Cinema and human rights in Geneva
by Françoise Deriaz
03/03/2011 - There is no doubt the debates will be lively at the 9th Film Festival and International Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), which opens tomorrow in Geneva against the backdrop of the “Arab spring”. Held from March 4-13 opposite the UN building, the event provides an open platform and invites filmmakers and personalities to “denounce the violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights wherever they occur”.
Léo Kaneman, FIFDH’s co-founder and co-director along with Yael Reinharz Hazan, said that this year’s festival will tackle subjects like “the rise of European populisms, justice in the face of history, journalists as terrorist targets, the citizens’ revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, repression in Russia and China”.
At the daily rate of “one film, one subject, one debate”, the FIFDH will also focus on Colombia’s paramilitaries in Juan José Lozano and Hollmann Morris’s Impunity (Switzerland/France/Colombia) and Mark Henderson’s My Kidnapper (United Kingdom); elections in lran in Ali Samadi’s The Green Wave [trailer]; Egypt in Mohamed Diab’s debut film 678; Libya in Antoine Vitkine’s Gaddafi, Our Greatest Enemy (France); and the death penalty in the United States in Swiss director Jean-François Amiguet’s Debra.
Dedicated to imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi and Syrian lawyer Haytam Al-Maleh, who has been sentenced to three years in prison without remission at the age of 79, the event is expecting human rights defenders including Adam Michnik, figurehead of the Polish opposition from 1970-1980; Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who has had a fatwa against her for the past seven years; Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi; and Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón.
Jorge Semprún, EU commissioner Viviane Reding and actress Fanny Ardant are also expected to attend. Like last year, film director Robert Guédiguian will give a masterclass.
(Translated from French)