For our third year in a row we’ve made a list of all the bookish movies that will be screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. We’ve collected most adaptations, movies by writers and works heavily inspired by literary works for you in one handy place. Make this IFFR a little bookish by seeing at least one of them.


A modernist take on the Greek myth of Actaeon, who saw the goddess Diana naked, which enraged her so much that she turned him into a stag to be devoured by wild dogs.


A food stall selling dorayaki is surrounded by cherry trees. The grumpy stallholder Sentaro doesn’t pay them any mind, until the older Tokue (Kiki Kirin), whom he hesitatingly takes on as assistant, draws his attention to their foliage, which transforms according to the seasons during the film, from blossom to falling leaves. Based on the novel by Sukegawa Durian.

Arabian Nights Volume 1-3

A trilogy based on a Thousand and One Nights, which shows the plight of the Portuguese. You follow Scheherazade while she shows you the economic, moral and personal difficulties Portugal is facing.

Beyond Sleep

An adaptation of W.F. Hermans’ Nooit Meer Slapen in Dutch. Geology student Alfred, as insecure as he is ambitious, hopes to find evidence of meteorite impacts on an expedition to Lapland. Hiking across the tundra for days on end with his Norse acquaintance Arne and two other Norwegians is tough for the untrained Alfred. He has to go to his limits. Alfred’s inferiority complex, his struggle with himself and the merciless natural environment, the expectations that weigh on him, the paranoia that overcomes him, the friendship that surprises him

The High Sun

The story of Romeo and Juliet is of all times. The High Sun shows this by showing us three doomed love affairs during the Balkan wars.

High Rise

Based on a novel by J.G. Ballard. A doctor moves into a luxury apartment building, an autonomous community where everyone knows their proper place. Then a class rebellion develops and the residents unite in murderous gangs – with surrealist, hysterical and post-apocalyptic consequences.

Girls Lost

YA is coming to IFFR! Based on the Swedish novel Pojkarna by Jessica Schiefauer, Girls Lost is a film about three best friends, bullied at school and then being magically transform into popular boys. They discover a whole new world, but after initial euphoria this soon leads to unexpected problems.

Innocence of Memories

A love letter to Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence, the novel as well as the museum. Walking through that museum is like walking through the memories of someone’s life, a feeling that Innocence of Memories also evokes. In cooperation with Pamuk, Gee approaches the story of Kemal and Fusus from a new perspective, providing an intimate documentary about tragic love, faded memories and a city that refuses to stand still.

Love & Friendship

Whit Stillman is taking on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. They say forewarned is forearmed. But however many bad stories Reginald De Courcy has heard about Lady Susan Vernon, as soon as she moves in as a guest with his sister and brother-in-law, he falls irredeemably for her charms. His sister Catherine has to look on resignedly as Reginald is taken in by the much older widow, who is well known for her manipulative and adulterous behavior.


In 1965, famous playwright Samuel Beckett shot his only film with an old and enigmatic Buster Keaton in the leading role. The making-of shows that Keaton actually had no idea what he was doing on the set and that Beckett also regarded his film as a failure. Yet it remains an intriguing masterpiece.

Pieta in the Toilet

Sonoda Hiroshi is a young artist who works as a (window) cleaner to make ends meet. He has stomach cancer, but when the story starts he does not know that and when he finds out, at first he doesn’t want to do anything about it. The story about the dying young artist is based on the diary kept by the famous comic strip/manga artist Tezuka Osamu in the last weeks of his life.

Problemski Hotel

Bipul has forgotten who he is and where he’s from. But thanks to his knowledge of languages and his qualities as an intermediary, he has grown into a natural leader at the asylum seeker centre in Brussels where he resides. Irony prevails in this adaptation of the novel by Dimitri Verhulst.


The Oscar-nominated adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel. Brie Larson plays a mother who’s been locked in a small room with her son for years.

The Shell Collector

Anthony Doer won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel All The Light We Cannot See, but before all that he wrote a short story about a blind shell collector who can only survive in solitude. He doesn’t meet any people. Only one man visits occasionally to bring him shopping in exchange for money. Just like the shells he collects so obsessively, the man doesn’t want to know anything about the world outside his own surroundings. Tsubota, however, slowly introduces uninvited changes in the man’s life: a contagious disease, a woman washed ashore looking for another life, a new kind of shellfish with a poisonous sting that is sublimely hallucinogenic. All these changes not only put the survival techniques of the collector to the test, but also our own ideas about the relationship between man and nature.


Yo, a strong man with a childlike spirit, lives with his mother in a chicken restaurant by a Mexican highway. He adores her, but not her guy. The film’s charismatic star and subtle build-up draw the viewer into a world of contradictory emotions. Based on a story by Nobel prizewinner Le Clézio.

Let us know in the comments which of these movies you look forward to seeing and what other (non-literary) films from IFFR you recommend!


Bored to Death book club is set up by two sisters who love to read and have nothing better to do than to start a book club.

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