The international program of the 53rd Hof International Film Festival 2019 presents a colorful panorama of intra-family themes – be it the desire to have children or to live together in a family, group or couple. Current socio-political themes are taken up: how do we live today and what are our goals? These are often the questions that are asked, both in fiction and in documentary films. With more than 26 foreign productions and additional international co-productions with Germany, this year’s international program is particularly strong. The films come from neighboring European countries such as France, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Spain and Switzerland, but also from Denmark and Finland. Productions from Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA are also included in the program.
Here are some of the films in the international program:
AL-SHAFAQ – WHEN HEAVEN DIVIDES
Director: Esen Işik (CH)
The Kara family, dominated by the patriarch and father Abdullah, has lived in Zurich for quite some time. Their youngest son Burak is searching for his own identity between his family’s two worlds. More and more, Burak renounces the western world. Abdullah realizes too late that his son has already slipped away from them and is on his way to the holy war. The father sets out to search for Burak in the Turkish-Syrian border region.
With Kida Khodr Ramadan, Beren Tuna, Ismail Can Metin, Ali Kandas, Eda Gürbüz
ASPROMONTE. LA TERRA DEGLI ULTIMI
Director: Mimmo Calopresti (I)
The new teacher Giulia comes from the North with the mission to teach the standard Italian language to the local community and thus contribute to the cultural integration of the small village of Africo at the foot of the Aspromonte Valley with the rest of the country. She has to fight against the local Mafioso Don Totó, who is determined to keep the city cut off and therefore under his control.
With Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marcello Fonte, Francesco Colella, Marco Leonardi, Sergio Rubini
Director: Cédric Klapisch (F)
Rémy and Mélanie live in the same neighborhood in Paris, just a few steps apart from each other. While Mélanie has lost her faith in love after numerous dates, Rémy hardly manages to get a date in the first place. They live side by side without ever meeting and get lost more and more in the shallows of modern city life – and without suspecting it, both are moving in the same direction …
With Ana Girardot, François Civil, Camille Cottin, François Berleand
DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS
Director: Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää (FL/LV)
After a tragic event in his life that left him emotionally paralyzed, Juha develops an unexpected but strong connection to Domina Mona. His dangerous attraction to strangulation is reciprocated by Mona, leading them both on a wild and crazy path to emotional enlightenment.
With Pekka Strang, Krista Kosonen
FAMILY ROMANCE, LLC
Director: Werner Herzog (USA)
Romance is a business. Family, friends, followers – they can all be rented. “Family Romance, LLC,” a company that rents human substitutes for its customers’ needs: a family member for a social event, someone to blame for a mistake at work, a stranger to help you relive the best moment of your life. The film is Werner Herzog’s first film shot in Japan. It is based on a true story and oscillates between documentary and fiction.
With Yuichi Ishii, Mahiro Tamimoto
Director: Taika Waititi (NZ)
The satire about the Second World War follows the lonely German boy Jojo, whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Supported only by his idiotic, imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, Jojo has to face his blind nationalism. The film was the audience darling at the Toronto Film Festival 2019.
With Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin Mckenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell
LA FILLE AU BRACELET
Director: Stéphane Demoustier (F)
16-year-old Lise is accused of murdering her best friend. As expected, her parents stand behind. But as soon as she is in court, her secret life begins to unfold and the suspicion is confirmed. Who is Lise really? How well do we know the ones we love?
With Roschdy Zem, Melissa Guers, Anaïs Demoustier, Annie Mercier, Pascal-Pierre Garbarini, Chiara Mastroianni
LES HIRONDELLES DE KABUL
Director: Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec (Animation, F/LU/CH)
Summer 1988, Kabul, occupied by the Taliban, is in ruins. The two young people Mohsen and Zunaira are in love and want to have faith in the future. But through a thoughtless gesture by Mohsen, their lives are thrown off balance.
Director: Fabian Wullenweber (DK)
The 40-year-old Ninna lives with her 18-year-old son in a small town in Denmark. She works in a restaurant, is popular and known for her sarcastic humor. She is regarded as a cheerful and freedom-loving woman. But when her son tells her that he will soon move out, her world collapses and she does everything she can to try to change her his mind.
With Susanne Juhasz, Peter Gantzler, Kristian Halken, Jesper Asholt, Rex Leonard
Director: Karl Markovics (A)
Heinrich Senft, a grouchy 93-year-old pensioner, lives in his small summer house in Vienna. His dog died during the night and he wants to bury him. He grudgingly hires the young Afghan Adib to do this for him.
With Heinz Trixner, Borhanulddin Hassan Zadeh, Maria Fliri, Konstanze Dutzi
THE DIVER INSIDE / DER TAUCHER
Director: Günter Schwaiger (A)
The Viennese woman Irene is a strong and self-confident and lives on the island of Ibiza with her 18-year-old daughter Lena. The intimate relationship between mother and daughter is shaken when Irene’s ex-partner Paul returns to Ibiza together with his son Robert.
The film is the first feature film by documentary filmmaker Schwaiger.
With Franziska Weisz, Julia Franz Richter, Alex Brendemühl, Dominic Marcus Singer
THE PERFECT CANDIDATE
Director: Haifaa Al Mansour (SA/D)
Maryam is a doctor in a small town in Saudi Arabia. She tries to gain respect and runs for the city council election in Dubai. She, who makes use of the long-fought-for right to her own car as a matter of course, now insists on the road on which she can drive.
With Mila Alzahrani, Dhay, Khalid Abdulrhim, Shafi Al Harthy
Director: Abel Ferrara (Documentary,USA/GR/D)
In his documentary film, Abel Ferrara traces the life and work of his friend Nicolas “Nick” Nicolaou, a cineaste who in the 1980s resisted gentrification, changing viewing habits and the dominance of big cinema chains and later became known as one of the last independent film theater owners in New York.
TROIS JOUR ET UNE VIE
Director: Nicolas Boukhrief (F)
In a village in the Ardennes, the young boy Rémy disappears. The case is never solved. When Antoine returns, 15 years later, to his village after his studies, he fears the threat of being discovered.
With Sandrine Bonnaire, Pablopau Ly, Charles Berling, Philippe Torreton
Director: Anthony Chen (SG/TW)
Singapore is in the middle of the monsoon season and the city is full of rain. The film accompanies the suffering of Ling, a Chinese language teacher, whose marriage and everyday school life are disrupted by the fact that she cannot have any children.
With Yeo Yann Yann, Christopher Lee, Koh Jia Ler
Director: Tim Disney (USA)
The star academics and doctors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan fall in love with each other and with the idea of cloning a Neanderthal from old DNA. The result is William: the first Neanderthal on earth in over 35,000 years.
With Maria Dizzia, Will Brittain, Waleed Zuaiter, Susan Park
Director: Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Anastasia Mikova (F)
In his worldwide project, the great documentary filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand (HUMAN) shows an intimate portrait of those who make up half of humanity. He gives a voice to over 2000 women who are subjected to very different injustices.