× Shop Archive About about contact jobs magazine advertising terms & conditions privacy policy Follow Instagram Facebook

Get on board for a cinematic catharsis

Accept loneliness and find intimacy through IFFR’s short films programme.

Tyrant Star

The International Film Festival in Rotterdam is almost upon us and we’ve made a selection of short films that will offer you solace and bring you into a communal, eco-feminist multidimensional future. Get aboard our flight through various (and fresh!) takes on the human condition.

Our first stop is multi-talented Diane Severin Nguyen, part of the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition, serving us with a take on the individual and loneliness. In “Tyrant Star” we meet a young woman who performs her favourite song—karaoke style—with her laptop screen as only audience. The story follows the traces of a lost love, one cinematically embalmed in colourful LED explosions.

Elia Kalogianni’s feature “Phélia” is the inversion of the previous mention. Kalogianni, one of the participants in the Voices Short’s programme, is the youngest on IFFR’s list and recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. “Phélia” was her graduation project, which revolves around a guard from Athens that tries to escape the suffocating routine of her lonely night shifts. The moving images enthrall with alienating vibrations as the protagonist searches for intimacy in unlikely places.


This universal quest for intimacy may lead you to all kinds of senses of communion, just like Pedro, a young trans girl on her own expedition to finding freedom of expression. In “The Uninhabitable Ones” by Brazilian writer, producer and director Anderson Bardot, Pedro hopes to be taken under the wing of a choreographer working on “Inabitáveis”, a dance performance on black homosexuality.

From one work in progress to the next: Belgian-American artist Cecile B. Evans created a film of a screen test for an adaptation on the Romanticist ballet Giselle, pushed to the edges of experimentalism. Don’t get discouraged by the simple title “A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle”, however. This piece will blow you into an eco-feminist reality through its mixture of digital, 16mm and VHS recordings, fuelled by animation and deep AI.

Enjoyed the trip? After the catharsis of loneliness and love, you’ve hopefully landed in an alternative plane of existence. This time around—wiser and backed by the energy of your community, whether you’ve found that in the sacrilege of nature or in the arms of fellow human beings.

International Film Festival Rotterdam

22 January —2 February, 2020


Words by Glamcult