International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the first part of its Deep Focus 2017 selection. In Deep Focus – one of the festival’s four programme sections – IFFR focuses in on cinema itself, in all its diversity, through retrospectives, masterclasses, compilations and countless other manifestations. Film art cultivated in all it’s variety.
Alongside the Signatures main programme, the Deep Focus section comprises of the programme elements Regained, the one-off Nuts & Bolts programme and retrospectives dedicated to the work of Jan Němec and Su Hui-yu. A new element this year is Frameworks, a separate selection of films by artists as part of the Signatures programme.
In Signatures, IFFR presents new work by established makers, auteurs and festival veterans. From Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left (an award-winner in Venice) to Albert Serra’s La mort de Louis XIV and Ulrich Seidl’s latest film, Safari. Almost ten years after his legendary Historias Extraordinarias, Mariano Llinás’ new epic project is nearing completion. The first part of La Flor, which is made up of two distinct parts, will have its international premiere during the festival. Bill Morrison and Patrick Bokanowski – two exceptional filmmakers, each of whom has developed a highly personal form of filmmaking – have also been confirmed for Signatures. In Dawon City: Frozen Time, Morrison reveals a treasure trove of stories on nitrate film, buried for decades in Canadian soil. With Un rêve solaire, the visual alchemist Bokanowski has created perhaps the most hallucinogenic film in his oeuvre.
Clockwise: La mort de Louis XIV, La flor, The Woman Who Left, Safari, Dawson City: Frozen Time and Un rêve solaire.
Under the label Frameworks, IFFR shows films made by visual artists. These films work just as well in a cinema setting as in a museum or gallery space, bringing with them a contemporary art frame of reference. Highlights include Fiona Tan’s poetic photo montage Ascent; the conceptual detective film Where is Rocky II? by Pierre Bismuth and Jungle Book remake Die reine Notwendigkeit by media artist David Claerbout, which has its world première at the festival.
In the Regained section, new light is cast on existing film material by means of restored classics, films about film, experimental works and installations. John Torres’ People Power Bombshell: Diary of Vietnam Rose will have its international première during IFFR. This reconstruction of an uncompleted film is experienced as a feverish trip that acts as a metaphor for the Philippine nation and its traumas. With Conner’s Crossroads and The Exploding Digital Inevitable, American film archivist Ross Lipman will present a live performance based around Bruce Conner’s notorious film Crossroads, which combines nuclear explosions with minimal music. To create the project Homeless Movies, which has its international première on the Schouwburgplein in special individual film cabins, six luminaries of the Belgian arts scene pored over amateur films.
People Power Bombshell: Diary of Vietnam Rose (left), Conner's Crossroads and The Exploding Digital Inevitable (right)
IFFR will present the most extensive retrospective of the work of Jan Němec ever assembled. Alongside familiar classics, the programme will also present seldom-seen works from the fifteen-year period of Němec’s exile. Comprising of fiction films, documentaries, shorts and television films, this programme reflects the huge diversity of the Czech filmmaker’s oeuvre. Heart Beat 3D (2010), an experimental work that has hardly ever been shown, will have its international première in Rotterdam, as will his last film The Wolf of Royal Vineyard Street (2016).
While his latest film Super Taboo has been selected for the Tiger Competition for Short Films, IFFR is also presenting a short programme of previous works by this Taiwanese artist. Su Hui-yu: The Midnight Hours gives an overview of his recent hypnotic video works, dealing with what people get up to in the hours after the clock has chimed midnight. Made up principally of festival premieres, the programme shows Su Hui-yu’s investigations of late-night TV and how the media, technology and social conventions shape human behaviour.
An overview of the titles already confirmed for the Deep Focus section is given below.The one-off programme section Nuts & Bolts, along with the rest of the Deep Focus selection, will be announced in early January.
Accelerando (part of 1917 – Europe’s Optical Illusion), Georg Wasner, Austria, short film, international premiere
- Answer Print, Mónica Savirón, USA, short film
- As crianças fantasmas, João Vieira Torres, Brazi/France, short film, European premiere
- Conseil d'Etat, Fanny Zaman, Belgium, short film
- Sergei/Sir Gay, Mark Rappaport, France/USA, short film, international premiere
- What Happened to Her, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, USA, short film
- Burning Mountains That Spew Flame, Samuel M. Delgado & Helena Girón, Spain, short film, European premiere
- The Stability of the System, Sasha Litvintseva & Isabel Mallet, UK, short film, international premiere
The Wolf of Royal Vineyard Street, Jan Němec, Czech Republic/Slovakia/France, international premiere
GEN: The Life of Singer Marta Kubišová Through the Eyes of Jan Němec, Jan Němec, Czech Republic, short film