The Cloud in Her Room by Chinese filmmaker Zheng Lu Xinyuan is the winner of the Tiger Award 2020, IFFR’s most prestigious, flagship award. Many more awards were handed out at the Awards Ceremony of the 49th edition of IFFR.
The jury called The Cloud in Her Room a “graceful portrait of a certain global generation paralysed by modern alienation and capitalism” and were unanimously impressed by the film’s “innovative personal language”. The cash prize of € 40,000 that accompanies this major IFFR award will be divided between filmmaker and producer.
The Cloud in Her RoomZheng Lu Xinyuan IFFR 2020 98′
Twenty-something Muzi returns to her birthplace Hangzhou in this bittersweet, personal debut about a life in limbo.
Chinese filmmaker Zheng Lu Xinyuan's debut is a melancholy, palpably personal film about twenty-something Muzi returning home for the New Year's celebration. Everything seems the same, but different. An expressionist search for love, (in)dependence and connection, filmed in atmospheric shades of black and white.
The Tiger Competition jury also handed out the Special Jury Award (and €10,000 in prize money). The winning film is Beasts Clawing at Straws by South Korean filmmaker Kim Yonghoon, which the jury described as “a strong first film which is resolutely inscribed in an existing genre but demonstrates undeniable craftsmanship – from the screenplay to the performance to the temporal flexibility of structure.”
Beasts Clawing at StrawsKim Yonghoon IFFR 2020 109′
Who will get the bag of money, and where did it come from? An artfully constructed black comedy/crime thriller and compelling summary of human shortcomings in one.
Debut director Kim Yonghoon assembles a great cast (Asura's Jung Woosung and Secret Sunshine star Jeon Doyeon) for his energetic film adaptation of Japanese hard-boiled crime novel Beasts Clawing at Straws. The result is an artfully constructed, black comedy/crime drama as well as a compelling summary of human shortcomings. But where did that bag come from?
The VPRO Big Screen Award was awarded to A Perfectly Normal Family by Danish filmmaker Malou Reymann. This means the film will have a guaranteed release in Dutch cinemas and will be broadcast on Dutch TV by NPO 2. The award comes with a €30,000 prize. The film “goes beyond the sensitive subject of gender reassignment, and shows family struggles that are relatable to anyone”, the jury said.
A Perfectly Normal FamilyMalou Reymann IFFR 2020 93′
When the father of two Danish girls becomes a trans woman, the younger daughter in particular struggles with this radical transition.
Delicate Danish drama in which the father of two girls plants a bomb under their harmonious family life: he will spend the rest of his life as a woman. What will such a complex change do to their relationships? We experience the story through the eyes of the sensitive younger daughter, who fears losing her close bond with her father.
Moving On by Yoon Dan-bi won the Bright Future Award (and €10,000) for best feature-film debut. The jury called the film “a thoughtful portrait, that goes straight to the heart of human relations and emotions, and thus enriches the cinematic tradition of family drama remarkably”. The Bright Future Competition jury gave a special mention to Isabella Rinaldi, Cristina Hanes and Arya Rothe for their film A Rifle and a Bag.
Festival Bero Beyer congratulated all winners and said: “We are incredibly impressed with the quality of this year’s Tiger Competition, which in many cases spurred significant festival buzz. We thank all filmmakers for their ambitious and creative approaches to cinema. Remember these names, because we’re sure to see much more of them in the future.”
Moving OnYoon Dan-bi IFFR 2020 105′
A subtle portrait of three generations of a family forced to live under one roof by circumstance.
Financial and relationship problems force three generations of a family to live together under one roof. Tender, subtly structured portrait of five individuals discovering, exploring or critiquing the meaning of family and other relationships in their lives, each from their own perspective.
The FIPRESCI Award from the international film critics went to Only You Alone by Zhou Zhou, “a film which brings a touching story about loneliness and about daring to be different in modern Chinese society”. The KNF Award, presented by the Circle of Dutch Film Journalists, went to Kala azar by Janis Rafa (also in Tiger Competition), which, according to the jury, “comments subtly on the sickness of the world and the ecological collapse we are all facing”.
Only You AloneZhou Zhou IFFR 2020 90′
A young Chinese woman suffers from epilepsy. Her dreams die, but it only makes her stronger.
Epilepsy has forced Chi Li to give up her dance career. The disease means she barely counts in Chinese society. However, Chi Li (great role by co-scriptwriter Chi Yun) is not the type to take things lying down. Zhou Zhou's second feature film is an homage to a marginalised, strong young woman.
The Tiger Competition-selected film Nasir by Arun Karthick won the NETPAC Award for best Asian film premiering at the festival – it was described by the jury as “a moving letter to and from the oppressed Muslim minority in Mother India”. The winner of the IFFR Youth Jury Award is Les misérables by Ladj Ly. Laurence Attali won the Voices Short Award for his short film Tabaski, while My Mexican Bretzel by Nuria Giménez won the Found Footage Award.
NasirArun Karthick IFFR 2020 78′
Candid portrait of a gentle man reduced to second-class citizenship as a Muslim in an India characterised by rising Hindu nationalism.
Candid portrait of a gentle man living a degrading, second-class existence as a Muslim in an India characterised by rising Hindu nationalism. His poetry and love for his wife keep him going, while toxic intolerance bubbles just below the surface of everyday life. Until the explosion, as sudden as it is inevitable.
The BankGiro Loterij Audience Award (worth €10,000) was won by Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (B&W Version).
Parasite (B&W Version)Bong Joon Ho IFFR 2020 131′
Inspired by their love of classic cinema, Bong Joon Ho and his cameraman made a black-and-white version of Parasite, the big hit of 2019.
Inspired by classic cinema, director Bong Joon Ho has made a black-and-white version of Parasite, which became a worldwide hit after winning the Golden Palm in Cannes. The eldest son of an unemployed family gets a well-paid tutoring job with a wealthy family. This brings opportunity.
Photo in header: Still: The Cloud in Her Room crew & cast © Jan de Groen