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41st International Film Festival Rotterdam Sets Opening & Closing Films

41st International Film Festival Rotterdam Sets Opening & Closing Films

The International Film Festival Rotterdam unveiled its opening and closing night selections for its 41st edition.

French director Lucas Belvaux’s “38 Témoins” (38 Witnesses), starring Yvan Attal, Sophie Quinton and Nicole Garcia, will open the event January 25th, while Australian filmmaker Daniel Nettheim’s “The Hunter” with Willem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor and Sam Neill will close out the fest February 4th.

IFFR’s festival program consists of three main sections: Bright Future – described as an “idiosyncratic and adventurous new work by novice makers, including the Tiger Awards Competitions.” Spectrum,” new and recent work by experienced filmmakers and artists who provide, in the opinion of the IFFR, “an essential contribution to international film culture. And Signals, a series of thematic programs and retrospectives offering “insight in topical as well as timeless ideas within cinema.”

The 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam will take place January 25th – February 5th. The festival will release its full lineup January 19th.

IFFR’s opening and closing films follow with descriptions and commentary provided by the festival:

38 Témoins
Louise (Sophie Quinton) returns home to discover that while she was away on business in China her street was the scene of a crime. There were no witnesses. Apparently everybody was asleep. Pierre, Louise’s husband (Yvan Attal) was at work. Apparently.

Rutger Wolfson, Director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, about “38 Témoins”: “Lucas Belvaux brings us an excellently written and directed film that is not only tense but also moving and offering food for thought.  He makes us very clear what may be the consequences of emotions like fear and shame. Just like in his strong Grenoble-triptych in 2002 and his dramatic Rapt in 2009, Belvaux knows how to capture life’s complexities in beautiful cinema.”

Lucas Belvaux (1961, Belgium) has been a film, TV and stage actor for over thirty years; he acted in Claude Chabrol’s “Madame Bovary” and several of his own films. Before he embarked on his ambitious Grenoble Trilogy, he directed two other features. “38 Témoins,” written by Belvaux based on the novel ‘Est-ce ainsi que les femmes meurent?’ by Didier Decoin, is his seventh film.

“38 Témoins” was produced by Patrick Sobelman (Agat Films), Patrick Quinet (Artemis) and Yvan Attal. Sales agent is Films Distribution and Diaphana will distribute the film in France.

The Hunter
“The Hunter” is a powerful psycholigical drama that tells the story of Martin (Willem Dafoe) a mercenary sent from Europe by a mysterious bio-tech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. Next to Willem Dafoe, “The Hunter” stars Frances O’Connor (“Mansfield Park”) and Sam Neill (“The Piano”) in the principal roles. “The Hunter” is based on the novel of the same name written by Julia Leigh.

“The Hunter” was launched as film project at Rotterdam’s CineMart 2004. The film premiered last September during the Toronto IFF. Australian filmmaker Daniel Nettheim directed many television series and the short film The Third Stroke (1995). After his début feature Angst (2000), The Hunter (2011) is his second feature film.

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