Press 12 JAN 2017

Rotterdam 2017

Several films of Wallonie-Bruxelles selected for Rotterdam.
No fewer than five fiction films and documentaries will be presented at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. 

Chez nous (This is our land), the highly awaited and already controversial film by Lucas Belvaux, will compete as a world premiere in the Big Screen Competition.  

It tells the story of Pauline, a home help nurse, working between Lens and Lille, who raises her two children on her own while also looking after her father, a former steelworker. Devoted and generous, all her patients love her and depend on her. Taking advantage of her popularity, the leaders of an extremist political party suggest she become their candidate in the next municipal elections. Chez nous (This is our land) was co-produced by Synecdoche (FR) and Artémis Productions (BE). It was also a co-production of France 3 Cinéma and RTBF. The film will be distributed in France on 22 February 2017 by Le Pacte, which also handles international sales, and in Belgium on 15 March 2017 by Artébis/Cinéart.

The documentary Boli Bana by Simon Gillard will be shown as a world premiere in the non-competitive section Bright Future Mid-Length, a selection of 10 mid-length international films.

In the deepest part of the bush, a long caravan of zebus moves along. In the middle of a transhumance of several months, four young boys, Ama, Ousséni, Hassana and Lela, have left their families, having decided to offer their herd better pastures. Guided by these children, we experience a diurnal journey through the landscapes of Burkina Faso and Mali, and when night falls, we share the fears and desires of these Fula children. The film then shows a more sedentary second journey, that of the mothers and newborns who stayed behind in the village. Boli Bana was produced by Hélicotronc, with help of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, WIP and CBA.

This year, the themed programmes (A Band Apart, Black Rebels, Criss Cross and Picture Palestine) will be grouped into the Perspectives section. It will feature films dealing with pertinent social and political themes or that push back the limits between art, music and other media. Two films of Wallonie-Bruxelles will be included:

HAMSTERs, an experimental feature film directed by Martine Doyen, will be presented as a world premiere in the A Band Apart themed programme. The latter will address the gatherings and/or protest movements, full of utopia and shock methods that differ greatly from these past years, whether it is about terrorism, sects, politics or even music. The programme will highlight modern films that have the same raw energy and tell the stories of these people that disrupted the establishment.

HAMSTERs features a phenomenon of collective hysteria, a dancing mania similar to the one seen in 1564 in Molenbeek that had started in the popular neighbour of Marolles in Brussels. ‘Contaminated’ people gather in the streets to dance frenetically. They have nothing in common except having witnessed, from near or far, a terrorist attack. The film was produced by Spinach Productions asbl with the support of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and VOO.

The feature film Sanctuaire by Olivier Masset-Depasse will be presented in the Criss Cross themed programme. It is a socially engaged political thriller, a very popular style in the 1970s, which has been experiencing a revival this past decade. By their nature, the works presented attempt to fill a cultural and political void through entertainment as well as storytelling aimed at a general audience. It is a reminder that film is always capable of analysing and even sometimes of changing the world we live in.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Txomin, historic leader of the ETA, perpetuates the battle for Basque independence by opposing the regime of Felipe González while he was fighting Franco. From the French Basque Country, the ETA members set up murderous actions that they will commit in Spain before going back with impunity to a quiet life of pub tours and political meetings. France is their sanctuary. Supported by the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the film was co-produced by Haut et Court (FR) and Versus Productions (BE). StudioCanal handles the international sales.

Continuing its festival tour, Noces (A Wedding) by Stephan Streker will be shown in the IFFR Live programme section Voices. The film tells the story of Zahira, a Belgian-Pakistani woman of 18 who is very close to her family until the day when a traditional marriage is imposed on her. Torn between family demands and her Western lifestyle and aspirations of freedom, the young woman turns for help to her oldest brother and confidant Amir. Noces (A Wedding) is produced by Daylight Films and supported by the Centre du Cinéma and Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Still in the Voices section, there is the Belgian co-production Grave (Raw) by Julia Ducournau, which was a hit at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes and which will be presented here in the Limelight programme. It consists of a collaboration between the festival and Dutch distributors in order to support the selection of about 30 films. Grave (Raw) was co-produced by Frakas Productions, distributed by Wild Bunch and supported by the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam is one of the biggest film festivals in the world, as well as one of the biggest cultural events of The Netherlands. The festival lasts for 12 days, during which hundreds of filmmakers will present their work to a large audience (in 2016, 305,000 tickets sold) and to film professionals (in 2016, 2538 attended). The 46th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam will take place from 25 January to 5 February 2017.