Florence November 28th – December 5th 2014

International documentary film festival


"LIKE EVERY GRAIN OF SAND" is the title of the retrospective the 55th Festival dei Popoli will dedicate to JOS DE PUTTER , the award-winning Dutch director whose films span across the globe. De Putter chooses stories from real life and turn them into exciting stories of universal significance.


The films by Jos de Putter will be presented at the 55th Festival dei Popoli.

1993 - IT’S BEEN A LOVELY DAY (Het is een schone dag geweest)
This is the last year of work of an elderly couple of farmers. They are bequeathing the land, that has been farmed by their family for more than 100 years, to heirs who have decided to do something else. This film is a beautiful fresco on a world and culture that is vanishing. Neither rancour nor sadness are to be found. In contrast, it is imperative to keep moving, put everything in place, understand the way of the world, and transform every day into a lovely day.

1994 - SOLO, THE LAW OF THE FAVELA (Solo, de wet van de favela)
The Law of the Favela implies to be with the others. But think and judge for yourself. This applies to the Laws of the Game too. You can pass the ball, only to have it back and run to the goal post. To score a goal is to create a way out. Anselmo and Leonardo know the law of the slum and the laws of the game very well. Someone notices them and gives them a chance. Apparently their dream has come true. But success does not necessarily mean happiness.


Khozh-Ahmed Noukhaev has conceived a grandiose plan: to make Grozny a heavenly place, a new city for a brand new Chechen society. This is a dream that travels through the consciousnesses of the Chechen community and through the oil pipe lines, reaching the centres of world finance, overseeing the lowlife of Moscow, and ending by taking up Kalashnikovs. Jos De Putter leads us into the maze of a dark and thrilling story that is necessary to understand what is happening between Russia and the Caucasian regions.

1999 - ZIKR

2002 - NOR HIS DONKEY (Noch zijn ezel)

2002 - THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED (Dans, Grozny dans)
A company of very young Chechen dancers is leaving for a European tour. Their world is made of ruins, explosions, and terrorist attacks. But everything changes to the rhythm of dance. Their backs get upright and their gazes look proud. Dancing is the choice of those who don’t want to surrender like victims before the arrogance of the violent. Dancing is the poetry of resistance.

The Brooklyn Dodgers always seemed to be winning without ever managing to do so. There are different kinds of defeat. The Dodgers have always gone for the most spectacular and most epic. You can be great when defeated, as is proved by the characters of this film. From their low condition as losers, they depict their love for a special city, a unique neighbourhood, and a mythic baseball team.

The search for the hidden identity of an author of a cult novel is at the core of this film, constructed like a thriller. Kurban Saïd is a mystery, but also a reflection on the meaning of identity. Stories exist. Do authors? Since stories have no borders, the film is a journey bound to the site where reality and fiction chase and court each other.


These are 11 stories of lives that were irreversibly changed by a composition of Bob Dylan. This road movie, across the United States, highlights simple people, those who live at the margins, often disappointed with the American dream, but never broken or dejected. Somewhere a song resounds and offers a glimmer, brightening the day, giving it meaning, and returning its value. The power and miracle of poetry set to music.

2006 - BEFORE THE FLOOD (Het verloren land)
In 2070, a flood destroys the Netherlands. Spectacular images of a possible future are mixed with excerpts of films from the past and statements of present-day scientists, writers, priests, and engineers. De Putter made a masterful specimen of scientific and science-fiction documentary, where the strength of the tragedy is accompanied by the search for the causes that provoked it.

Alexander Litvinenko is a KGB colonel, an intelligence agent, a dissident and a victim. Alexander Litvinenko is a man killed in London on November 23, 2006, with a few drops of polonium. This film is an exceptional document, made just before the disappearance of the protagonist who was a problematic, unwanted witness to so many unresolved mysteries. This is a tribute to the man and the dissident. It is an exposé of his courage and determination.



Warcraft is not only one of the most famous cyber games all over the world, it is also a virtual world whose borders with the real one can get confused. Sky and Grubby are the absolute champions of the game. The two adolescents are bound to fight as if they were in a western film. But what is there beyond the game? A unique film as thrilling as an insoluble mystery that must be fathomed.

2014 - SEE NO EVIL

Cheetah, Kanzi, and Knuckles are the artist, the scientist, and the guide. Three special chimpanzees that human beings have made to resemble themselves, fooling themselves into believing they, the humans, are better. See No Evil is a special film that goes beyond genuses and species. Jos De Putter’s latest film is a beautiful, intense journey into the deepest twists and turns of man, who tries to mirror in the eyes of those who are beyond good and evil.


Jos de Putter (born in 1959 in Terneuzen, Netherlands) graduated in comparative literature at Leiden University in 1984. After working as a film critic, Jos de Putter has been making films since 1993. His first film, It’s been a Lovely Day, about the last year of his parents’ work on their farm, was highly praised by critics and on festivals worldwide. The film won the Dutch Film Prize for best debut and also set box office records in the Netherlands for documentary film. His second, Solo, the Law of the Favela focused on eleven year old children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and their dreams to become soccer players. The film won the prestigious Joris Ivens-award at the International Documentary Filmfestival in Amsterdam, 1994. The Making of a New Empire (1999) was filmed inside Chechnya in a time of war and anarchy, when the country was ‘closed’. The film portrays a charismatic godfather, rebel and visionary. Also partly set in Chechnya, and highly succesful, is The Damned and the Sacred (2002). The film is the portrait of a youth dance ensemble on their tour through western Europe and at home, in the ruined city of Grozny. The documentary won eight international festivals and was sold to numerous countries. In 2014 the director filmed See No Evil a exciting documentary tale that tells the stories of three monkeys who live with men. The film is also a delicate reflection on loneliness and the respect of the others.

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