27th Fribourg International Film Festival
Switzerland, March 16 - March 23 2013
Taking place in the Swiss city of Fribourg, the FIFF originated as a festival of African, Asian and Latin American cinema. The festival’s competition and short film selections continue to emphasise these three continents, but as of last year additional sections were introduced to incorporate groundbreaking cinema from all corners of the globe.
2013’s international competition included 12 films from the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, China, South Korea, Peru, Argentina, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel. The big winner was Three Sisters (San zimei) by Wang Bing, a 153-minute documentary recording the daily life of three little girls fending for themselves in a farming village. This film scooped up five of the festival’s eight awards, including the grand prix, ‘Le Regard d’or’. The international jury also awarded Iranian drama It’s a Dream (In yek royast, dir. Mahmoud Ghaffari) and Alejandro Fadel’s impressive début feature The Wild Ones (Los salvajes). The FIPRESCI jury gave their prize to Japanese thriller Penance (Shokuzai, dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa), a 4 ½ hour film which originally screened as a TV series.
The parallel sections of FIFF 2013 were just as diverse as the competition. ‘Escape to Victory’ showcased sport-themed cinema, with footballer Eric Cantona in attendance to present his projects Les rebelles du foot and Looking For… Atom Egoyan curated a ‘Diaspora’ section focused on Armenia, and the festival welcomed Charles Aznavour to take part in a debate on the nation’s cinema following the screening of Egoyan’s Ararat, in which he starred.
The festival’s ‘Hommage à…’ programme recognises those who promote world cinema culture: this year FIFF paid tribute to Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, and screened four of the neglected classics that the organization has restored: The Housemaid (Hanyo, South Korea, 1960), After the Curfew (Lewat djam malam, Indonesia, 1953), Downpour (Ragbar, Iran, 1972) and Imagination (Kalpana, India, 1948). Further discoveries awaited FIFF audiences in the ‘Terra Incognita’ section, which presented a selection of contemporary films from Uzbekistan. (Alison Frank)
Fribourg International Film Festival: www.fiff.ch