Rotterdam is completely taken over by the International Film Festival Rotterdam, just like it is every year. And every year you will somehow see the long list of movies available between the 22nd of January and the 2nd of February and it is just overwhelming. The list seems endless, completely unreadable and as big an obstacle as the Mount Everest. So to help you figure out what to watch, we made a list of the bookish movies being shown during the festival. If you like books and movies that have something to do with books, this is the list for you. No need to thank us for making your life easier.
Back to the Temple of the Sun
This road movie is based on the adventures of Tin Tin in Peru during The Temple of the Sun. Trying to mimic the comic, the brother of the filmmaker takes a Peruvian hairless dog as company instead of Snowy and follows in the footsteps on the Belgian hero.
Director: Marco Pando
Screenings: Saturday 25th at 16:45, Friday 31st at 22:00 and Saturday 1st at 10:00
L’ amour est un crime parfait (Love Is the Perfect Crime)
The life of a hot-shot literary professor gets more complicated when one of his victories, a young student, disappears. The girl’s stepmother, the professors sister and a crazy fan all put pressure on him to find out what happened in this Hitchchock like thriller.
Director: Arnaud Larrieu & Jean-Marie Larrieu
Screenings: Saturday 25th at 09:00, Sunday 26th at 16:15 and Thursday 30th at 16:45
L’ armée du salut (Salvation Army)
This adaptation is made by the author of the book, a young Moroccan writer. The movie tells the story of two people, one a young boy in Casablanca who finds out he can make money through a homosexual lifestyle and a lonely student who looks for shelter at the Salvation Army in Geneva.
Director: Abdellah Taïa
Screenings: Tuesday 28th at 19:00, Wednesday 29th at 21:45, Thursday 30th at 12:45 and Friday 31st at 21:45
Le 5 avril je me tue (On the 5th April I’ll Kill Myself)
A thoughtful man picks out a date for his death just like he picks a date for dinner or a date. Because that’s how thoughtful men do. The movie uses the absurd reality of life found in the work of Cesare Pavese and Albert Camus.
Director: Sergio Canneto
Screenings: Friday 24th at 20:15 and Sunday 26th at 12:15
The Joycean Society
A group of people dissect the work of James Joyce by reading it word for word, again and again for 30 years while constantly finding new meaning in them. That is dedicated reading for you.
Director: Dora García
Screenings: Sunday 26th at 14:15 and Mon
The Great Passage (Fune wo amu)
The Japanese submission for the Oscar’s sounds like the sweetest bookish dream. When the editor at a large publishing house wants to leave, he needs to find a successor for his latest project: creating a new dictionary which contains the living language. Of course there is a love story and the young successor Majime and his sweetheart, the shy chef Kaguya work together to create ‘The Great Passage’.
Director: Ishii Yuya
Screenings: Friday 24th at 18:30, Tuesday 28th at 09:45, Thursday 30th at 18:45 and Friday 31st at 21:45
Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Dast-neveshtehaa nemisoozand)
This movie was made under some strange circumstances. The Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been under a twenty year ban for making film since 2011, but went ahead and made a movie anyway. Manuscripts don’t burn is about a rebellious author who is being hunted by two government agents for writing a thriller that got too political. The anger of the director is very visible in the movie of which the title is based on a passage from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
This film only has Dutch subtitles and non-English dialogue so be aware if your Dutch or your Persian isn’t up to scratch.
Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
Screenings: Tuesday 28th at 09:15, Saturday 1st at 19:45
Hard to Be a God (Trudno byt’ Bogom)
Based on the book of the same name by the Strugatski Brothers, Hard to Be a God shows us the planet Arkanar, a medieval hell-hole ruled by a totalitarian unspeakable evil. Unlike the IFFR-description, this is not a movie based on the same book used for Stalker, but the minimalist approach to Strugatski’s story sounds comparable enough. Watch this if you like beautiful, but intentionally vague and weird sci-fi.
Director: Alexei German
Screenings: Monday 27th at 16:15, Tuesday 28th 11:45, Friday 31st at 18:45 and Saturday 1st at 09:00
On the Edge (Lev stærkt)
Described by IFFR as Fast & The Furious meets Crime and Punishment, this action-drama from Denmark sounds rather interesting. Two friends with a love for street racing and it’s seedy culture have to live with the consequences after hitting and killing a young girl. After one of the friends is sentenced with manslaughter, the other seeks solace with his girlfriend, trying to drown out the grief
Director: Christian E. Christiansen
Screenings: Sunday 26th at 20:00, Monday 27th at 15:15 and Thursday 30th at 22:00.
To What Do I Owe the Honor of This Illustrious Visit? (A que deve a honra da ilustre visita este simples marquês?)
This movie sounds like Book porn turned into a short film. Brazilian collector Max Conradt Jr. shows us his collection of books, magazines and paintings while telling their stories and how they fit in with the history of his country and his family. The title itself is interesting enough but the only available still promises pretty pictures alongside funny and sweet stories.
Directors: Rafael Ubran & Terence Keller
Screenings: Thursday 23rd at 19:45, Saturday 25th at 14:30
We Had the Experience But Missed the Meaning
This short film is based on a line from the poem The Dry Salvages (1941) by T.S. Elliot. The description of the film is scarce, but it combines images with poetry, trying to create a personal and meaningful cinematic experience. A bit vague but the film is only 8 minutes and part of the Resonating Spaces programme, so if you don’t like this one, there’s still 5 other shorts to watch.
Director: Laida Lertxundi
Screenings: Saturday 25th at 14:45 and Sunday 26th at 19:45
New Fancy Foils
A movie about literal books! This short about paper sample books looks like it could be a delight for the eyes. The film shows long forgotten paper samples used in combination with experiments in pattern, rhythm, colour and text(ure).
Director: Jodie Mack
Screenings: Sunday 26th at 17:00
Le Jour Nous Écoute (The Day is Listening)
This short film is showed before a long-length feature, but seeing two movies for the price of one doesn’t seem like a bad idea. The animated short Le Jour Nous Écoute about the love between two people that persists because of a shared affection for literature. Drawings, collages and poems by the Canadian author Hélène Dorion were used as the basis of the film.
Director: Félix Dufour-Laperrière
Screenings: Thursday 23rd at 17:00, Saturday 25th at 10:00. Sunday 26th at 11:45 and Friday 31st at 19:15
This 3 minute film was shot on the exact same mountain that Goethe wrote his poem ‘Ein Gleiches’. The poem is set to music and accompanied by images from the backdrop of his hunting lodge. The short is part of the Survival Strategies programme.
Director: Riki Kalbe & Barbara Kasper
Screenings: Sunday 26th at 14:45