The 37th edition of FIFF, the Fribourg International Film Festival, promises to be a feast for the eyes, and the taste buds. From 17th to 26th March, FIFF will show 99 films from 52 countries, including 3 World premieres, 3 International premieres, 3 European premieres and 55 Swiss premieres. It will also offer a brand-new culinary-themed experience 'Dinner and a Movie'. Eight partner restaurants in Fribourg have created special dishes that tie in with selected films on the programme. Additional highlights include two FIFForum public conversations with director Fatih Akin and Francine Lecoultre, the renowned Hollywood sci-fi costume designer.
For Thierry Jobin, Artistic Director of FIFF, "Artists always have the most interesting take on current events. Their creativity and intelligence allow us to put things into perspective. Their voices and views offer a breathing space from the non-stop news cycle that is at times cruel, at times violent, occasionally funny, but always engaged." The 12 feature films and 15 shorts in the International Competitions broaden our points of view on the lived realities in Iran, Syria, Ukraine, and other parts of Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Most of the artists behind these 27 films will attend the screening of their respective works.
A feast for the five senses
FIFF is both a window on world cultures and a reflection of life in its home region. This year, the Festival has drawn inspiration from Fribourg's status as the Culinary Capital of Switzerland (Ville suisse du Goût 2023) by choosing food-related films as the theme for its Genre Cinema section, appropriately named Bon appétit! There is a dinner date with Édouard Baer and Benoît Poelvoorde courtesy of the Swiss premiere of Adieu Paris. The programme also dishes up the tasty cinematic morsel Heavy Craving, a social satire from Taiwan that skewers the phenomenon of fat-shaming. The Audience Choice section features five cult culinary films, which more than 220 members of the public had voted for from a choice of 50 cinematic classics.
FIFF has partnered with eight Fribourg restaurants to offer the public a great new experience, 'Dinner and a Movie'. After enjoying an early-evening screening, the audience can prolong the pleasure by savour a dish that has been specially created to tie in with the film they have just watched. For example, Les Trentenaires, will be serving up the 'Poulet Lynch Frites Experience' following Poulet Frites, a film from the team behind the popular TV programme Strip-tease, or also following Lynch/Oz, the latest documentary from Alexandre O. Philippe.
The feasting does not end there. This year's Sur la carte de section is curated by the renowned director Fatih Akin, who will present six of his favourite films, which range from art house to kung-fu. It goes without saying that his iconic Soul Kitchen (Grand Jury Prize at Venice), which fits perfectly with FIFF's culinary theme, will also be on the menu. Rheingold, Akin's latest film, a hard-hitting biopic about a hip-hop producer, is part of the explosive Midnight Screenings line-up, which, as always, will be serving up chills and thrills to the delight of its hardcore fans. Further proof that FIFF has its finger on the pulse of the times is its decision to dedicate its New Territory section to largely overlooked filmmaking culture of the Republic of Moldova, which shares a border with Ukraine. Finally, there is lots of family-friendly fare on the FIFF 2023 menu thanks to the Make it family time section. This year's programme is the most extensive yet and features films for kids of all ages (4+).
Singo, Alireza Mohammadi Rouzbahany (2022)
More food for thought comes from the Decryption section, which challenges our versions of reality. This year's programme features four documentaries that deconstruct two forms of violence – white supremacy and violence against women. In the words of Raoul Peck, the director of Exterminate All the Brutes, a four-part documentary series presented in its entirety at FIFF, "A certain worldview holds that the historical account is only one fiction among many. This is wrong: there are no alternative facts." Also on the programme are Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power, an edifying lesson from Nina Menkes on the male gaze; L’argent, la liberté, une histoire du franc CFA from Katy Léna Ndiaye; and Jane Campion, The Cinema Woman by Julie Bertuccelli, which documents the filmmaker's battle to impose her unique voice and vision in a male-dominated industry. On 20th March, FIFForum will also host a roundtable discussion on 'Colonialism and Switzerland'.
Juries, filmmakers and general public get together in Fribourg
FIFF is also famed for its informal and exciting side events which bring filmmakers and their audience together. Some 50 guests from all walks of life are expected in Fribourg this year. Francine Lecoultre, one of Hollywood's top costume designers, will return from Los Angeles, where she has lived for 30 years, to sit on the International Competition Feature Films Jury. She will also be In Conversation at FIFForum (Saturday 18th March), and has designed an exhibition, hosted by the J.-J. Hofstetter gallery, which offers the public a glimpse into her creative universe. Other Jury members include director Patricia Mazuy, whose dark and powerful film Bowling Saturne about toxic masculinity will be shown in the Midnight Screenings section, as well as Ukrainian filmmaker Maryna Er Gorbach, who catapulted to fame and acclaim with Klondike, which won the FIFF 2022 Grand Prix. "When we were working on our culinary-themed programme, I realised that big names from the world of gastronomy are rarely asked to sit on juries, even though their members typically come from different creative backgrounds. Chefs are, in fact, artists in their own right", recalls Thierry Jobin. FIFF therefore asked Judith Baumann, the chef who turned the Pinte des Mossettes into an award-winning, fine dining establishment, to sit on the Jury.
The International Competition: Short Films Jury members are Fribourg author and winner of a 2022 Swiss Literature Award, Fabienne Radi; the musician Alice Torrent from Valais who released her second album An Ode to your Sun at the end of last year; and the investigative journalist Mehdi Atmani, who specialises in new information technologies and digital surveillance.
Opening and closing Film: odes to freedom
The Festival will kick off on Friday 17th March with Umami – A taste of happiness. Slony Sow, the French director behind the comedy will also attend the screening. The film stars Gérard Depardieu as a renowned French chef in the doldrums after being dumped by his wife and suffering a heart attack. On the advice of an old friend (Pierre Richard), he sets off for Japan on a mission to uncover the secret of umami, the fifth taste. The film will be screened a further two times during the Festival, and goes on general release in French-speaking Switzerland in May 2023.
Houria, Mounia Meddour (2022)
The closing film (Saturday 25th March) will take the audience to Algiers. Houria, from director Mounia Meddour (Papicha, 2019) who will attend the screening, tells the story of a gifted young dancer whose dreams of becoming a ballerina are dashed after a violent assault. This film will also go on general release in French-speaking Switzerland in May 2023. With a spellbinding performance by Lyna Khoudri, this film is a fitting end to FIFF 2023 and an expression of hope for young people all around the world.
LINkS TO THE 2023 PROGRAMME
Every screening of FIFF23 by dates
Presentation of FIFF23's parallel sections
The Festival organises much more than screenings
Read the catalog in its PDF version (35.9 Mo)
Get the timetable with films and events