THE 26th Helsinki Film Festival will be staged once again in the capital city from 20-30 September. Known more widely under the moniker of Love and Anarchy, the festival is an eagerly anticipated event for the city’s cinephiles.
Founded in 1988, the festival gradually expanded from two theatres to 12 screens and established itself as an 11-day homage to cinema. During its first year the festival screened 26 films. Nowadays the programme consists of in the vicinity of 180 feature films and 80 short films. The screenings take place in the fine theatres and traditional film sanctuaries of Helsinki. Last year’s festival had over 57,000 visitors.
The list of guests of the festival over the years is long and impressive, with numerous important filmmakers being guests of HIFF, discussing their work and meeting both audiences and industry professionals. Previously, the festival has hosted the likes of Danny Boyle, John Woo, Gaspar Noé, Tilda Swinton, Jan Kounen, Aleksandr Sokurov, Baz Luhrmann, Philip Ridley, Nicolas Winding Refn and Jacques Audiard.
The films on offer this year once again scale the various heights and diversity of cinema. Wong Kar-Wai’s hotly anticipated latest The Grandmaster, Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi star in the biographical drama based on the life of legendary martial artist Ip Man, best known as a mentor to Bruce Lee.
Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land offers the tale of Hal Holbrook’s small-town teacher who stands up to a pair of drilling representatives (Matt Damon and Frances McDormand) determined to exploit the local resources.
Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha sees Greta Gerwig’s 20-something Brooklynite barely making a living as an apprentice with a dance company. Her greatest happiness is the friendship she shares with Mickey Sumner. Things go pear shaped with haste when they are separated, however, Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn’s documentary The Act of Killing explores the rationale behind the mass killings of Communists in Indonesia during the 1960s. Here, former death squad leader Anwar Congo is presented with the unique opportunity to reenact his crimes in the style of his favorite Hollywood films for the camera. He is also given the opportunity to speak candidly about his memories and motivations for committing mass murder.
Love & Anarchy Film Festival
In a packed bill, other films of note this year at HIFF include Claire Denis’ Bastards and Dome Karukoski’s Heart of a Lion. See what you can find.
More info from the HIFF website. Full programme is available on 6 September.