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Festival Focus: Directors' Fortnight

Festival Focus: Directors' Fortnight

Our Festival Focus spotlight presents some of the best films to have shown at the visionary Directors’ Fortnight. Launched in 1969, Directors’ Fortnight was originally set up as an alternative to the Cannes Film Festival, following the transformative events of May ‘68. Some of the directors to feature in this original line-up included Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, and Humberto Solas, to name a few. It has since launched the careers of giants from the worlds of independent or arthouse cinema, showcasing bold and innovative films from all over the globe, and in certain cases, helping them grow new audiences. It was at the Fortnight that landmark films such as Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God and Chantal Akerman’s feminist touchstone Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles first premiered in 1975. Always forward-thinking and unafraid to show films that are strange, challenging, or daring, the Fortnight continues to highlight some of the most exciting gems in world cinema. Happy viewing!


Ariane Labed France, 2019

We’re thrilled to see French actress Ariane Labed (Attenberg, The Lobster) jump behind the camera, and her directing debut is nothing short of explosive! Premiering in Cannes last year, this 27-minute gem subverts ideas of femalehood and immigration with style, humor, and insight to spare.

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Luca Guadagnino Italy, 2019

The Italian director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) collaborated with Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino, for this short film. With a star-laden cast and score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, The Staggering Girl unfolds with the mysteriousness of a dream, sumptuous and elusive.


Bertrand Mandico France, 2011

Bertrand Mandico (The Wild Boys) defied all expectations of the genre with his surreal and captivating biopic of the Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk. A fictionalized account of Borowczyk’s life, Boro in the Box is an elliptical paean to his singularly provocative cinema.


Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

Three volumes, three unidentified filmic objects of uncommon beauty, and three instant classics of contemporary cinema. Miguel Gomes’ outstanding masterpiece takes over. A vision of modern Portugal told with the inspiration of the timeless folk tales of Arabian Nights.


Philippe Garrel France, 1968

In astonishingly beautiful B&W, Philippe Garrel’s silent experimental narrative film was made in his 20s with the ferocious Zanzibar art collective. Shot near military camps in Germany, to create a feeling of oppression, it is a primal response to the events of May ’68 as they were still unfolding.


Pablo Larraín Chile, 2008

Pablo Larraín has been making politically cutting and darkly comic sharp autopsies of the past in his native Chile since this Quinzaine breakthrough. Tony Manero, a satirical psychological study and the first part of a thematic trilogy about life under Pinochet, is biting, confrontative cinema.


Philippe Garrel France, 2017

In this lithe romantic triangle, Philippe Garrel shows us he only needs the barest means—plus 35mm B&W film—to tell a story. Co-scripted with his regular collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, the film oozes desire and intensity, as two women (one played by his daughter Esther) find out what love means.


Bette Gordon United States, 1983

Based on a Brechtian script by Kathy Acker and starring New York underground legends like Nan Goldin and Cookie Mueller, Bette Gordon’s trailblazing New York indie powerfully inverts the gendered conventions of the erotic thriller, foregrounding women’s sexual fantasies in grimy, downtown New York.