Rotterdam 2021: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam

Dates:
June 2-6

About:
This year’s edition of this acclaimed Dutch cinema event was split into two parts – an industry-focused February presentation, and this public-facing offering, which presents more than 100 features, with nonfiction and hybrids making up just over a third of the lineup.

Among the offerings:

ALL ABOUT MY SISTERS
Director: Wang Qiong
An intimate, deeply felt portrait of Jin and her family filmed by her sister.

ARCHIPEL
Director: Félix Dufour-Laperrière
A semi-fictional odyssey through the filmmaker’s native province of Quebec, captured in a composition of surprising, creative animation using a wide range of techniques and a partly invented documentary.

BERG
Director: Joke Olthaar
A journey at high altitude seen through the eyes of three mysteriously connected hikers.

Cinephilia Now: Part 1: Secrets Within Walls
Director: Sasaki Yusuke
The filmmaker finds traces of a plentiful culture of alternative screening venues when exploring a new city.

DAMASCUS DREAMS
Director: Émilie Serri
The filmmaker links the reminiscences of refugees to her own father’s little spoken of background in Syria.

DECAMERON
Director: Rita Hui Nga Shu
Using fiction, archival material, and contemporary images, Rita Hui Nga Shu crafts a critical visual essay on the present, past, and future of Hong Kong. 

FAT CHANCE
Director: Stephen Broomer
An avant-garde film-historical essay about Hollywood noir icon Laird Cregar’s inner turmoil because of his size.

MINIMATA MANDALA
Director: Hara Kazuo
A 15-year chronicle of the legal and medical battles endured by the residents of Minamata, a city in southern Japan whose name has become synonymous with the infamous neurological disease. 

The Philosophy of Horror: A Symphony of Film Theory
Director: Péter Lichter, Bori Máté
A seven-part abstract adaptation of Noël Carroll’s influential book examining horror in film.

SELF-PORTRAIT 2020
Director: Lee Dongwoo
A devastating documentary portrait of a man who was once a promising filmmaker but now homeless, an alcoholic, and unpredictable.

THE VILLAGE DETECTIVE: A SONG CYCLE
Director: Bill Morrison
A Soviet film from 1969 is found in an Icelandic fisherman’s net, and the filmography of its leading actor offers a portal into a history that has endured on celluloid.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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