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FESTIVALS Netherlands

Adolescents follow their hearts in Rotterdam


Adolescents follow their hearts in Rotterdam

After several films with youths in trouble (see news), two films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), which wrapped this weekend, showcased youngsters listening to their hearts.

In Jacek Borcuch’s Polish film All That I Love [+see also:
film profile
, Janek (newcomer Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, a real find) is in love with a girl and wants to perform with his band at a music festival in another town. This setup may sound generic, but add in the fact it is set in Poland in 1981, massive strikes are in the air and his father works for the armed forces while his mother is sympathetic with Solidarity, and you have enough elements for a stirring coming-of-age film.

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Shot in handsome, washed-out colours, Borcuch’s semi-autobiographical follow-up to the middle-aged adults drama Tulips is filled with a youthful energy that never lets up. One of its nicest touches is how it doesn’t make a villain out of the father figure (Polish star actor Andrzej Chyra, who was also in Tulips), but instead allows for the father-son relationship to be a loving one despite the surrounding politics and questions of authority.

The classically made feel-good film, which already played in Pusan and Sundance, was part of IFFR’s Spectrum section.

Greek film In the Woods [+see also:
film review
film profile
, in the same section, focuses on three youngsters, two guys and a girl, who walk around in the woods and experiment with their boundaries. Director Angelos Frantzis used a cheap €200 digital photo/video camera for the shoot, which gives the film the look of a moving impressionist painting, with colours slightly off, at times saturated and the image often slightly blurred.

Despite its experimental look, the film’s subjects do rise to the surface clearly, making In the Woods an intriguing mood poem on nature versus society, human sexuality and relationships.

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