Film Festival: Films of the World in Thessaloniki

Opening tonight, November 4, the 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) returns with a richly diverse program.

“Cinema has helped make the difficult months of the pandemic somewhat more enjoyable, and now it will help unite us again.” Speaking in Greek, Elise Jalladeau, General Director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF), said this as she recently opened a joint press conference with a direct link between Athens and Thessaloniki, ahead of the 62nd Festival, whose curtain rises today, November 4th.

Joining from Athens was artistic director Orestis Andreadakis, who, after assuring everyone that the festival has taken all necessary measures to ensure a safe, COVID-free cinematic experience, wished everyone “a good time, and only suffer the agony that is created on the big screen.”

The opening of this year’s festival, however, will probably have less to do with agony than with admiration for the excellent “Happening” by Audrey Diwan, the film that triumphed at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, winning the Golden Lion, and that will also open the TIFF.

As it does every year, the Festival will present many highly anticipated recent films for the first time to the Greek public in the section known as “Special Screenings.” This year, these works include the heretical “Benedetta” by Paul Verhoeven, featuring Greece’s own Daphne Patakia; “Sundown” by Michel Franco, featuring an incredible performance by Tim Roth; and “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion.

Of course, foremost among the sections is the International Competition, with 14 films, including three Greek productions, participating and vying for the prestigious first prize – the Golden Alexander – which comes with a monetary reward of €10,000. The sections “Meet the Neighbours” and “Film Forward” are also competitive, and several other award categories have been established for Greek films as well. Local cinema is supported by the festival, as the organisers pointed out, through the actions of the Agora, an industry event offering global film networking opportunities, as well as through the “Motherland, I See You” event, a series of screenings focusing on the history of Greek film.

The results of two major studies will be presented at the Festival this year; the first is of particular interest to Greece, as it concerns domestic film production (including film titles, theatrical performances, and other topics) from 2000 to 2020. The second study looked into the major changes in the international cinematic landscape caused by the pandemic, and was carried out in collaboration with 12 international festivals.

Of particular note is the major tribute paid by the 62nd Festival to film editing and editors, titled “In the Cut: Editing and its Secrets,” which aims to introduce us to one of the most pivotal processes in any film production. Nine expert editors will be in Thessaloniki, including Oscar nominee Yorgos Mavropsaridis (“The Favourite”); Roland Vajs, the collaborator of Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee and Michael Moore; and television’s Raúl Mora, of “La Casa de Papel” fame.

Fine arts, too, are returning to the Thessaloniki Film Festival; the classic film “The Rules of the Game” by Jean Renoir serves as inspiration for 10 visual artists who have each created works inspired by him.

The 62nd Thessaloniki Film Festival will take place both in cinemas and online, with the vast majority of the films being made available via the festival’s digital platform.

This article was first published in Greek on

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