Rotterdam's Spying Thing

  • MUBI
Deserting a festival’s official competition for a thematic retrospective can feel somewhat awkward, especially at an extravaganza so rich in new voices as the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr). Yet the decision proved most fruitful with “The Spying Thing,” a sidebar Iffr devoted to “espionage as a way of filming and the camera as a spying weapon.” A 21-strong lineup offered timeless classics as well as some of the world cinema's latest offerings (László NemesSunset and Yoon Jong-bin’s The Spy Gone North). Yet “The Spying Thing” started—according to Gustavo Beck, who co-curated it alongside Gerwin Tamsma—with the second of Mariano Llinás’ monumental 3-part, 14-hour epic La Flor. I shall not attempt to dwell into Llinás’ opus magnum—Ross McDonnell already did an egregious job for the Notebook reviewing it at its Locarno premiere last August. Suffice it to say that La Flor’s second chapter
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