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February 2010

IFFR 2010 various photos

IFFR 2010

IFFR film 23 (final): Les Barons (Ben Yadir Nabil, Belgium): 4/5

A perfect film to end my festival experience with. Some forced drama, but consistently very funny, through the credits even.

IFFR film 22: Symbol (Matsumoto Hitoshi, Japan): 4/5

The most original film I've seen in a long time. Even more surreal than Matsumoto's previous film Big Man Japan,
and a lot more enjoyable and moving.

IFFR film 21: Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania): 3/5

Seemingly boring at first, but saved by some brilliant and long single-shot dialogs on language and meaning of words.

IFFR film 20: Visage (Taiwan/France): 3.5/5

Not as impressive as 2007's I Don't Want To Sleep Alone, but Tsai Ming-liang + Lee Kang-sheng = always good. I wish I could have also caught the Déjà passer series of Taiwanese short films, which featured works by/with both of them.

IFFR film 19: Café Noir / 카페 느와르 (Jung Sung-Il, South Korea): 4/5

Wow, very long at over 3 hours (they even included a 15 minute break in the middle which is rare for a festival showing), but quite something special, especially for those well versed in Korean films. Luckily the second half was even better than the first. An interesting mix of styles, switching from colour to b/w for some scenes etc. And I've never seen the city of Seoul itself used as a character quite as beautifully like this, with long single-take shots where the camera just glides along the streets or river for minutes and minutes.

Also: it wasn't until the credits that I realized one of the characters that looked so familiar to me was played by indie music star Yozoh! The little keyboard she continuously carried on her back should have been a hint, I suppose.

IFFR film 18: My Daughter (Charlotte Lay Kuen Lim, Malaysia): 2.5/5

IFFR film 17: Sun Spots (Yang Heng, China): 3.5/5

Lovely long static shots of gorgeous scenery, in detailed HD video that looked great on the enormous Pathé 1 screen.

IFFR 2010: Yang Heng

IFFR film 16: Eighteen / 회오리 바람 (Jang Kun-Jae, South Korea): 3.5/5

IFFR 2010: Jang Kun-Jae
IFFR 2010: Eighteen poster

IFFR film 15: Twisted Roots / Väärät Juuret (Finland): 4/5

Another one of my favourites of this year. Colourful family story, in pretty Finnish winter scenes that (as explained by director Saara Saarela during the Q&A) had to be shot quickly during the 2.5 hours of daylight available each day. Nice soundtrack too.

IFFR 2010: Saara Saarela

IFFR film 14: Nymph / นางไม้ (Thailand): 3/5

Dreamy atmospheric Pen-Ek Ratanaruang treatise on the dangers of extra-marital treehugging.

IFFR film 13: Ante / Karera (Adolfo B. Alix Jr., Philippines): 2/5

IFFR 2010: Adolfo B. Alix Jr.

IFFR film 12: Toad's Oil / ガマの油 (Japan): 4.5/5

My favourite film of IFFR 2010. Wonderful directorial debut (and starring role) by one of my favourite actors, Kôji Yakusho. A funny colourful moving story, in some parts reminiscent of the surrealness/sensibility of Taste of Tea. Also a nice role for Satomi Kobayashi of Megane / Kamome Diner.

IFFR film 11: All That I Love / Wszystko co kocham (Jacek Borcuch, Poland): 4/5

After this very enjoyable film that I chose mostly as a schedule filler, an extra surprise was to see that the director and part of the cast had arrived in Rotterdam just in time to do a fun Q&A afterwards. Always quite special to suddenly see the real actors walk out in front after having just watched them on the big screen.

IFFR 2010: All That I Love
IFFR 2010: All That I Love

IFFR film 10: Where Is Africa: Concert 1 - Opening Night

One animated short from 1966, followed by two silent films (one from 2010, one from 1927) accompanied by excellent live music!

IFFR 2010: Where Is Africa
IFFR 2010

IFFR film 9: Trash Humpers (US): 3/5

Crazy ugly funny repetitive VHS weirdness from Harmony Korine. The funny stories and voicemail messages shared beforehand were a nice treat. Lots of walk-outs during the film itself though. I laughed a lot, but can imagine it was a real rough film to get through for those audience members that went in without any idea of what to expect :)

IFFR 2010: Harmony Korine

IFFR film 8: Mother (Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea): 4/5

IFFR film 7: Adrift / Chơi vơi (Vietnam): 3/5

In my experience Vietnamese films are some of the most photogenic films in the world, this one certainly was too. Had to run to another film afterwards so I missed the Q&A with director Bui Thac Chuyen (who also directed Living in Fear, which I saw at IFFR 2007).

IFFR film 6: Susa / სუსა (Rusudan Pirveli, Georgia): 3.5/5

Strikingly gritty landscapes. Also, I learned the Georgian alphabet is really pretty.

IFFR 2010: Rusudan Pirveli

January 2010

IFFR film 5: Autumn Adagio (JP): 4/5

This one caught my eye because of having seen director Inoue Tsuki's fun quirky short film Woman Who Is Beating The Earth at last year's festival. Great soundtrack and piano performances by musician/actress Shibakusa Rei.

IFFR 2010: Inoue Tsuki

IFFR film 4: A Grammar For Listening (Parts 1-3): 3.5/5

Not so much a film, just a series of dreamy wonderful sound/sightscapes, the kind that make me want to go out and shoot some macro/bokeh photos. Followed by insightful Q&A with director Luke Fowler.

IFFR 2010: Luke Fowler

IFFR film 3: Running Turtle / 거북이 달린다 (Lee Yeon-woo, South Korea): 3.5/5.

Lots of fun this one, like a non-gloomy version of last year's excellent The Chaser (starring the same actor even).

IFFR film 2: Air Doll / 空気人形 (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan): 4/5

Though the half hour pre-Air Doll interview turned out to be a bit boring, it was still pretty cool to see master director Kore-eda (Still Walking, Nobody Knows, After Life) in person. And the film itself was beautiful, as expected. Including a small role for prolific actor Susumu Terajima who I have gotten used to seeing appear in at least one japanese film each festival.

IFFR 2010: Hirokazu Kore-Eda

IFFR film 1: Paju / 파주 (Park Chan-Ok, South Korea, 2009): 3.5/5

IFFR 2010: Park Chan-Ok
IFFR 2010: Paju poster