09 20 Oct '24

FFGent to Focus on Nordic Cinema for 43rd edition, also putting Spotlight on Japan

29 Jun 2016
The program of the 43rd edition of Film Fest Gent is inspired by cinema from two different corners of the earth: starting with the most Northern point of Europe for its Focus on Nordic Cinema and ending in the far East for the Spotlight on Japan. The Nordic Focus is emphasized by the festivals central campaign image, depicting one of the greatest movie stars the region has ever know: Greta Garbo.

Nordic Cinema
From the Swedish invasion of Hollywood in the silent film era to Denmark's Dogma 95 movement: the Nordic region has made formidable contributions to world cinema. Because of this, With its focus on Nordic Cinema, Film Fest Gent aims to look beyond the ‘krimi-wave' the region is currently most known for.

‘By dedicating our film program to Nordic Cinema, we aim to show that strong, intelligent and moving drama from the countries of the Northern Lights is not restricted to crime literature and popular TV series, but can also be found in the present-day film production of the area’, says Artistic Director Patrick Duynslaegher. ‘With movies that are not as heavy and dark as one might expect, filled with deadpan humor, psychological finesse, tantalizing sensuality, weird comedy and a heavy portion of social commitment. Scandinavian, Finnish and Icelandic filmmakers masterfully succeed in reconciling their various artistic inspirations to the ever-changing commercial needs, which often makes it difficult to pinpoint their style.’

Some confirmed film titles from the Nordic Focus are the Swedish Yarden (The Yard) by Måns Månsson, the Swedish/Norwegain/Danish drama Den allvarsamme leken (A Serious Game) by Star Wars ‘actress turned director’ Pernilla August and, in line with its strong tradition of children’s films, the Norwegian Solan & Ludwig: The Big Cheese Race by Rasmus A. Sivertsen.

Film Fest Gent meets Greta Garbo
The Nordic Focus is emphasized by the festival's central campaign image, depicting one of the greatest movie stars the region has ever know: Greta Garbo. ‘After making only one Swedish and one German film, Swedish born Greta Garbo was lured to Hollywood in 1925 by Louis B. Mayer and his MGM-Studio, who turned her into one of the mystical goddesses of the big screen. Because of her enigmatic allure, she went down in history as the Swedish Sphinx, but the real mystery surrounding Garbo is the spiritual dimension behind that breathtaking mask. The energy she emits is something very complex, how else could it captivate multiple generations? It is a subtle combination of mystery and refinement, melancholy and irony, femininity and masculinity.’

Spotlight on Japan
Within the framework of the 150th birthday of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Belgium in 2016, Film Fest Gent is putting a spotlight on Japan this upcoming October for its rich history in cinema. Patrick Duynslaegher: ‘The Section Spotlight Japan is filled with new or unknown talent from one of the biggest national filmindustries in the world. The country of Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi can count on a new generation of film makers aiming to surprise us with their original and provoking view of their country and its history, in a unique style incomparable to any other film culture. Alongside of these new titles, of which many will not make it into regular cinema distribution, a retrospective section filled with some key films of Japanese new wave director Nagisa Ôshima will be shown, one of the most critical and innovative directors of his generation.’

The festival shows the broadness of Japanese Cinema throughout the different festival sections (Competition, Gala and Specials, Classics) with films such as the dark comedy Lowlife Love by Eiji Uchida and Harmonium by Kôji Fukada (winner jury award Un Certain Regard Cannes). Next to the films Boy from 1969, Death by Hanging from 1968, the Tribute to Nagisa Ôshima will feature his classic Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Film music composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, seen acting in this film alongside David Bowie, will be in Ghent during the World Soundtrack Awards Gala on October 19th to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 43rd Film Fest Gent takes place from 11-21 October 2016. The World Soundtrack Awards are held on 19 and 20 October in Capitole Ghent, with the Gala and Award ceremony on the 19th and an extra WSA Concert without ceremony on the 20th.

The full program will be announced on 22 September 2016, online and in our Knack Focus special program booklet.

Nordic Focus in co-operation with:
Danish Film Institute, Finnish Film Foundation, Icelandic Film Centre, Norwegian Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute and the Nordic Embassies

Spotlight on Japan in co-operation with:
Japan Information and Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Japan in Belgium

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