Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lessons learned from the IFFR at 80km/h winds

IFFR stands for International Film Festival Rotterdam. This is the Dutch version of the Madison's Wisconsin Film Festival. Movies from all around the world are shown for a week in various cinemas and it's a buzz event in Rotterdam. This year, for the first time, they had additional showings in Groningen too. On Saturday I went to see a couple of movies in Rotterdam with a CouchSurfer friend of mine.

The first movie we saw was The Eighth - it was advertised as a 'Bulgarian Western'. Having lived in Bulgaria for my first 26 year, I would not call it an 'western'. It was the typical 'partisan' movie from my teen years - the 'good' guys(the communist partisans), the 'bad' guys (the fascists), one minute long love story, and a lot of shooting followed by the good guy's victory. Seeing this movie in my late thirties, after living in US, UK and now the Netherlands, made me sad - we grew up so brain-washed, with a sickening sense for guilt and drama. Who needed it? Who was it good for? Why did we believe it? Questions I don't plan to answer here... but now I know better why I am the way I am...self-criticism and drama were big in the time of totaliarinism...and they still linger in my life! Well, time to change!!!

The second movie - Le trésor des îles chiennes. A Frech production. Well...we left mid-way through the showing. Enough said! One black and white movie was enough for the day! And not another depressing pointless plot - hunger for money, people manipulation...Eeeuw! With monotonic music boring into your brain to the point you want to scream! WTF! Who would enjoy that???

Lesson 1 learned - pick carefully the movies you are about to see (AND PAY FOR!!!)

The rest of the day was luckily a lovely time! My Rotterdam host gave me a very nice walking tour, and intro into Rotterdam's story and history, incorporating my favorite Erasmusen bridge, a few interesting monuments, a great Italian restaurant and a cozy bar when we chatted for a long time.
Thanks Erwin!
The 80km/h gales of wind did not stop us, they were strong, but warm and gentle too. I actually liked them being playful, messing my hair, blowing up my (rather short) dress, and blowing far and away the disturbing thoughts the movies brought up.

Lesson 2 learned - pick carefully your company!

Finally, to tell you the truth, I had already seen a couple of IFFR movies - Never let me go, Black swan, Another year...and they were much better choices...and free!

Lesson 3 learned - stick to what you know, stick to what you like, stick to who you are!


  1. I received this comment via Twitter:
    epragt @OliveTravel Great work! I've read your blog, and I don't agree with point 3. That feeling of frustration you had? Some call it learning...

  2. This comment came from my CS friend Erwin, who I went to the IFFR with: "In my point of view it was a positive experience because walking away from that movie gave a really good feeling :-) "

  3. Yes I know how frustrating it is to watch some boring movies.You ended up with a Good conclusion with lesson no 3.