A selection of the crowd-pleasers during FFO19. These films are extremely popular with our festival audience, as they are often attended by the cast and crew, who come to present their film in person. Make sure to book your tickets in advance!
Best of the Festivals
Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
Juliette is released from prison after a sentence of fifteen years. She has a hard time finding her place back in society and within her family. This catchy family drama is led by a strong Kristin Scott Thomas and won two Césars and countless other awards worldwide.
Kathy Bates is downright impressive as Dolores Claiborne, a woman accused of murder. “My favourite role ever,” to quote the Oscar-winning actress. In this psychological thriller we follow the relationship between Claiborne and her daughter, a journalist who returns to her native village. An adaptation of the Stephen King-classic of the same name.
The Hurt Locker
This film finally destroyed the glass ceiling at the Oscars in 2009: Kathryn Bigelow became the first female filmmaker ever to win the statuette for Best Director for ‘The Hurt Locker’. Her film, a ticking time bomb about the war in Iraq, won five more Academy Awards that evening, including the top prize for Best Film.
The Swallows Of Kabul
Summer, 1998. Kabul is repressed by the Taliban. In this incredible animation film, the lives of two couples – one old and conservative, the other young and modern – become entangled. It soon becomes clear that a price will have to be paid for their love.
It is impossible to prepare for a film such as this Tunisian one. A young soldier leaves the camp when he is told that his mother has died. This is followed by a fantastic trip that is difficult to describe, but one you have to experience for yourself. A bold choice from the FFO programmers.
When Vasil is told that his deceased wife tried to call an acquaintance, he also tries to get back in touch with her through a clairvoyant. This absurd but intimate Bulgarian tragicomedy won the Crystal Globe for Best Film at the latest International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary.
Following Berlin, Toronto and Busan, this culinary drama about integration is now set to play in Ostend. A Chinese illegal immigrant relocates to Japan, claims a false identity and starts working as an apprentice for a Japanese master chef. Kei Chikuara’s debut feature is simply delightful.
A Tale Of Three Sisters
Three sisters are reunited in the remote mountain village where they grew up with their father. All three of them carry a past they now have to cope with. This family chronicle became a hit in Turkey: at the Istanbul Film Festival it won five prizes, including a shared award for unique performances of the three main actresses.
Sick, Sick, Sick
A Brazilian film about obsessive teenage love. The quiet girl in the class falls in love with the new boy, a weirdo with a blood disease. Alice Furtado's feature debut was premiered in Cannes and proves her status as a film talent to watch.
In this Dutch movie, everything revolves around the fascinating performance by Circé Lethem, who plays the traumatized Mette. She is in the final phase of rehabilitation after witnessing a fight that got out of hand. It caused the death of a guard. The second film by Esther Rots feels like a time bomb ticking backwards - an intelligent psychological study in which disorientation and anxiety slowly increase.
French movie star Isabelle Huppert plays a successful businesswoman who is looking for the man who raped her. This perverse psychodrama by the Dutch ‘Showgirls’-director Paul Verhoeven earned Huppert numerous prizes and her very first Oscar nomination.
The Danish Girl
‘The King’s Speech’-director Tom Hooper based this film on the life of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Their work and life take a drastic turn when Lili decides to undergo sex confirmation surgery, as she was the first trans woman in the world ever to do so. Alicia Vikander won an Oscar for her supporting role as Lili’s partner Gerda.
Sam de Jong based his American feature debut on the life of his protagonist Slick Woods, now a world-famous model. Goldie is a New York teenager who has to survive in poor conditions. Without any money, she has to take care of her two sisters when her mother is incarcerated. Despite everything, she continues to dream of a life in the spotlights.
Dafne is a self-aware and smart young woman with Down Syndrome. When her mother dies, her father demands a lot of attention, while she also tries to deal with her own grief. This heartwarming drama was crowned in Berlin by the jury of international film critics.
Symbolism and humanism are key in this suprisingly honest debut film. Somewhere in the mangroves between Thailand and Myanmar, a fisherman stumbles upon the battered body of a Rohingya man. The Good Samaritan takes him to his house and helps him recover. When the fisherman gets lost at sea, his new housemate slowly but surely takes over his identity.
Time heals all wounds, people say. But when 80-year-old Ali learns about the SS officer who murdered his parents, he hungers for blood. In his search for justice he only meets the son of the officer, Georg, who's a retired teacher. Together they decide to investigate the case further in this bittersweet story about the identity of two men and a nation.
After The Wedding
Isabel has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa is the multimillionaire head of a media company. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor in person.
The mysterious disappearance of Lillian Alling inspired Andreas Horvath to create this epic road movie. When the 'American Dream' of a Russian immigrant goes sideways, she makes a desperate attempt to get home on foot. Dream and reality come together in this beautiful view on a dystopian America.
Following four prizes in Cannes and an impressive walk through the international film festival circuit, this film is now also nominated for several Ensors. Anyone who has yet to see the widely acclaimed feature film debut by Lukas Dhont is at the right place during FFO. In ‘Girl’ we follow 15-year-old Lara who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, but also struggles with her gender identity.
Hellhole volgt drie sterk verschillende mensen in de maanden na de terroristische aanslagen in Brussel in maart 2016. Een Vlaamse arts, wiens zoon een straaljagerpiloot is op een missie in het Midden-Oosten, wordt geconfronteerd met zijn eenzaamheid. Een jongeman van Algerijnse afkomst wordt door zijn broer gevraagd om een bedrieglijk eenvoudige gunst. Een Italiaanse vrouw, die in het hart van de Europese instellingen werkt, verliest langzaam de controle onder de druk van haar veeleisende leven. Dezelfde vraag die de stad lijkt te achtervolgen, overschaduwt hun leven: waar gaan we heen vanaf hier?
The Best Of Dorien B.
Dorien (37) hasit all: a loving husband, two adorable children and she runs a succesful veterinary clinic.
When a series of unfortunate events occur, her picture perfect life starts to crumble. She discovers her mother has been having an affair for years. Her husband is way to close with a co-worker and she discovers a lump in her breast. She starts to doubt all her decisions. Is this the life she dreamt about as a kid?
“The Best Of Dorien B” is a dramatic comedy about a woman who rediscovers and reinvents herself amidst all adversity.
Winnaar LOOK! Beste Production Design
De Zuid-Koreaanse Bong Joon-ho (‘Okja’, ‘Snowpiercer’) werd dit jaar in Cannes als eerste Koreaan ooit bekroond met een Gouden Palm. Zijn maatschappijkritische thriller, over een werkloze familie die in geldnood verkeert, fileert het klassensysteem in eigen land op buitengewoon entertainende manier. Een film waarover publiek en critici hun mening delen: meesterlijk!
Confusion in Cannes after the world premiere of ‘Bacurau’: was this a western? A sci-fi? A bandit movie? The answer: a mix of all those things and, moreover, a socially critical view of contemporary Brazil. The film takes place a few years into the future, when parts of society seem to be disappearing in Bacureau. The Cannes Jury wasn't confused at all and honoured the film with their Jury Prize.
The Invisible Life Of Eurídice Gusmão
Winnaar LOOK! Beste Film
In Rio de Janeiro van de jaren vijftig groeien Guida en Euridice op zoals alle andere vrouwen in het Brazilië van toen: onzichtbaar. Binnen deze archaïsche patriarchale omgeving slagen ze er wonderwel in om hun vrijheid van geest te vrijwaren. Dit tropische, kleurrijke melodrama won de hoofdprijs binnen 'Un Certain Regard' (de belangrijkste nevensectie op het filmfestival van Cannes).
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Marianne is asked to paint a portrait of the stubborn Héloïse in France during the 18th Century. Director Céline Sciamma gives a sensitive and sensual take on what it means to be a woman and to fall in love with another woman. Lesbian love told through the gaze of a queer woman. Her film won the Queer Palm and the award for Best Screenplay in Cannes.
In this chilly road movie, we follow a father and son who take the body of their deceased brother/son back to their home village in Krim. The young Ukrainian director Nariman Aliev‘s feature debut competed in the most important side competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Everybody in Guatemala seems to be immersed in the lawsuit against soldiers who caused the civil war. Ernesto is a young anthropologist whose job consists of identifying missing people. His father, a guerrilla-fighter, went missing during the war. Now, he believes he's close to finding him again. This fiction debut by documentary director César Díaz won the Camera d'Or in Cannes earlier this year.
GIRL vertelt een confronterend en ontroerend verhaal over identiteit en gender. De film laat ons binnenkijken in het leven van de 15-jarige Lara, die het wil maken als ballerina. Daarvoor trotseert ze de wereld maar vooral haar lichaam dat tegenstribbelt. Lara ondervindt dagelijks de grand écart tussen de realiteit van haar mannelijke biologie en haar vrouwelijke identiteit.
In aanwezigheid van scenarist Angelo Tijsens en acteur Tijmen Govaerts!
Twelve-year-old Binti, born in Congo but raised in Belgium, dreams of becoming a famous vlogger. However, her father Jovial is in trouble and together with her boyfriend Elias, she tries to find a solution. The debuting Bebel Tshiani Baloji is nominated for an Ensor for her role as Binti.
In Bas Devos’s second feature film we observe three very different people in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Brussels. The question that seems to haunt the city also overshadows their lives: how should we continue? An intriguing mosaic portrait.
The Best Of Dorien B.
In her feature debut director Anke Blondé follows a 37-year-old woman who has everything to be happy, yet still doubts whether she made the right choices. Kim Snauwaert portrays the chaotic Dorien who rediscovers herself. This film is guaranteed to win your heart.
Three African-American female mathematicians played a crucial role in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In ‘Hidden Figures’ their story is finally told through a compelling film that was nominated for three Oscars.
Juno is trying to find a way in life now that she has unexpectedly become pregnant. This refreshing dramedy was a big indie hit in 2007 and was nominated for four Oscars. It also meant the start of Ellen Page's Hollywood-career.
Cléo from 5 to 7
Earlier this year, Agnès Varda, grandmother of the French Nouvelle Vague, died at the age of ninety after an almost invisible fight against cancer. In one of her best known and most successful films, she follows the young Cléo for an hour and a half, anxiously awaiting the results of a doctor’s examination.
This remarkable acting debut of Vicky Knight deserves extra attention given the authenticity of the scars on her body. Years ago, she ended up in a house fire, but now the wounds serve as the vital obstacle in Sacha Polak’s third feature film. Knight plays a woman who was attacked by her husband with a corrosive acid and now tries to deal with the lasting physical and mental scars.