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FESTIVALS Netherlands

Dutch treats at Rotterdam

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It was a strong year for Dutch films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), with a total of 80 local films at the festival this year.

“The festival is very proud to present such a large quantity of Dutch premieres,” says IFFR programmer Juliette Jansen. “The quality is extremely high, with several Dutch shorts in the Tiger and UIP competitions and David Verbeek’s feature Shanghai Trance in the Tiger Competition. There is an incredible diversity that ranges from documentaries about current issues to more experimental works and mainstream films with familiar faces such as Nothing to Lose, Tiramisu and Left”.

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Nothing to Lose is a timely exploration of a problem that has plagued the Netherlands recently: escaped psychiatric prisoners. In his fictional story, director Pieter Kuijpers follows Johan (Theo Maassen) who has been committed to a long-stay psychiatric facility for murdering his father. When he escapes, he takes a 13-year-old girl hostage, going on an odyssey to find the one person he believes can prove his innocence.

Like in his 2003 crime tale Godforsaken [+see also:
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, Kuijpers focuses on character as well as narrative and gets a great performance out of his lead actor. After its IFFR premiere, the Pupkin Film production was released commercially by Independent Films on Thursday. High Point Media handles international sales.

Director Paula van der Oest, Oscar-nominated for Zus & Zo from 2004, presented her Tiramisu at the IFFR, again an engaging drama with a feel-good glow. This time it involves an aging theatre star (Anneke Blok, channeling Deneuve) who is almost bankrupt and her brainy new bookkeeper (Jacob Derwig), who is stunned not only by the state of her accounts but also by her glamorous lifestyle. Motel Films produced and sells the title that will be released by A-Film on March 6.

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