The Best of IDFA on Tour 2020 – 2021

The films (A-Z):

Time & Tickets

Dealing with Death

Paul Sin Nam Rigter, The Netherlands 2020, 74 min., Dutch, English, Papiamento, Twi language, Dutch subtitles.

The many cultures in Bijlmer, a suburb in the southeast of Amsterdam, all have their own rituals around bidding farewell to the dead. Funeral director Anita, a white Dutch woman, is tasked with finding out what the community would want in a new multicultural funeral home, which the funeral organization Yarden hopes to establish there. But the more the initially confident Anita sees and learns, the more she begins to have her doubts. Do these diverse communities actually need Yarden? Navigating between two worlds, Anita also has to deal with death in her own circle, causing her to ask herself new questions.

This largely observational account follows Anita’s uncertain mission over a period of more than five years. It combines her own experience with a larger picture full of cultural contrasts - as illustrated in the parallel editing of a sober Dutch funeral and a Ghanaian one celebrated with music and dance. Meanwhile, at the Yarden offices, the ideal of diversity has to be aligned with the business plan.

Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary

Please note that this film is in Dutch, English, Papiamento and Twi, with Dutch subtitles.

Gorbachev. Heaven.

Vitaly Mansky, Latvia, Czech Republic 2020, 100 min., Russian language, Dutch subtitles.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the 89-year-old former leader of the Soviet Union, receives Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky at his house just outside Moscow. In a light and pleasant atmosphere, weighty topics come up for discussion, as Gorbachev looks back over his life. The conversation revolves around the reforms he implemented as party chief in the 1980s, as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, followed by the collapse of the Soviet empire. Also discussed is how the Russian people were not grateful when the new freedoms proved to come at the price of unemployment and hunger. Mansky questions Gorbachev about the drastic choices that also affected his own life.

Jokes, spontaneous interruptions, or suddenly remembered folk songs and poems bring lightness to the reflections on political decisions. Gorbachev also talks about his inseparable bond with his late wife Raisa. And would the filmmakers perhaps like something to eat? Endless set tables, gherkins with vodka, New Year’s Eve with friends: typical Russian everyday life illustrates a feeling of wistfulness.

Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Directing

Please note that this film is in Russian, with Dutch subtitles.

Radiograph of a Family

Firouzeh Khosrovani, Norway, Iran, Switzerland 2020, 82 min., Farsi, French language, Dutch subtitles.

‘Mother married a photo of Father’, says director Firouzeh Khosrovani in the opening of this deeply personal documentary. She’s not speaking metaphorically though. Her mother Tayi literally married a portrait of Hossein in Teheran—he was in Switzerland studying radiology and was unable to travel back to his homeland for the wedding. The event illustrates the abyss that still exists in their marriage: Hossein is a secular progressive and Tayi a devout, traditional Muslim. But this family history is also a sort of x-ray, laying bare the conflicts of Iranian society in the run-up to, and aftermath of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Besides Khosrovani’s commentary, we hear letters being read aloud and recollections of conversations between her parents. At the same time, we see photographs and videos from the family archive. These fragments of intimacy are interspersed with stylized shots of the filmmaker’s parental home, its altering decor and furnishings subtly reflecting each new phase in her parents’ conjugal life - and in Iranian society.

Winner of the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary.

Please note that this film is in Farsi and French, with Dutch subtitles.


Marlén Viñayo, El Salvador 2020, 36 min., Spanish language, Dutch subtitles.

Though covered in tattoos from head to toe, 25-year-old Geovanny has a soft and almost childlike appearance. But when he talks about joining the 18th Street gang at 12, as a member of a murder unit that treated killing as a sport, the atrocities he describes brutally belie that image. Geovanny is incarcerated at the San Francisco Gotera prison in western El Salvador, which is exclusively dedicated to detaining gang criminals. In 2017, almost all inmates converted to evangelical Christianity. Like them, Geovanny has withdrawn from his gang. But while the church has no difficulty accepting his violent past, the fact that he loves another man is regarded a sin for which he can’t be forgiven.

This compassionate and intimate short film shows Geovanny living in an isolated cell where he and other gay men are protected from their fellow inmates. They spend their days making handicrafts, playing chess or cards, and discussing outfits. Conflicting emotions arise from his wish to be transferred to a prison with a special section for LGBTQ+ inmates. The fact that he’ll have to part with his boyfriend, who feels too ashamed of his sexual orientation to follow him, fills him with sorrow.

Winnaar of the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary.

, 2020, 292 min. , Dutch subtitles.
The Best of IDFA on Tour 2020 2021 ps 1 jpg sd low 60c9f60daf8d3