The essential of our cinema

Why do we watch film? It is a fundamental question that constantly occupies your mind when you organize a film festival. An even better question would be: why do we think that you should see our unique selection of films?

Film has the extraordinary power to take you to a world that would otherwise remain unexplored. It increases your awareness of reality and it expands your ability to feel what you otherwise would not feel, to see what would have otherwise remained hidden, and to make you consider what you would not have thought before. Using the knowledge and experience you already possess, a film simultaneously helps you to reflect on your past experiences and lets you discover new ones. Films are a celebration, a warm embrace, a bitter fight, and an endless quest. And what is remarkable, is that you were there watching all of it unfold.

I can go on and on about this, for example how different films draw your attention to political, societal, emotional, relational, historical and futuristic issues. Instead of giving you a one-sided opinion on my fascination of the medium, I want you to think of your first memory of an art house film.

I will start and tell you about mine. Lilya 4-ever from Lucas Moodyson (2002). My parents had seen the film on IFFR and then it was shown later on television. I was 14, it was Sunday, and I had nothing to do. Lilya 4-ever is an intense and miserable story about a beautiful young girl that grows up in a doomed and backward village in Estonia. It is no surprise that she falls in love with a boy that takes control of her life and keeps her in Sweden to work as a prostitute. I was perhaps a bit too young and impressionable when I viewed the film as it made a huge of an impact on me.  I realized: if Lilya’s life would have been mine, then I would have probably made the same choices. Within 1.5 hours I cared more for Lilya than I did about my peers at school. I wished she could have become my friend so that I could take her into my home and get her life back on track. I did not want anything to do anymore with men and I decided not to fall in love with any man ever. My fictive bond with Leyla eventually watered down, but I still realize that girls like Lilya are out there and I cannot undo the haunting impression the film left on me. I was confronted with a terrible situation, but the way this filmmaker showed it to me was also inspiring.

I believe that everyone reading this should have a connection to film like I do: a feeling of identification, and the repulsion or desire to be someone else. Film does not always have to be politically engaged nor does it have to be socially relevant or have educational value. Film pulls you out of your ordinary life and its habits of mind. How you choose that to happen and to what extent does not matter to me as long as you let yourself experience the medium before you. Believe me, it will be an enriching experience.

The power of film is the reason why we are organizing Roffa Mon Amour for the third time. There are so many good films being made every year, and our goal is to offer a stage for as many unique films as we can. That is why we invite you to join us to Roffa Mon Amour from July 22 until July 26: to let you get inspired by the five best new films in cinema this year. 

Lisa Smith

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