International Competition

Entries in Total: 1,155 Films out of 114 Countries and Areas

October 8–12

A program that began with the very first YIDFF. Feature-length works were sought from around the world, and from the 1,155 entries emerges a stringent selection of 15 cinematic gems, richly varied and representing the vanguard of world filmmaking.

(Alphabetically shown)

-Before the Dying of the Light
MOROCCO, FRANCE / 2020 / 70 min
Director: Ali Essafi

The 1970s revolutionary movements in Morocco, led by laborers and students, also gave rise to an exciting avant-garde art movement that developed alongside the protests. Although the movements were largely suppressed by authorities which led to their being erased from public memory, the passion of the artists from this period is given new life to the viewer through a collage of contemporary posters, music, and film footage.

Oct. 9 10:00 | Oct. 11 21:30

SPAIN / 2020 / 111 min
Director: Alfonso Amador

In the outskirts of Valencia, a region rich in irrigation agriculture, lives a farming family that has been growing tiger nuts for generations. Camagroga follows their lives for one year as they continue to work on the farm. Despite the upheavals in modern development that encroach on the area, we see their faces beaming with a pride and joy in their trade, and learn about the history of the land itself.

Oct. 8 12:00 | Oct. 10 20:00

-City Hall
USA / 2020 / 274 min
Director: Frederick Wiseman

Wiseman continues his observation of all the corners of American society. This time, he points his camera at the various activities of Boston City Hall, from their Thanksgiving Day events to recognizing same-sex marriages, reflecting on not just the ideals of democracy but also how it works in practice. A challenge to the idea of a fragmented American society.

Oct. 12 18:30

-The First 54 Years—An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
Director: Avi Mograbi

The latest film by the director of Z32 (YIDFF 2009) and Once I Entered A Garden (YIDFF 2013). This “occupational manual,” assembled from testimonies from former Israeli soldiers, makes clear how violence was exercised in the name of preserving security, and sounds the alarm about the militaristic logic that dominates daily life.

Oct. 9 19:30 | Oct. 11 11:00

-Her Name Was Europa
GERMANY / 2020 / 76 min
Directors: Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy

The aurochs was a wild breed of cow, ancestor of the domesticated animal we know today. Even after its extinction in the 17th century, people were enchanted by it as an enduring symbol of bravery. Elaborating on the seeds of what we know about this lost species through paintings and sculpture, the directors set out to retell the myth of Europa—but things don’t go quite as they planned.

Oct. 8 19:00 | Oct. 10 10:00

-Inside the Red Brick Wall
HONG KONG / 2020 / 88 min
Directors: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers

Hong Kong, shaken by the “one country, two systems” policy. November 2019, protestors calling for democratic reform are besieged in a university by heavily armed officers. In scrupulous detail, these anonymous filmmakers capture the worn out and anxious youth who are being beat into submission by the violent and cunning forces of power.

Oct. 10 14:30 | Oct. 11 13:30

-Miguel’s War
LEBANON, SPAIN, GERMANY / 2021 / 128 min
Director: Eliane Raheb

A gay man from Lebanon who goes by the name Miguel. Through a plethora of methods, including both animation and fiction, the film searches into the complex inner workings of Miguel’s mind, delving into the dark memories of his childhood and the scars he bears from the trauma of Lebanon’s Civil War. The latest work from the director of Those Who Remain (YIDFF 2017).

Oct. 8 16:30 | Oct. 11 18:00

-Night Shot
CHILE / 2019 / 80 min
Director: Carolina Moscoso Briceño

Raped when she was a student, the director’s case against her rapist came up against the wall of the Chilean judicial system. Now, when she tries to re-open it as an adult, she finds the statute of limitations has been reached. Filming in the “night shot” setting of her camera, she composes her unnamable feelings into a kind of diary, setting off on a journey without any clear exit. At the destination, we bear witness with her to what she suffered.

Oct. 8 21:30 | Oct. 12 16:30

-Nuclear Family
USA, SINGAPORE / 2021 / 93 min
Directors: Erin Wilkerson, Travis Wilkerson

Tormented by images of nuclear war since his childhood, the director tours nuclear test facilities across America with his family. The film re-examines recurring violence, nuclear and human history, overlapped with memories of the massacre of Native Americans.

Oct. 8 14:30 | Oct. 9 12:30

-Self-Portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM
CHINA / 2021 / 109 min
Director: Zhang Mengqi

The newest instalment in a series set in a small village in a mountainous region in China. In the winter marking ten years since the director began filming, she tries to get a new building constructed in the village. The girls, who had thus far been the subjects of her films, take up the camera themselves, and begin recording scenes of the village.

Oct. 10 17:00 | Oct. 12 10:00

-Watch Over Me
Director: Farida Pacha

A team of three women toiling away for home-based palliative care in New Delhi. As doctor, nurse, and counsellor, they attend to the patients’ dignity, and draw close to the families’ grief. These precious final days are framed in the gentle glow of black and white.

Oct. 10 12:00 | Oct. 11 15:30

-The Year of the Discovery
SPAIN / 2020 / 200 min
Director: Luis López Carrasco

Spain, 1992, 500 years after the discovery of the New World. Behind the Olympics and the Expo, labor protests are escalating. Combining into split-screen compositions vivid archival footage, and workers’ stories unfolding in a smoky bar, the film re-examines the national mythology of progress.

Oct. 9 15:00 | Oct. 12 12:30


Please note that the below films will not be screened online. They are still eligible for awards at YIDFF 2021.

ITALY, GERMANY, FRANCE / 2020 / 100 min
Director: Gianfranco Rosi

A tranquil visual ode shot over three years in conflict-torn Middle East. Capturing in fragments the figures of mothers remembering their sons who died in jail, and the drawings of children traumatized by the brutal acts of ISIS, the film invites viewers into the darkness of memory unfurling beyond the frame.

-Nude at Heart
JAPAN, FRANCE, USA / 2021 / 109 min
Director: Okutani Yoichiro

The odoriko who, costume cases in hand, travel between strip theatres across Japan. Their everyday lives in the dressing room, the bare faces they show in the stage wings, the thoughts they commit to striptease—recorded as scenes of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. A new film from the director of Children of Soleil (YIDFF 2011).

-Soup and Ideology
KOREA, JAPAN / 2021 / 118 min
Director: Yang Yonghi

Confronting half of her mother’s life—her mother who had survived the Jeju April 3 Incident—the director tries to scoop out disappearing memories. A tale of family, which carries on from Dear Pyongyang (YIDFF 2005), carving out the cruelty of history, and questioning the precarious existence of the nation-state.