5 LGBT movies to see at IFFR 2018
The 47th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) takes places from Wednesday, January 24 to Sunday, February 4. Unlike IDFA, there is no special Queer Day but IFFR 2018 does offer a selection of LGBT+ themed movies. I was allowed to watch previews of those movies, so I can tell you all about them!
I have ranked the 5 LGBT movies from my favorite one to my least favorite one so you can decide whether you want to follow my recommendations or not. If you click on the title of the movie, you will be redirected to the IFFR 2018 page with screening info.
I have also included a vlog, so you can watch me highlight the LGBT movies there as well. As I have just started vlogging on Dailymotion, I could really use your help. Will you subscribe to my channel and like or share my video?
5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018
These are the 5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018:
Philippines – 2017 – Gerardo Calagui – 72 min.
Synopsis: In this unflinching yet open-hearted portrait of prostitution, we follow the transgender women Tuesday, Amanda and Barbie, sex workers and friends, through Burgos, the red-light district in Manila. Tuesday has an encounter with a rough client who she fears might not accept her. Amanda returns to her province to attend the christening of her ex-girlfriend’s son. Barbie finds herself deeply entangled in the precarious world of drug dealing.
While the risks that come with their job are on full display, the film’s inclusiveness and affection for its characters leave us with warmth. Calmly gliding through bustling neon-lit streets, cinematographer Bradley Liew’s camera exudes a confidence that matches the attentive focus in Gerardo Calagui’s direction. In the film’s rejection of stereotypes, the three women take varying approaches to their work and identity, but most importantly, they accept one another first and foremost as friends.
Review: This movie was definitely my favorite one and the only movie that I wished lasted longer. I loved how you closely follow the three women in a row while you still see them meet each other every now and then. You start to feel a bond with them (and feel sorry for them at times). After the movie, I really felt like I wanted to know more about their lives. Go see for yourself!
Poland – 2018 – Olga Chajdas – 130 min.
Synopsis: After twenty years, Nina’s marriage to Wojtek is going nowhere, partly because of their failed attempts to have children. When they meet a young woman, Magda, they decide to propose that she become a surrogate mother for their child. But things get more complicated when Nina suddenly feels attracted to Magda.
This accomplished debut paints a sensitive portrait of a strong yet confused woman trapped in her role as wife and daughter. The energetic, apparently carefree Magda breaks open her world. The camera stays close to the three protagonists, almost without the use of establishing shots, creating a sensorial, highly vibrating atmosphere. But there is one location that plays a crucial role: Natalia Bażowska’s artwork Birth Place, which represents a womb you can lie in and serves for the characters as their only shelter, where their love, freedom and identities are not bound by any conventions.
Review: The first hour, I had a really hard time liking Nina. She is so distant and awkward that I constantly wondered why Wojtek is so crazy about her. I instantly liked Magda though, who you will get to know (and fear) as a player and party girl. For me, the turning point in the movie is when Magda comes to Nina and Wojtek’s home as that is when Nina starts to become less distant. I will not give away too much but the plot twists after that make you want to watch everything, even though I think the movie could have been a little shorter. I definitely recommend this movie!
Romania, Serbia, Belgium – 2017 – Ivana Mladenovic – 119 min.
Synopsis: Ferentari is a run-down neighborhood in Bucharest largely inhabited by Roma. “The closest to a ghetto you can get in contemporary Romania,” according to director Ivana Mladenovic. This is where she sets her fiction feature debut, a modern Romeo and Julio. Ferentari is not somewhere you would expect to find an introverted academic like 40-year-old Adi. The anthropologist comes to the area soon after being dumped to study the Roma pop music, manele. Adi needs help navigating this shady, often mob-related, world and finds this in kind-hearted criminal Alberto.
As do many contemporary Romanian filmmakers, this originally Serb director plays an intriguing game with fact and fiction in her film, which is populated by amateur actors from Ferentari. Soldiers. Story from Ferentari is based on the eponymous, semi-autobiographical book by Adrian Schiop, who also plays the lead in this loose adaptation.
Review: I thought this was a highly interesting setting as it gives you a peek into Roma life (or misery). I did sometimes feel the movie was slow. However, after a few days of watching this movie, I found myself questioning at times whether Alberto’s love was real or merely a survival strategy. We can probably all agree that this movie has an impact on you.
Sweden – 2018 – Ester Martin Bergsmark – 45 min.
Synopsis: Gelatin is of animal origin, odorless and, when liquid, can be molded into almost any imaginable shape. Swedish Candy, Some Violence and a Bit of Cat is also fluid: a sugary clash between violence and love, old and new, Tarzan and Jane. Above all, incitement to transgress the boundaries between all these binaries.
Review: If this synopsis is already hard for you to understand, you will be left dumbfounded by this 45-minute-movie. I asked myself what the hell I just watched. At one point, you feel like sympathy vomiting with one of the two protagonists. If absurd movies are your thing, this is your go-to movie.
France – 2017 – Bertrand Mandico – 110 min.
Synopsis: The boys are unleashed. In the early 1900s, five teenagers from rich families are sent on a repressive cruise after murdering their teacher. Led by a violent captain, they arrive on a strange island with luxuriant, supernatural vegetation. As the song says, “a change is gonna come.”
In his first feature, Bertrand Mandico deepens the universe of his award-winning shorts: cinema as something organic, only-shot-on-film, where bodies are shrouded by highly-stylized, sexy, and wild visuals. A world of literal (bodily) and metaphorical fluids. The Wild Boys manages the crazy feat of merging such disparate influences and genres as Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kenneth Anger, 80’s New Wave, Joseph Von Sternberg and Wakamatsu Koji in a gorgeous (mostly) black-and-white feast of magical visions. With the strength of poetry rather than speeches, the film pleads for a fluid sexual identity to free ourselves.
Review: I will be honest with you: I have not watched this movie. After reading the synopsis and watching the trailer, I did not feel inclined to watch it. The movie is simply not for me. Still, I am sure it will draw a crowd.
Want to stay in Rotterdam for IFFR 2018?
I hope my information has inspired you to go see the movies yourself. If you want to spend one or more nights in Rotterdam because you want to watch several movies, take masterclasses or visit a number of events, you can find hotels in Rotterdam at Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia or Tripadvisor.