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FESTIVALS Norway / Bangladesh

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Female Norwegian filmmakers head to the Dhaka Film Festival in force


- Anja Breien is being celebrated through a retrospective of eight films at the Bangladesh International Film Festival from 14-22 January

Female Norwegian filmmakers head to the Dhaka Film Festival in force
Director Anja Breien (© Ida Meyn/Norwegian Film Institute)

Headed up by veteran Norwegian director Anja Breien, a delegation of female Norwegian directors will participate in the 14th Dhaka International Film Festival, the largest showcase in Bangladesh, which will unspool 170 films from 14-22 January, with a special focus and conference on Women Filmmakers.

A “friendship” event organised in conjunction with the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, the programme will see Dhaka celebrate Breien with a retrospective of eight of her films, including Rape (1971), the Wives trilogy (1975-1994), Games of Love and Loneliness (1977), Heritage (1979), Witch Hunt (1981) and Yezidi (2009).

Last year, Breien celebrated her 75th birthday and also received the Norwegian Film Critics’ Messenger Award for “having enriched film culture by spreading knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm for film as art”. Up until 2015 (when Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs [+see also:
film review
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interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
came along), she had been the only Norwegian contender for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 36 years.

After going to college in Norway, Breien went to France, where she first studied French, then became the first Norwegian director to attend the IDHEC film school in Paris. After her return, her feature debut – Rape (Voldtekt, 1971), from Norsk Film – was included in the Directors’ Fortnight programme at Cannes. Also, the Norwegian National Library recently released a DVD box set of her films. 

Three documentaries by female Norwegian directors – Elsa Kvamme’s The Vanishing Act of Einar, Hilde Haug’s Mother’s Faith, My Destiny and Nefise Özkal Lorentzen’s Manislam – Islam and Masculinity – will be screened in the official programme. Lorentzen will deliver a lecture at the sixth Dhaka Cine Workshop for young Asian filmmakers, and both Breien and Haug will serve as members of the festival jury.

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