23rd Tromsø International Film Festival

Norway, January 14 - January 20 2013

The jury

Dominik Kamalzadeh (Austria), Maria Ulfsak-Sheripova (Estonia), Jan Landro (Norway)

Awarded films

The international film festival in the Norwegian city of Tromsø is not only the most northern festival of its kind: it is in fact the most popular venue for arthouse cinema in the country, having established a faithful audience during its 23-year existence. The festival is set at the end of the polar winter when daylight in Tromsø is still limited to a few hours, creating perfect conditions for long nights in cinemas such as the beautiful Verdensteatret, which has been screening films since 1916. It’s amazing to see people queuing outside this venue in temperatures as low as -9º Celsius. This year’s competition offered an eclectic variety of films from almost every continent. Alongside festival prizewinners such as Francois Ozon’s In the House (Dans la maison) and Miguel Gomes’ much-appreciated masterwork Tabu, there was Verena Pravel and Lucien Castaing’s transgressive documentary Leviathan and the warm and charming Japanese comedy The Woodsman and the Rain by Shuichi Okita. Tromsø’s main horizon section assembles a wide range of films, features and documentaries, often from younger directors. In the focus on eastern European cinema, one may find overlooked films from less well-known directors. However, there is also room for idiosyncratic mavericks such as Russia’s Aleksei Balabanov, with his humorous take on Tarkovskyan metaphysics, Me Too (Ya tozhe hochu). Last but not least, festival visitors may see the area’s captivating, magical natural “cinema”: the northern lights which appear, if you are lucky enough, on a clear night. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)

Tromsø International Film Festival: www.tiff.no