The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is proud to announce its Guest of Honor for the 2020 edition: Italian director Gianfranco Rosi.
Rosi is the only filmmaker to win top awards at two A-list festivals with documentary films, the Golden Lion at Venice with Sacro GRA in 2013 and the Golden Bear at the Berlinale with Fire at Sea in 2016.
Rosi's work will be in the spotlight at IDFA, including his new film Notturno, which premieres in competition at Venice this week. It is the result of the three-year journey that he took to the borders of Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon.
Rosi is one of the few filmmakers who has found the way to balance accessibility and commercial success with a highly demanding artistic language, and as such is a key figure in the “Golden Age of Documentary” that we are living in. Although he made only six films, his approach resulted in masterpieces that provide a unique view of society. His camera shows us how people experience their world and allows us to forget ours. Standing on the side lines of events, he observes them and does not go into polemics or explanations, but his deeply humane point of view remains clear through his unique documentary method.
IDFA's Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia says: "Rosi handles every shot like a jeweler would treat a unique pearl, with great care, patience, and with utmost respect, like a sacred object. Then he puts his pearls into a hidden thread, he keeps on examining the way they are ordered, the dialogue between each one of them and the others. What we see in the end is a film, a creature that seems so coherent you cannot see the thread anymore, you cannot imagine that a complex matrix of artistic choices was behind what you see, you even have to think: did he just find the film somewhere? Has it always been there, this way, on its own?"
Rosi's retrospective at IDFA consists of the following films: Boatman (1993), Below Sea Level (2008), El Sicario, Room 164 (2010), Sacro GRA (2013), Fire at Sea (2016), and Notturno (2020). In addition to the retrospective, IDFA will present a Top 10 of Rosi's favorite films.
As always, the heart of the festival takes place in Amsterdam, where some 200 films are programmed in more than 15 theaters from November 18 to 29, from early morning to late evening. School screenings will take place in the mornings and DocLab—IDFA's new media program—can be found in Tolhuistuin, just like last year. In addition, IDFA will present three virtual cinemas with several screenings each day, with online screenings continuing until December 6. Both the cinemas and the online screenings will feature introductions and live interviews with filmmakers. In the event that health and safety restrictions increase in November, there will be fewer cinemas and more online screenings.