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Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy has announced the first films from its 2019 line-up. The selection includes the Finnish premieres of Cannes and Berlinale favourites as well as an option to vote your own favourite for the outdoor screenings at Lasipalatsi square.

Two Cannes favourites will get their Finnish premieres at this year’s Helsinki International Film Festival. Winner of the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, French director Céline Sciamma’s (Tomboy, HIFF 2011, Girlhood, HIFF 2014) new masterpiece PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Portrait de la jeune fille en jeu) paints a breathtakingly beautiful picture of a forbidden love between two women in 18th century Bretagne.

The other Cannes favourite is the winner of the jury prize, another French director Ladj Ly’s debut feature LES MISÉRABLES, a no-holds-barred police story from the chaotic suburbs of Paris.

HIFF’s 32nd line-up also includes the Berlinale winner SYNONYMS (Synonymes). The category-dodging take on identity directed by Israeli Nadav Lapid (Policeman, HIFF 2011) tells the story of a young Israeli man who wants to be a Parisian.

French auteur François Ozon’s (Regarde la mer, HIFF 1998, The New Girlfriend, HIFF 2015, L’amant double, HIFF 2017) new film BY THE GRACE OF GOD (Grâce à Dieu) shines a light on France’s side of the Catholic Church abuse scandal and depicts how victims of injustice can get together to bring down the walls of secrecy protecting the clergy.

The festival is proud to present this year’s most awaited music documentary AMAZING GRACE, which transports its audience to 1972 to witness the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in a legendary concert in Watts, Los Angeles.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Les Misérables will be distributed in Finnish cinemas after the festival by Cinemanse and By the Grace of God and Amazing Grace by Cinema Mondo.

Vote for your favourite film

The beloved HIFF outdoor screenings will take place at the Lasipalatsi square on September 6th–8th. This year the audience can vote a film to be included in the outdoor programme.

The candidates are Pirjo Honkasalo’s Concrete Night (2013), Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider (1969), Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight (2016) and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (2018).

The voting ended on July 2nd.

The 32nd HIFF takes place on September 19th – 29th.