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52th International Film Festival Rotterdam

25 January - 5 February 2023

Rotterdam, 10 November 2022

Judit Elek, Yuasa Masaaki, Stanya Kahn, and arc at IFFR 2023

Focus programmes announced alongside first titles in Harbour.

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will celebrate the careers of four radical filmmakers and visual artists at its 52nd edition. Hungarian filmmaker Judit Elek, Japanese animator Yuasa Masaaki, American interdisciplinary artist Stanya Kahn and the long-running Bay Area expanded cinema project arc will all be placed in the spotlight with Focus programmes and Talks at IFFR 2023. The first titles in Harbour, the festival’s largest and broadest programme, are also announced. 


IFFR announces the world premieres of three titles in its newest programme Harbour. Dutch visual artist and musician Dick Verdult embraces excess and bad taste in his darkly comedic take on the super-wealthy, Als uw gat maar lacht. Reality, hallucination, fantasy and terror blur in Alien Food by Italian filmmaker Giorgio Cugno, who plays his own lead character in a stark window into psychosis. An ex-special forces soldier will stop at nothing to protect his daughter in the latest thriller from John Swab, Little Dixie

Acclaimed Japanese director Kawase Naomi was commissioned to make an official film for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. From 5,000 hours of footage, Kawase produced an extraordinary documentary, divided into two sides. Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side B has its international premiere at IFFR, turning its attention to the event organisers, workers, politicians and protestors. Also having its international premiere in Harbour is Masoud Kimiai’s Killing a Traitor, set against the turbulent streets of 1950s Iran. 

Further titles in the Harbour programme will be unveiled in the coming weeks. 

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Clockwise, stills from the films: Als uw gat maar lacht, Alien Food, Killing a Traitor, Little Dixie

Focus: Judit Elek

IFFR is honoured to present a vast retrospective of Hungarian filmmaker and writer Judit Elek, whose career deserves its long-awaited moment in the spotlight. Elek's work often touches on issues of political oppression and Jewishness, varying between compassion, tenderness and fury. The programme includes the harsh and unsparing look at a dying relationship Maybe Tomorrow (1980), the sarcastic historical allegory Martinovics (1981) and the Holocaust anchored documentary portrait Elie Wiesel Goes Home (1996). Elek will be present to launch and sign copies of a publication on her life and career, specially commissioned by IFFR.

Focus: Yuasa Masaaki

A selection of films and episodic series make up a Focus programme on the critically acclaimed Japanese animator and filmmaker Yuasa Masaaki, who will also be in Rotterdam for an IFFR Talk. Alongside a selection of his characteristic wild free-form works, IFFR 2023 will show Yuasa’s charming fairytale Ride Your Wave and his latest work INU-OH, an anime rock opera about friendship and the power of sincere art. 

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Still from the film Maybe Tomorrow Still from the film Ride Your Wave

Focus: Stanya Kahn

A Focus programme is dedicated to the widely-exhibited American interdisciplinary artist and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow Stanya Kahn, featuring the international premiere of So Low You Can’t Get Over It (2022) in which animated paintings manifest uncertainty. She often collaborates with performers, visual artists and choreographers – such as with the artist Llyn Foulkes on Happy Song for You (2011). Kahn will discuss her work at an IFFR Talk.  

Focus: arc

IFFR presents a rare profile of the single channel and performance-based expanded cinema project arc, with many works including multiple projectors and live accompanying scores. arc is the creation of San Francisco experimental art scene mainstay tooth, who also runs the Black Hole Cinematheque and the celluloid-only film festival Light Field. They will also be present for an IFFR Talk.

Read more about the Focus programmes here.

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Still from the film So Low You Can't Get Over It

IFFR Talks

IFFR Talks are an opportunity to see the craft of filmmaking from a unique and masterly vantage point – offering new perspectives and insights from selected filmmakers and visual artists. The full lineup of all the IFFR Talks will be confirmed following the IFFR 2023 Press Conference on December 19. 

First confirmed lineup:


Focus: Judit Elek 

  • A Commonplace Story, Judit Elek, 1975, Hungary
  • A Free Man: The Life of Erno Fisch, Judit Elek, 1998, Hungary, France 
  • After All the Dead Sing Again, Judit Elek, 2018, Hungary  
  • Awakening, Judit Elek, 1994, Hungary, France, Poland
  • Az első fénykép, Judit Elek, 1974, Hungary
  • The Eighth Day of the Week, Judit Elek, 2006, Hungary, Poland
  • Elie Wiesel Goes Home, Judit Elek, 1996, Hungary, France, United States
  • How Long Does a Man Live?, Judit Elek, 1968, Hungary
  • Istenmezején, 1972-73-ban, Judit Elek, 1974, Hungary
  • Kastélyok lakói, Judit Elek, 1966, Hungary
  • The Lady From Constantinople, Judit Elek, 1969, Hungary
  • Maria's Day, Judit Elek, 1984, Hungary
  • Martinovics, Judit Elek, 1981, Hungary
  • Maybe Tomorrow, Judit Elek, 1980, Hungary
  • Memories of a River, Judit Elek, 1989, Hungary, France
  • Retrace, Judit Elek, 2011, Hungary, Romania, Sweden
  • Tálalkozás, Judit Elek, 1963, Hungary
  • Találkozunk 1972-ben (Sötétben-világosban), Judit Elek, 1970, Hungary

Focus: Yuasa Masaaki

  • INU-OH, Yuasa Masaaki, 2021, Japan
  • Japan Sinks: 2020 Theatrical Edition, Yuasa Masaaki, 2020, Japan
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, Yuasa Masaaki, 2020, Japan
  • Lu Over the Wall, Yuasa Masaaki, 2017, Japan
  • Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, Yuasa Masaaki, 2017, Japan
  • The Tatami Galaxy, Yuasa Masaaki, 2010, Japan

Focus: arc

Click here for the film stills and here for the programme.

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