Tom Fassaert's A Family Affair opens the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
by Vitor Pinto
- Over 300 documentaries, including 50 new Dutch productions, are screening in Amsterdam until 29 November
The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) has kicked off its 28th edition with A Family Affair [+see also:
interview: Tom Fassaert
film profile], a Dutch-Belgian-Danish co-production in which director Tom Fassaert focuses on the life of his 95-year-old grandmother, Marianne Hertz, who was once described in a 1950s magazine as a “model and perfect mother”. With an eclectic programme divided into competitive, non-competitive and Special Focus sections, IDFA 2015 will screen over 300 titles, including 50 Dutch productions, until 29 November.
A total of 14 titles are being shown as part of the festival’s main feature-length competition programme. Besides Fassaert’s opening film, other European titles in competition also tend to focus on family and personal topics such as Clear Years, in which Belgian director Frédéric Guillaume reflects on his life with his pregnant girlfriend; Jerzy Sladkowski’s Don Juan [+see also:
film profile], a Swedish-Finnish co-production examining the distinction between introversion and autism; and Christian Sønderby Jepsen’s Natural Disorder, a Danish title about a journalism student with cerebral palsy. Others exhibit a more social approach, such as Greece’s Next Stop: Utopia by Apostolos Karakasis, about a group of fired factory workers who start a line of cleaning products based on the principle that any form of hierarchy is forbidden; and the US-Italian co-production Thy Father’s Chair by Antonio Tibaldi and Alex Lora, which portrays two elderly Orthodox Jewish twin brothers from Brooklyn.
Among the 11 Dutch titles in the local competition are A Strange Love Affair With Ego, in which director Esther Gould follows a number of seemingly successful people reflecting on the level of self-confidence they display; Sjors Swierstra’s The World According to Monsieur Khiar, about a photographer starting a new life in Lebanon; and Sophia Luvara’s Inside the Chinese Closet [+see also:
film profile], portraying the coming-out process of two young Chinese homosexuals.
The Special Focus programme includes several mouth-watering events, among which a line-up of films selected by political theorist Benjamin Barber, which focus on controversial contemporary themes such as global capitalism, terrorism, politics of fear, refugees, populism and economic inequality. Besides this, there is also a retrospective on the work of Errol Morris, and a retrospective of six Dutch documentaries made between 1965 and 1990 – a section curated by Bert Hogenkamp, a media historian at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
The IDFA’s organisers are in close contact with local police following the increased level of security in Amsterdam due to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. However, this has not led to any additional security measures so far, not even in the screenings organised within the Benjamin Barber sidebar. So doc lovers are warmly invited to attend the festival and enjoy its films in complete safety until 29 November.