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Rotterdam Film Festival Unveils Big Screen, Tiger Competition Lineups

International Film Festival Rotterdam
International Film Festival Rotterdam

Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s “Assault” and “Kung Fu Zohra” from Mabrouk El Mechri are among the lineup at International Film Festival Rotterdam’s (IFFR) 51st edition.

The films were among 10 features selected for the Big Screen competition, which aims to bridge the gap between popular, classic and arthouse cinema.

IFFR also boasts the Tiger Competition for emerging talent and Ammodo Tiger Short competition for shorts.

Among the 14 titles selected for the Tiger Competition, Roberto Doveris will present “Proyecto Fantasma,” Morgane Dziurla-Petit will deliver “Excess Will Save Us” and David Easteal will show “The Plains.”

The festival, whose full lineup was announced on Friday, will run as a virtual festival on IFFR.com from Jan 26-Feb. 6 for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic revealed that the lockdown in the Netherlands had enforced some changes in previously announced elements of the program. For example, Steve McQueen’s installation “Sunshine State,” commissioned by the festival, will no longer be featured.

Kaludjercic said: “After the tough decision to move our festival online, we’ve curated a wonderful online selection for our audiences here in the Netherlands, whilst also ensuring that our competition lineups and the filmmakers who trusted us with their premieres will be given a platform within our Press & Industry Selection. When cinemas are allowed to open again, we will present competition titles on the big screen to our audiences later in the year.”

Amanda Kramer’s “Please Baby Please,” accompanied by Lewie and Noah Kloster’s short film “Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver,” will be this year’s opening film. The film has replaced Mijke de Jong’s “Along the Way,” previously announced as the opening film. “Due to the revised nature of the festival, it could no longer be presented. We will, however, once cinemas are open again, collaborate with its team to support the release of the film,” Kaludjercic said.

“Please Baby Please,” starring Harry Melling, Andrea Riseborough, Demi Moore and Karl Glusman, demonstrates that “U.S. indie cinema remains an innovative force to be reckoned with,” she said.

“Like so much of early Jarmusch, ‘Please Baby Please’ is steeped in the mystique of 1950s urban cool, with its noir-infused plots involving a sleazy gang of greasers. But the way it becomes the story of growing sexual self-awareness and discovery is very much of our time, delivered in a tone that owes as much to the 1940s and 50s U.S. underground as it does to the 1980s music and video culture.”

Kramer, alongside French actor and director Mathieu Amalric and Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who is this year’s Robby Müller Award recipient, will deliver one of the festival’s Big Talks.

Jurors for the Tiger Competition consist of Zsuzsi Bánkuti, Gust Van den Berghe, Tatiana Leite, Thekla Reuten and Farid Tabarki while the Big Screen competition will be judged by an audience jury. Tim Leyendekker, Nduka Mntambo and Rieke Vos will judge the Ammodo Tiger Short competition.

The event will close with the screening of 1966’s “Dragon Gate Inn,” directed by King Hu. “The festival has a love affair with this film, as it has already played several times in Rotterdam, but always in a different context. This sword-fighting paranoia noir in splendid colors offers a fascinating allegory for cinema and society as such,” said Kaludjercic.

“IFFR 2022 is very much dedicated to remembering the festival’s first 50 years and to ensure at least another 50 years of constant development. As William Faulkner famously put it in ‘Requiem for a Nun,’ the past is never dead. It is not ever past.”

In a reference to the challenges of assembling the lineup during the pandemic, Kaludjercic thanked her team for their “creativity and resilience.”

Check out the full list below:

Tiger Competition 2022 selection

Achrome, Maria Ignatenko, 2022, Russia
The Cloud Messenger, Rahat Mahajan, 2022, India
A criança, Marguerite de Hillerin/Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois, 2022, Portugal
EAMI, Paz Encina, 2022, Paraguay/Germany/Argentina/Netherlands/France/United States
Excess Will Save Us, Morgane Dziurla-Petit, 2022, Sweden
Kafka for Kids, Roee Rosen, 2022, Israel
Malintzin 17, Mara Polgovsky/Eugenio Polgovsky, 2022, Mexico
Met mes, Sam de Jong, 2022, Netherlands
The Plains, David Easteal, 2022, Australia
Proyecto Fantasma, Roberto Doveris, 2022, Chile
Le rêve et la radio, Renaud Després-Larose/Ana Tapia Rousiouk, 2022, Canada
Silver Bird and Rainbow Fish, Lei Lei, 2022, United States/Netherlands
To Love Again, Gao Linyang, 2022, China
Yamabuki, Yamasaki Juichiro, 2022, Japan/France

Big Screen Competition

Assault, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2022, Kazakhstan/Russia
Broadway, Christos Massalas, 2022, Greece/France/Romania
CE2, Jacques Doillon, 2021, France
Daryn’s Gym, Brett Michael Innes, 2021, South Africa
Drifting Petals, Clara Law, 2021, Australia
The Harbour, Rajeev Ravi, 2022, India
The Island, Anca Damian, 2021, Romania
Kung Fu Zohra, Mabrouk El Mechri, 2021, France
Mi vacío y yo, Adrián Silvestre, 2021, Spain
Splendid Isolation, Urszula Antoniak, 2022, Netherlands

Ammodo Tiger Short Competition

Answering the Sun, Rainer Kohlberger, 2022, Austria/Germany
Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, Pedro Neves Marques, 2022, Portugal
Chants from a Holy Book, Cesar Gananian/Cassiana Der Haroutiounian, 2021, Brazil
Constant, Sasha Litvintseva/Beny Wagner, 2022, Germany/United Kingdom
Dawn, Leonor Noivo, 2021, Portugal
Glass Life, Sara Cwynar, 2021, United States
Isn’t It a Beautiful World, Joseph Wilson, 2021, United Kingdom
The Making of Crime Scenes, Hsu Che-yu, 2022, France/Taiwan
Nazarbazi, Maryam Tafakory, 2022, Iran/United Kingdom
El nombre de las cosas, Diego Escobar, 2022, Chile
Nosferasta: First Bite, Bayley Sweitzer/Adam Khalil, 2021, United States
Polycephaly in D, Michael Robinson, 2021, United States
Punctured Sky, Jon Rafman, 2021, United States
Songs for living, Korakrit Arunanondchai/Alex Gvojic, 2022, United States/Thailand
Tomorrow Is a Water Palace, Juanita Onzaga, 2022, Belgium
Urban Solutions, Arne Hector/Luciana Mazeto/Vinícius Lopes/Minze Tummescheit, 2022, Germany/Brazil

Marta Balaga contributed to this article.