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Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy celebrates the best of world cinema in its 31stedition. The Opening Gala Film is COLD WAR by the Polish auteur Pawel Pawlikowski. It is followed by the Finnish Gala film STUPID YOUNG HEART by Selma Vilhunen and Ali Abbasi’s Love & Anarchy Gala film BORDER. The festival closes with Russian Kirill Serebrennikov’s SUMMER. For the first time, the HIFF programme also includes a selection of film classics full of love and anarchy. The 31stedition of HIFF takes place between 20 – 30 September.


The 31stHelsinki International Film Festival launches off on September 20 with the Opening Night Gala screening of the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director winner COLD WAR (Zimna wojna). Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s (Ida, L&A 2014) breathtakingly beautiful film tells the story of star-crossed lovers Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wictor (Tomasz Kot) who travel around the Cold War era Europe in search of freedom and love. Finnkino brings COLD WAR to cinemas on October 26.

Kirill Serebrennikov’s rock epic SUMMER (Leto) ends the festival on a high note. The nostalgic and energetic romance evokes the birth of Soviet rock in 1980s Leningrad, but also serves as a love letter for the freedom of artistic expression. It is apt for a director who’s been arrested and held in his home in St. Petersburg since August 2017. Helsinki International Film Festival hopes to welcome Mr. Serebrennikov to the festival as an honorary guest in September. Cinemanse will distribute SUMMER in cinemas in November.

The Finnish Gala Film is the eagerly awaited STUPID YOUNG HEART from the Academy Award nominated director Selma Vilhunen. The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before traveling to the silver screens of Helsinki. It is an energetic love story about two 15-year-olds navigating pregnancy, teenage confusion and extreme right ideas encroaching in their multicultural neighbourhood. STUPID YOUNG HEART will be distributed by Nordisk Film starting October 12.

The Love & Anarchy Gala Film is Ali Abbasi’s Swedish fantasy drama BORDER (Gräns), which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes. “Destined to be a cult classic”, according to Variety, the movie follows Tina (Eva Melander), a customs officer, who catches smugglers using her extraordinary sense of smell. Secrets are revealed when she meets a stranger (Eero Milonoff) with similar abilities. Future Film will distribute BORDER in cinemas from September 28 onwards.

The 31stedition of HIFF brings a mind-bending array of this year’s hottest films to Helsinki. The sneak peeks of the festival include Aleksi Salmenperä’s viciously funny black comedy VOID (premiere September 28, B-Plan Distribution) and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s no-holds-barred adaptation of British junkie-turned-pugilist Billy Moore’s Thai prison memoir A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN (Cinema Mondo). Other highly anticipated titles in this year’s selection are Boots Riley’s absurd comedy SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and Italian-Canadian Panos Cosmatos’ harrowing and hilarious bloodfest MANDY with its lead actor Nicolas Cage at his most flabbergasting best.

Film history gets to be a part of Love & Anarchy in a new programming section – R&A Trailblazers – dedicated to film classics with the edgy spirit of HIFF. This year’s selection includes ECSTASY (1933), SORCERER (1977), VAGABOND (1985), DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (L&A 1993) and THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF DESERT (L&A 1994). The Savoy Theatre will serve as the main venue for the section. The audience can have their say on the programming by voting at the HIFF website (hiff.fi).

The traditional HIFF pre-screenings will take place at Teurastamo on September 7–9. The Teurastamo Pop-Up movies are the neo-noir classic DRIVE (L&A 2011), late Studio Ghibli maestro Isao Takahata’s THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (L&A 2014) and the Docventures screening of exploration documentary EASTERN MEMORIES, accompanied live by Rasmus Hedlund. The outdoor pre-screenings are free of charge.

The eleven days of festival madness bring 160 feature films and 190 short films to 19 cinema screens in 470 screenings. The R&A Shorts sub-festival will hold its first competition for Finnish short films.

After the festival, a hand-picked selection of HIFF films will travel outside Helsinki in the form of the L&A Tour, which brings ca. ten films all around the country. The L&A Tour programme is still under process. Further info (in Finnish): hiff.fi/kiertue/ohjelmisto.

The 31stHIFF cinemas are Andorra, Dubrovnik, Kino Engel, Kinopalatsi, Korjaamo Kino Bio Rex & Töölö, Maxim, Orion, Riviera, Savoy Theatre, WHS Teatteri Union and Kino Tapiola.

Welcome to the press conference on September 6 at 12 o’clock at Korjaamo Bio Rex (Mannerheimintie 22-24). At the press conference we’ll introduce the whole programme, festival guests and other information. The 2018 festival tabloid and the complete festival programme will be published on September 7. Pre-sale of festival passes and catalogues begins on the same day. Single tickets will be available from September 13.