The First Films of the Main Sections

Opening film and German premiere: The Death of Cinema and My Father Too; new films by Frederick Wiseman and Lav Diaz

The Death of Cinema and My Father Too | © Films Boutique

The 69th International Film Festival Mannheim Heidelberg (IFFMH) presents the first films of its main sections.

The feature debut of the exceptionally talented Dani Rosenberg, The Death of Cinema and My Father Too, will open the 69th edition of the IFFMH. Rosenberg’s father is the star of countless amateur films they lovingly made together. As they get ready to shoot their first big professional project, Dani’s own child is about to be born, while his father is nearing the end of a terminal illness. Rosenberg films his father one last time, this time as a documentary. At the same time, he shoots a fictionalised version of their farewell – and a fantasy of the originally planned project. The three levels merge together into a cinematic experience as unusual as it is personal. The Death of Cinema and My Father Too was part of the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival 2020.

Asia, Ruthy Pribar’s sensitive debut offers a mirror image of this set-up: Asia (Alena Yiv) is confronted with the approaching death of her daughter (Shira Haas). Both struggle together for dignity. Asia had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2020. In the meanwhile, Shira Haas achieved international fame through the series Unorthodox, which was recently awarded an Emmy.

The IFFMH is showing the world premiere of the fully independent production Come Closer. The directing duo Saskia and Ralf Walker (co-directed by Sebastian Fremder) present a fascinating work of cinema that is both original and independent: free love in a free film, achieved through curiosity about other people, a different kind of corporeality and a different kind of thinking.

Gold for Dogs is Anna Cazenave Cambet’s impressive debut, about a fascinating young woman who, for the sake of love, somnambulistically follows a path never thought possible. Selected by the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, the film develops a fascinating deep structure through colours and light. Always in the centre: the remarkable lead actress Tallulah Cassavetti in her first film.

In his second feature The Disciple, director Chaitanya Tamhane dives deep into Indian singing tradition and celebrates life as a slow process of gaining different perspectives: one oneself, on one’s surroundings, and on tradition. Told with epic means and offering extraordinary snippets of life. The Disciple received the award for best screenplay at the Venice Film Festival.

As a Special, the IFFMH is delighted to welcome back an old friend: having already shown his first films in Mannheim in the late 1960s, and after last visiting in 2014 with National Gallery, documentary legend Frederick Wiseman is taking part in the Festival for the 6th time with City Hall. In his latest work, Wiseman surveys the Boston city administration and gives hope for American democracy in spite of Trump.

The section PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES complements the competition, showing the new within the established.

In Genus, Pan, the new film by Lav Diaz, greed, misery and justice come together in stunningly filmed nature: motifs from Philippine myths and biblical parables merge into an epic. As always, Diaz is a master in composing black-and-white tableaux. He weaves great human dramas in extreme slowness. Their intensity increases con-stantly, to the point of inspiring vital optimism.

Overview of the announced films:

Israel, 2020, 85 min
R: Ruthy Pribar
© Intramovies

City Hall
USA, 2020, 272 min
R: Frederick Wiseman
© Zipporah Films

Genus, Pan (Lahi, Hayop)
Philippines, 2020, 157 min
R: Lav Diaz
© Sine Olivia Pilipinas

Gold for Dogs (De l'or pour les chiens)
France, 2020, 99 min
R: Anne Cazenave Cambet
© WTFilms

The Death of Cinema and My Father Too (Moto shel hakolnoa veshel aba sheli gum)
Israel, 2020, 100 min
R: Dani Rosenberg
© Films Boutique

The Disciple
India, 2020, 130 min
R: Chaitanya Tamhane
© New Europe Film Sales

Come Closer (Der Siebzehnte)
Germany, 2020, 75 min
R: Saskia Walker & Ralf Walker
© déjà vu film