72SSIFF - 20/28 September 2024
Official Selection
Official Selection
Todd Robinson
108 min.
In the 40s, Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez were the most wanted couple in America. Known as the "Lonely Hearts Killers", these lovers of duplicity, easy money and kinky sex would swindle and viciously murder the war widows and wealthy women unlucky enough to answer the personal ads in which Ray would describe himself as a sexy Latin Lover. Martha posed as his sister. They committed around twenty crimes. Detective Elmer C. Robinson participated in their capture in 1949. Lonely Hearts reconstructs these true facts.
Not in competition
Closing Film
Carlos Sorin
98 min.
Like most Argentines, Tati, a young man from the Misiones province, is Maradona crazy. Despite having no job and practically no cash, he maintains his cheerful spirit. The TV announcement of Maradona?s admission to the Swiss-Argentine Hospital in Buenos Aires with heart problems is enough for the man to hit the road for the capital in order to personally give him the wooden resemblence he carries over the hills wrapped in newspaper along with a bag full of other carvings he hopes to sell. Setting out, he meets Warguinho as he proceeds on a voyage full of surprises and encounters. Will he be able to deliver the sculpture to his idol?
Not in competition
Agnieszka Holland
USA - UK - Hungary 
104 min.
Anna Holtz is a 23-year-old aspiring composer lacking in wherewithal struggling to find inspiration and prosper in the music capital of the world, Vienna. Anna, a conservatory student, wangles the chance to work with the best and most voluble living artist: Ludwig van Beethoven. When unexpectedly put to the test by the sceptical Beethoven, Anna unfolds her talents and particular flair for music. The maestro decides to accept her as his copyist, marking the start of an extraordinary relationship that will change both of their lives.
Tom DiCillo
107 min.
Les, a small time celebrity photographer, aches to get that one great picture which will get him noticed. He meets Toby, a homeless young man with no direction except a vague desire to become an actor. Luck intervenes for Toby when he gets a chance meeting with K?Harma Leeds, the hottest pop star of the moment. Instant chemistry sparks between them, causing friction between Toby and new found friend Les. When Les betrays Toby?s trust, Toby turns his back on him. But although he finds fame for himself, Tony doesn?t forget his humbler beginnings and those who helped him along the way.
Lars von Trier
100 min.
The owner of a firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started it he invented a non-existent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on negotiating with the ?president? face to face, the owner has to take on a failed actor to play the part. The actor suddenly discovers he?s a pawn in a game that goes on to sorely test his (lack of) moral fibre.
Not in competition
The Netherlands 
95 min.
Père-Lachaise, one of the world?s most famous and beautiful cemeteries, is the final resting place for a greatly gifted group of artists from all eras and corners of the world. Some, such as Piaf, Proust, Jim Morrison and Chopin, are worshipped to this day. Others have fallen into oblivion, or are visited occasionally by a single admirer. In Forever we see the mysterious, calming and consoling beauty of this unique cemetery through the eyes of today?s visitors. Many come to be with their loved ones: husbands, wives, family and friends. Others honour their favourite artist by placing a personal message or a flower on his/her tombstone. And then there are the daily visits from the anonymous little ladies who come to lovingly dust and water anonymous graves. As all of these quiet callers share with us the importance of art and beauty in their lives, the graveyard gradually reveals itself as a source of inspiration for the living.
Opening Film (In competition)
Nick Broomfield
96 min.
On 5th February 2004, twenty-three illegal Chinese immigrants died on the north coast of England while cockle picking. One of the few survivors of the tragedy, Ai Qin personally stars in the tale of her journey from China to England and the harsh working conditions she is obliged to face in the effort to secure a better life for her son and family in China. Ai Qin, a native of Fujian, had to borrow $25,000 to pay the gang who smuggled her into the UK, where she became another of the three million migrant workers serving as the bedrock of its food supply chain, construction and hospitality industries. She lived with another 15 people of Chinese origin in a 2-bedroom house. Their families are still paying off their debts with the Chinese mafia. Filmed on the limits between documentary and fiction, Ghosts will have you wondering about slavery in the 21st century.
Kore-eda Hirokazu
127 min.
Set in 1702, Hana yori mo naho looks back a full three centuries to a time when samurai clans offered monetary rewards to the samurais who succeeded in taking on a revenge act. The central character is a young samurai, Sozaemon Aoki, who has come to Edo (now Tokyo) to avenge his late father. Although he searches the city for his father?s enemy, he is hopeless with swordplay and reluctant to pursue his mission. Living in an Edo tenement, poverty-stricken but rich in human relationships, Sozaemon starts to cherish life and question the meaning of taking revenge.
Rajko Grlic
Croacia - Bosnia Herzegovina - Macedonia - Eslovenia - Serbia - Gran Bretaña - Hungría - Austria - Francia  
90 min.
A small border post on the Yugoslav-Albanian border in the spring of 1987. Frustrated and always drunk, lieutenant Pa?ic feels a strange pain in his groins. He seeks help from the only doctor among the soldiers, Sini?a, who diagnoses a sexually transmitted disease. Not wishing his wife to know about it and trying to find excuses not to go home, he declares a state of emergency, claiming that the Albanian army is preparing an attack against Yugoslavia. A joke transforms into war hysteria: soldiers dig trenches, Pa?ic grows wilder as the days go by, Sini?a embarks on a dangerous liaison, and his best friend Ljuba decides to leave the army. The situation slowly runs out of control...
Javier Rebollo
Spain - France 
100 min.
Leon, a lonesome man who watches the world as if it were a show, suddenly becomes fascinated by an ordinary woman, Lola, deciding from then on to devote himself exclusively to her... She never even knows he exists.
Joaquín Jordá
123 min.
Más allá del espejo is a documentary feature on the world of agnosias and alexias, brain diseases causing serious variations in the way we perceive ?reality?. The start of the whole story is an article published on the inside cover of the El País newspaper about Esther Chumillas, an 18-year-old girl from Cuenca suffering from agnosia since the age of 15 due to a badly diagnosed meningitis. Film director Joaquín Jordá, himself a sufferer of alexia and agnosia following a stroke, got in touch with her. And they struck up a friendship. Another person, similarly attracted by the article, soon appeared on the scene.
Not in competition
Martial Fougeron
90 min.
Julien is an adorable boy on the cusp of adolescence, but he is also a prisoner of love. His mother, neglected by her academic husband, adores him excessively and controls his every move, often through cruel psychological bullying. Miserable, he tries to break free, finding and then losing a girlfriend, turning to his grandmother and sister, calling the police, threatening suicide... But there?s nothing stronger than a mother?s love.
Bahman Ghobadi
Iran - Irak - Austria - France 
107 min.
Mamo, an old, renowned musician, has been granted permission to give a concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. His faithful friend Kako will drive a school bus and help collect Mamo?s ten musical sons from all over Iranian Kurdistan. The old Kurdish musician has waited 35 years for the chance to perform again in Iraqi Kurdistan and ignores his son?s premonition that something awful awaits him before the next full moon. On the other hand, he also has to persuade Hesho, a singer who lives in a mountain retreat with 1,334 other exiled female singers, to go with them. Given that women are forbidden to sing in front of men in public in Iran, Hesho must be carefully concealed in the bus. The journey of Mamo and his musical group is not without difficulties, but Mamo?s persistence guides everyone towards adventure, emotion and magic.
Im Sang-soo
South Korea 
112 min.
The 80s in a South Korea under repressive dictatorship that reads spy infiltrated by the communists from the North into every rebellious student. Hyun-woo escapes Kwangju during the uprising, stealing his way to a mountain village where he is given shelter by Yoon-hee. Although the two fall in love and lead a peaceful, happy life, Hyun-woo is racked with guilt for leading a safe, comfortable existence when his fellow protesters continue to fight. Leaving Yoon-hee and heading for Seoul, he is caught by the police, judged at a farcical trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Yoon-hee decides to wait for him to come out of prison. Sixteen years later, on being set free, Hyun-woo learns not only of Yoon-hee?s death, but of a daughter born after his arrest he never knew existed.
Marion Hänsel
Belgium - France 
96 min.
The desert eats away at the land. The endless dry season has caused the village well to run dry. The livestock is dying. Trusting their instinct, most of the villagers leave and head south. Despite the threat of war, Rahne, the only literate one, decides to head east with his three children and his wife Mouna. A few sheep, some goats and Chamelle, a dromedary, are their only riches. Rahne and his family travel across hostile lands under a lethal sun, walking endlessly onwards. Sounds of Sand is a tale of exodus, survival and hope. It is also a parable about determination that brings us into the footsteps of Shasha, a nomad child full of the joys of life, whose tenacity and strength will conquer her father's love.
Bobcat Goldthwait
89 min.
Amy is a seemingly normal young girl, adored by her parents and golden-boy fiancé. Her future looks bright until her fiancé suggests that they tell each other their darkest secrets... things they have never told anyone. When Amy finally relents and reveals her secret, everything falls apart.
John Boorman
Ireland - UK 
103 min.
Identical twins are separated at birth. One, Liam, becomes a successful though over-stretched property developer in the new godless, greedy Ireland; the other, a homeless bum in Leeds. The have and the have-not. The bum comes across a magazine article about Liam and his glittering possessions. In a series of wickedly devious comic episodes, he sets out to steal Liam?s life and wife. He succeeds, but finds nothing but debts and grief. Liam, on the other hand, discovers he is less aggrieved than he might be to find himself relieved of his life and its burdens.
Víctor García León
90 min.
Vete de mí is the tale of Edipo?s father. A normal guy, supporting actor in the La Latina theatre, 55 years old with a 38-year-old girlfriend, a small flat in Madrid and reasonably happy.... until the arrival of his 30-year-old son, a middle-class Peter Pan trying to make a place for himself in his father?s life.
Antonio Chavarrías
Spain - Mexico 
105 min.
At the end of a street party, Celia fails in her attempted suicide on the railway tracks. That same night, a young girl is found raped and murdered nearby. A policeman, Miguel Ángel, starts investing the case, leading him to Celia and Agustín, her husband. The clues also direct him towards Celia?s two sisters: Carmen and Ángela. Miguel Ángel finds himself drawn closer to Celia?s environment as he arrests Pedro, Ángela?s former boyfriend, and makes friends with Jaime, Carmen?s ex-husband. But the man he really suspects is Agustín, Celia?s husband. Miguel Ángel is also going through a difficult personal time; he channels his own frustrations into the investigation, seeing his mental and emotional instability reflected in Celia. The tensions awakened by the crime reveal the dark, false world hidden behind Celia?s peaceful, nondescript life.
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