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Come spend 11 days in the eye of an emotional storm when the 36th Helsinki International Film Festival – Love &Anarchy starts with a sold out opening film, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s MONSTER. 141 feature and 163 short films will be screened over the next week and a half. Come gasp, be shocked and get blown away with us!

Aside from the sold out gala films, MONSTER and THE ZONE OF INTEREST, other films from the Cannes Film Festival will be popping up on the HIFF screens.

The hot pot of this year’s Cannes festival, THE POT-AU-FEU, brought Tran Anh Hung the Best Director prize with a film (starring Juliette Binoche) whose sophisticated dishes are rivaled only by the delicacy of its film narrative.

Turkish HIFF favorite and master of slow cinema Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s newest film, ABOUT DRY GRASSES, is also coming to Helsinki from the competition in Cannes. This quiet love story about a teacher returning to remote Eastern Anatolia brought the prize for Best Actress to Merve Dizdar at Cannes.

And the stream of prizes is never-ending. TIGER STRIPES, a Malaysian film, which won the
Critics’ Week Grand Prize at Cannes, combines horror with growing
pains and a reflection on the societal position of girls and women in Malaysia.

Dancing around the world

Souvenirs from international festivals include KISS THE FUTURE, a documentary about
Sarajevo’s underground rock scene in the 1990s that handles the breakup of Yugoslavia
through U2, Takeshi Kitano’s acclaimed samurai epic, KUBI, a based-on-true-events American political thriller, REALITY, Monia Chorki’s sex comedy, THE NATURE OF LOVE, and the Berlinale Teddy Award winning SILVER HAZE.

The festival’s first weekend peaks with Dance House Helsinki, showing films about movement and dance like Asif Kapadia’s incredible Frankenstein and Woyzeck inspired sci-fi ballet, CREATURE, and the intense Algerian drama, HOURIA, about the empowering effects of dance. Before the 8:30 pm Pannuhalli screening of the cult musical, FAME, you can get in the mood with 80s music and refreshments.

The first weekend also brings the Q&A screenings for the National Competition of the short film -focused R&A Shorts series. Come and be the first to see and hear what the future of Finnish film in store for you!

What would HIFF be without guests?

Nothing but festival bells and the jangling from a chain of films. The first week of the festival
brings filmmakers whose works are nominated for the Nordic Council Film Award to Helsinki.
War drama WAR SAILOR, Norway’s most expensive film of all-time, is bringing writer-director Gunnar Vikene to Helsinki. The World War II film is based on the gripping true story of civilian Norwegian sailors recruited to help the Allies. Satire EMPIRE, written by and starring Anna Neye, tackles the colonial history of the Nordic countries as its subject. Alongside the Neye, director Frederikke Aspöck will also be coming to the festival in support of the film that competed at the Gothenburg Film Festival. Icelandic Hilmar Oddsson will present the melancholic dark comedy road movie, DRIVING MUM.

In addition to the Nordic Council Film Award nominees, the first weekend guests will include
director Tünde Skovrán of the intersex documentary film WHO I AM NOT. Catherine Corsini, director of HOMECOMING, which had its world premiere at Cannes, and Anna Hints, director of the documentary SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD, which won an award at the Sundance festival in the United States, will also be guests at Monday’s screenings.

Better than queueing a bucket!

The festival’s free program includes a free child-friendly screening of PULPETTIKINO’S SHORT FILMS 2023 at Kino Regina in central library Oodi. You can get free tickets to the show here.

The side program also includes the Saturday morning coffee breaks with the filmmakers. Film directors Hilmar Oddsson (DRIVING MUM), Gunnar Vikene (WAR SAILOR), Suvi West
(HOMECOMING) and Liisi Grünberg (MIISUFY) will participate in the first Saturday’s coffee with the filmmakers. The discussion will be led by screenwriter Anna Brotkin. The coffee’s on the house!