The International Filmfestival of Rotterdam has always been one of my yearly vacations since the late 90’s. As a visitor, scouting for the Industry and the last few years as press. The festival has grown over the years with movies, activities and also a lot more visitors, sadly this is decreasing the last 3 years now. Is it the programme? I doubt that although I can see a steady number of people at the festival that mainly focus on the big movies that will screen after the festival and a downfall at a lot of the smaller movies. I remember the time that most tigernominated movies were drawing crowds to the festival. This year I was dissapointed in the interest for those movies. These are the movies where a festival is meant for. I do like it that the new Alexander Payne movie is playing and that it is sold out immediately. The festival needs these movies as well. But it does not need to change to a crowdpleasing festival. I am missing the movies that literally drives away people due to the crazyness/weirdness of it. As a programmer I would not like it if it was my choice of course, but for me that is what a festival makes unique. Dare to take some chances at a festival and go see a movie called Thrashhumpers, most people hated it, but I still remember most of it since it was such weird. I honestly can’t say the same about boyhood from last year. I enjoyed it, but was it so good? I don’t remember much of it and for a movie I did like that must mean it was not really outstanding. Both movies would be perfect for a festival such as IFFR, but why is the one ending up on the bottom of the list and the other on top? People need to be entertained and Thrashhumpers does not entertain, it gives you an awkward feeling. Perfect for an after movie discussion with other festival visitors.
This year did have some unique movies again and I had a great time watching those and a lot of others.
I started off on the 23rd of January with a presscreening of a movie that would end up in my top 5 favorites. The movie is called
INTRUDERS ( Noh Young Seok-2013)
After reading the synopsis on this movie I did expect something different, but only 15 minutes in the movie I knew this was gonna be a special one. The story is about a Korean moviewriter that is taking his retreat in the mountains for his new screenplay. Already on the busride to the little village he meets a guy, who is just released from prison. This guy is helping him out and actually is pushing himself at him to a certain point that it becomes scary.
As soon as he wants to start writing people ask him if he is willing to let them stay in the cabin next to it. At first he declines, but eventually he agrees and from that moment on there is no moment of rest for him. They ask him to join for drinks, the convict shows up and asks him for a bbq and meanwhile there’s a murder, he gets accused for rape and voyeurism, but all he wants is to be left alone so he can write. A few years ago the director debuted with daytime drinking which was a hilarious movie about a youngster ending up in a hotel by the sea with weird people. This has the same weirdness and awkwardness, but the story has more depth, some political aspects and the title did assume I was gonna see a Korean Thriller, but instead I saw a buddymovie/comedy/action and thriller combined in one.
Most definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while.
TAMAKO IN MORATORIUM( Yamashita Nobuhiro-2013)
Tamako is a slacker, she does not go out at all or work or even cook her own meal. She lives with her father that owns a sportsshop, but even helping out in the store seems to much for her. With such small information you might want to skip this movie right. But it would be a loss since it is a good one. Tamako is a loveable character, she does not do much for others, she has her own world and does not bother other either. Her interactions with her father and friends are funny and Tamako can be really sarcastic as well, which makes her annoying for the people around her, but for the viewer more enjoyable. Especially the dinnerevenings where they sit with each other are scenes I love. Lots of food showing that will make you hungry in an instant. Who does not love Noodles right? Tamako in Moratorium is one of those movies that was only screened at IFFR in the Netherlands and did not have a proper theatre release, I hope that this year more Japanese and Korean movies will make their debut on the theatres and not only in the festivalscircuit.
BLUTGLETCHER( Marvin Kren-2013)
A horrormovie from Austria and it has a gletcher, lots of snow and extraterrestrial aspects. These elements alone already had me interested since I did enjoy the The Thing remake/tribute but missed something. Blutgletcher is going into a different direction though. It’s more of an ecohorror movie. The openingshot was already pulling me in and not just me, the theatre was packed. Seems the festival should programme horror somewhat more and not just Asian ghoststories. The best horrormovie I saw at Iffr in the last 12 years was a french one called Haute Tension. They know how to pick a good one, but it’s not many. This one however delivers again! It’s bloody, gory, funny, exiting, scary at points and mysterious as well. Trapped on a mountain and something is killing your team. The Gletcher is spreading a virus that turns everything on the mountain into a bloodthirsty beast. Expect a crazy movie and you won’t be dissapointed. One cool remark: the Minister of environment looks exactly like Angela Merkel. After this I won’t piss off Merkel haha.