There’s nothing that brings a city to life as much as a film festival. This year is Rotterdam’s 41st running from January 25 until February 5th 2012 in the Netherlands. Their slogan is Beautiful Moving Erotic Deeply Dark Film, which does sound rather enticing. The full program was released on January 19th on their website, and it sounds good and truly international.
The Mouth of Garbage program unearths Brazilian films from Sao Paolo in the 1960′s, 70′s and 80′s. Power Cut Middle East focuses on films from a region of recent dissent, particularly Syria and Egypt. Hidden Histories is a series of documentaries revealing some hidden aspects of Chinese society, including films by artist Ai Weiwei. And then there’s Home Made Movie Factory, by Michel Gondry where you can enrol in workshops to make films yourself even if you’ve never been near a camera before nor picked up a script.
And stepping outside the cinema, you’ll find Rotterdam is a great mixture of old and new, a huge port city (the world’s busiest until Shanghai outstripped it in 2004), The Netherland’s second-largest city, very international, with great shopping, great bars, clubs and restaurants. If you follow the recommendations in the festival program, you might just find yourself chatting to a film-maker, actor, or writer. Then maybe that training in the Home Made Movie Factory will become a useful career move after all.