This year’s Films From the South-festival offers new works from some of the world’s leading filmmakers, fascinating documentaries, awe-inspiring art films and brazen commercial films. And as a cherry on top, we’ve allowed ample space for genre films.
An Iranian Master
Films From the South has for many years brought recognized filmmakers to Oslo, and this year we’re especially proud to present a giant of Iranian film, Mohammad Rasoulof.
Calling a controversial artist «brave» might be a bit clichéd, but few artists are more deserving of this label than Mohammad Rasoulof. In 2009 he was among the filmmakers who categorically supported the opposition’s green revolution for democracy in Iran. The following year, while he was working on his fourth feature film, Goodbye, the regime responded by arresting Rasoulof and several other oppositional artists. Both Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi were convicted to serve time in prison and were prohibited to work or leave the country.
A couple of weeks ago we were notified that Rasoulof had his passport confiscated by the Iranian authorities after a visit to Telluride Film Festival and that the director has been requested to appear in court. Rasoulof accepted Films From the South’s invitation to present a selection of his films for this year’s festival, and we hope this case will be resolved in time.
«Mohammad Rasoulof stands alongside Jafar Panahi as central pillars in the critical depiction of Iranian society, and we have for many years had Rasolouf as a desired guest. When this was confirmed a couple of weeks ago we were cheering through the roof. These recent developments are concerning. We know these kinds of processes tend to draw out, but we’re keeping in close contact with Rasoulof and hope the problem will be solved by the time he plans to come to Films from the South. We’re hoping for the best,” artistic director Lasse Skagen explains.
Read more about the situation here.
With a conviction for illegal filming behind him and the threat of further time in prison hanging over his head, Rasoulof’s newest film, A Man of Integrity, was recorded in secret and is one of the films we’ll be showing during this year’s festival. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard-section of the Cannes Film Festival in May and ended up snagging the main price.
In A Man of Integrity the court and prison system is taken to task as Rasoulof transports viewers to a remote village in north Iran. Here we meet Reza, who, together with his wife and son, has had to leave Teheran after falling out with a former employer. The film spells out it’s premise early on: You’re either on the side of the oppressed or you’re on the side of the oppressor.
In addition to screening his latest film we have also chosen to show Manuscripts Don’t Burn (2013) - a political film that bluntly criticizes the Iranian regime. We’ll also be showing Iron Island (2005), a film about the future of a group of homeless families on a sinking ship – a film that’s both an allegory for Iran’s current situation as well as a universal story of survival.
Many of the sharpest filmmakers from the South use commercial films for their artistic exploration. For this year’s festival we’re digging deep into the treasure trove of genre films and pulling out some real treats. Japanese vampire-film, hard-boiled Korean action and Vietnamese body-horror are a few treats you can expect.
One of the films on this year’s program for genre film is the Brazilian film Good Manners. The film centres around the housemaid Clara and her boss Ana, a wealthy, heavily pregnant woman. Ana is constantly hungry due to her pregnancy, but all she wants to eat is meat. By the light of the full moon, an unconscious Ana heads out to roam the streets, and the closer she gets to her due date the less control she has over her own body.
With Brazil’s economic disparities as its backdrop, Good Manners shifts seamlessly between horror, romantic drama, coming-of-age and body-horror.
The directors behind Good Manners have previously made the film Hard Labour which was shown during the 2011 Films From the South-festival.
This year’s genre-program has been a great source of inspiration for this year’s Films From the South-profile. Read more about it here. (ONLY IN NORWEGIAN)
The rest of the titles for this year’s genre program will be released in October.
Lipstick Under My Burkha
One of the films we started receiving requests for early on was Lipstick Under My Burkha.
The film portrays four Indian women who all struggle to find their identity and break free from traditional expectations within Indian society. The women’s very own dreams and fantasies take center stage in this thought-provoking, funny and important film.
During the Mumbai Film Festival in 2016, Lipstick Under My Burkha won the Oxfam-award for best picture about equal rights. It was later denied further distribution in India, as it was deemed to “women-oriented” and because of its seemingly explicit depictions of sexuality. After a long battle against the film’s censoring, it finally had its official national premiere in July in what has been described as a victory for the country’s women. We can’t wait to show the film during this year’s festival!
Tickets to select screenings, including the opening and closing film, as well as full festival tickets and punch cards, will be up for sale on October 19.
The full festival program will be released on October 26., and tickets to all of this year’s films are available from October 27.