With more than sixty French film productions and co-productions included in the line-up, French cinema boasts a strong presence at the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Internationally acclaimed, recent French productions (feature films, short films, performances) will top the bill together with numerous début features, including two films competing for the VPRO Tiger Awards, by a talented and innovative young generation of filmmakers, confirming the IFFR’s role as a major platform for French independent filmmaking and author cinema.
Some of the most prominent auteurs of world cinema will be heading the Spectrum section, with the latest public and critics praised French productions: after TWENTYNINE PALMS presented in 2004, Bruno Dumont will be back in Rotterdam with HADEWIJCH, the story of a young girl, blinded by an ecstatic and passionate faith in God, being led on dangerous territories; after PRESTIGE DE LA MORT in 2007, Rotterdam will again enjoy the eccentricity of Luc Moullet’s cinema, as he will introduce LA TERRE DE LA FOLIE, depicting the particularly numerous cases of mental illness in the South Alps region; director François Ozon will attend the festival with LE REFUGE, narrating the wandering and the mourning of a pregnant ex-junkie, incarnated by graceful Isabelle Carré. Rotterdam’s familiar Eugene Green will present THE PORTUGUESE NUN, a reverie on love and faith in Lisbon. Tsai Ming-Liang’s contemplative VISAGE, exploring the myth of Salomé at the Louvre museum as well as the acclaimed THE TIME THAT REMAINS by Elia Suleiman, a partly autobiographical film portraying the daily life of Palestinians who remained in their native lands, will also be screened in that section.
Claire Denis’ WHITE MATERIAL, starring Isabelle Huppert and, twenty years after her first film CHOCOLAT, taking the director back to Africa to picture a fully different reality, RAPT by Lucas Belvaux, a suspenseful drama inspired by the kidnapping, in the 70’s, of the Belgian multi-billionaire Baron Empain, as well as the 2009 Cannes Jury Grand Prix winner UN PROPHETE by Jacques Audiard are rounding up this prestigious selection.
The French line-up is invigorated by a strong attendance of young directors, representing new trends in French filmmaking, with several co-productions underlining the leading role of France in world cinema: NUIT BLEUE, a visual poem by the video artist Ange Leccia, relates the mourning of a shipwrecked Corsican activist; ORDINARY PEOPLE, noteworthy début by Vladimir Perisic, throws a universal chronicle of violence in an abstractly ruthless take on the ex-Yugoslav war; Dima El-Horr’s first feature CHAQUE JOUR EST UNE FETE follows the journey of three women heading to a prison in the Lebanese hinterlands, when they each get confronted with the quest for their own independence.
The talent of emerging French filmmaking is upheld by the two début features selected for the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition: in LA VIE AU RANCH, Sophie Letourneur portrays with great acuteness the seemingly quite happy daily life of young female students and their confrontations with the sharper edge of reality and relationships. With AGUA FRIA DE MAR, Costa Rican director Paz Fábrega relates the unlikely encounter of a rich young couple and a lonely seven year’s old girl, in an Ocean holiday tainted at every turn with a possible tragedy.
The IFFR 2010’s Signals section offers an invaluable insight in the history of French cinema: celebrating the 50 years of the Nouvelle Vague, the documentary LES DEUX DE LA VAGUE, by Emmanuel Laurent, evokes the débuts of two icons of a cinematographic revolution, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard; in their “making of” film INFERNO, Serge Bromberg, a renowned figure in the world of film restoration, and Ruxandra Medrea, using the resurfaced fifteen hours footage of 1964, lead us into the creative process of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished experimental work, starring a sublimely sensual Romy Schneider.
French guests at IFFR 2010 represented by Unifrance and their attendance dates, subject to change
Ange Leccia (NUIT BLEUE) 28 January - 31 January
Eugène Green (THE PORTUGUESE NUN) 28 January - 30 January
Tsaï Ming-Liang (VISAGE) 28 January - 1 February
Luc Moullet (LA TERRE DE LA FOLIE) 29 January - 30 January
Paz Fabrega (AGUA FRIA DE MAR) 29 January - 7 February
François Ozon (LE REFUGE) 30 January - 31 January
Sophie Letourneur (LA VIE AU RANCH) 30 January - 6 February
Dima El-Horr (CHAQUE JOUR EST UNE FETE) 30 January - 2 February
Vladimir Peresic (ORDINARY PEOPLE) 1 February - 4 February
Emmanuel Laurent (LES DEUX DE LA VAGUE) 2 February - 5 February
Serge Bromberg (INFERNO) 5 February - 6 February
Bruno Dumont (HADEWIJCH) 6 February - 7 February