Berlinale Shorts V **Premiere: Wed Feb11 4pm CinemaxX 5**

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La Isla está Encantada con Ustedes (The Island is Enchanted with You) by Daniel Schmidt / Alexander Carver

USA / Switzerland / Australia 2014, 28 min

In 1511, Indigenous people in Puerto Rico seduced and murdered a representative of colonial power. Some 300 years later, a further chapter of colonial history: in 1803, by order of the Spanish Crown, a doctor named Francisco Javiér de Balmis travelled to Puerto Rico with a number of orphans. They were carriers of the live vaccine with which Balmis executed one of the first mass immunisations against smallpox. Switch to the present day: in 2014, Puerto Rico produced an enormous amount of pharmaceuticals with subsidies from the USA. By interweaving strands of colonial and postcolonial history, the filmmakers of La Isla está Encantada con Ustedes have created a lyrical work that mirrors and expands on dynamics of power and lust. A modern roundelay that restages the past in the present. Led by a gaze of sexual innuendo, this is a comedy in which reality is subordinate to strategies of power – while revealing the closely intertwined nature of health and economics, in the past and present.

***

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The Mad Half Hour by Leonardo Brzezicki

Argentina / Denmark 2015, 22 min

Once a day, domestic cats go completely mad. A total burst of energy. That is all over within half an hour. No one knows why. That’s just how it is.
Juan is rather similar. He doesn’t know why, it just seizes him. The loss of commitment. Why should he bother to hit a ball over the net and wait for it to be returned, while making sure it stays within the white line? Does he still love Pedro, no, perhaps yes? Pedro is used to it and takes him by the hand. They venture into the night together and stray, like cats, through the streets of Buenos Aires. Far more than pursuing narrative logic, the film follows human feelings without ever fully relinquishing the threads of the storyline.

***

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Kamakshi by Satindar Singh Bedi

India 2014, 25 min

Once a day, domestic cats go completely mad. A total burst of energy. That is all over within half an hour. No one knows why. That’s just how it is.
Juan is rather similar. He doesn’t know why, it just seizes him. The loss of commitment. Why should he bother to hit a ball over the net and wait for it to be returned, while making sure it stays within the white line? Does he still love Pedro, no, perhaps yes? Pedro is used to it and takes him by the hand. They venture into the night together and stray, like cats, through the streets of Buenos Aires. Far more than pursuing narrative logic, the film follows human feelings without ever fully relinquishing the threads of the storyline.

***

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THE by Billy Roisz & Dieter Kovačič

Austria 2015, 13 min

Clouds cross the sky. A dark rumble. A crow caws. A melody. Omens hang in the air, heralding the unexpected. The work of Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič explores the structures and mechanisms of the terror evoked in horror film. They experiment with listening and viewing habits, transforming the screen into a fragile membrane between the viewer and that which is viewed while investigating the space between outer and inner. Surfaces revoke any attempt at correlation; grids are interchanged with stripes and dots, and with the supposedly material. The borders between abstract and concrete are suspended. Gauging space for the sake of orientation is impossible. Sometimes, the chance to understand, to orientate, flares up for a split-second – only to disappear in the next instant. Vertigo.
14 years after initiating their collaboration, directors Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič have now put forward another cooperative work.

***

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Superior by Erin Vassilopoulos

USA 2015, 16 min

Two girls, identical twins, spend all their time together. Life without one another is unimaginable, they are one. One night, their father brings home a stranger and agitation sets in. While the others sleep, one of the sisters ventures into the night. When held to the ear, the whooshing of a shell is a promise from the sensual world. Footsteps in the darkened hallway. She is not alone. Using symbolism from the horror film genre among others, director Erin Vassilopoulos describes the sexual awakening of the twins. Via the iconography of the film, she finds a cinematic solution to economically describe the hairline cracks in their relationship, and at the same time, in very few words, to imbibe the new and unknown world with the colours of sensuality. After this night, the bond between the twins will never be the same again.

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