Filter by section
To ease navigation, our programmers divide the film programme into four sections with each their unique tone. Filter by section or read more.
Our main competitions and tomorrow’s film talent
Celebrating great storytelling and bold cinema
Retrospectives, film art and an in-depth look at filmmaking
Explore this year's theme programmes
El abrazo de la serpienteCiro Guerra IFFR 2016 122′
Amazonia at the beginning of the 20th century. A time in which new territories are being mapped and local populations are oppressed. An unusual encounter takes place between two explorers and a shaman, who embark on a dangerous journey through the jungle together. Filmed in breathtaking black-and-white.
AnKawase Naomi IFFR 2016 113′
Sweet red-bean paste - an - out of a can or homemade, it makes all the difference. Not only in your dorayaki pancakes, but in your life. That’s what a mirthless dorayaki seller learns from an elderly female cook. Director Kawase also asks the viewer for attention to beauty. Because after all, what use is cherry blossom if you never look up?
Arabian Nights: Volume 1 – The Restless OneMiguel Gomes IFFR 2016 125′
Magical realism, documentary and political satire coalesce in this contemporary Arabian Nights. Scheherazade tells stories about the dismal state of Portugal and its impoverished citizens. The first part of a socially engaged and imaginative trilogy by one of Portugal’s great creative talents.
Arabian Nights: Volume 2 – The Desolate OneMiguel Gomes IFFR 2016 131′
In which Scheherazade continues to tell of the tormented Portuguese people, who turn away from the authorities and look for new heroes. Just as in the preceding volume, but with fewer eccentric sidetracks, Miguel Gomes captures the dominant mood in a mosaic of events, anecdotes and true-to-life characters.
Arabian Nights: Volume 3 – The Enchanted OneMiguel Gomes IFFR 2016 125′
While Scheherazade wonders how much longer she’ll be able to distract her cruel husband with stories, we discover how the love of birdsong came to Portugal from Flanders after WWI. In spite of the crisis, men from all kinds of backgrounds find one another in their aviary passion. A sensitive slice of life as conclusion to an idiosyncratic trilogy.
D'ArdennenRobin Pront IFFR 2016 90′
The characters in this grim Flemish crime drama cherish few illusions: they will never win the jackpot. Even so, one of them, a former criminal from an underprivileged neighbourhood in Antwerp, tries to build up an honest existence - together with the ex-girlfriend of his unpredictable and violent older brother.
The AssassinHou Hsiao-hsien IFFR 2016 105′
Hundreds of martial art films have been made in the wuxia genre over the years, but the Taiwanese master of the modern Chinese outlook on life gives it his own unique twist. With magisterial swordfights but also room for beauty and quiet, conferring a rare realism to the genre.
Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)Eva Husson IFFR 2016 98′
In the respectable suburbs of Biarritz, adolescents fill the time with school, going to the beach, messaging and… group sex. One thing leads to another: the careless escapades of these affluent teenagers soon turn out to be no match for the real world. Dreamy realism that doesn’t mince matters.
Beyond SleepBoudewijn Koole IFFR 2016 108′
A robust yet sensitive adaptation of W. F. Hermans’s famous novel Beyond Sleep (Nooit meer slapen), about a vain, struggling geology student during a gruelling expedition in Lapland. His struggles with nature, himself and others' expectations are visualized wonderfully by director Boudewijn Koole (Kauwboy), with a star role for Reinout Scholten van Asschat. Opening film IFFR 2016.
Cemetery of SplendourApichatpong Weerasethakul IFFR 2016 122′
In his most topical and politically charged film to date, Weerasathekul represents Thailand as a building that used to be a school, a place of study and contemplation, but which has changed into a hospital built on top of a cemetery, where the dead fight out their age-old battle at the expense of the living.
El clanPablo Trapero IFFR 2016 108′
While Argentina was making the transition from dictatorship to democracy in the early 1980s, a former member of the junta carried on with the feared ‘disappearances’ - this time for ransom. But paying didn’t mean that the victims survived. This true horror story with a political subtext was a big domestic hit.
DemolitionJean-Marc Vallée IFFR 2016 100′
Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts sparkle under actor’s director Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club; Wild). Gyllenhaal as the recent widower whose life falls apart - whereby his own demolition frenzy lends a helping hand; Watts as the kind customer service rep he comes into contact with when a candy dispenser breaks down. A simultaneously hard and soft dramedy.
The Endless RiverOliver Hermanus IFFR 2016 110′
Against the background of the vast South-African landscape, three people get caught up in a violent cycle of grief, anger and revenge. A moral narrative about mourning and reconciliation, with strong performances by Crystal-Donna Roberts, among others, and French actor Nicolas Duvauchelle as the proverbial outsider.
Free in DeedJake Mahaffy IFFR 2016 98′
In the often ethnically coloured American storefront churches, the faithful piously pray for miracles. So does a single mother, who hopes a minister will cure her child of his demons. But how do you keep faith in a world where even among loved ones you can become the victim of best intentions?
Full ContactDavid Verbeek IFFR 2016 105′
Dutch director David Verbeek shows the mental unraveling of a drone pilot who accidentally bombs a school. The introverted soldier enters his own tormented subconscious, respectively portrayed as an island and a boxing school, desperately looking for full contact through sex and violence.
Heart of a DogLaurie Anderson IFFR 2016 75′
Within a short period of time Laurie Anderson was confronted with the deaths of her mother, her partner Lou Reed and her dog Lolabelle. All three are present in this highly personal essay about life, love, death and language. Stylistically, Anderson plays all possible registers; her narrating voice and music hold the disparate elements together. With Critics' Talk in LantarenVenster Foyer on Sun 31 Jan.
The High SunDalibor Matanic IFFR 2016 123′
Three times Romeo and Juliet against the background of the Balkan Wars that caused Yugoslavia to fall apart. Love is impossible at the beginning of the conflict, at the end and even 10 years after. The tragedy evolves in form from resistance through incapacity to regret. Won the jury prize in Cannes in the section Un Certain Regard.
The IdolIFFR 2016 100′
This heart-warming feature by Abu-Assad (Oscar-nominated for Paradise Now and Omar) tells the true story of Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, whose winning of Arab Idol in 2013 gave his homeland a rare taste of victory. With a heroic role for his feisty sister, who guides him through his childhood years. With Critics' Talk in Lantaren Venster Foyer on Fri 29 Jan.
Ik wil gelukkig zijnAnnette Apon IFFR 2016 71′
A portrait of the Netherlands' greatest pre-war actress: Fien de la Mar. Using extensive archive material, this documentary sketches the life of a diva who could do anything but wasted her talent. The tragic story is narrated by Johanna ter Steege without false sentiment. Appealing for laymen as well as for theatre history connoisseurs.
KeeperGuillaume Senez IFFR 2016 95′
Empathic and realistic drama about a talented 15-year-old goalkeeper who hears that his girlfriend is pregnant and wants to keep the baby at all costs. A refreshingly honest impression of teenagers facing a major challenge, with a loving eye for the fragility and light-footedness of adolescence.
Land of MineMartin Zandvliet IFFR 2016 100′
The horror of World War II throws a harrowing shadow in this intense drama about captured German soldiers who are forced to neutralise the remaining landmines along the Danish coast. An interesting game with the viewer's sympathy, in which every scene is fraught with tension.
MammalRebecca Daly IFFR 2016 96′
Incisive drama about raw grief and suffocating love, or the incapacity thereto. A divorced woman who has just lost her son and a homeless boy with criminal inclinations develop an unusual relationship. With an impressive leading role by Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Hilary and Jackie).
Men & ChickenAnders Thomas Jensen IFFR 2016 104′
Two brothers go in search of their father in this mysterious and hilarious, philosophical and absurdist horror comedy. By far the weirdest Danish film in recent years, performed by a top cast with infectious pleasure (Mads Mikkelsen, Nicolas Bro, Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and directed by the maker of Adam’s Apples.
Much LovedNabil Ayouch IFFR 2016 115′
An intimate and candid drama about the life of prostitutes in Marrakesh. Once again Ayouch (Les cheveaux de Dieu) uncovers a reality that some people find hard to swallow. In Morocco the film was prohibited sight unseen; both the director and the courageous leading actress Loubna Abidar received threats.
With Brave Talk in Lantaren Venster 1 on Tue 2 Feb.
Neon BullGabriel Mascaro IFFR 2016 101′
On the road with a travelling rodeo troupe through Brazil, the camera registers panoramic views. Sublime images, which alternate with a less idyllic reality: the hard work amidst the cows. Jointly they form a fabulous choreography, against the background of a rapidly changing society.
Problemski HotelManu Riche IFFR 2016 110′
Bipul has forgotten who he is and where he’s from. But thanks to his knowledge of languages and his qualities as an intermediary, he has grown into a natural leader at the asylum seeker centre in Brussels where he resides. Irony prevails in this second adaptation of a novel by Dimitri Verhulst (after The Misfortunates).
RoomLenny Abrahamson IFFR 2016 118′
Original psychological thriller (by the director of Frank), after the international bestseller by Emma Donoghue. The peaceful life of Ma and her five-year-old son Jack, in their unusual universe, takes a blood-curdling turn when the yearning for the outside world becomes too strong. Moving performances by Brie Larson and the young Jacob Tremblay.
TannaMartin Butler, Bentley Dean IFFR 2016 104′
On an island in the Pacific, two young lovers rebel against old customs, causing tensions to rise high. Enthrallingly photographed drama about the necessity of change and a desire to break the chain of violence. Based on a true event and performed with brio by the local population.