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Opening & Closing

23. August 2023


This year’s opening film comes from Jordan: Amjad Al Rasheed’s Cannes award-winning feature debut Inshallah a  Boy will open the 31st FILMFEST HAMBURG on 28 September 2023 in the presence of the director and leading actress Mouna Hawa. The Swedish entry Paradise is Burning by Mika Gustafson will close the last Hamburg public festival under the direction of Albert Wiederspiel on 7 October. Both films are about the realities of families’ lives in their respective political and social environments. 


“It has always been my wish to bring world cinema to Hamburg and to show films from countries that rarely appear on the world’s cinematic map. The film country Jordan is completely unknown, so I am delighted even more to present not only a cinematically remarkable debut with this important feature, but also to raise awareness of a politically relevant topic: a patriarchal justice system under which women suffer,” says festival director Albert Wiederspiel. “We always like to show films from Scandinavia, so it is even more beautiful to close with this film about the strength of sisterly love, which is young in terms of content and also in the way it is made.”


Inshallah a Boy tells the story of Nawal (Mouna Hawa), who lives with her daughter in modest circumstances in Amman after the sudden death of her husband. The family is initially sympathetic, but soon the façade crumbles when confronted with the reality of Jordanian law. The young mother has to stand up to a patriarchal justice system within the complex family dynamics to protect her home and her daughter’s custody. Amjad Al Rasheed’s debut film celebrated its world premiere in the “Semaine de la critique” section at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution. 


The ten-day FILMFEST HAMBURG ends on 7 October with a strong feature film debut from Sweden: In Paradise is Burning, 16-year-old Laura takes care of her two younger sisters. When the Social Welfare Office announces itself for a visit, Laura has to find someone to pretend to be their mother – otherwise the girls are threatened with separation. On the fine line between the euphoria of freedom and the disillusionment of getting by on their own, the sisters defy the impositions of the adult world. Paradise is burning by Mika Gustafson will celebrate its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in the “Orizzonti” section at the beginning of September. At the German premiere in Hamburg, the director will present her film personally.


FILMFEST HAMBURG will take place from 28 September to 7 October 2023. Over 120 productions from all over the world will be shown as world, European, German or Hamburg premieres. Festival cinemas are the Abaton, Alabama Kino CinemaxX Dammtor, Metropolis, Passage and the Studio-Kino. The complete programme will be announced on 12 September, and advance ticket sales will start on 14 September. 


Fotos: © Imaginarium Films/Georges Films/Bayt Al Shawareb; HOBAB, Intramovies, Tuffi Films, Toolbo

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