Beasts of the Southern Wild. © HIFF

THE 25th Helsinki Film Festival will be staged once again in the capital city from 20-30 September. Better known as Love and Anarchy, the festival is an eagerly anticipated event for the city’s cinephiles, with some 180 feature films and 80 short films being screened this year.

Opening proceedings is Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Golden Camera Prize at Cannes. Also the recipient of the FIPRESCI prize, granted by an international jury of film critics, the film has been lauded as a visual masterpiece.

Elsewhere, if you’ve already written Matthew McConaughey off for his shirtless antics in a number of sub-par rom-coms during his career, Killer Joe continues his recent rebirth as an actor of worth. Based on the play by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts, here director William Friedkin (The Exorcist and The French Connection) also enjoys a return to form, as McConaughy’s hired killer wreaks havoc in small town Texas.

About Face. © HIFF

The festival’s closing film is Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone as Marion Cotillard’s killer-whale trainer becomes involved in an unusual romance with Matthias Schoenaerts’ tough guy.

The local scene sees the likes of Arto Halonen’s documentary When Heroes Lie, charting the less than admirable history of doping in cross-country skiing and especially the scandalous 2001 World Ski Championships held in Lahti. For those looking for further perspective on the worldwide issue of doping, a panel discussion is being held at Tavastia on 27 September, with Member of Parliament and former Minister of Justice Tuija Brax, Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister Lauri Tarasti and international doping expert Sandro Donati making up the panel.

Elsewhere, The Marshal of Finland depicts the life of national hero Gustaf Mannerheim and the Finnish Film Affair event focuses on showcasing the latest Finnish feature films to international industry professionals from 25-27 September.

Love & Anarchy
Film Festival
20-30 September

For those who cannot wait, a number of screenings will also occur before the festival opens, with Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke a popular choice at the Outdoor Film Picnic, along with a series of festival classics screening at Orion for free.

Full programme is available from the HIFF website.