10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

A Wedding (Noces) (2017 Feature Film)

The strong bond between Zahira and her parents is tested when an arranged marriage with a Pakistani man is set up as tradition decrees. She faces a heart-rending dilemma. Convincing portrait of the conundrums facing second generation immigrants that unfolds like a Greek tragedy in contemporary Brussels.

3 Bellezas (2016 Feature Film)

Black(ish) comedy about the beauty cult in Venezuela where plastic surgery seems standard practice. When a mother’s obsession with beauty pageants goes too far, it causes a rift between her daughters. Who will become Miss República? And at what price?

45 Years (2016 Feature Film)

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play the roles of their lives as a couple who end up in crisis immediately before their 45th wedding anniversary. An unexpected find reminds them of the past in a way that detracts from the ease of their current existence. As the party fast approaches, the spouses drift further apart.

El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent) (2016 Feature Film)

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 breath-taking black-and-white.

Alba (2016 Feature Film)

One of the best moments of the new year, this moving debut from Ecuador. Alba, phenomenally acted by Macarena Arias, is a shy girl aged eleven who goes to live with her solitary father when her mother has to go to hospital. As if the fuss at school and approaching puberty weren’t complicated enough.

Almacenados (Warehoused) (2016 Feature Film)

Mr Lino is going to retire and has to provide his young replacement Nin with a week’s on-the-job training. However, nothing ever seems to be done there, except clocking in, adhering to the rules set in stone and waiting until the trucks arrive to finally deliver some flagpoles. Absurdist comedy-drama about work mentality, societal roles and life as an employee and human.

An (2016 Feature Film)

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?

El apóstata (The Apostate) (2016 Feature Film)

Also in his first Spanish production, one can recognise the amiably ironic and occasionally absurd hand of the Uruguayan Veiroj (La vida útil/A Useful Life). A young man in Madrid (co-writer Alvaro Ogolla) wants to be struck from the lists of the Catholic Church. Alongside the problems that gives him, he wrestles with his family, life and love.

Ayiti mon amour (2016 Feature Film) Nominee

Well over five years after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, the poverty-stricken island’s inhabitants feel abandoned by God and the rest of the world. What remains are the painful memories and hope for better days. However, luckily a dash of magic provides solace in this neo-realist fairy tale.

Califórnia (2016 Feature Film)

Estela grew up in the 1980s in Brazil, against the background of major political changes. In this coming-of-age story, we see how she looks forward with her girlfriends to her journey to Uncle Carlos in California – the USA is the promised land. With a soundtrack full of eighties hits, for instance from David Bowie, New Order and The Cure.

Carol (2016 Feature Film)

Rich Carol and the younger Therese fall in love, but their environment is hostile. Atmospheric, upsetting drama about an impossible love affair between two women during the conservative 1950s. Actors Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara were deservedly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Cemetery of Splendour (Rak ti Khon Kaen) (2016 Feature Film)

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.

Chevalier (2016 Feature Film)

Six men on a pleasure craft enter the fray. The game is “who does it best”. Notebooks are taken out in order to keep track of literally everything: how everyone sleeps, talks, sports and plays. Men together. A dryly humorous and absurd new work by Attenberg director Tsangari.

Dans la maison (2016 Feature Film)

A 16-year old boy’s obsession for his classmate’s happy home life provides great fiction, yet leads to weird behaviour. His teacher Germain loves the voyeuristic stories: finally a student is writing something interesting! Smart, exciting film by French master storyteller Ozon. With Kristin Scott Thomas and Fabrice Luchini.

Dar Noir (2016 Feature Film) Nominee

The tough streets of Dar es Salaam aren’t getting any safer with the detective responsible more concerned with his own drug use and corruption than anything else. Until, that is, he meets a special prostitute and decides to make amends. But does he still have time to turn the tide of evil?

Dreadlocks Story (2016 Feature Film)

There is more to Rastafari than reggae music and smoking weed. This anthropological research documentary shines unique, far-reaching light on the meaning and historical background of Rastafarians: free thinkers who shaped their spiritual life after slavery, influenced by the Black Power movement and Indian sadhus.

Fado (2016 Feature Film)

Love mixed with jealousy is a poisonous combination. It already went wrong once between Fabian and Doro but she decides to give him one more chance. In Lisbon their relationship blossoms again. However, he inevitably falls back into his old pattern of suspicion and paranoia. With severe consequences.

Good Friday (2016 Feature Film) Nominee

If you have a sick child and no funds for a cure, you can only hope for a miracle. While the Colombian spouse seeks help through secular, political channels, his devout wife hopes for help from above. Miraculous drama with wry elements about compassion, hope and an odd miracle.

High-Rise (2016 Feature Film)

Stylised, virtuoso drama by Ben Wheatley (Sightseers). A doctor moves into a luxury apartment building, an autonomous community where everyone knows their proper place. Then a class rebellion develops and the residents unite in murderous gangs – with surrealist, hysterical and post-apocalyptic consequences.

Jacqueline (Argentine) (2016 Feature Film)

Jacqueline wants to divulge a major government conspiracy, but the media won’t take the bait. Paranoia and boredom alternate while she waits for the media storm in voluntary exile in Argentina, where a naive documentary crew follows her. Light, ironic portrait of a whistleblower in cinéma-vérité style.

La luz incidente (Incident Light) (2016 Feature Film)

Shot in beautiful and appropriate black-and-white, Rotter’s third film after Solo por hoy/Just for Today and El otro/The Other, is an intimate tale about family, mourning and love. In 1960s Buenos Aires, a beautiful, young, single mother cares for her twins after the sudden death of her husband. Then a new admirer appears.

Lamb (2016 Feature Film)

A realistic children’s film with mature undertones. About a boy who grows up without parents in the harsh mountains of northern Ethiopia, but also about the adults around him. And yes, it’s also about his sheep – his best friend, who is in danger of being sacrificed.

Land of Mine (Under sandet) (2016 Feature Film)

The horror of World War II throws a harrowing shadow in this intense drama about captured German soldiers who are forced to neutralize the remaining landmines along the Danish coast. An interesting game with the viewer’s sympathy, in which every scene is fraught with tension.

Landfill Harmonic (2016 Feature Film)

Violins, flutes, drums: the instruments played by the members of the poverty-stricken Paraguayan youth orchestra in the documentary Landfill Harmonic are made from waste. The film explains how music has unexpectedly offered these children a brighter future.

Lilting (2016 Feature Film)

After Kai’s sudden death, his British boyfriend Richard tries to get to know Junn, Kai’s Asian mother. She however speaks no English and doesn’t know her son was gay. Can an interpreter offer a solution to Richard and Junn or is more needed?

Love & Friendship (2016 Feature Film)

Cheerful, effervescent Jane Austen film – and this time not an Austen that has been filmed countless times. A free adaptation of Lady Susan, a novella about a pretty widow who shakes up the lives of everyone around her in a villainous way. Fresh acting, spirited writing.

Mi ta hasi mi kos (2016 Feature Film)

Bio of Rina Penso, one of Curaçao’s leading actors, with tons of archival footage and interviews. Friends, colleagues and, naturally, Penso herself talk about her talent, drive and love of theater: “For me, theater is like coming home.”

Original Copy (2016 Feature Film)

Every morning the projectionist at Alfred Talkies blesses the cinema and its staff. The old building in Mumbai Central has been showing Hindi films for 80 years, films as colourful as the billboards that S. Rehman makes every week. Melancholy portrait of a disappearing cinema culture.

A orillas del mar (By the Sea) (2016 Feature Film) Nominee

When dad disappears from their fishing village, his teen son goes in search of his missing parent. He even scours the city where the living is harder than he thought. Safety and unconditional parental love are hard to find in this social drama. However, the teen encounters humanity in the least expected places.

Presos (Imprisoned) (2016 Feature Film)

Feature film drama from Costa Rica about a young woman who comes to face unexpected, complex choices. Victoria’s new employer puts her in touch with a prisoner who intrigues her enormously. Her neatly ordered life soon comes unstuck.

Que horas ela volta (The Second Mother) (2016 Feature Film)

For years and with great dedication, Val has been caring for the household of rich couple Carlos and Barbara. She’s like a second mother to their son Fabinho. But when Val’s daughter Jessica turns up, the fragile equilibrium at the luxury villa starts to crumble. Bittersweet, airy drama that has won many audience awards.

Radio Dreams (2016 Feature Film)

It’s a big day for the little radio station Pars Radio, broadcasting in Persian from San Francisco: Metallica is going to jam in the studio with Kabul Dreams, the first rock band from Afghanistan. But first, everyday life intervenes, in a dryly comical way.

Room (2016 Feature Film)

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.

Seymour: An Introduction (2016 Feature Film)

Loving documentary portrait of pianist Seymour Bernstein (1927), made by actor and good friend Ethan Hawke. Hawke reveals how Bernstein passed up on a brilliant artistic career because he wasn’t a performer and thought passing on knowledge was more important. What drives this virtuoso musician as a pianist, teacher and last, but definitely not least, as a human?

Tanna (2016 Feature Film)

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.

Taxi Tehran (Taxi) (2016 Feature Film)

This award-winning hybrid documentary enables Jafar Panahi to once again get around his ban on filming imposed by the Iranian courts. He ‘plays’ a taxi driver in Teheran while his inconspicuous dashcam records his talks with passengers. Open-hearted conversations and comical incidents paint a strong, honest image of contemporary Iran.

The Idol (Ya tayr el tayer) (2016 Feature Film)

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.

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith (2016 Feature Film)

From 1957 to 1965, Life Magazine photo journalist W. Eugene Smith was obsessed with bebop and free jazz. He aimed his camera almost exclusively at visitors to a loft in New York, where the cream of the jazz world came to improvise. Smith installed microphones as well, thus creating a unique audiovisual archive.

The Lobster (2016 Feature Film)

At a strange hotel far away in the woods, there is only one rule: date or die. Loneliness is a taboo: the hotel guests irrevocably change into animals if they don’t hook up. They can stretch the deadline a couple of days if they go hunting the feral loners wandering the woods. Absurdism that makes you think.

We Like It Like That (2016 Feature Film)

Up-tempo, danceable Latin boogaloo, a multicultural musical genre played in the 1960s primarily by Cubans and Puerto Ricans, which conquered the world from New York. Leading exponents such as Joe Bataan and Johnny Colon anecdotally reminisce on a fruitful musical era in We Like It Like That.

Where I grow old (A cidade onde envelheço) (2016 Feature Film)

Two young Portuguese women try to put down roots in Brazil. Teresa is newly arrived; Francisca has been there a while. This sure-footed, loving portrait of two counterparts, attracting and repelling, is also an ode to Belo Horizonte: a city with no tourist attractions, but bags of atmosphere and lust for life.