Snapshots From the 44th Edition of IFFR

I made it to the final night of International Film Festival Rotterdam (AKA “#IFFR” on Twitter) over the weekend. Wikipedia tells me that the fest is “approximately comparable in size to other major European festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and Locarno [citation needed].”

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Take that for what you will but, for what it’s worth, IFFR certainly looks like a big deal. The main corridor of Rotterdam Centraal was lined with banners bearing the fest’s iconic tiger mascot as I passed through on Saturday night. Far stranger were the two gigantic plaster heads sitting near the train station’s main entrance. I later learned that they open up along their noses and serve as info kiosks during daylight hours.

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A long, illuminated red carpet guided me to the front doors of the Pathé Schouwburgplein. Once inside, I felt under-dressed but more at ease once three incredibly drunk guys sat down next to me in the theater’s IMAX auditorium. I tried and failed to get my Twitter account blocked from the running ticker on one of the fest’s pre-show interactive screens. I guess there’s always next year.

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I was there to see The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, the latest bit of cinematic weirdness from Japanese director Takashi Miike. The first half held the drunk guys’ interest but, once the movie set aside its madcap violence and T & A for some crime/drama pathos worthy of Heat, all three of them passed out.

I obviously procrastinated so I missed out on the likes of Nebraska and Big Bad Wolves, Quentin Tarantino’s pick for the best film of 2013. Oh, well. The Mole Song was a refreshing oddity and well worth the trip. I lost a glove somewhere along the way though.

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Wherever you are, glove, I dedicate this blog post to you.

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