Rotterdam announces 2010 competition lineup

15 international titles to compete for Tiger Awards

BERLIN -- The East and the Far East are in focus at this year's Rotterdam International Film Festival, which unveiled its competition lineup Thursday. Of the 15 titles vying for Rotterdam's Tiger Awards, more than half are from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Japan has two contenders: Tsubota Yoshifumi's "Miyoko," a biopic based on the Manga artist

Abe Shinichi and his wife Miyoko and "Autumn Adagio" from first-timer Inoue Tsuki, which focuses on the life of a middle-aged nun.

Anocha Suwichakornpong, whose short "Graceland" (2006) was the first Thai film included in Cannes' official selection, makes her feature debut in competition at Rotterdam with "Mundane History," a drama about a family dealing with their wheelchair-bound son. Scwichakornpong will also attend Rotterdam's CineMart, chasing funds for his next project "By the Time it Gets Dark."

Other Asian entries in Rotterdam this year include minimalist drama "Sun Spots" from China's Yang Heng and "My Daughter," the feature debut of Malaysian director Charlotte Lay Kuen Lim.

"Mama," the debut from Russian newcomers Yelena & Nikolay Renard, traces the relationship between an domineering mother and her obese, forty-year-old son while Levan Koguashvili's "Street Days," the first ever Georgian film at Rotterdam, is a look at an aging junkie. Estonia is represented by Veiko Ounpuu's second feature, "The Temptation of St. Tony," a dark parable on the rise of rapacious capitalism in Eastern Europe.

Even Rotterdam's old European entries provide little relief from life's harsh realities. Danish debut "R." from director's Michael Noer & Tobias Lindholm is a hard-hitting prison drama; "C'est Deja L'Ete" from Dutch first-timer Martin Smits is looks at life in a poor dysfunctional family living in Belgium and France's Sophie Letourneur scratches beneath the surface of seemingly idealistic life of young students in "La Vie Au Ranch."

Chicago-based filmmaker Ben Russell has the only U.S. title in competition in Rotterdam this year. But his feature debut, "Let Each One Go Where He May" is set in Suriname, and follows two brothers who undertake a journey similar to that of their ancestors, who escaped from their Dutch slave masters 300 years earlier.

Other competition titles include Canada drama "Vital Signs" from director Sophie Deraspe, and the debuts "To the Sea" by Mexico's Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio and "Cold Water of the Sea" from Costa Rican filmmaker Paz Fabrega.

The 39th Rotterdam International Film Festival runs Jan.27-Feb.7.

The full competition list:

"Autumn Adagio," Inoue Tsuki (Japan)
"C'est deja l'ete," Martijn Smits (Netherlands/Belgium)
"Cold Water of the Sea," Paz Fabrega (Costa Rica/France/Spain/Netherlands/Mexico)
"Let Each One Go Where He May," Ben Russell (U.S./Suriname)
"Mama," Yelena Renard, Nikolay Renard (Russia)
"Miyoko," Tsubota Yoshifumi (Japan)
"Mundane History," Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand)
"My Daughter," Charlotte Lay Kuen Lim (Malaysia)
"R," Michael Noer & Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
"Vital Signs," Sophie Deraspe (Canada)
"Street Days," Levan Koguashvili (Georgia)
"Sun Spots," Yang Heng (Hong Kong/China)
"The Temptation of St. Tony," Veiko Ounpuu (Estonia/Sweden/Finland)
"To the Sea," Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio (Mexico)
"La Vie au ranch," Sophie Letourneur (France)
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