I’ll just fess up: Despite the fact that it’s in its 41st year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam is something I’ve kind of never heard about until today. (Let’s blame it on a slip in my geography skills.) This ignorance on my part notwithstanding, taking a look at their initial lineup for this year — when the event runs from January 25th to February 5th — has left me mightily impressed.

The biggest world premieres come from two directors on opposite ends of at least a few spectrum: Takashi Miike and James Franco. (Discounting the fact that they’ve both depicted amputations onscreen, in one way or the other.) The former is debuting his adaptation of the popular Nintendo DS game, Ace Attorney, while the latter will be exhibiting Francophrenia (Or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is). A movie based on a kid’s video game that’s directed by the man who made Audition is a curious item, yes, but Franco‘s film, co-directed by Ian Olds, is a “humorous psycho-thriller” that was crafted “by writing a new script for existing footage shot by Franco on General Hospital.” Well, then.

Some of the European and Dutch premieres also caught my eye, among them the solid Willem Dafoe-starrer The Hunter, Yorgos LanthimosAlps, and Andrea Arnold‘s Wuthering Heights. Le Havre, Miss Bala, A Dangerous Method, and The Descendants are worth mentioning in their own right, but those have already (or are about to) hit stateside; that detracts from their glow a tad.

Read the entire premiere lineup below (via IndieWIRE):

World premieres in Spectrum

  • Cornelia frente al espejo/Cornelia at Her Mirror – Daniel Rosenfeld, Argentina, World premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • Roman Diary – Michael Pilz, Austria, World premiere
  • Rua Aperana 52 – Júlio Bressane, Brazil, World premiere
  • Lacan Palestine – Mike Hoolboom, Canada, World premiere
  • 38 témoins/38 Witnesses – Lucas Belvaux, France, Belgium, World premiere / Opening Film IFFR 2012
  • Le reste du monde/The Rest of the World – Damien Odoul, France, World premiere
  • The Blindfold – Garin Nugroho, Indonesia, World premiere
  • La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser/The Legend of Kaspar Hauser – Davide Manuli, Italy, World premiere
  • Ace Attorney – Miike Takashi, Japan, World premiere
  • I’m Still Alive – Peter van Houten, Netherlands, World premiere
  • Peace versus Justice – Klaartje Quirijns, Netherlands, World premiere
  • Nick – Fow Pyng Hu, Netherlands, World premiere
  • Agonistes, the Myth of Nation – Lav Diaz, Philippines, World premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • When the Lights Went Out – Pat Holden, United Kingdom, World premiere
  • A Shape of Error, Abigail Child, USA, Italy, World premiere
  • Francophrenia (or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is) – Ian Olds, James Franco, USA, World premiere

International premieres in Spectrum

  • Rat Fever – Cláudio Assis, Brazil, International premiere
  • Women on the Edge, Kobayashi Masahiro – Japan, International premiere
  • Mondomanila – Khavn De La Cruz, Philippines, Germany, International premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • A vingança de uma mulher/A Woman’s Revenge – Rita Azevedo Gomes, Portugal, International premiere
  • Black Dove – Roh Gyeong-Tae, South Korea, International premiere
  • Iceberg – Gabriel Velázquez, Spain, International premiere
  • The Comedy – Rick Alverson, USA, International premiere

European premieres in Spectrum

  • The Hunter – Daniel Nettheim, Australia, European premiere / Closing Film IFFR 2012
  • Four Suns – Bohdan Sláma, Czech Republic, European premiere
  • A Temple – Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, India, European premiere
  • Bunohan/Return to Murder, Dain Iskandar Said, Malaysia, European premiere
  • Los últimos cristeros/The Last Christeros – Matías Meyer, Mexico, Netherlands, European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • Visiting Room – Alexandru Baciu & Radu Muntean, Romania, European premiere
  • Punk in Africa – Keith Jones & Deon Maas, South Africa, Czech Republic, European premiere
  • small roads – James Benning, USA, European premiere

Dutch premieres in Spectrum

  • Hoy no tuve miedo/Today I Felt no Fear – Iván Fund, Argentina
  • Way of Passion – Joerg Burger, Austria
  • Les géants/The Giants – Bouli Lanners, Belgium, France, Luxembourg
  • Histoire de mes cheveux/Story of My Hair – Boris Lehman, Belgium, Russia
  • Monsieur Lazhar – Philippe Falardeau, Canada
  • Verano/Summertime – José Luis Torres Leiva, Chile, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • 11 Flowers – Wang Xiaoshuai, China, France
  • Old Dog – Pema Tseden, China
  • Le Havre – Aki Kaurismäki, Finland
  • L’ Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close/House of Tolerance – Bertrand Bonello, France
  • Duch, le maître des forges de l’enfer/Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell – Rithy Panh, France
  • Dernière séance – Laurent Achard, France
  • Un amour de jeunesse/Goodbye First Love – Mia Hansen-Løve, France
  • Une vie meilleure/A Better Life – Cédric Kahn, France
  • Demain? – Christine Laurent, France, Portugal
  • Die Unsichtbare/Cracks in the Shell – Christian Schwochow, Germany
  • Unfair World – Filipos Tsitos, Greece, Germany
  • Alps – Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece
  • A Simple Life – Ann Hui, Hong Kong
  • I Wish – Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan
  • Goodbye – Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
  • Kotoko – Tsukamoto Shinya, Japan
  • Miss Bala – Gerardo Naranjo Gonzalez, Mexico
  • Shock Head Soul – Simon Pummell, Netherlands, United Kingdom
  • Buenas noches – España, Raya Martin, Philippines, Spain
  • Century of Birthing – Lav Diaz, Philippines
  • Heart’s Boomerang – Nikolay Khomeriki, Russia
  • Tatsumi – Eric Khoo, Singapore
  • Stateless Things – Kim Kyung-Mook, South Korea
  • The Day He Arrives – Hong Sang-Soo, South Korea
  • Els noms de Crist/The Names of Christ – Albert Serra, Spain
  • El cuaderno de barro/The Clay Diaries – Isaki Lacuesta, Spain, Switzerland
  • Los pasos dobles/Double Steps – Isaki Lacuesta, Spain, Switzerland
  • Mercado de futures/Futures Market – Mercedes Alvarez, Spain
  • Play – Ruben Östlund, Sweden, France, Denmark
  • Patience (After Sebald) – Grant Gee, United Kingdom
  • A Dangerous Method – David Cronenberg, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Germany, Canada
  • Wuthering Heights – Andrea Arnold, United Kingdom
  • The Loneliest Planet – Julia Loktev, USA, Germany
  • The Descendants – Alexander Payne, USA
  • Damsels in Distress – Whit Stillman, USA

What do you make of this lineup? Do any titles pique your interest?

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