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Fribourg cinemas provide forum for cultural dialogue

A scene from "The Song of Faithful Choonhyang", a festival competition entry directed by Im Kwon-taek of South Korea. FIFF

The city of Fribourg is this week promoting north-south cultural dialogue at its international film festival. Some 90 films are being screened, all of them from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

They include 12 full-length movies from 10 countries entered for the festival competition, nearly all of which will be seen for the first time by a European audience.

Festival director Martial Knaebel says the fact that most were made in Asia reflects the comparatively healthy state of the film industry there, especially in China, Taiwan and South Korea. “But we are delighted,” he added, “that African film-makers are represented in this year’s competition, too.

Knaebel also spoke of a “freshness” about new films shot in Africa, and the ability of young directors there to make watchable movies on low budgets.

One of them is “We are not dead any more!” – a documentary by François Woukoache about the current situation of young people in Rwanda.

The festival also features a retrospective of 30 films made in Latin America between 1929 and 1980, some of which are rarely given a public screening.

“There are few copies of several of these films and they are in a fragile condition,” said one of the festival organisers, “and their owners were at first reluctant to lend them to us.”

Unlike other film festivals, Fribourg’s is not confined to the city itself. Its organisers have also made arrangements for the films to be screened after the event in about 30 other Swiss towns and cities, to enable them to reach a wider public.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR