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The Rotterdam International Film Festival Returns to BIEFF


     Continuing the successful collaboration with the innovative Rotterdam International Film Festival(IFFR), BIEFF offers the Romanian film lovers the rare chance to watch some of the most interesting films that had their world premiere during the 2017 edition of the Dutch festival.
     The films in this program, curated by the programmers Peter van Hoof și Theus Zwakhals under the name A Dutch Perspective, have in common the fact that they are signed by visual artists who have found in the Netherlands a creative hotspot and a fertile ground for their. artistic enterprise. All these directors enrich the Dutch artistic milieu bringing fresh and unique visual approaches, tackling hot issues and exploring the relationships between art, science and human nature, without avoiding the tricky theme of the censorship and of the freedom of speech. 
     Appropriating the theory according to which reality is a construct and the world has disappeared behind its own representation, The Lost Object (directed by Sebastian Diaz Morales) focuses on the objects located in a film studio set and the film crew who film them. The short film Ayhan and Me is a meditation on censorship, an alarming issue in present day Turkey. The artist belit sağ embeds the story of censorship applied to this project into a far-reaching enquiry on the ethics of representation.
     Equally fascinating, The Sailor (directed by Giovanni Giaretta) reflects on the creation of its own story and the need to use an invented language to express it.
     Some stories, though, should not be ended and forgotten. In the short film The Remnant, the remains of a huge hedge of wild almond trees now growing in the Cape Town Botanical Garden serve in Judith Westerveld`s film as the key element in understanding the history of the Dutch colonialism in South Africa.
     In the competition program entitled (Self)Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the artists are in the foreground again and this time, the camera is right upon them.  The result is a revealed intimacy of the deepest thoughts and emotions, frightening and cathartic, portrayed by means of processes that reach deep in the private memory, on the way to self-discovery. The program brings together films in which their creators investigate themselves either through the prism of auto-biographical reminiscence or with the help of introspective performances. These films offer us insights into important auteurs, as well as introduce new ones for us to discover. Accompanying them on their journeys we begin to better understand ourselves in the process alongside the larger Truth they seek.
     João Pedro Rodrigues, one of the most important directors of the contemporary Portuguese film will come to Bucharest as a guest of the festival and will attend the Q&As after the screenings.
Where Do You Stand Now, João Pedro Rodrigues? – commissioned by the Pompidou Center in Paris, on the occasion of a retrospective dedicated to the director – is a delicate rumination on the transcendental intersection of beauty, life and nature, as parsed through filmmaker João Pedro Rodrigues` self –reflexive auteurial gaze.
     Through the Backdoor is a series of vignettes in which Karam Natour`s widowed mother and his twin brother perform various tasks.  The rules for each session are unclear, but easy to recognize(follow with one`s eyesight a buzzing fly, answer the mother`s questions at the same time as his brother; compete in a burping contest or suckling milk from a bottle.) Together, these offbeat acts of fraternal competition and of mother`s devotement accumulate towards making a portrait of familial dependency and unity.
     In the beginning was the Word. For Diana Vidrașcu, it was a roll of 16mm footage and a home audio recording. What Time Is Made of – screened in the Experimenta section of the 2017 BFI London Film Festival – takes us to the proverbial dawn of time and memory via found footage of a rocky, water-locked landscape (and its winged inhabitants) and an audio home-recording of the director at the primary age of “one”, undergoing her initiation into language with the help of her grandfather.
     In Somniculus (directed by Ali Chemi) – commissioned by Jeu de Paume Paris – millennia of human civilization and its relationship to the natural and artistic world are grouped together under one roof. An informative but nonetheless ironic diagram looms large in the background: classification of the living. In a gesture of solidarity, protest or deific servitude, the mummification process absorbs our protagonist – but the eyes remain open, taking in the exaltation of existence in the company of our ancestors.
(12.03.2018)

Tags: bieff 2018, bucharest international experimental film festival, diana vidrascu, festivalul international de film de la rotterdam, joao pedro rodrigues

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