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Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy has announced its 32nd festival program  Cannes hits THE LIGHTHOUSE and AND THEN WE DANCED are among the films hitting the silver screens in September. The festival welcomes Warren Ellis, Lone Scherfig and other interesting guests at the festival. The complete programme can be found at the festival website.

Year’s best films are here again! Finland’s biggest film festival celebrates its 32nd edition with films galore. The program includes Robert Eggers’ (The Witch, 2015) terminally weird THE LIGHTHOUSE that packed the house in Cannes with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson giving their best performances.

Another Cannes crowd-pleaser is AND THEN WE DANCED, a Levan Akin gem that stirs its audience in the vein of Call Me By Your Name (HIFF 2017), taking an intense plunge into the night life of Tbilisi and in the heated goings-on of a dance group.

HIFF favourite Alex Ross Perry‘s new film HER SMELL casts Hollywood star Elisabeth Moss as a grunge queen who makes Courtney Love look like Mother Theresa.

The 159 feature films also include Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan’s MATTHIAS & MAXIME, Polish director Agnieszka Holland‘s depiction of the Stalin’s Soviet Union and the French master Claire Denis‘ first science fiction film HIGH LIFE.

This year, Latin America has provided pleasures for friends of quality cinema. HIFF presents for example Juliano Dornelles‘ and Kleber Mendonça Filho‘s violent Brazilian science-fiction fairytale BACURAU and Alejandro Landes‘ Colombian hostage drama MONOS.

The canon-breaking L&A Trailblazers section screens Claire Denis’ older films NO FEAR, NO DIE (S’en fout la mort, 1990) and 35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 rhums, 2008). The section also presents the British cult classic WITHNAIL & I (1987), which coincides with Yle Teema’s autumn programming.

In memory of a dear friend of the festival, film critic Helena Ylänen who passed away last Christmas, HIFF screens one of her favourite films, Terrence Malick‘s THE THIN RED LINE (1998).

As a last minute addition to the festival HIFF screens THE DEATH OF DICK LONG, a shocking comedy by Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man, L&A 2016).

Lone Scherfig, Warren Ellis and other guests

This year’s Nordic Flair Award goes to the Danish director Lone Scherfig. The award is given annually by HIFF and its industry sidebar Finnish Film Affair to a film professional who has boosted Nordic talent internationally. HIFF presents her films WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF (2002) and THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS (2019). Scherfig attends the festival to give an open master class.

HIFF also welcomes Warren Ellis to Helsinki. The virtuoso musician known as Nick Cave’s co-composer has written film scores for MUSTANG (Season Film Festival 2016), HELL OR HIGH WATER (Season Film Festival 2017) and THE ROAD (2009) among other films. Ellis and director Arno Bitschy bring to Helsinki their French-Finnish documentary film THIS TRAIN I RIDE (2019) about American vagabond women looking for freedom on the rails.

Hungary-based British director Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, HIFF 2015) comes to Helsinki to present his new film IN FABRIC, a satirical horror comedy about a killer dress in the literal sense of the word “killer”.

The Swedish Anna Odell struck a chord with the Finnish audience with her debut film The Reunion (Återträffen, HIFF 2014). This autumn, she brings to Helsinki her new directorial effort X&Y about gender roles.

Other international guests of the festival include the bouncer of the legendary Berlin techno club Sven Marquardt (BEAUTY AND DECAY) as well as Pia Hellenthal, the director of SEARCHING EVA, the most raucous documentary film of the year.

A Call for Gender Parity!

HIFF joins the demands for gender equality in film industry by signing the international 5050×2020 initiative. Upon signing, it commits to promote gender equality in its programme and organisation, and to gather and release related data. Festivals that have signed the initiative include Cannes, Berlin and Gothenburg among others.

– Diversity of voices and equality are the key to a rich film culture. They have been at the core of the HIFF for over 30 years. We wish to contribute even more effectively and more systematically to gender parity together with other international front-line festivals, says Anna Möttölä, executive director of the festival.

46 % of the films of this year’s festival have been directed by women. 32 % of the feature films and 58 % of the shorts have been directed by a woman or by a non-binary person. Of the over 800 feature films considered for programming, 26 % had a female director. Of the four gala feature films of the festival, three are works by female directors. All of the directors of the short films in the R&A Shorts gala are women. 76 % of the members of the HIFF programming committee are women.

Last year, more than one-third of the HIFF feature films and almost half of the shorts were directed by women.

The complete festival programme can now be found on the festival’s website. Tickets will be on sale September 12.