Interfilm: International Short Film Festival of Berlin
“Those who renounce storytelling,” writes Odo Marquard in his “Skepsis in der Moderne” (“Scepticism in the Modern Era”), “renounce their own past”, thus also renouncing a future that could feed on these stories. For a long time, future-oriented action exhausted itself in short-sighted stories of growth and competition. Beyond the actionism of day-to-day politics, animated by the ever-faster beating cadence of the market, politics and society have lost all creative drive. Stories that flirt with the utopian are primarily told to us by transnational corporations. However, the future here is only the vision of a technology that will be used in the time to come: everything will continue exactly as it is, only supposedly it will be better. The result has been and remains a radical loss of future. Finally with the consequences of climate change and the Covid pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that even this last great collective narrative of endless growth is imploding.
People need stories though! Their longing for them is reflected in the fixation on TV series that revolve exclusively around plot and cliffhanger endings. In cinema and art it is morality that has occupied this spot for a while now; it is intended to deliver history/story in a dual sense – namely the right one. On the opposite side, we find the stories of the conspiracy ideologues, who seek to create unambiguous pictures of the world and conjure up a unity that always presupposes a clear enemy, just as “völkisch” modes of thinking do.
The world is in the midst of a profound transformation, one inconceivable without images. It is images that make it possible in the first place to imagine that everything could also be different. That means that we need new images, metaphorical and poetic ones, images that leave familiar territory behind, see the world with different eyes and make utopias possible again. The question is only who will create these images. Cinema began as open experimentation with a totally new medium in a short format. From the 1960s on at the latest, the short film was ultimately liberated from the aesthetic and thematic conventions of the economy that increasingly afflict the feature film. As such, using artistic means, the short film is capable of exploring society and, thus, of conquering reality.
The necessary restrictions from the catalogue of measures implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have hit us hard too as festival organisers. Still, the situation is also an opportunity for us to turn our comfortable knit sweaters inside out, to rethink and reconquer the world. EJECT - The Long Night of Weird Shorts will take place in an open-air version this year. In Lebanon, it is the political crises that cause people to wander the streets with a camera in their hands, which is why a special program is dedicated to the metropolis of Beirut this year. The Focus programmes place a spotlight on the Polish film scene, which was mired in deep crisis at the beginning of the 21st century, before experiencing a cinematic rebirth over the past 15 years. Our Postcolonial Walk will connect films treating Europe’s colonial past to locations in Berlin. And the chance to show films online doesn’t have to be a disadvantage either, indeed it represents an opportunity to reach different audiences in a different place in a different way, to get them excited about cinema and enable them to dive into new worlds (and new images).
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