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IFFR KINO: Season 7

21 February 2022

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Next up in Series 7 of IFFR KINO is Red Rock West: an American neo-noir thriller film from the 90s, directed by John Dahl and starring Nicolas Cage. Join us for the screening at KINO Rotterdam on Wednesday 4 May.

IFFR KINO #41: Calvaire

Travelling entertainer Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas, known from his role in Tiresia among other films) has difficulty keeping the ladies at bay in a retirement home in the French Ardennes. So, despite the terrible weather, he sets off one dark day before Christmas and takes a wrong turn. Every film lover knows what that means: a confrontation with less desirable elements in society. The innkeeper who offers shelter to the unfortunate singer regards him as a replacement for his missing (?) wife and the villagers display an unhealthy interest when they hear rumours of 'her' return. The camerawork is by Benoît Debie, who also shot Gaspar Noé's Irréversible and Hadzihalilovic's Innocence, and that guarantees the right gritty 1970s mood (indeed, that of Deliverance, Straw Dogs or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre).

Wednesday 1 June, 21:30, KINO Rotterdam

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Interviews

"If you never take risks, it will never be something special"

The Belgian director gave a horror masterclass for the Videoland Academy participants.

IFFR KINO #40: Red Rock West

This April will see the release of Massive Talent, a film in which Nicolas Cage plays an actor named Nicolas Cage… fans will know what they’re up for. As for us, that means the time is right to dig up a gem from the actor’s massive – and still rapidly expanding – filmography, a film that initially went somewhat unnoticed. No distributor wanted to touch it, and the film couldn’t get confirmed for IFFR 1993 until after the catalogue had already been printed.

We won’t tell you anything about the over-the-top plot, not in the least because it is so deliciously fun and inimitable. The viewer will find particular joy in how John Dahl's directorial debut toys with noir and western cliches, that at times will remind one of work by David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, or Quentin Tarantino – all the more amusing for its being a little more superficial and self-satisfied.

Cage uses his young Elvis-esque charm in his portrayal of the (sort of) honest drifter who arrives in a dusty town in Wyoming, Red Rock West – only to be mistaken for the hitman hired by bar owner J.T. Walsh to kill his beautiful young wife (Lara Flynn Boyle). But that, of course, is Dennis Hopper, who arrives moments later. Sorry, we did tell you something about the plot here after all… the first ten minutes that is.

Wednesday 4 May, 21:30, KINO Rotterdam

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IFFR KINO #39: Syndromes and a Century

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a master in promoting modern film forms and mythical fantasies, shows in Syndromes and a Century that he is also good at telling stories using different spaces. Alongside two protagonists the film also has two main locations. The first part of the film is set during the filmmaker’s childhood that he remembers as ideal, even though the protagonist is modelled on his mother as she was before he was born.

The protagonist in the second part is inspired by the filmmaker’s father. But basically, the story is, as said, told more through the locations than the characters. First, there is the pleasant, sunny and verdant hospital of the female psychiatrist Toey (the later mother). Before that, Weerasethakul returned to the surroundings of his (early) childhood in Khon Kaen, a town in northeastern Thailand closer to the countryside of Laos than to Bangkok, and allowed the pastoral surroundings to shape the tone of these almost jovial sketches. 

In the second part, the film shifts considerably in time and space to a bleak present-day hospital in Bangkok. The surroundings do not just change the look of the film: the whole tone and approach become alienating. Within the special logic of Weerasethakul, it is, therefore, no surprise that the film ends beyond the present in a pretty scary vision of the future.

Wednesday 6 April, 19:00, KINO Rotterdam.

Big Talk: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Robby Müller Award recepient of IFFR 2022 speaks to moderator Joris Bulstra.

Watch it now

IFFR KINO #38: Nobody Knows

“Everybody has that one film they want everybody to see, for me that film is Nobody Knows, one of my IFFR favourites. Kore-eda Hirokazu’s craftsmanship as a storyteller and director all come together in this film, which for me, can be regarded as his best film (followed by Like Father, Like Son) and definitely should have earned him the Palme d’Or back in 2004, 14 years prior to Shoplifters (2018). 

The story, which is based on true events, almost entirely takes place in a tiny Tokyo apartment and yet keeps the viewer interested in the heartbreaking story and very small world of these abandoned children. This tragic story never becomes melodramatic, the director has a subtle way in showing (not telling) us the story, and yet the viewer can also feel the critical tone towards Japanese society as well. And of course, I can’t talk about this film without mentioning the beautiful performances by the child actors, all of whom were non-professionals. The performance by Yūya Yagira as the eldest son, Akira, won him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. 

If after this film you would like to see something similar, I can recommend the Taiwanese film A Time To Live and A Time to Die (1985) directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. In the documentary Flowers of Taipei (previously on IFFR Unleashed), Kore-eda Hirokazu mentions that this film made him pursue a career in filmmaking, so it’s no coincidence these two films bear a lot of similarities in storytelling and style.” 

Wednesday, 2 March, 21:00 hours, KINO Rotterdam.

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