The world’s first film festival on the topic of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) will be held in Bergen, Norway, from October 24 to 26, 2023. Co-sponsored by the Bergen International Film Festival and the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative, the festival is part of a series of events organized to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Dr. Armauer Hansen’s discovery of the leprosy bacillus. The organizers hope that the festival will provide an opportunity for many people to learn about leprosy and think about actions that they can take.
Films featured at the festival
The Last Mile
Naohiro Asano・2017・Japan・103 minutes
This documentary follows Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, as he tackles the issue of leprosy over the course of half a century. Goodwill Ambassador Sasakawa is scheduled to address the audience on October 24, the opening day of the festival.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Walter Salles・2004・multiple countries・127 minutes
This biographical film follows Ernesto “Che” Guevara as he is transformed by a journey across the South American continent with his friend, Alberto Granado, in 1952. At the San Pablo leprosarium in the Peruvian jungle, future revolutionary Guevara gives his first political speech.
Naomi Kawase・2015・Japan・113 minutes
Based on a novel by Durian Sukegawa that has been translated and published in 13 countries, this film features a former leprosy patient who confronts prejudice as she works at a shop making dorayaki, a snack made of castella pancakes and sweet bean paste filling.
A.B. Shawky・2018・Egypt・97 minutes
This comic drama follows a man cured of leprosy who decides to leave the colony where he was raised and search for the family that abandoned him. The main role is played by Rady Gamal, a person affected by leprosy who, like the character, grew up in a leprosy colony.
Bergen International Film Festival website