Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy has announced its 2019 programme. Cannes hits THE LIGHTHOUSE and AND THEN WE DANCED are among the films hitting the silver screens in September. The Danish director Lone Scherfig receives the Nordic Flair Award. Other HIFF guests include the musician and film composer Warren Ellis and festival favourites Peter Strickland and Anna Odell. HIFF joins institutions demanding gender parity in the film business by signing the international 5050×2020 initiative. The 32nd Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy will take place on September 19–29.
The 32nd edition of Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy welcomes Warren Ellis to Helsinki. The virtuoso musician known as Nick Cave’s co-composer has written film scores for MUSTANG (Season 2016), HELL OR HIGH WATER (Season 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.
This year’s Nordic Flair Award goes to the Danish master 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.
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 Frauke Kolbmüller, the producer of the German Oscar candidate SYSTEM CRASHER (Systemsprenger, 2019), Sven Marquardt, the bouncer of the legendary Berghain techno club and the protagonist of BEAUTY AND DECAY, and 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 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.
Pre-screenings and Hottest Hits
HIFF is the first to present the most eagerly-awaited films of this autumn. These include Robert Eggers’ (The Witch, 2015) terminally weird THE LIGHTHOUSE (distributed by Finnkino) that packed the house in Cannes with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson at their very best. AND THEN WE DANCED (Cinema Mondo), a Levan Akin gem that has stirred festival audiences in the vein of Call Me By Your Name (HIFF 2017), takes an intense plunge into the night life of Tbilisi and in the heated goings-on of a dance group. HIFF also screens MATTHIAS & MAXIME (Atlantic Film), a buddy romance by the Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan.
Polish director Agnieszka Holland returns with MR. JONES (Future Film) about a British journalist who reported from Stalin’s Soviet Union. HIGH LIFE, the first science-fiction film by Claire Denis, is shown and, furthermore, the L&A Trailblazers selection includes NO FEAR, NO DIE (S’en fout la mort, 1990) and 35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 rhums, 2008) from this master director. THE DEATH OF DICK LONG, the shocking comedy by Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man, L&A 2016), is screened as a last-minute addition.
This year, Latin America has provided pleasures for friends of quality cinema. HIFF presents for example the violent Brazilian science-fiction fairytale BACURAU and the Colombian hostage drama MONOS.
Cult Cuts and Critics’ Pets
HIFF takes part in the autumn season of the Yle Teema channel by screening WITHNAIL & I (1987), the cult film by the HandMade Films. Yle Teema’s autumn programme includes recollections of the UK company’s history and a selection of its films from Monty Python favourites to Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa (1986).
As an homage to film criticism, HIFF presents THE THIN RED LINE (1998), one of the favourite films of film critic and HIFF supporter Helena Ylänen, who passed away last Christmas.
The complete festival programme can now be found on the festival’s website hiff.fi/en.