Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes

REPORT TIFF 2018: Films in the Polar night

“The Tromsø International Film Festival is the place where the chromatism of the screenings helps the sun to win the battle against the Polar night”


Photo: Joaquim Roqué. Mosaic wall of Tromsø from outside of Torgcentret. C. Hagen-Olsen



Personal impressions

My prejudice of a man of the South before my stay in Tromsø, was that I would arrive at one dark city, without light, where the darkness would lord over it, and all the ordinary life of the people who live there would be subject to the lack of luminosity.  Conversely, I have found one city where the Polar night loses every day that passes its battle against the sunlight. Furthermore, the night is not real blackness, because there is some magic and unpredictable allied which appears and disappears. The northern lights shine more in the zones far from the city, where the obscurity reigns without the annoyance of the artificial light of the city. And then, there are one utterly revealing for the sensitive souls that some people that we have inside. We see in these magic lights our wishes accomplished because we have dreamt, from our childhood, the day that we would have the chance to see them in live dancing in the sky and changing their colour or their shape only for us. One tear of happiness falls down our cheeks meanwhile they vanish and they go to another place to shine for others.

The sun fell down the 21st November and during that week it pressures to the night for rising to the horizon the 21st January. In the meantime, the sun has another magic ally, nevertheless, on this occasion it is predictable and every year that it passes it shines with more strength: the Tromsø International Film Festival.  It makes to shine the different screens and venues. Not only with light, it glows moving pictures from around the World in the theatres or special places. All of them replete with colours, with alternative and not common stories which make to think about the World that we are building, the societies that develope it, and above everything, films that show the human behaviour.

The people from Tromsø, surroundings, and of the other parts of Norway full the theatres in all the screenings. Tromsø has 74.000 inhabitants and approximately 5.000 students live here because they are in the University and they come from other places. The TIFF 2018 has had more than 60.000 admissions, and I don’t know the official data. Anyway, it is amazing! The TIFF is the proof that when a country invests in culture, the population responds with by far and intensity. With no fear of the dark. With no fear of the cold. With curiosity. With interest for other cultures. With all the illusion of learning something new in every screening. The day that TIFF 2018 finishes, precisely, the sun wins the definitely battle to the night, and it rises of its hiding place.

One anecdote, that happened me when I went out of the Aurora Kino, it synthesizes this symbiosis between the Festival and the desires of the people of Tromsø. One old, and lovely woman, came to us and she explained to us how the important was the TIFF for her. And how the movies accompanied her when she came back to her home. The films that she watched in this edition… The things that she felt after… And she began to explain us her ritual for saying hello to the sun the next 21st January. “I will prepare my table outside, in the garden. I will take a hot chocolate, and I will remain two hours outside. For me It is the most important day of the year. More than Christmas. More than New year’s eve. The sun returns”. Her eyes shined like sparkling stars in the sky. “The festival helps to the sun”, she concludes. “Tromsø is a marvellous place for living. It is not the cold and dark city that the people usually think before coming here”. She said the same that I thought before coming. What wise she was! In that moment, I really noticed that Tromsø was in fact. I mean it now. It is a city with different tones of light, softs, and delicates that change its chromatism every day, that with the help of its cinema festival, illuminates the soul of their people and the people who visit it, like me.

The program


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Photo: Joaquim Roqué. Opening screening “Films of the North”. Hålogaland Teater


The TIFF has offered too some special screenings, and the choice of the CRITICS,  SEMINARS & EVENTS and finally, one of the most characteristic venue, the wild open air cinema that I have ever seen, the WINTER CINEMA, projected in temperatures between -6 and -10 Celsius degrees.

Photo: Joaquim Roqué. Winter Cinema

I have attended all the COMPETITION PROGRAM, my duties as a FICC Jury, and I have watched other movies included in the FILMS OF THE NORTH, some films in the WINTER CINEMA, and one great experience cinema in the Arctic Cathedral, a spectacular building that was the site of the projection-concert of the pioneering film of the Scandinavian film “A man there was” (Terge vigen) of 1917, a silent film based on the poem of the same name by Danish Henrik Ibsen. The screening was accompanied by live organ concert music from the United States.

Photo: Joaquim Roqué. Special screening “A man was there”. Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral)

The COMPETITION PROGRAM was compounded by 12 excellent films. All of them with social interest focused in the people.

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Three documentaries: AUSTERLITZ, by Sergei Loznitsa from Germany, it’s about the historic memory and how is showed to the citizens. EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, by Frederick Wiseman from the United States, it’s about the importance of the function of the public libraries. PER FUGELLI – SISTE RESEPT, by Erik Poppe, from Norway, it’s about of the sense of life and how is the way that somebody who is dying can afford it.

And nine long feature films: ANGELS WEAR WHITE, by Vivian Qu from China, it’s about the sexual harassment in minors and how they are treated in one corrupted society, LOVELESS by Andrey Zvyagintsev, it is about how the individual wishes of a divorcing couple have a dramatic consequences in their son, ON THE OTHER SIDE, by Zrinko Ogresta from Croatia, it is about consequences that have a fratricide war in a family which had to abandon their country, REINVENTING MARVIN, by Anne Fontaine from France, it is about how the familiar  and social pressure, the arts and friends can influence to one homosexual boy who wants his life freely, SOLDIERS, STORY FROM FERENTARI, by Ivana Mladenović from Romania, Serbia and Belgium, it is about film about a no-typical homosexual relationship in a poor adverse and struggling society, SUMMER 1993, by Carla Simon, from Catalonia, Spain, it is how a family manages the change in the life of an orphaned child with love and tenderness, THE GARDEN, by Sonja Maria Kröner, from Germany, it is about the summer life of three families in a shared garden in the seventies, THE GREAT BUDDHA+, by Huang Hsin-yao, from Taiwan, it mocks corrupt politicians, and though it is a black comedy, and it is about the society’s lonely losers, WESTERN, by Valeska Grisebach, from Germany, Bulgaria and Austria, it is about how the differences in a fragmented Europe can be managed and it is possible to create new relationships.

Photo: Kay Kroeger. Closing ceremony. Kulturhuset

Jury FICC in TIFF 2018 statement

The Don Quijote Award is a prize from the IFSS – International Federation of Film Societies given in selected Festivals around the world. The Jury of the International Federation of Film Societies for the Tromsø International Film Festival 2018 is compounded by Jennifer Britt Lundberg Hansen, from Tromsø, Norway, Kay Kroeger, from St.Gallen, Switzerland, and me, Joaquim Roqué, from Ribes de Freser, Catalonia.

We announce the winner of the Don Quijote Award. This award is given to films that believe in the utopia and show another perspective. The film that we have chosen shows the unlikely story of two people meeting and falling in love despite everything, how to survive life and finding their place and making ends meet.

How two persons go ahead with their non-traditional relationship in a non-typical film about homosexuality in a poor adverse and struggling society, depicting social pressure against the unfamiliar and foreign in one of the most impoverished neighbourhoods in Bucharest, Romania.

The film carries us through different emotions, its path makes us think and reflect on the human condition, about love, hate, opportunities but finally, it shows that an equitable and fair society is difficult to achieve. For these reasons, the winner of Don Quijote Award goes to SOLDIERS, STORIES FROM FERENTARI, by Ivana Mladenović.

(More information: )

Also, we give a SPECIAL MENTION, for a film with great acting, cinematography and strong social background to SUMMER 1993, by Carla Simón, showing how a family manages the change in the life of an orphaned child with a lot of love.

(More information: )

Joaquim Roqué Paret

President of the film society “Amics del cinema de la Vall de Ribes”


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