on directors from emerging territories as well as films dealing with pressing contemporary issues. In the Frontlight section, Claudia Sparrow’s “Maxima” deals with a Peruvian farmer forced to defend her land against the gold-mining industry; Jia Yuchuan’s “The Two Lives of Li Ermao” tells the story of a trans migrant worker in China; and Juliana Fanjul’s “Radio Silence” portrays a female journalist’s fight against censorship in Mexico. The section also features international premieres of “The Forum,” Marcus Vetter’s study of the Davos convention, and Toni Morrison doc “The Pieces I Am” by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, plus the world premiere of Louise Detlefsen and Louise Kjeldsen’s “Fat Front,” about a rebellious movement started by plus-sized women in Scandinavia.
The Masters section, meanwhile, features the world premiere of “My Rembrandt,” the new film from Dutch director Oeke Hoogendijk, with a European premiere for Eva Mulvad’s refugee romance “Love Child.” Other titles include Andrés Di Tella’s “Private Fiction,” Alain Cavalier’s “Living and Knowing You’re Alive,” Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna’s Cannes Classics title “Forman vs. Forman,” Alex Gibney’s “Citizen K,” Ross Williams’s “The Apollo,” Peter Webber’s crowdpleasing reggae doc “Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica,” and “Varda by Agnès,” the French auteur’s swansong.
Five of the 12 titles in the experimental Paradocs section were also revealed. Frank Beauvais brings his video-diary collage “Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream,” Yuri Ancarani returns to IDFA with jailhouse doc “San Vittore,” and Yaser Kassab also returns with “I Have Seen Nothing, I Have Seen All,” about the transfer of graves from public parks in Aleppo. Alexis Delgado Búrdalo makes his debut with “This Film Is About Me,” about the interaction between a filmmaker and a protagonist accused of murder, while the section also sees the world premiere of “The Ride” by emerging filmmaker duo Esther Polak and Ivar Van Bekkum. The festival will present a boutique sub-division of Paradocs at the Eye Film Museum during Amsterdam Art Weekend, featuring Paulien Olthesten’s “To Those That Will, Ways Are Not Wanting”; the world premiere of Basir Mahmoud’s docufiction work “Good Ended Happily”; and renowned Dutch artist Dick Verdult’s “Viva Matanzas.”
Looking around at the wider world, IDFA’s Best of Fests strand offers 25 previously aired titles from the international festival circuit, including Waad Al Kataeb and Edward Watts’s Cannes hit “For Sama,” Suhaib Gasmelbari’s Berlin entry “Talking About Trees,” and Alexander Nanau’s Venice title “Collective.” From Sundance there’s Hassan Fazili’s “Midnight Traveler,” Luke Lorentzen’s “Midnight Family,” and Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang’s “One Child Nation,” while Toronto premiere “The Cave,” by Feras Fayyad, gets a bow. Other titles include Louis Wallecan’s “Lil’ Buck: Real Swan” and Michel K. Zongo’s FESPACO entry “No Gold for Kalsaka.”
The festival runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1.