The 22nd edition of Films From the South opens in Oslo on October 4th and runs to October 14th. We had a very enjoyable time there last year and I would certainly recommend a visit to what must be one of the friendliest festivals around with a great programme of films and guests.
This year’s highlights include a retrospective of films from the major Japanese studio Nikkatsu celebrating its centenary. There are 13 films from Nikkatsu ranging from Ito Daisuke’s A Diary of Chuji’s Travels (1927) through to Miike Takashi’s Yatterman (2009) by way of Imamura Shohei’s Intentions of Murder (1964) and Suzuki Seijun’s Branded to Kill (1967). The directors under the spotlight are Joko Anwar (Indonesia), Andrés Wood (Chile), Pen-Ek Ratanaurang (Thailand) and Faouzi Bensaïdi (Morocco).
‘Multicool Nord’ is an intriguingly titled strand that covers diasporic films made in Europe, including German-Turkish director Yasemin Samdereli’s comedy Almanya: Welcome to Germany and My Brother the Devil, a London-based drama from the Welsh-Egyptian writer-director Sally El Hosaini. Other films in the strand include documentaries made by Europeans in the South as well as other diaspora films set in Denmark and on a road trip from Holland to Morocco. The strand represents a new collaboration between Films from the South, Antiracist Film Days in Malmö, and Salaam Film & Dialogue in Copenhagen. The aim is to “zoom in on the ethnic and cultural diversity in Scandinavia, with the help of film, debate and lively dialogue”. There will be discussion and debate including contributions from some of the writers and directors involved.
On 11th October Nitin Sawhney will visit the festival and will play music to the silent film A Throw of Dice (Prapanche Pash, India 1929) in Oslo Concert Hall. The British Film Institute has now restored the film, and Sawhney has composed music to it. The show has had full houses in the UK, USA, Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy and Canada, and will now be performed in Oslo in collaboration between the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Films from the South and the Mela Festival. The ‘Film and Literature’ section has three Egyptian films based on the work of Naguib Mahfouz.
As well as these special events and strands, the festival has a wide range of films from Asia, Africa and Latin America both in competition and ‘out of competition’. Festival audiences get a chance to see films from new directors from parts of the world often criminally under-represented on screens in the North in the New Horizons strand plus a first glimpse of titles from better-known directors. Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate (China-HK 2011) and Pablo Trapero’s White Elephant (Argentina 2012) are amongst the latter. So, why not spend a few days at the Filmens Hus and all the other conveniently located festival venues in Oslo? You are sure to have a good time as well as getting to see a wide range of material.