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Our Programmers in Rotterdam: The Competition

Kala azar, dir. Janis Rafa
NH Programmers in Rotterdam: Pedro Costa's Masterclass Hits from Venice and Locarno in the 20th New Horizons programme

The Rotterdam International Film Festival runs from January 22 to February 2, 2020.

This year's Rotterdam competition is trying to encompass all the new and existing festival trends. So, there was ample room for both the 200-minute documentary about the crisis in Spain (El año del descubrimientio ) and a Korean comedy with the perennial bag-filled-with-cash motif (Beasts Clawing at Straws). But the most interesting films are those seeking new forms of expression, like the phenomenal Greek Kala azar directed by Janis Rafa, which is a radical poem about our relations with animals, their passing (sometimes through the fault of man); story-wise it’s the reverse of Animus Animalis shown at NH last year. Greek cinema has returned to form, because the program also includes the wonderfully absurd Birds. Or How to Be One by Babis Makridis (Pity), which is also a film about man in contact with nature. The competition's second strong point is the Indian Nasir by Arun Karthick, a lyrical, subtle, sometimes almost fairy-tale story about the beauty of the everyday routine. Karthick reveals himself as a completely new face of Indian cinema, with echoes of the legendary Satyajit Ray.

Marcin Pieńkowski

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