The wait is over: the Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) has unveiled the full programme for its 36th edition. This comes after the announcement of the programme in the parallel sections, Genre cinema: After the apocalypse; Decryption: Context culture; Diaspora: Gjon’s Tears, Albania and Kosovo; and Sur la carte de Pierre Richard. The 127 films from 58 countries covering all the world’s continents provide a unique insight into the state of the world, allowing us to discover cinematic works that portray crumbling civilisations and little-known productions that have never been seen in Switzerland. From the Ukrainian border to the heart of Afghan cinema to little-known productions from Angola, FIFF is getting ready to set Fribourg alight, from 18th to 27th March.
The trailer of FIFF22 by the students of eikon
“For the FIFF team, the joy of returning to normality actually signifies a return to the extraordinary, the original, the crazy and the unforgettable. We’re getting ready to take festival goers on a journey filled with emotion, to shine a spotlight on the key issues of our times and to get excited together about the talents from all over the world,” says artistic director Thierry Jobin. “Our private sector partners have given us a particularly warm welcome this year. Thanks to closer collaboration, particularly with the ARENA cinemas, which are allowing us to use all their auditoriums throughout Fribourg, and a new partnership with the Jaton brothers, owners of several hospitality venues across the city, the whole of Fribourg is going to be taken over by this year’s Festival!” says Mathieu Fleury, president of the FIFF association. The programme will be shown on a total of 11 screens, including 4DX with the Korean film Escape from Mogadishu, a long night of Mad Max stretching into the early hours, and a big screen showcase of video games with the Cutscene programme. FIFF is also pursuing its role as a talent scout and this year will feature five world premieres, one international premiere, four European premieres and 47 Swiss premieres.
Click to discover the twelve films of the international competition
• Amira, a look at the harsh reality of Israeli prisons;
• Brighton 4th, a Georgian family drama featuring a former wrestling champion and spiralling debt;
• Broken Keys, a Syrian pianist’s ode to freedom;
• La Civil, the story of a mother’s fight after her child is kidnapped in Mexico;
• The Gravedigger’s Wife, a realist fable exploring the poor neighbourhoods of Djibouti;
• Klondike, a hard-hitting and important portrait of the tensions in eastern Ukraine;
• Last Film Show, an ode to the 7th art through the eyes of a little boy who is captured by the magic of movies in India;
• Neptune Frost, the sci-fi film born of a collaboration between Rwandan director Anisia Uzeyman and American rapper Saul Williams;
• On the Job 2: The Missing 8, an exploration of media corruption in the Philippines;
• When Pomegranates Howl, an Afghan tale of hope;
and two remarkable South Korean films, which will close the competition:
• Confession, a gripping thriller with an embedded film noir narrative, and
• Life Is Beautiful, a colourful jukebox musical that tackles the emotional subject of terminal illness with joy and positivity.
Hommage à: Afghan cinema
Since the Taliban returned to power, Afghan cinema once again finds itself mothballed and its cultural heritage risks being obliterated. FIFF is taking action and has invited a number of Afghan filmmakers and friends of FIFF to choose key films that were made while the Taliban were out of power. Their selection shows that this was a period of great creativity and hope, which has sadly come to an abrupt end. This section is a celebration of cinematic history and a way of supporting the country’s filmmaking talent. The programme features The Orphanage, the only feature in this section alongside five documentaries, which earned its director, Shahrbanoo Sadat, accolades during the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2019, and will have its Swiss premiere in Fribourg. Filmmaker Sahra Mani (A Thousand Girls Like Me) is also invited as a member of the jury and will present her film. To tie in with Fribourg’s multicultural scene, there will also be an exhibition of photos by Marion Savoy celebrating Fribourg’s Afghan community in the Ancienne Gare.
New Territory: Angola
Jorge Cohen, one of Angola’s most important filmmakers, graciously accepted our invitation to curate the New Territory section, which seeks to showcase a new or little-known cinematography, and which this year is dedicated to Angola. Cohen is especially enthusiastic as it is the first retrospective of Angolan cinema in more than 20 years. Why did it take so long? Because it is a Portuguese-speaking country? Because of the 25-year-long civil war that erupted after the country won independence in 1975? Cohen’s choice of films highlights the diversity of Angolan cinema. It is high time it gets the support it deserves. Ten feature films and a programme of short films will be presented at the Festival.
Spotlight on Swiss talent
Once again this year, FIFF will celebrate homegrown talent, particularly in the Passeport Suisse section, which is dedicated to films made by Swiss directors or shot in Switzerland. The new TV series Hors Saison, by Fribourg director Pierre Monnard – who also brought us Platzspitzbaby – will have its Swiss premiere and will be shown in its entirety (six episodes) with the crew in attendance. In all, 14 of the films presented across all sections are Swiss productions or co-productions.
FIFF is a firm believer in the positive power of cultural and linguistic diversity. Fribourg, the home of the Festival, straddles the border between French- and German-speaking Switzerland. This is reflected in FIFF's commitment to bilingualism in everything it does. 96% of the films on the programme are shown in their original language with French subtitles and for the first this year, also with German subtitles, thanks to the support of the cantonal government. In the years to come, FIFF will continue its efforts to make the Festival more inclusive to a German-speaking audience.