International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced its multi-strand theme for the 2014 festival. As a prelude to the European elections next year, IFFR 2014 will be centred around its theme – The State of Europe. With three large film programmes – Grand Tour, My Own Private Europe and EU-29, the festival offers a platform reflections on Europe and for discussion on its future.
Festival director Rutger Wolfson on The State of Europe
“The historical project of the European unification has lost much of its luster. Peace and prosperity, the two main forces that have driven Europe, are still relevant today but feel worn out. Politicians seem unable to convey a convincing alternative future perspective and many citizens are angry, disillusioned or have lost interest completely.Film can make European identity and ideas visible and recognizable for large audiences. It offers numerous starting points to freshly explore European culture, at a safe distance from any top-down political agenda, either pro or con Europe. With three thematic film programs, IFFR explores different topics relevant in Europe today, such as immigration, (cultural) identity and personal living conditions. Together they give an insight into what unites and what divides Europe. In doing so IFFR aims to look for answers and future perspectives, together with film makers and the audience, there where politics seem to fail.”
The State of Europe: Grand Tour
The films in The State of Europe: Grand Tour take on a journey of cinematic Europe, showing its diversity, traditions, past, present and future. Parts of the grand puzzle that is Europe, many of the films in this sidebar are highlights of European cinema from the past year. Grand Tour includes award-winning Sacro GRA by Gianfranco Rosi, the first Tiger Teaser. This first ever documentary to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival depicts life along the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the ring-road highway that circles Rome. The series is curated by IFFR programmer Gerwin Tamsma.
The State of Europe: My Own Private Europe
My Own Private Europe aims to rediscover Europe through highly personal and sometimes very intimate points of view, showing how filmmakers experience living in today’s Europe. These films, brought together by IFFR programmer Evgeny Gusyatinski, try to capture the personal notion of ‘a European identity’. The Portuguese first-person essay What Now? Remind Me by Joaquim Pinto is a great example. The film shows a year in Pinto’s life, struggling with treatment for HIV and hepatitis C, creating a sensitive portrait of his work and a unique snapshot Europe.
The State of Europe: EU-29
Europe has become a Union of no less than 28 states, but not every person fits in these states or feels at home. Not everyone is welcome or expected to stay. Many people – and as a consequence many films – don’t really belong to the EU-28. For them an imaginary 29th state was created by IFFR programmer Gertjan Zuilhof: a country of immigration and moving cinema. This sidebar includes Claire Simon‘s Gare du Nord, a love story between a young Algerian sociologist and an elegant French history professor set against the backdrop of this bustling Paris train station, meeting point for the French, the immigrants, the emigrants, and the travellers from all over the world.
The 43rd edition of IFFR will take place from 22nd January to 2 February 2014.