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The first ever R&A Spring Break festival’s diamond-shaped programme is out now. To celebrate the new start, the festival’s theme is also at the edge of something new. In terms of programming, this means new creators, utopias and resistance. The Love & Anarchy Association’s boutique festival offers 13 feature films and six short films. The R&A Spring Break Festival will take place from 12 to 16 April 2023.

Aftersun is finally here

Finland’s largest and most important international film festival organiser will once again bring the world’s best films to the spring season. The programme of the new boutique festival of the Love & Anarchy Association is now available. The theme of the first ever R&A Spring Break is at the edge of something new, which is reflected in new voices, boundary-breaking narratives, artificial intelligence and resistance. 

The festival’s opening night film is the acclaimed Aftersun, which will have its highly anticipated Finnish premiere at the festival. The film, which deals beautifully with memory (or its volatile nature), grief and parenthood, is Scottish director Charlotte Wells’ impressive debut feature. Cinemanse will release the film in cinemas on 14.4.2023. 

Another of the most talked about filmmakers of the year is documentary filmmaker Alice Diop, whose debut feature Saint Omer is perhaps the most impressive true crime interpretation of all time. The insightful small-scale story of a trial explores issues of motherhood, gender, race and migration.

Cinema as a site of resistance and activism 

Resistance is a central theme running through the programme. Director-screenwriter Sarah Polley’s Women Talking is a thoroughly thoughtful feminist work in which women’s thinking becomes a revolutionary act. The newly Oscar-winning drama will only be screened in Finland at R&A Spring Break. Beba, the intimate coming-of-age story of a young artist with an Afro-Latin background, unfolds as an exploration of history, ethnic identity and racism. Beba’s preimage will be Ima Iduozee’s short film After We’re Gone, which celebrates the past, present and future of the African diaspora.

The story of finding one’s own voice and its power to change the future is portrayed in Let the River Flow. The moving drama depicts the Alta River conflict of the late 1970s, which is considered a historic milestone in Sámi activism. Sámi musician and activist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen makes an impressive acting debut as the young teacher Esther, who can no longer hide her Sámi identity as the conflict escalates. 

The film’s director Ole Giæver (Out of Nature, HIFF 2014, From the Balcony, HIFF 2017) and Isaksen will be guests at the festival from 14-15 April 2023. B-Plan Distribution will theatrically release the film on 5 May 2023. In the spirit of the film, a discussion R&A Talks: Ellos eatnu – film as a tool for Sámi activism will take place on Saturday 15 April at the Lasipalatsi Bio Rex, where the film’s potential for influence will be explored.

Bobi Wine: The People’s President captures the political turmoil in Uganda. Superstar Bobi Wine rises from the slums of Kampala to challenge long-time President Yoweri Museveni for control of Uganda. The documentary, laced with wry humour and Afro-pop, is a concrete example of the power of film. Documentary filmmaker Moses Bwayo rescued Wine from an assassination attempt in the middle of filming.

on family, collisions and artificial intelligence

In Davy Chou’s Returning to Seoul, the young protagonist is torn between two countries and different identities. The film is full of melancholic moments, Korean hits, sensory numbing noise music and a warm anarchistic joie de vivre. Cinemanse will release the film on 5 May 2023.

Even love can push you into new lives and new choices, as in Mia Hansen-Løve’s tenderly hopeful One Fine Morning, which arrives on 14 April 2023, distributed by Cinema Mondo. Sandra, played by Léa Seydoux, caring for her father who is suffering from dementia, is forced to rethink her priorities when she falls for her old childhood friend Clément. After Yang, starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith, opens up new perspectives on the future, with a sci-fi story that explores timely questions of mortality, family ties and artificial intelligence. The documentary Little Girl, which has been a hit at international festivals, tells the story of 8-year-old Sasha and her family. For those close to her, Sasha’s girlhood is not a problem, but society around her does not always treat the little trans girl with respect.

boundary-breaking form – trippy reality through the eyes of a donkey, a poetic anti-thriller and Ireland’s first feminist film

In the magical film EO, acclaimed director Jerzy Skolimowski shows us the world through the eyes of a donkey, while Matti Harju transforms a traditional thriller story into a fascinating kaleidoscopic poem in Natura. Future Film will release EO on 14 April 2023. The utopian history of cinema is represented by Pat Murphy’s Maeve, which brought formal experimentation and feminist themes to Irish cinema back in the 1980s. The boundary-breaking form can also serve as a tool for imagination. Curated by AV-arkki, this short film screening of With the Other teaches us to love the other as ourselves – and vice versa.