09 20 Oct '24

Opening Night at 48th Film Fest Gent: Let's Meet Again!

20211012 FFG21 Jeroen Willems 023
News 12 Oct 2021
After a restrained festival in 2020, our 48th edition has kicked off as a vibrant and cozy meeting spot for all those who want to experience film and film culture. Our fierce and topical opening film La Civil, by the Belgian-Romanian director Teodora Ana Mihai, benefits from a post-screening conversation, which took place in abundance on Tuesday's opening night.

Over the next ten days, 115 feature films and 31 short films will be screened at Film Fest Gent. There are also VIDEODROOM concerts at Voo?uit and the festival will conclude as usual with the World Soundtrack Awards, the international film music awards, on Saturday 23 October.

La civil film still© Menuetto

La Civil

With La Civil, Film Fest Gent opted for a Belgian opening film. Director Teodora Ana Mihai previously presented her documentary Waiting for August at the festival in 2014. Her debut feature La Civil was originally conceived as a documentary. However, for security reasons, Mihai and co-writer Habacuc Antonio De Rosario adapted their project to the fictional portrait of the desperate mother Cielo that can be seen at Film Fest Gent. So it's no surprise at all that La Civil was awarded the Prix de l'Audace at the Cannes film festival. Mexican actress Arcelia Ramírez, who portrays Cielo with verve, was also present during our opening night.

Avi Mograbi Jose Kattan

International guests

Many national and international guests will be walking the red carpet towards Kinepolis, including directors Andrea Arnold, Leos Carax, Ari Folman, Miguel Gomes, Radu Jude, Jacques Audiard, Panah Panahi, Avi Mograbi and actors Ludivine Sagnier and Renate Reinsve, who won Best Actress at Cannes with The Worst Person in the World. Some of them will talk about their work process during various Director's Talks in Kinepolis or during the Talkies in the Film Fest Café.

In competition

The official selection of films in competition is notable for its diversity. With her original penetrating look at what goes on on a playground, Laura Wandel will open the international jury debates with her debut Un monde on Saturday 16 October. Gaspar Noé exchanges sex, violence and stroboscopic effects in Vortex for a story about growing old, about dementia and about death. In Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tilda Swinton - captivated by loud bangs only she can hear - finds herself in a Colombian excavation site. Moving will never be the same again if you see Das Mädchen und die Spinne: Swiss director duo Ramon and Silvan Zürcher perform miracles with the camera in the small apartments of the main characters. If you like intelligent fairy tales, What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? from Georgian Alexandre Koberidze is your kind of film. The love affair in The Worst Person in the World by Joachim Trier is touching, and thanks to the lead actress Renate Reinsve it gives off a fresh joie de vivre. Horror and violence are less prominent than usual in Inexorable by our compatriot Fabrice du Welz while gore is very present in the visually stunning Captain Volkonogov Escaped by Aleksey Chupov and Natasha Merkulova.

Joseph Plateau Honorary Award

During the 48th Film Fest Gent, two Joseph Plateau Honorary Awards will be presented on Wednesday 20 October. The prize goes to British filmmaker Andrea Arnold for her impact on a generation of filmmakers. Her films often focus on vulnerable people on the fringes of the capitalist system. She has already won the Prix du Jury in Cannes three times with Red Road (2006), Fish Tank (2009) and American Honey (2016). Her latest film, the intimate documentary Cow, will be screened at FFG2021.

The Belgian filmmaker Harry Kümel, whose cult vampire film Daughters of Darkness from 1971 will be screened during the 48th edition with a new soundtrack by the Antwerp band Condor Gruppe, will also receive a Joseph Plateau Honorary Award for his oeuvre.

ELENI KARAINDROU press 4 copyright Pepi Loulakaki© Pepi Loulakaki

21ste World Soundtrack Awards

After a 20th anniversary en sourdine, the World Soundtrack Awards will be presented again this year during a real live show. Music by guest of honour Max Richter, Discovery of the Year 2020 winner Bryce Dessner - including two pieces from director Joe Wright's musical drama Cyrano, due out later this year - and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Eleni Karaindrou will be performed.

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