The 40-year-old director Yoav was asked by the editor of “Cahiers du Cinéma” to write about the potency of a specific cinematographic image. Yoav recalls his first encounter with Pasolini’s Teorema, back when he was still a soldier in the Israeli army.
Nadav Lapid has created an alter ego director. In just a few scenes, Lapid condenses the moments that have ultimately altered the director’s life. Lama? is an extremely personal film that tangibly illuminates the vast potential inherent in cinema.
HOSANNA by Na Young-kil
Republic of Korea (South Korea) 2014, 25 min
Hosanna is an ancient cry of jubilation and entreaty, which according to the New Testament, was used by the crowds greeting Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
In a remote village in Korea lives a boy with the power to heal. He can resurrect the dead. And that is exactly what he does. Curing people of death, he gives them back life. However, the new life doesn’t cure them, on the contrary. Rejecting the chance proffered by rebirth, the fighting, killing and murder continue. They punish, spit upon and antagonise the boy. Refusing to be deterred, he goes his own way. The boy and the villagers move about in rigorously framed shots, practically devoid of emotion. There is no cry of jubilation.
SHADOWLAND by John Skoog
Sweden 2014, 15 min
Desolate landscapes are the protagonists. Sound fragments dictate the direction. The drama could begin at any moment.
During his travels through America’s West, filmmaker John Skoog discovered a new country. In SHADOWLAND, one view of a Californian landscape chases another. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the landscapes flow into each another. Deserts become forests become water, the street from a car, the river from a boat. Shot on 16mm and in black and white, the montage induces an analogy that recalls the photographs of Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz. SHADOWLAND is a sensual experimental arrangement in which the shift of perceived understanding occurs on a visual and auditory plane. The places visited in the film were once used by Hollywood as substitutes for entirely different locations in the world. The journey is accompanied by a collage of sounds taken from early Hollywood films.
Chitrashala (House of Paintings) by Amit Dutta
India 2015, 19 min
An old palace, now a museum, stands alone above the riverbank overlooking the city. It houses a set of the finest miniature paintings ever created in the Himalayan region. Hundreds of people come here to admire the art every day. When evening comes, the curtains are drawn, doors are locked and gates are bolted. In the calm of the night, characters from the pictures spring to life. They tell of the eternal love between King Nala and his wife Damayantin. Once while gambling, the king lost his kingdom and they were forced to live in exile. Separating soon after, they experience numerous adventures and eventually reunite at the end.
Amit Dutta approaches this story with visual composure and concentration. He lifts the curtains with the greatest respect, to give life to love. He searches for the cinematic equivalent of this tale and expands the cinema, with the miniature.
San Cristóbal by Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo
Chile 2015, 29 min
Lucas and Antonio. Two young men meet and fall in love in a remote fishing village in the south of Chile. One lives there, the other is visiting. Sensuality dictates the pace of the narrative and the lives of both in the days to follow: being one another’s mirror. Recognising one another. Yielding to one another. When the village rebels against their love, the experience of this limitation marks a momentous step in Lucas’ and Antonio’s adulthood.
A simple story of love and devotion, shot in the style of Direct Cinema. A not-so-simple setting, in Chile’s Deep South, where anything that breaks out of the perceived norm is to be destroyed immediately, punished. The characters know of the limitations within the village. The romantic notion of resistance is brief; of greater importance are life and the love that is found. Going further. Going beyond the self.
Short film has a long history at the Berlinale, with the Golden and the Silver Bear for the best short films having been awarded since 1956. In 2015, an endowed award will debut: The Audi Short Film Award. In an interview on this year’s Berlinale Shorts programme, curator Maike Mia Höhne talks about the chance to present an excerpt from contemporary thought, the power of images and the question of what we want to do with our lives.
The films MAR DE FOGO (SEA OF FIRE) and Lama? (Why?) seem to pick up exactly where we left off in last year’s conversation, where you talked about the original conceptual spark that must be protected at all costs in filmmaking.
Yes, that spark, that moment that serves as the inspiration for a film and that must be protected in order to complete the work is absolutely in focus again. Sometimes that spark comes from other films, creating references by exuding history into today’s world. MAR DE FOGO, Lama? and Snapshot Mon Amour are three films in this year’s programme that build that kind of bridge, and at the same time, provide a certain layout for Berlinale Shorts 2015: The films seem to be arranged on axes of reflection, simultaneously creating lines of separation and connection within the entire programme. That goes for feature-length films as well as some films in the programme that focus on intervention in public spaces.
In Snapshot Mon Amour, Christian Bau takes up the existential question of how an extreme situation can influence the structure of a relationship. After the catastrophe in Fukushima, the divorce rate in Japan rose so quickly that a new Japanese word came into being, „Genpatsu-Rikon“, comprised of the Japanese characters for “atom” and “divorce”. The filmmaker refers to Alain Resnais‘ classic Hiroshima, mon Amour (France / Japan 1959) with the title and some quotes in the film, simultaneously looking at the question of the limits of representation. All that compressed into just six minutes! The Israeli filmmmaker Nadav Lapid, known for aesthetically controversial films, is unusually emotional and very personal in Lama?. Nadav Lapid condenses a few scenes into that one decisive moment after which nothing is as it was before: The publisher of „Cahiers du Cinéma“ asks 40-year-old director Yoav to name a film image that influenced his work. The latter recalls his time as a young soldier, who loved to shoot. While his comrades play their own music over Mozart’s Requiem in Pier Paolo Pasolini’sTeorema (Italy 1968) in the cinema, he sees himself in the image of the screaming protagonist stumbling through the desert. He found the image that allows a perception of the possibilities inherent in cinema. Something similar can be said of MAR DEL FOGO. Even if the viewer isn’t familiar with the referenced film Limite (Brazil 1931) by Mário Peixoto, the power of the images and the moment of inspiration sticks.
What Do We Want to Do with Our Lives?
Do you consciously seek out these points of reflection when curating the programme?
In the best sense, the submissions – whose numbers continue to increase each year – give me the opportunity to draw an excerpt from contemporary thought, in all imaginable formats, by distillation. The powerful narratives this year, for instance, pose existential questions, but less of a political nature than of a private one: Where are we actually? What are we moving towards? What do we want to do with our lives? The gay men in San Cristóbalby Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo from Chile consciously decide against a direct confrontation with discrimination; it’s by ignoring that vilification, and refusing to engage with it, that they emancipate themselves. In Blood Below the Skin by Jennifer Reeder, two teenage girls profess their tender love for one another through the power of thought. The film’s third protagonist, whose father has left, has to help her mother. It’s through the deep, hopeful re-writing of the mother-daughter relationship that it becomes a conscious theme in the first place – something you don’t see in the cinematic mainstream. I feel Matt Porterfield touches on another central theme that pops up throughout the programme: The currently widespread phenomenon of ennui. Take What You Can Carry is an exact study of the inertia that takes hold when we as young adults are stuck on the fence, still not sure what we want to do with our lives. The protagonist is a member of the performance group Gob Squad, which acts as a kind of megaphone for an entire generation – Generation Y. Gob Squad bubbles over with things that many can’t say.
And I’m really happy about the funny films in this year’s programme: Bad at Dancing by Joanna Arnow, or The Mad Half Hour, a very laconic take on the ennui theme. There’s a moment every day when house cats go nuts. Filmmaker Leonardo Brzezicki from Argentina refers to that moment at the beginning of his film, but moves on to a couple playing tennis. Suddenly, one of the pair refuses to continue playing because the whole situation seems absurd to him. Just like life. „Maybe we should break up“, he suggests to his better half, who in turn reacts very coolly because he’s familiar with his partner and his phases, and knows how to handle them.
Last year’s Forum included the documentary Und in der Mitte, da sind wir (And There We are, in the Middle) by Sebastian Brameshuber, who filmed small-town Austrian youths for over a year on their path towards adulthood. The youths seemed paralysed, completely de-energised – except when playing paintball (incidentally also a subject explored in this year’s Lama?). In Of Stains, Scrap & Tires, Sebastian Brameshuber picks up where he left off, following the African employees of a workshop adjacent to the same paintball field. At the workshop, cars no longer suitable for the European market are reprocessed for sale to Africa. The workers blankly observe the activity on the paintball field, making that same question – what do we want to do with our lives? – one of the film’s central themes.
… in the well-fed western world.
Beeing well-fed doesn’t necessarily need to be the problem, as long as one doesn’t just sit back and relax with a full tummy. ‚I look for films without safety nets. Films that take risks, films in which I can feel urgency and need. In the summer of 2014, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke flew white flags from the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, and then edited the international TV coverage of that into their documentary Symbolic Threats (D: Mischa Leinkauf, Lutz Henke and Matthias Wermke). In doing what they did, they took a big personal risk and made a statement. But what statement exactly? Threat or art? Outrage or opportunity? Capitulation or attack?
David Muñoz and his film team visited a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. In El Juego del Escondite (Hide & Seek), he doesn’t just ask the question of how reality can be represented, but also questions the arrangement between protagonist and documentarist by observing himself and his work process. What happens when reality doesn’t live up to our own visions?
Axes of Reflection and Areas of Contrast
How have you arranged the films that reflect one another into programmes? How do you bring other films together with an extremely disturbing film like HOSANNA, for instance?
Despite the numerous references and cross-references, it was exceedingly difficult for me to group the films into programmes this year – precisely because they are so powerful. HOSANNA by Na Young-kil is a bleak Korean film about a young man who can bring the dead back to life. But he gets no recognition, no gratitude for it. His interference changes nothing. The re-awakened are murdered again, a woman is raped again. “Hosanna” is an ancient cry of jubilation and entreaty, which according to the New Testament, was used by the crowds greeting Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. In the film, the joy is left out. After HOSANNA comes , a contemplative, food-for-thought film that gives the viewer time while also bringing them back to the here and now. And after that: Chitrashala (House of Paintings), which in turn represents another, completely different position on the question of individual moral positioning within a social structure. Hindu belief allows for a bodily unification with God. Amit Dutta tells of eternal love by breathing life into a collection of miniatures made and exhibited in the area of the Himalayas. So there’s an interesting contrast created between films through their grouping into one short film programme. That religious theme is also reflected in Lo Sum Choe Sum (3 Year 3 Month Retreat) by Dechen Roder from Bhutan. One Buddhist meditation practice requires a three-month retreat from all worldly things in order to attain a higher level of transformation. Following her retreat, most of which she spent in a prison, the young protagonist returns to her home to kill the man who raped her. But would that really change anything? Isn’t it forgiveness that really takes us one step further, like in David Jansen’s animated film Däwit, which was inspired by the woodcuts of Belgian graphic artist and painter Frans Masereel? The theme axes are the arcs of the programme. Axes of reflection, as I already mentioned.
Shifts in Meaning
Some directors have already had films at Berlinale Shorts. What developments are noticeable?
It’s wonderful to be able to accompany filmmakers as they develop. Billy Roisz for instance is always becoming more emotional, if you can say that about experimental films. THE(D: Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič) is an experimentation with habits of visual perception and pays homage to horror film. With it, he builds a bridge to Superior by Erin Vassilopoulos, and in turn reflects the apocalyptic scenarios in HOSANNA and PLANET SIGMA by Momoko Seto on another level. With maku (veil), Yoriko Mizushiri presents her third subtle, sexy-playful, feminine animation. I’m curious to see how the audience discussion will be because she was so very shy last year. And Architektura by Ulu Braun is actually the quintessence of everything he’s done in the past few years. Who decides on public space? What influence do architects have? And who is the client? The city or the investors?
In some films, landscape and environment aren’t just settings, but seem to become actors in their own right.
SHADOWLAND is a contemplative, almost meditative work on the occupation of spaces, about shifts in meaning. In the style of great American photography by Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz, it presents us with places that have been occupied by Hollywood. The Californian desert landscape is at turns Mars, Africa or North America. In Lembusura by Wregas Bhanuteja, the post-colonial discourse experiences a shift: An ancient Indonesian legend is re-enacted – to the snorting amusement of its inheritors – and all the earnest of the conflict is nullified.
La Isla está Encantada con Ustedes (The Island is Enchanted with You) by Alexander Carver and Daniel Schmidt links the post-colonial discourse with concrete events in Puerto Rican history: From the Spanish conquest of the late 15th century to its status as a tax haven for the pharmaceutical industry. Full of relish, the film shows how health and economy have always been connected. I’m really looking forward to seeing La Isla está Encantada con Ustedes on the big screen. And Dissonance by Till Nowak is another film that will really spread its wings in the cinema. Thanks to an incredibly skilful combination of 3D animation and theatrical film sequences, it takes some time for the viewer to realise that something is wrong with the protagonist and his perception. Reality and psychotic delusion are blurred, similar to the transitions between live action and animation.
I think you need an open-minded view to grasp the films in all their complexity. Which is why I’m so pleased about this year’s jury, and that the members also have curating experience. And Berlinale Shorts has a new award this year, the Audi Short Film Award, through which we have the opportunity to honour a filmmaker’s development and personal style.
Below you can find a list with links to articles (or featurettes) about our films and / or this year’s Berlinale Shorts filmmakers.
*Please note that these links refer to websites of third parties (external links). Therefore, we cannot assume any liability for their content. In all cases, the provider of information of the linked websites is liable for the content and accuracy of the information provided. Any duplication, processing, distribution or any form of utilisation beyond the scope of copyright law shall require the prior written consent of the author or authors in question.*
27 films from 18 countries will be competing for a Golden and a Silver Bear, as well as the nomination for best short film at the European Film Awards and the first-ever EUR 20,000 Audi Short Film Award. This year’s members of the International Short Film Jury are documentary filmmaker and curator Madhusree Dutta, Turkish artist Halil Altındere, and producer and festival director Wahyuni A. Hadi from Singapore. Screening in competition are the latest works of Nadav Lapid, Amit Dutta, Jennifer Reeder, Matt Porterfield, artist duos Daniel Schmidt & Alexander Carver, Mischa Leinkauf & Matthias Wermke in collaboration with Lutz Henke, Billy Roisz & Dieter Kovačič, among many others.
Reflections on the current social and political conditions, in which the order of subject, predicate and object have been permanently suspended, pervade the programme and generate all kinds of symmetries. Independently of large production budgets, filmmakers today have the possibility of using analogue and digital technologies to fill cinematic space with hypotheses on and solutions to relevant issues.
What images have the power to dispel the pleasure found by some in being a soldier? Israeli director Nadav Lapid asks himself this question and then discovers an image that is able to do exactly that inLama? (Why?). In Japan, there’s a new term since Fukushima: “atomic divorce”. It is what the many divorces are called that have been filed all over Japan in the aftermath of the catastrophe. Christian Bau attempts to capture this phenomenon in Snapshot Mon Amour. David Muñoz visits a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. The production of his film El Juego del Escondite (Hide & Seek) relates directly to the question of what enables a refugee to remain the subject of his or her own narrative. Then there is the quintessence of artist intervention in public space – the raising of white flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge last summer in New York City – which can be seen as either an affront or a chance: the documentary Symbolic Threats by Leinkauf, Wermke and Henke offers a number of interpretations.
Matt Porterfield’s Take What You Can Carry tells of a young woman who is a foreigner in Berlin – and in doing so portrays Generation Y, with performance group Gob Squad as its mouthpiece. Jennifer Reeder’s Blood Below the Skin gives a glimpse of the tender and tangled web of love and dependency between a mother and her daughter that goes beyond the traditional allocation of roles.
German short films are making a strong showing, which can be ascribed, among other things, to intensive funding policies. “Yet the fact that for a long time now short films have not been limited to 15 minutes, but are on the average 22-minutes long, should – if German cinema is to remain competitive – be taken into account when revising film funding regulations,” says Maike Mia Höhne, curator ofBerlinale Shorts.
In February 2015, the Golden Bear for the Best Short Film will be awarded for the 60th time. A special programme, titled The Golden Night of the Short Bears, with a selection of films from 60 years of the Berlinale will be held at the Kino International on Saturday, February 14.
Berlinale Shorts 2015: Architektura, Ulu Braun, Germany, 15’ (WP) Bad at Dancing, Joanna Arnow, USA, 11’ (WP) Blood Below the Skin, Jennifer Reeder, USA, 32’ (WP) Chitrashala (House of Paintings), Amit Dutta, India, 19’ (WP) Däwit (Daewit), David Jansen, Germany, 15’ (WP) Dissonance, Till Nowak, Germany, 17’ (WP) Hosanna, Na Young-kil, South Korea, 25’ (DP) La Isla está Encantada con Ustedes (The Island is Enchanted with You), Alexander Carver & Daniel Schmidt, USA / Switzerland / Australia, 28’ (IP) El Juego del Escondite (Hide & Seek), David Muñoz, Spain, 23’ (WP) Kamakshi, Satindar Singh Bedi, India, 25’ (WP) Lama? (Why?), Nadav Lapid, Israel, 5’ (IP) Lembusura, Wregas Bhanuteja, Indonesia, 10’ (IP) Lo Sum Choe Sum (3 Year 3 Month Retreat), Dechen Roder, Bhutan, 20’ (WP) maku (veil), Yoriko Mizushiri, Japan, 6’ (WP) The Mad Half Hour, Leonardo Brzezicki, Argentina / Denmark, 22’ (WP) Mar de Fogo (Sea of Fire), Joel Pizzini, Brazil, 8’ (WP) Of Stains, Scrap & Tires, Sebastian Brameshuber, Austria / France, 19’ (IP) Pebbles at Your Door, Vibeke Bryld, Denmark, 18’ (WP) Planet Ʃ, Momoko Seto, France, 12’ (WP) San Cristóbal, Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo, Chile, 29’ (WP) Shadowland, John Skoog, Sweden, 15’ (IP) Snapshot Mon Amour, Christian Bau, Germany, 6’ (WP) Superior, Erin Vassilopoulos, USA, 16’ (IP) Symbolic Threats, Mischa Leinkauf, Matthias Wermke & Lutz Henke, Germany, 16’ (WP) Take What You Can Carry, Matt Porterfield, USA / Germany, 30’ (WP) The, Billy Roisz & Dieter Kovačič, Austria, 13’ (WP) YúYú, Marc Johnson, France / Spain / USA, 15’ (WP)
Egbert Hörmann (member of our Berlinale Shorts selection committee) has written a text (in German) about Rainer Werner Fassbinder for the TEDDY AWARDS.
„Aber er läuft ja wie ein Rasiermesser durch die Welt, man schneidet sich an ihm!“
„Ich werfe kein Bomben, ich mache Filme.“
Als Rainer Werner Fassbinder, der wohl bedeutendste deutsche Nachkriegsregisseur, 1982 im Alter von nur 37 Jahren an einer „Überdosis Arbeit“ (Fassbinder-Intimus Harry Baer) kometenhaft verglühte, hinterließ er – 41 Filme in nur 13 Jahren! – in der europäischen Filmlandschaft ein bis heute nicht gefülltes Vakuum und ein einzigartiges, vielschichtiges, verstörend-betörendes und wundervoll unergründliches Werk von – bei genauerer Betrachtung allerdings – dennoch verblüffender Geradlinigkeit, Konsequenz und Schlüssigkeit.
Die skandalöse Gestalt selbst wirft einen langen Schatten auf die Filme und das vielfältige Schaffen als Theater- und Filmregisseur, Schauspieler, Produzent, Dramatiker und Publizist. Fassbinder wird auch heute noch mit wohligem Schaudern gern beschworen als monströses, molochartiges Genie – mythisch, manisch, grenzensprengend, brutal, masochistisch, vulgär und nichts und niemanden schonend (sich selbst schon gar nicht!). Aber man erkennt in ihm auch eine zarte Seele, einen zutiefst scheuen Menschen, einen großen Liebenden mit einem tiefen und unmittelbaren Gefühl für die von ihm dargestellten Menschen, dessen wissender Weltschmerz schon früh in Hyperaktivität umgeschlagen war.
Es ist heute kaum mehr vorstellbar, wie faszinierend neu und verstörend dieser Agent Provocateur in die behäbige deutsche Filmlandschaft einbrach (1969 kam es im Wettbewerb der Berlinale mit dem mit unglaublicher Aggression aufgenommenen ersten Spielfilm „Liebe ist kälter als der Tod“ zum Skandal). Zwar verleugnete sein Werk nie die Herkunft aus der subkulturellen Avantgarde, aber Fassbinders Ziel war es von Anfang an, in breit gefächerte kulturelle und gesellschaftspolitische Diskussionen einzubrechen, einzugreifen, und gleichzeitig sowohl dezidiert politisch und kritisch als auch zugleich so populär wie das von ihm über alles geliebte Hollywoodkino zu sein, etwa dem von Douglas Sirk mit seinem distanzierten Anti-Naturalismus (hier existiert ein Baum nur deshalb, um die Initialien herzeigen zu können, die romantischerweise vor 15 Jahren in sein Holz geschnitzt wurden und die den Fluss der Zeit unbeschadet überstanden) und dessen Mega-Meta-Kitsch sogar bei den Happy Ends von einer pessimistischen, klassischen Größe ist.
Die Elemente, die seine Kinofilme so spezifisch machen (seine Arbeit für das Fernsehen muss etwas anders betrachtet werden), sind das Genrekino (der Film Noir, der Gangsterfilm und natürlich das Melodram mit seinen inneren Widersprüchen, dessen Herz die Erfahrung des Verlustes ist, der Ereignisse, die nicht stattfinden und vor allem des Wortes, das nicht gesagt wird), ein eigenwilliger Marxismus, Freuds Un- und Vor- und Unterbewusstes, die westdeutsche populäre Kultur, der Fluch des deutschen Faschismus, die Verfremdungsästhetik von Brecht und zugleich eine gute Dosis Warhol und Camp-Sensibilität. Wie Werner Schroeter scheute er nie das Pathos, nach Nabokov eines der Grundelemente großer Kunst. Er vereinte all das in einem Stil, der roh, überdreht, monumental, unterkühlt und von äußerster, kompromissloser Künstlichkeit war, wobei bei der „Demaskierung des Bewusstseins“ à la Ödön von Horváth niemals die sozialpolitische Bodenhaftung verloren ging.
Fassbinder war mit der ihm eigenen Comédie Humaine ein Autor vom Zuschnitt Balzacs, und er hatte von Anfang an eine Vision, die dann zu seiner Mission wurde: Er wollte der Chronist der inneren Geschichte Westdeutschlands werden. Seine politische Realität war eine noch tief im Nazi-Sumpf verstricke Gesellschaft im Aufbau-, Verdrängungs- und Kalter-Krieg-Wahn, die die Chance zu durchgreifender Erneuerung nach 1945 nicht wahrgenommen hatte und bis zum Ende der 1960er Jahre eine streng patriarchalisch-konservative Vasallendemokratie war.
„Meine Filme handeln von Abhängigkeiten.“ Sein letztes, monumentales Meister- beziehungsweise Monsterwerk ist „Berlin Alexanderplatz“ (1980), ein Film wahrhaft aus der Menschenfinsternis und wohl wie “Die letzten Tage der Menschheit“ von Karl Kraus hier nun einem Marskino zugedacht, das noch einmal die zentralen Themen Fassbinders bündelt: Die Bewunderung für unabhängige Frauen, die Faszination von Männerfreundschaften, das Recht auf Widerstand, das Geld als der Spiritualismus der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft, die (- at the end of the day – immer ruinöse) Liebe als Ware (hier ist er ganz Balzac) mit dem unerbittlichen Gesetz: Wer liebt, muss zahlen, die Unmöglichkeit, in der bürgerlichen Familie Liebe und Glück zu finden, und immer wieder die Teufelskreise von ökonomischer, emotionaler und sexueller Ausbeutung, wobei dann auch in Liebesbeziehungen die Klassen- und Bildungsunterschiede letztendlich immer durchschlagen.
Sehr früh behandelte Fassbinder das Thema der Geschlechterdifferenz und der sexuellen Identität, was in dieser lakonischen Selbstverständlichkeit im deutschen Film ein absolutes Novum war.
Von Woolworth-Feministinnen wurde er zuweilen heftig attackiert (das ganze Geschrei um „ Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant“!). Aber den Feminismus gibt es ja nun in vielerlei Variationen. Wie zum Beispiel Kenji Mizoguchi, für den Japans zerstörerischste und tief verwurzelte Krise die Knechtung der Frau war (die Ehe als freie Prostitution mit der Hausarbeit als Zugabe, der Kapitalismus als offizielle Form der Hurerei), war Fassbinder ein „ladies´man“, ein großer Frauenregisseur, der uns viele wunderbare Darstellerinnen schenkte: Ingrid Caven, Irm Hermann, Brigitte Mira, Margit Carstensen, Barbara Sukowa, Rosel Zech, Elisabeth Trissenar) und allen voran natürlich die unvergleichliche Hanna Schygulla, Typ entrückte Vorstadtdiva. Fassbinders tiefes Verständnis der Situation der Frau zeigt sich auch in seiner Ansicht, deutsche Geschichte ließe sich am besten anhand von Frauenschicksalen erzählen. Er sah in der kapitalistischen Nachkriegshierarchie die Frauen – übrigens auch in seinem Privatleben eine höchst komplexe Angelegenheit – zwar exemplarisch als soziale Underdogs, aber eben nicht als Opfer.
„Keiner, dessen Denken im Rahmen einer Ideologie verläuft, die außerhalb seiner selbst existiert, kann meine Filme mögen. Ich mache Filme für Leute, die nicht in vorgestanzten Programmen denken. Die anderen sehen sich meine Filme an, und sie hassen sie, weil sie das kapieren.“
Zu seiner Zeit, als er zwischen 1969 und 1982 Filmgeschichte schrieb, passte Fassbinder in kein Schema. Man packte es einfach nicht: dieser elitäre Paria, dieser exorbitante Lebensstil, diese offen gelebte Homosexualität, diese Produktivität und dieser Verschleiß. Und es war ja auch schwer zu ertragen, diese Freiheit und diese Radikalität, die sich jedem Appeasement und jedem Konsens verweigerte, diese rückhaltlose künstlerische Selbstentblößung, beispielhaft in der einleitenden 26minütigen Episode, die das Klima des ganzen, 1978 bei der Berlinale uraufgeführten Collagenfilms „Deutschland im Herbst“ bestimmt.
Das von deutscher (Alt)Last befreite Ausland verlieh dann diesem Ausnahmetalent bald die höheren Weihen. „Die dritte Generation“ von 1979, von der bundesdeutschen Kritik weitgehend abgelehnt, war so etwa für einen amerikanischen Kritiker „the modern successor of Fritz Lang´s `Dr. Mabuse´ films“. 1976 die erste Retrospektive in Paris, die erste kritische Studie ebenfalls 1976 aus London und 1977 kommt es zur triumphalen Retro in New York, wo man ihn als „das größte europäische Talent“ feiert. 1977 wechselt Fassbinder mit der internationalen Produktion „Despair“ zum europäischen Autorenkino, und 1979 führt schließlich „Die Ehe der Maria Braun“ auch in Deutschland zum durchschlagenden Publikumserfolg.
Der Regisseur Fassbinder wurde zum Repräsentanten Deutschlands durch seine ernsthafte Besessenheit einerseits, sicher aber auch durch seine „Schwere“ und „Humorlosigkeit“. Nach Proust sind Klima und Landschaft die beiden Summanden, die den Menschen formen und gestalten (hinzuzufügen wäre noch ein dritter: die Geschichte mit ihrem grausamen, unerbittlichen und blinden Wesen) – in allen Lederbars der Welt zuhause und mit einer Wohnung in Paris ausgestattet, blieb Fassbinder doch immer ein Kind Westdeutschlands und letztendlich Münchens.
„Das `Öffnen der Seele´ war ein Teil von Fassbinders fiktionalisierter Persona. Er war und blieb ein Geschichtenerzähler und wahrscheinlich der einzige Filmemacher in Deutschlands langer Filmgeschichte, der eine so weitreichende und einfühlende Vision des Menschen entwarf, umfassend genug, um eine Welt zu zeugen (und deren Zeitzeuge zu sein), die unzweifelhaft die seine ist und die sich gleichzeitig anderen Personen, wenn schon nicht zum Betreten, so doch zumindest zum Wiedererkennen anbietet.“ (Thomas Elsaesser)
Dieses einmalige Werk dieses Katalysators scheint heute zwar in den Filmmuseen und den Filmseminaren aufbewahrt zu sein, aber es ist (wie auch das Werk Pasolinis) bei aller zeitlichen und historischen Datierung immer noch, immer wieder gültig und frisch, weil es zu aktuellen, ästhetischen, kreativen und kritischen Auseinandersetzungen und Reibungen reizt.
The short film has a long tradition as an art form at the Berlinale and is an important component in the festival’s artistic profile. Since 1956 the Berlin International Film Festival has awarded a Golden and a Silver Bear to the best short films. Now in the 60th year of their presentation, they will be joined by still another award whose winner will also be selected by the Berlinale Shorts International Jury:
The Audi Short Film Award will go to a director who has an extraordinary artistic signature. The winner will take home 20,000 euros. This makes the Audi Short Film Award one of the most generously endowed short film prizes in the world. With this award, Audi is considerably expanding its partnership with the Berlin International Film Festival.
“The award sponsored by Audi ideally augments our commitment to the short film and underscores its importance. We are delighted that Audi has launched this initiative to promote new and gifted directors further,” states Dieter Kosslick, Director of the Berlinale.
“The Audi Short Film Award is yet another step in our cooperation with the Berlinale. As a progressive brand, we want to enable people to fully experience the connection between Audi and filmmaking in the future, and in many different ways. And to us that also includes an award that shines the spotlight on the creative talents of short film directors,” said Wayne Griffiths, Head of Sales Germany at AUDI AG.
The nominees for the Audi Short Film Award are all those directors participating with their films in the competition for best short film in the Berlinale Shorts programme. Appointed by the Berlinale, a three-member International Jury will decide who gets the award, which will be presented to the winner on February 14, 2015 during the Berlinale Awards Ceremony.
Check out our new International Short Film Jury 2015 here
An article by Maike Mia Höhne, originally published here.
A water lily opens to classical music. Time lapse images. Everything entices one to wholly surrender to the homage of beauty. In a bare exhibition space, in which the image occupies the entire wall and viewers linger on a bench at a fitting distance, in order to reflect upon the short, almost ten-minute film, or simply let their thoughts roam. In the synopsis for her film VICTORIA Salla Tykkä writes: „A nightly blossoming of the giant water lily is depicted. The plant tells the story of European colonialism in the 19th century, and hides within its beauty the human need for power and domination.“
“The inexplicable”, incomparable to anything, things never before seen. A naked baby is encircled with cotton balls by a boy, is spat upon with chewing gum and then computer- controlled from a desk chair, a man with a speech disorder gives a lecture on phobias, a girl with a wig is exposed to the sexual tension between her mother and a man, a woman at an airport, played by Miranda July, gets talking to a girl with a hair band in her mouth. Everything appears as if in a dream, although it is probably more aptly described as a nightmare. While all the people act normally, their actions are full of abnormalities. There are no boundaries in this short film. It is absolutely free. …Everything is possible.” NEST OF TENS by Miranda July, from the year 2000. 27 minutes.
The Japanese animation artist Mirai Mizue, says that at the beginning of his career he always wanted to tell stories, just as everyone wants to tell stories, and so he too began to tell stories. He imposed the structure of storytelling upon his images and came to terms with this logic. He then realised that this approach to the story was not his. He does not want to tell a story, he wants to paint. Now he paints pictures, animates them, works with musicians, in order to find a rhythm and tempo appropriate for the pictures and leaves the audience to discover the stories in his images for themselves. Nevertheless, his rhythm and the tempo of his cells still pursue a certain logic, a certain plot.
It is different plots that tell the story. Within itself, each plot contains the famous three acts, whereby it is clear that the boundaries are fluent and that the omitting, augmenting or telling of a story in its entirety in one act, that is, the artistic approach of one individual act does not ignore the other acts, to the contrary. Thus it is the individual strands of the narratives that differ from one another. One strand. Many strands. No strand.
II. Film and art. Art and film. Cinema and gallery. Cinema and museum. It is always about the juxtaposition. In view of the other. As if perceived from the corner of one’s eye. From further away. An eyeing of the self. Conjectures are pronounced. Why one is well received in the cinema, the other in the cube. Why one is not there and vice versa. Theories are put forward. Usually, in reference to the works themselves. Which short film is shown where.
Over the years, my observation has been that it also involves the profoundly human, that it is about the people themselves who have produced the works. “Types” you could call them, but that doesn’t have to be the case. But what is true, is that there are certain entities who, with their work have always felt comfortable in the visual arts; comfortable, because understood.
The same is true the other way round: There are those who have always understood the cinema and the film as film, who wanted to make film. In my opinion, it is this stance that constitutes the fine line of difference. Of course, there will always be “Grenzgänger“, those who blur the boundaries. There are always those with a lust and an urge for the other – that is, those who have been successful in one space and wish to be in the other and vice versa. The exception provides room for speculation.
The other is the secret.
Telling a story in film, predominantly means telling a secret. The desire to watch a film and become involved, stay involved, go along, directly depends upon the force of the film to convey this secret, this dark power. The thrill lies within, wishing to know how it continues. Similar to how there are one million variations for the structure of the narrative, the same is true for the secret. The method, in which the secret is exposed from the outset, is one possibility in the narrative. That boredom may eventuate in one or another case – is obvious.
An audience’s encroaching feeling of boredom, often accompanied by a certain physical agitation, is better intercepted in the cube. As an active viewer I can move about, without my actions disturbing anyone else. (Kant’s imperative). In the cinema, I am, ideally, not alone – the cinema experience is at best a collective one and the power of cinema reveals itself in the communal. In a cinema space therefore, one deals differently with boredom that is triggered by a film’s narrative, in order to comply with Kant’s imperative. That doesn’t always succeed. Falling asleep, talking, standing up, bottling up, frowning, groaning, are ways in which to affect others and involve them in one’s own emotional experience. There are various ways to handle such involvement, without having wished for it. From sympathy to a furious, “Be quiet!” everything is possible. I have never experienced emotional outbursts such as that in the cube. And even when a viewer acts annoyed, it never takes more than a sideways glance – the first one leaves, and the second is left to discuss the departure with their potential accessories, or not. But the extent of the disturbance is not comparable to the magnitude it would develop if the outburst had taken place in a cinema.
What does the possibility of continual departure mean to the narrative. The average viewer’s length of stay in an open exhibition space amounts to less than half the duration of the projected piece. Behaviour that is known to the artists and gallery owners, the business. Does the viewer and potential buyer’s behaviour have an influence on the narrative? Influence on the artist’s work? And when will work shown in cubes ever be seen in its entirety, from beginning to end? Is that even the aim of work in cubes or merely one form of reception?
It is predominantly short films that are shown in galleries. Does the length of the work hold any significance at all, when the viewer can determine at any time, when and how long they will watch the piece? In regular cinema programming, short films can be seen as the short screened before a feature and sometimes in an entire program of shorts. Aside from that, there is an incredible amount of short film and festivals in general. The pursuit of many filmmakers, to find a premier festival for their short work, an “A” film festival for features, is related to the attention given to shorts and others within the framework of such big festivals, but also that which comes after. The Bear, the Palms on a poster generate incomparably more for a film’s exploitation than a small festival in the middle of nowhere that simply serves as an “end game”. Immensely important and great, but not really helpful in terms of the future and financing of the next project. By the same token, ranking for galleries and museums also applies, to position one’s own work. Beyond the matter of the experience, it is also about an afterwards.
The wish of filmmakers, artists to be recognized should be understood absolutely. The longing of filmmakers and artists to solely rule the cinema space with their work, within the short form, is difficult to fulfil. Owing to democratic and economic circumstances it is about a “together”. For the short film that means that in a festival context, a film will often be shown alongside those from other filmmakers, whereas in the context of visual arts, sole screenings do occur. For me personally, I see the collective showing as a chance. The length of a work is incomparable to its narrative, or: It is collective thinking that leads the way inside the story. All stories require time.
EPILOGUE. Marina Abromivic said: “Art is about energy”. In her work, THE ONION (2012), a tear- streaked Marina Abramovic bites into an onion and recites a text in the voice over, where she says: “I am tired of changing planes so often. Waiting in the bus stations, train stations, airports. I am so tired of waiting for endless passport controls. … I want to go away – somewhere so far away that I am unreachable by fax or telephone. I want to get old, really, really old so that nothing matters anymore. I want to understand and see clearly what is behind all of this. I want to not want anymore.“ To not want anything anymore. Simply show. In the cinema. In the cube. To enter into discussion, with the others. In an imagined or concrete dialogue. That is film. That is art.
A discussion with director Fernando Vílchez Rodríguez (Berlinale Shorts) and Maike Höhne, curator of Berlinale Shorts, about the political, social and ecological consequences of the over-exploitation of natural resources committed by the Canadian mining company Candente Copper in the Peruvian jungle.
Supported by the Peruvian government, the firm has been responsible for years for the over-exploitation of gold and other minerals in the Peruvian jungle on the border with Ecuador. Natural resources are being recklessly plundered without any consideration for the environment and the people living there. Most of the water has been polluted. The affected indigenous people have staged a massive fight-back and the region has long since come under public scrutiny. Rather than capitulating to the government’s violent measures to protect the mining company’s shareholders, the indigenous people have retaliated with countermeasures. Similar exploitation is happening in Europe: at Rosa Montania in Romania an entire mountain is being bulldozed in the search for gold.
The majority of palm trees in Athens were imported from other countries during the Olympic Games 2004 in order to make Athens more appealing and exotic to the olympic tourists. Among with the palm trees was imported also the Red Beetle, an insect that devours the most juicy and fleshy part of palm trees that is known as palm’s heart. Now days, in Athens the majority of palm trees are dead or keep dying because of the Red Beetle. The only kind of palm tree that survives is called Washingtonia.
The Washingonia Palm has a very small and dry heart and nobody likes small and dry hearts. Not even the Red Beetle.
These were the first thoughts when we started this project. My first intention was to create a strange exotic portrait of Athens abandoned from people in the summer heat with all these palm trees dying in the background. That’s why I gave this strange new name to Athens. I called Athens Washingtonia as a no-land tropical city where people are mixed with animals.
Once we started searching for the locations I had a very strong dream.
I dreamt of a giraffe trying to enter my house windows with her long neck. The next day I went to the zoo of Athens (where the giraffe’s shots have been shot). There I read that the giraffe is the animal with the biggest heart. Then I realized that my film is actually about that. About the big and the small hearts. It is actually about love. So I came up with the myth of the giraffe at the beginning and I started thinking about my washingtonian characters who suffer from their non-love-heart syndrome like the palm trees who are dying from their half eaten hearts…
I guess that the very interesting process of making this movie somehow is depicted in the structure of the film. I started with no script at all. And maybe this is the reason that I felt much more close to my vision- I had only subtle images and fragile moments to capture and not a story. Somehow image was merged with instinct in this film. I just had my eyes and my senses open in order to select and combine all the elements that come across my way. And this is how the characters came up. While I was searching for the locations I was observing also people and I was trying to think what kind of character would fit in each space. None of the characters are actors and I also did no rehearsals during shooting. All the characters are playing “themselves“ in a way.
This film was a constant improvisation from many aspects. I really had no idea how it would end. I just trusted myself and in a way I let myself free in front of the image wealth of the hidden everyday life. There is a lot of fear in that, and it is really painful sometimes not knowing what are you doing -where it is heading at all. But I understood later that this is a much more stimulative process that fits my personal way of interpreting reality.
C’est un super court-métrage avec une mise en scène simple mais efficace étant donné les petits moyens mis en oeuvre. La force du film tient en partie sur le jeu naturel des acteurs, les dialogues tout aussi naturels et pourtant si bien écrits. C’est une réflexion sur la difficulté de certaines personnes à s´intégrer dans une société qu’ils ne comprennent pas forcément. Le manque de musique aide sans aucun doute à rendre l’atmosphère étouffante, tout comme la vie de Sabrina (l’héroïne du film).
Etouffante à cause de ses angoisses qui l’empêchent d’affronter le sort qui lui est réservé pour prix de ses actes. Mais heureusement son angoisse de fuir toute sa vie la justice sans payer pour son crime va d’avantage la hanter.
Les acteurs bien qu’évidemment amateurs arrivent pourtant à porter le film sur leurs épaules, une prestation en retenue pour l’éducateur et une agréable prestation tout en expression pour la pauvre Sabrina.
Un futur grand réalisateur en perspective, je l’espère.
Roven Kritchmar, Paris, 15 ans
16-year-old Sabrina is a stubborn girl serving her sentence of detention in a center for young offenders. She is lucky to be accepted as a trainee in the hotel business and awaits her verdict on her past offences. Social worker who accompanies her to court tries to help her, but Sabrina doesn’t trust him. Accused of theft with aggravating circumstances, driving without a license and unintentional harm of a person after causing an accident, she doesn’t really cooperate with her lawyer and disregards her advice. Furthermore, she escapes before the verdict – which would send her to prison for eleven months – by using a trick. Now the court room drama turns into a thrilling chase after the girl. The social worker gets in his car, drives along the suburbs, where Sabrina used to live, talks to her young cousin and eventually sees her in the car in front of him. But she doesn’t want to got back with him. But in the night, to his surprise, she gives up and comes to the police station. In his second short director Jean-Bernard Marlin (33) puts a story that would easily fill a feature film into a dense short film full of suspense that tackles a lot of questions and appeals to the viewer’s opinion of guilt with the detailed description of the main characters.