The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is a twelve-day film festival that attracts a truly diverse audience, including directors, film buffs, occasional movie-goers and actors alike. What makes the festival unique is the wide range of films presented, as well as the one-of-a-kind chance to attend Q&A sessions with directors. This year marks the 45th IFFR!
Walking through Rotterdam you get the feeling that the whole city is involved in the festival. Besides the fact that over fifteen cinemas throughout the city participate, local cafes and restaurants boast festival themed specials. Several art galleries also featured exhibitions especially for the IFFR. The very cute festival tiger logo is ubiquitous throughout the town!
Over the course of 3 full days at the festival, I watched 7 full length films and several short films. My favorite film, which was also the first one I watched, was A Bride for Rip Van Winkle. For anyone interestd in Japanese culture, and modern critics of societal isolation caused by technology, I highly recommend this film. Additional films that I really enjoyed include Mes nuits feront echo, Porto, El futuro perfecto and ANTÓNIO UM DOIS TRÊS. A common theme of the films was travelling to faraway places, such as China, in an attempt to find yourself. Sound familiar?
Sadly, several of the films I wanted to see sold out. This was in part do to the fact that some theaters were quite small and also some movies were extremely hyped! On my to-watch list include the Suffering of Ninko, DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE, Sexy Dura and Japanese Girls Never Die. If you are willing to risk a film selling out, then try to snag a half price ticket 30-mins before the film begins. In my experience, it was very hard to predict how popular films were, and whether or not they would sell out.
One thing I really enjoyed about participating in the festival, apart from the outstanding selection of films, was the ability to cast your vote for films participating in the tiger competition. Plus the amount of international participants in both the competition and general attendees was very impressive. The intercultural aspects of the films really inspired and excited me!
Rotterdam – City Tips
When you aren’t busy watching film after film make the most of your time in Rotterdam. The city has great public transport, including lots of trams. Don’t forget to scan your ticket when you enter AND exit. If you don’t see any ticket machines don’t fret, there are almost always a RET employee selling and checking tickets on board.
Eat your heart out.
- Everything you can image is sold at the Markt Hall
- Eat tasty pancakes at Lilith
- Grab a coffee at King Kong
- Enjoy a beer at KRAFTBAR R’DAM
- Don’t forget to Indulge in fresh Stroopwafels while in the Netherlands!!
Admire the city’s architecture– The city really surprised me with its funky architecture! Walk along the Erasmus Bridge from the city center to the Kop van Zuid neighborhood to see modern architecture located on the south bank of the Nieuwe Maas opposite the center of town. If you want to take a deep dive be sure to visit the Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture.
Explore wonderful art museums. When it comes to art museums there is quite a lot to see in Rotterdam!
Visit Rotterdam’s largest art museum the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. There is a great surrealist exhibition coming up from 11.02-28.05.2017 and don’t forget to check out Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room while you’re there. For travelers on a budget, who can’t afford the hefty 15 Euro entrance fee, you can enter the museum for free for the last 30 minutes before closing.
For contemporary art check out the Witte de With and make sure to plan some time for Eric Baudelaire’s exhibition! I watched the hour long film THE ANABASIS OF MAY AND FUSAKO SHIGENOBU, MASAO ADACHI AND 27 YEARS WITHOUT IMAGES, expecting it to last fifteen minutes and not wanting it to ever end.
Lastly, if you’re interested in fashion photography don’t miss the Peter Lindbergh – A Different Vision on Fashion Photography exhibition at the Kunsthal.
Go to the IFFR if you ever get the chance! It was a really nice escape from reality- from the cold winter weather to the outrageous travel bans in the US. The hardest part of it all is selecting what films you want to watch!