International Film Festival Rotterdam has revealed its selection of 16 feature film projects for the 41st edition of CineMart, running Jan. 28-31.
In “Another Journey Without Women” six chain-smoking know-it-alls embark on a tragi-comedic polar expedition in Greenland in 1918. The film is directed by Illum Jacobi, whose “The Trouble With Nature” appeared at IFFR in 2020. The film features Greenlandic actor Hans-Henrik Suersaq Poulsen in the lead role, alongside David Dencik and Claes Bang (“The Square,” 2017) as the famed explorer Knud Rasmussen.
“Lucia,” directed by Irish filmmaker Aisling Walsh, concerns the talented but troubled daughter of author James Joyce. The director’s “Maudie” (2016), starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, world premiered in Telluride.
In “Les Diplomates,” two diplomatic counterparts from Austria and Switzerland secretly negotiate the contours of history as the Eastern Bloc disintegrates – fueled by a petty personal grudge. The project is directed by Swiss filmmaker Andreas Fontana, whose eerie thriller “Azor” (2021) picked up a handful of international awards.
The snowcovered mountain roads of Switzerland play host to a queer spin on the car chase genre in “Bad Gays,” directed by Swiss filmmaker Loïc Hobi.
Mara comes from Argentina to explore the mountains of Italy in Argentinian filmmaker Eduardo Crespo’s “La gruta del viento.”
In fellow Argentinian filmmaker Natalia Meta’s “The Spirit of Law,” a congresswoman at the peak of her career faces an accusation by a chamber employee. Meta’s “The Intruder” was in competition in Berlin.
Two runaway souls escaping a dark past meet in the chaos of Singapore in “Other People’s Dreams,” directed by Singaporean filmmaker Daniel Hui, whose slow-burning psychodrama “Small Hours of the Night” has its world premiere at IFFR 2024.
The animated “Cherub,” by Polish feature debutant Barbara Rupik, tells of shape-shifting angelic beings who descend from the sky to a small, forgotten village to claim the soul of a dying girl.
Another animated feature, “Cloud of the Unknown” by Yuan Gao, asks: “What if our dreams were the key to our real self and the door to a better world?” The project received Hubert Bals Fund development support in 2019.
Also HBF-backed is “A Distant House Smokes on the Horizon,” the first fiction feature by Chinese filmmaker Shengze Zhu, who won Rotterdam’s Tiger Award with “Present.Perfect” in 2019. On a sweltering summer day, three troubled teenagers set out on a reckless plan to escape the confines of their small town.
Angolan filmmaker Fradique brings “Hold Time for Me,” set in a country where trees talk and cars become boats in the desert. Fradique’s previous film “Air Conditioner” was IFFR in 2020.
The Finnish “Skarpnabba,” directed by feature debutant Sawandi Groskind, tells of a truck driver and his teenage daughter who witness the death of a child in 1960 only for the once-deceased child to reappear decades later in Helsinki.
“The Sunflowers of the Moon” is directed by Tunisian filmmaker Ismaël, whose stylised, dark thriller “Black Medusa” (co-directed with Youssef Chebbi) was in the Tiger Competition in 2021.
Another returning Tiger filmmaker is Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf (“Piedra Sola”) who brings “Alumbre,” on a wounded man’s confrontation with pain and belonging.
“La Nuit” is the feature debut of two-time Tiger Short Competition-winner Beatrice Gibson. In the film, after an abortion, a woman wanders the streets, embarking on a series of quiet encounters under a neon glow.
“The Possessed” is directed by Dutch-based Bosnian filmmaker Ena Sendijarević, whose “Sweet Dreams” is this year’s Dutch submission for the Oscars. In her new project, eccentric director Diana shoots a film about the effects of a witch hunt on the modern female psyche on an isolated island, but nothing goes as planned.