“Endless Borders” wins VPRO Big Screen Award at Rotterdam film festival

February 4, 2023 - 18:21

TEHRAN – The Iran-Czech co-production “Endless Borders” has won the VPRO Big Screen Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).

The award is the result of years of collaboration between IFFR and VPRO. An audience jury composed of five film lovers determines which film they think deserves to be shown in movie theaters across the Netherlands and broadcast on television on NPO2 after the festival. 

The winner is also given a cash prize of €30,000, half of which goes to the distributor who decides to buy the film.

“Endless Borders”, directed by Abbas Amini, opens in Baluchestan, in a small, scarcely “wired” village bordering Iran and Afghanistan, where complicated entanglements occur when an exiled Iranian teacher finds himself helping a refugee Afghan family fleeing the Taliban.

The winners of the Dutch festival were announced on Friday. As the Tiger Award for best film went to the documentary “Le spectre de Boko Haram” directed by Cyrielle Raingou from Cameroon.

Since 2014, the terrorist organization Boko Haram has led strikes against the villages and people of the Far North Region of Cameroon. Today, this constant threat of violence has woven itself into daily existence.

In her profoundly affecting debut feature, Cyrielle Raingou follows a group of children as they carve out their own worlds amid the dangers of armed conflict. We meet the precocious Falta, studious and hardworking, eager to process her father’s death in a terrorist attack. Her classmate, Ibrahim, and his older brother, Mohamad, struggle with balancing their boyhood energy and a traumatic past that strays them from their eight and 11-year-old innocence.

Raingou, a native of the Far North Region herself, approaches her young subjects with a delicate and unobtrusive observance, allowing them to dictate the reality of their surroundings through their own words, movements and perspectives. The result is a distinct and profound study of the contrasts of a war zone: hope and despair, innocence and terrorism, the present and future, western influence and traditional culture.

As the children prepare for school, gunshots ring out in the distance. In the schoolyard, amidst soccer games and jump rope, military servicemen patrol the edges of the frame. But Raingou holds on to the laughter and innocence of the children’s play, which stretches far above war’s reach.

The FIPRESCI Award was given to “La Palisiada” by Philip Sotnychenko from Ukraine, while “Whispering Mountains” by Jagath Manuwarna from Sri Lanka received the NETPAC Award.

“Aqueronte” by Manuel Muñoz Rivas from Spain won the KNF Award.

Photo: A scene from “Endless Borders” by Iranian director Abbas Amini.


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