30.09. - 09.10.2021

Opening film and further highlights

A journey back in time to 1974 marks the opening of this year's FILMFEST HAMBURG on September 26 and takes us on a foray into contemporary cinema, leading us to France, Portugal, Canada, Iran and northern Germany.

In the presence of the leading actress Doria Tillier and director Nicolas Bedos, La Belle Époque will celebrate its German premiere as the opening film of the festival. In the film, comic-strip artist Victor, for whom things have been going downhill for some time, both professionally and in the relationship with his wife, is given the chance to relive the day in 1974 when he met the woman of his life with the help of an event agency. Through make-up, costumes and elaborate sets, the portrait of a bygone era is created and the charming actress Margot (Doria Tillier) causes reality and staging to mix more and more.

With Vitalina Varela, the winner of the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival comes to Hamburg. Director Pedro Costa (Horse Money, Colossal Youth) continues his engagement with Portugal's shadow existences: migrants from Cape Verde who live in the other-wordly gloom of the slums. In this film, too, the filmmaker mixes documentary and fiction in the story of a woman who makes her way from the former colony to the mainland - years after her husband left her to head in this direction - only to arrive a few days after his funeral. Actress Vitalina Varela, who gives the film its title, was awarded the Locarno Prize for Best Acting Achievement.

Douglas Sirk winner Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter) returns to the Hanseatic city four years after his last visit with Guest of Honour. The Canadian director stages a complex father-daughter relationship: a woman is in prison because of a sexual offence against a student. Although she knows that the accusations are false, she decides to stay in prison and also refuses the help of her father, who then lets go of his frustration in his job as a health inspector. At the same time, the complicated entanglements of the past are gradually washed to the surface.

Due to his recent conviction in Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof (A Man of Integrity, Manuscripts Don't Burn) will not be able to attend the world premiere of his new film The Red Hatchback. Due to his difficulties with the regime, Rasoulof could only act as producer and scriptwriter for the film supported by Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, while Ashkan Najafi took over the direction. In the film, a single father in Iran, a country dominated by inflation and corruption, tries to fulfill his and his son's common wish for a red hatchback.

Siegfried Lenz's Deutschstunde is one of the most important works of German post-war literature. Now, Christian Schwochow (Bad Banks, Die Unsichtbare) has undertaken the first cinematic adaptation. The film tells the story of Siggi, a boy writing down his memories about the conflict between fulfilling his duties and moral convictions during the Nazi era while in prison - starring Tobias Moretti, Ulrich Noethen and Maria Dragus. Deutschstunde is nominated at FILMFEST HAMBURG for the 25,000 Euro Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions.

FILMFEST HAMBURG will take place from September 26 to October 5, 2019. Over 130 productions will be shown as world, European or German premieres in the festival cinemas Abaton, CinemaxX Dammtor, Metropolis, Passage and Studio-Kino. The programme will be announced on September 10, 2019, ticket sales start on September 18, 2019.


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