Opening Film and Closure

The 32nd Imagine Film Festival takes place at EYE Amsterdam from the 14th until the 24th of April. At the grand opening on Thursday, April 14, the American film Midnight Special by Jeff Nichols will be shown. The Korean action film Veteran will be the opening film for the general public that same night. The impressive Norwegian disaster film The Wave will conclude the festival on April 24.

Imagine is extremely proud to kick off its 2016 edition with Jeff Nichols’ spiritual road movie Midnight Special, which had its world premiere in February at the Berlin film festival. In his previous films Shotgun Stories (2007), Take Shelter (2011) and Mud (2012), Nichols showed the American heartland, far away from the big cities we know from so many other films. He added a dose of the fantastic as well, for example the protagonist’s visions in Take Shelter. With Midnight Special he made the leap to supernatural thriller. The story of father Roy, who is on the run from a religious cult and the FBI with his son, becomes pure science fiction during a lyrical, Spielbergian climax.

For the second year running, we have an audience opening film in addition to the official one. And what an opening film it is! Korean action comedy Veteran was a huge success in its own country and it’s not hard to see why. To the sound of Blondie’s Heart of Glass the film is off to a flying start and rarely takes its foot off the accelerator until the very final fight. With a fantastic charismatic leading role by Hwang Jeong-min as the headstrong detective who has to take on the arrogant, wealthy industrialist Jo Tae-oh. This confrontation leads not only to hard-as-nails action scenes, but also to a lot of humour and slapstick. It’s hard to imagine a better way to start Imagine.

It’s a fine Imagine tradition: after ten days of fantastic film, the closing film is the perfect opportunity to kick back and let one more exciting and thrilling film wash over you. And we’re in luck, because the Norwegian disaster film The Wave   is exactly like that. One in five people saw the film in its home country and director Roar Uthaug has put plenty of Scandinavian local flavour in it. First there’s the village on the tranquil fjord and the intimidating rock wall that threatens to collapse. But just as Nordic are the strong female characters and the no-nonsense tone. But above all, this is an old-fashioned spectacle film that has looked very closely at Spielberg and Emmerich.