Best of IDFA on Tour 2023

The films (in order of screening):

Please note that these documentaries are shown in their original version, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

ParadiseAlexander Abaturov (France, Switzerland 2022, 88 min.)

In 2021, an extreme heatwave gave rise to huge wildfires in the vast subarctic forests of Sakha, a northeastern republic in Siberia. The village of Shologon lies in this taiga landscape, shrouded in orange smoke and black ash. The forest is burning and the flames are approaching fast.

The original inhabitants of the area aren’t expecting any help from the government, though, because Shologon is at the edge of a ‘control zone.’ This is the official Russian term for any remote or sparsely populated area where the authorities are not required to combat wildfires if the cost of extinguishing them would exceed the cost of estimated damage. Left to their own fate, the villagers join forces.

This visually powerful film is interwoven with a Sakha fairy tale about the wind blowing over the sacred mountain. This traditional tale has suddenly become grimly topical now that the wind is bringing the flames ever closer. The camera accompanies the men as they enter the fire zone, to quench the flames of what they call ‘the Dragon.’ This inferno is potent evidence that climate is changing faster here in the polar regions than anywhere else. Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Cinematography in the International Competition.

Journey Through Our WorldPetra Lataster-Czisch & Peter Lataster (Netherlands 2022, 113 min.)

Working out using bottles as weights, talking to good friends on Zoom and after an hour deciding whether to request a new link. Suddenly noticing those two crows in the garden. Covid shrank the world of documentary-making couple Petra and Peter Lataster, so they pointed the camera at themselves, the nature in the garden, and their neighbors.

JOURNEY THROUGH OUR WORLD is less an ‘ego document’ than a familiar iteration of this strange period in our history. The world came to a standstill but time marched on, relentlessly. And here too, along with fear of the virus there is also that calmness of successive days when your attention could be suddenly captured by a slug gliding slowly across the garden, and by crows feeding their young. Meanwhile, a beloved friend discovers she is incurably ill and dies. Throughout all this, there is one constant: the tender relationship of the couple, and their loving gaze at the world around them. Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Editing in the International Competition.

Apolonia, ApoloniaLea Glob (Denmark 2022, 116 min.)

When Danish filmmaker Lea Glob first portrayed Apolonia Sokol in 2009, she appeared to be leading a storybook life. The talented Apolonia was born in an underground theater in Paris and grew up in an artists’ community—the ultimate bohemian existence. In her 20s, she studied at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, one of the most prestigious art academies in Europe. Over the years, Lea Glob kept returning to film the charismatic Apolonia and a special bond developed between the two young women.

The result is a fascinating portrait, spanning 13 years, of a young woman trying to find her place in the art world. Apolonia is confident in her talent, but her path is not always an easy one. Life is not a storybook; one of the lessons Apolonia learns is that women painters have to make more sacrifices and overcome greater obstacles than their male counterparts do. This also applied to the friend she lived with for a long time, Oksana Shachko, one of the founders of the feminist action group Femen. Apolonia’s resilience is put to the test. Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, the main award of the festival.

, 2022, 318 min. , Dutch subtitles.