Strong Belgian presence at Rotterdam
by Aurore Engelen
The 40th Rotterdam International Film Festival opened yesterday, and Belgium is well-represented in the line-up. For this special edition, the IFFR has chosen to put the spotlight on 20 young directors who have previously appeared in its prestigious Tiger Awards competition.
Alex Stockman is thus presenting his second feature Pulsar [+see also:
film profile], a variation on the theme of love and online paranoia, with Lynchian overtones. Sam (Mathias Schoenaerts) and his girlfriend Mireille, who is living temporarily in New York, have their virtual relationship disrupted by a mysterious hacker, who seems intent on invading their fragile intimacy.
Also in the line-up, 22nd of May [+see also:
film profile] is the second feature by Koen Mortier, who caused a stir four years ago with Ex-Drummer [+see also:
film profile]. 22nd of May centres on another Sam, a shopping centre security guard whose life is turned upside down when a young suicide bomber blows himself up a few feet away from him.
In the Spectrum section , the IFFR is screening Olivier Masset-Depasse’s Illegal [+see also:
interview: Olivier Masset-Depasse
film profile] (LUX Prize 2010 competition), which has been nominated at next week’s Magritte Awards.
Meanwhile, the Bright Future section is showing Jérôme Lemaire’s unusual Le Grand Tour [+see also:
film profile], which wavers between parody and documentary. Across wooded landscapes, it follows the true-false odyssey of a brass band who are doing a tour of carnivals and other village festivals. Le Grand Tour is produced and sold by La Parti.
Finally, in the same section is Lotte Stoops’s debut documentary feature Grande Hotel. Stoops, who started out in theatre and is an enthusiastic traveller, is on a trip when she stumbles upon the Grande Hotel, in the heart of Beira (Mozambique). It is an intriguing macrocosm where almost 2,500 occupants live without water or electricity in the almost-literal ruins of colonisation. Serendipity Films produced the title in collaboration with Volya Films, with backing from the VAF and Dutch Film Fund.
(Translated from French)
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