Rotterdam Unleashes Tiger Competition Lineup With Films About a Naked Stranger, Freud and a Deaf Landscape Photographer

Rotterdam Unleashes Tiger Competition Lineup With Films About a Naked Stranger, Freud and a Deaf Landscape Photographer

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M. Raihan Halim’s “La Luna” will close the 53rd edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam, which has also revealed the lineup of its Tiger competition section, a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers, and Big Screen Competition, a program for more established talent.

“La Luna,” which has its European premiere at the festival, is a comedy about a conservative Malaysian village shaken by the arrival of a lingerie store.

Among the Tiger competition films is British director Justin Anderson’s “Swimming Home,” starring Mackenzie Davis, Christopher Abbott and Ariane Labed. Adapted from Deborah Levy’s novel, it centers on Joe and Isabel, whose marriage is dying when Kitti, a naked stranger found floating in the pool at their holiday villa, is invited to stay. Kitti collects and eats poisonous plants, and Nina their teenage daughter is enthralled by her. The film, which is being sold by Bankside Films, is described as “a surreal and darkly comic journey into the unresolved traumas that lurk in the shadows of all our lives.”

Iranian film “Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others,” directed by Farshad Hashemi, explores the impact on a young woman living alone when she allows a film crew to shoot in her home. The filmmaker provoked the ire of Iran’s authorities when the film was shown at the Cannes Film Market in May. According to a report, the film was made without observing Iran’s censorship laws, including the mandatory hijab for female actors.

Finland’s “Moses,” directed by Jenni Luhta and Lauri Luhta, depicts Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, during his final years, when he was obsessed with Moses. Entombed in a dark place, surrounded by the threat of antisemitism and war, later exiled from Vienna to Britain, the elderly Freud, ever the heroic atheist, attempts as his final deed to come to terms with the central figure of Judaism.

U.S. title “The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire,” the feature debut from Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, focuses on Suzanne Césaire. She was one of Martinique’s most influential writers, forming a close friendship with surrealist André Breton, but her work became overshadowed by the career of her husband, poet and politician Aimé Césaire. The film was a finalist at Biennale College Cinema, the Venice Film Festival’s film lab.

Japanese filmmaker Tanaka Toshihiko’s “Rei” follows Hikari Matsushita, who lives in Tokyo. Hikari finds it hard to assess own sense of worth and purpose until she meets a man who is a deaf landscape photographer living deep in the mountains of Hokkaido, far from Tokyo. Through this connection, she begins to discover the value of her own existence, but this gradually leads the relationships with those around her to crumble.

“La Parra” Courtesy of IFFR

Spanish filmmaker Alberto Gracia’s “La Parra” follows a middle-aged man, who returns to the town he grew up in. He finds a place lost in time and forgotten by the state. Gracía’s elliptical portrait of small town life is shot through with an air of the unreal. Gracia made his debut with “The Fifth Gospel of Kaspar Hauser,” which won the Fipresci Award at IFFR. His follow-up, “The Wandering Star,” also premiered at Rotterdam and scooped the Deluxe Prize Nuevas Olas at the Seville European Film Festival.

Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic said: “For over half a century, IFFR has stood as a haven for diverse voices – a convergence where artists share perspectives. Our program celebrates the resilience and creativity of global filmmakers, a testament to cinema’s power to transcend borders. From Indian to Japanese epics, a Kazakh thriller, Finnish Freudian reinterpretations, Dominican sci-fi, and underground Iranian cinema, this selection invites you to dive in and immerse yourself.”

IFFR’s Talks program, which seeks to provide fresh perspectives and profound insights into the world of filmmaking, will feature Marco Bellocchio, Rachel Maclean, Alexander Kluge and Anne Fontaine.

Tiger Competition

“The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire,” Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, U.S., world premiere

“Flathead,” Jaydon Martin, Australia, world premiere

“Grey Bees,” Dmytro Moiseiev, Ukraine, world premiere

“Kiss Wagon,” Midhun Murali, India, world premiere

“Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others,” Farshad Hashemi, Iran, Germany, Czech Republic, world premiere

“Moses,” Jenni Luhta, Lauri Luhta, Finland, world premiere

“La Parra,” Alberto Gracia, Spain, world premiere

“Praia Formosa,” Julia De Simone, Brazil, Portugal, world premiere

“Rei,” Tanaka Toshihiko, Japan, world premiere

“Reise der Schatten,” Yves Netzhammer, Switzerland, world premiere

“She Fell to Earth,” Susie Au, Hong Kong, world premiere

“sr,” Lea Hartlaub, Germany, world premiere

“Swimming Home,” Justin Anderson, U.K., world premiere

“Under a Blue Sun,” Daniel Mann, 2024, France, Israel, world premiere

Big Screen Competition

“Aire: Just Breathe,” Leticia Tonos Paniagua, Dominican Republic, Spain, world premiere

“Children of War and Peace,” Ville Suhonen, Finland, world premiere

“Confidenza,” Daniele Luchetti, Italy, world premiere

“Eternal,” Ulaa Salim, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, world premiere

“Milk Teeth,” Sophia Bösch, Germany, Switzerland, world premiere

“The Old Bachelor,” Oktay Baraheni, Iran, world premiere

“Portrait of a Certain Orient,” Marcelo Gomes, Brazil, Italy, Lebanon, world premiere

“Seven Seas Seven Hills,” Ram, India, world premiere

“Steppenwolf,” Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan, world premiere

“Tenement,” Inrasothythep Neth, Sokyou Chea, Cambodia, world premiere

“The Worst Man in London,” Rodrigo Areias, Portugal, world premiere

“Yohanna,” Robby Ertanto, Indonesia, U.K., Italy, world premiere

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